The Reading List – May 2020

Welcome to the Octopus Group Reading List for May. This month we’ve read some excellent pieces that either take us away from the locked down (or semi locked down but nonetheless alert) world, or that remind us of why it’s not all bad and that there’s joy out there and stuff. Here we go, then:

The Enduring Romance of the Night Train (Anthony Lane, The New Yorker)
It’s a sign of something that I’m reading articles about the beauty of rail travel, rather than resenting the whole business due to the price of my season ticket. This is a lovely piece about night trains, particularly the London to Scotland Caledonian Sleeper service.

Relax to the sounds of British wildlife (Various writers, The Guardian)
Well this is just delightful. An interactive audio journey through the day, accompanied by the sounds of the birds, bees and beasts that are native to Britain. Let this take you away into an idealised woodland, with nary a fly tipped washing machine to be seen.

Lockdown with my Gen Z nieces (Sathnam Sanghera, The Times)
This piece by Sathnam Sanghera chronicles his time in lockdowned London with his family, revealing generational differences, the quirks of co-habitation, and how a man used to living alone gets along with new housemates. Above all, it’s a moving tribute to family connections.

Instapoetry (Clare Bucknall, London Review of Books)
Is instapoetry/meaningful/or is it/a pile of tosh? The popularity of this minimalist form has exploded in recent years, with poets like Rupi Kaur successfully making the leap into physical publishing. But whether or not it’ll stand the test of time is another question, as Clare Bucknell thoughtfully discusses in this piece for the LRB.