The Reading List – May 2018

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

Why Nouns Slow Us Down, and Why Linguistics Might Be in a Bubble (Alan Burdick, The New Yorker)

In a report analysing speech from nine different languages, it was found that ‘the speech immediately preceding a noun is three-and-a-half-per-cent slower than the speech preceding a verb’. And in eight of the nine languages studied, speakers are twice as likely to say ‘uh or ‘um’ before a noun than they are before a verb. If that’s not absolutely fascinating, we don’t know what is. Read it!

Paul Auster: ‘I’m going to speak out as often as I can, otherwise I can’t live with myself’ (Paul Laity, The Guardian)

Interesting interview with author, Paul Auster. In part, it’s about his latest book, 4321, that was published last year, but also about how he is grappling with how to live in a post-Trump world. He’s decided that listening to his social conscience and speaking out is the only way forward for him. Read it!

Patrick Melrose captures heroin addiction perfectly – it brought my memories flooding back (John Crace, The Guardian)

This is a phenomenal piece of writing about addiction by political sketch writer, John Crace. It’s beautifully done and brutally honest. Read it!

Glorious suburbia (Andy Miller, Boundless)

This is the best thing I read in May. The author Andy Miller writes about literature, suburbia and why the former should deal more with the latter. It’s just brilliant. Read it now!