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I Think You Should Read

A weekend reading list.
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Seth Simons
Jul 16 2021
3 min read
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One of my favorite sketches in the new season of I Think You Should Leave was the courtroom sketch, which hit my sweet spot for stories-within-stories (and my other sweet spot for hat-based humor). If you have the same sweet spot, allow me to recommend some of my favorite works of fiction with embedded narratives:

  • The Others by Matthew Rohrer, a novel in verse about a very bad day in the life of a junior literary editor with a pile of manuscripts to sort through;
  • Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn, about a post-apocalyptic society that forms a whole mythology around a Simpsons episode;
  • The Antipodes by Annie Baker, a play about a writers room swapping stories as they try to break an unspecified project;
  • Arlington by Enda Walsh, a play about a sort of Beckettian/Orwellian prison where a young woman is forced to tell stories in exchange for food and rest and perhaps her freedom;
  • It doesn't exactly fit the genre but I'm gonna include it anyway: Women Talking by Miriam Toews, a novel in the form of meeting minutes about a group of Mennonite women discussing how to deal with a series of violent assaults by the men in their community—dark material, but the writing is beautifully light.

So long as I'm here, here are a few pieces I've read recently that I'm still thinking about:

  • John Ganz on the parallels between the January 6th riots and the February 6th (1934) crisis in Paris;
  • Alex Press on the New Deal's Federal Writers' Project and why we need a new one;
  • Natalie Shure on why it's time to abolish the Olympics;
  • Alex Pareene on the video game industry's awful labor conditions and what game workers can learn from Hollywood;
  • Olivia Cathcart on what Hacks misses about the comedy industry.

Okay, two more things. I'm in the formative stages of a piece about times comedy workers have said "no" to an opportunity—a gig, a job, a post-show hang, etc—that they felt otherwise compelled to say "yes" to, and how it affected their lives for better or worse. If this sounds like something you might want to talk about (on record, off record, whatever you want), please hit me up.

Finally, since you've made it all the way to the end, I'd love to offer you 10% off a full year of Humorism:

Thanks as always for reading. Have a great weekend.

~Seth

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