This week, an incomplete but heartfelt list of newsletters that I enjoy. Not the subscription-based journalistic Substack ones, but the quirky and disheveled members of the Republic of Newsletters. In addition to that just-linked reflection by Robin Sloan — whose own newsletter is sporadic but great — you might want to take a look at these thoughts by Robin Rendle. The two Robins of the Republic.
Rendle’s essay is, by the way, a fantastic piece of web design — try looking at it on both a large screen and a small one. Anyway, here’s my list:
Samuel Arbesman’s Cabinet of Wonders, primarily on technology, but always from a distinctive angle.
Oliver Burkman’s The Imperfectionist, “on productivity, mortality, the power of limits, and building a meaningful life in an age of bewilderment.”
About every six months Deb Chachra sends an edition of Metafoundry, but there are six months worth of things to think about (re: “technology, systems, design, language, social justice, and geography”) in each mind-blowing missive. I often wish Deb sent more of them, but if she did I’d be at risk of cognitive overload.
Dan Cohen’s Humane Ingenuity, “on technology that helps rather than hurts human understanding, and human understanding that helps us create better technology.” I get so excited when Dan posts a new one. This is probably the one newsletter I most wish I could write.
Sasha Frere-Jones’s S/FJ — not often sent, but when it comes it’s full of music I would never have found on my own.
Sarah Hendren’s undefended/undefeated, on design, art, technology, and trying really hard to be a human being.
Austin Kleon’s Ten Things, on art, creativity, learning, discovering, and being attentive to the unexpected sources of delight in this vale of tears.
Our sponsor — and my happy place — Laity Lodge — don’t miss Wendi Poole’s photos of January at the Lodge.
Ian Leslie’s The Ruffian, which is about, I don’t know, maybe being smart about the kinds of things that most people are dumb about.
Plough Quarterly’s Plough Weekly, from the wonderful Christian journal of life well lived.
Art of Noticing by Rob Walker, who … notices.
Sophie Yeo’s Inkcap, “a dedicated space for journalism about the British environment: about wildflower meadows and ancient woodland, rewilding and restoration, landscapes and creatures, and everything in between.”
Okay, that’s enough for now, though I might do another list later on. Heads up: it’s possible that I won’t be able to send out an issue next week: I’m overwhelmed right now. But in any event …
¡Viva la República!