The Reading List – February 2019

Presented for your amusement and intellectual enrichment: the best pieces of writing the Octopus Group copy team has read in the past month. Be inspired, disgusted, entertained, or a combination of the three.

When one millenial gave up social media (Adrian Gray, Idler)

How many hours a day do you spend scrolling through Instagram? How many evenings, wasted in a Twitter black hole? When you give up social media altogether, the possibilities for productivity are endless. Like reigniting a love for daytime television, or saving time by accidentally missing out on all the parties you’re invited to – as comedian and writer Adrian Gray recently discovered. Read it now!

Why it’s hard to pin the UK’s oddly warm February on climate change  (James Temperton, Wired)

Describing the end of February as the ‘dog days’ of the month feels a little odd, given the phrase usually refers to the slow, hot end of summer. But with record high temperatures sending Brits scurrying for parks across the land, it seems applicable here. Problem was, we were all so busy worrying about climate change, none of us were sure how much to enjoy it. Wondering what on earth was behind it all? Wired have broken it down here.

Paid to carry a stranger’s baby – then forced to raise it (Elaine Chong and Tim Whewell, BBC)

Following the end of China’s one-child policy, some Chinese couples have turned to surrogate mothers in Cambodia to extend their families.But as this harrowing long-read makes clear, Cambodia has recently banned commercial surrogacy – leaving some surrogate mothers and couples with heart breaking and long-reaching consequences. Find out more.

Can you revise a book to make it more woke? (Lila Shapiro, Vulture)

From Tolkien to modern Young Adult fiction, the fantasy genre has been littered with problematic portrayals of race for decades. But when one author faced accusations of racism prior to the publication of her debut novel, she attempted something radical: a fundamental rewrite to address the issues. This article explores the often challenging landscape of YA fiction, highlighting the tension between sensitivity and revisionism. Dive into the argument.