‘Now Reading’ is a collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics will include books, food, matters of culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.
I don’t know the film and television industry well enough to know why Connie Britton has blossomed as a mid-40s Southern housewife/country star/covert sex symbol in ABC’s “Nashville,” but I do know that it is difficult to achieve such a thing. I know this because it’s rare. When oiled, wrinkle-free skin seems to be what directors think men want on screen, Britton has become a feminine force, starting as Tami Taylor in ‘Friday Night Lights’ and continuing now as Rayna James in Nashville. Susan Dominus wrote about this in the New York Times Magazine.
One of the most interesting themes of the piece to me is how important fit is for an actor/actress and how the right fit can break nearly any barrier. Britton hasn’t built an empire on the soil of “Southern housewife” – not yet anyway — but she has constructed a small cottage village. She has resisted the pressures of Hollywood to tuck a little here, tighten a little there, and suddenly by not doing that, she is appeasing her character.
It wouldn’t feel unnatural if she invested in a little cosmetic magic – after all, she is the target demographic for those magicians – but I’d argue it would feel disingenuous. Her character’s sexiness is not driven by youthful lust; it’s driven by an internal confidence and external mysteriousness. You know Juliette Barnes – played by Hayden Panettiere – with her teeny-bop attractiveness and vengeful outbursts. You think you know Rayna James.
This Esquire piece by Phil Bronstein on the Navy SEAL who shot Osama Bin Laden during the raid of his compound is incredible on so many levels. First, the reporting. It’s an unbelievable work of stringing details together, recreating the experience of being on that mission for readers (well, as much as that can be recreated through words).
Second, what this story is actually about, which is the world of unknowns that many of these soldiers come home to. They come home to no job, no insurance, a house, a family with children – and they have to figure out what’s next. It’s sad and enlightening and depressing and insightful and inspiring (to figure out how to better help these men and women) and all things in between. It’s a must-read.
I’m not familiar with J. Robert Lennon or his work, but I loved this essay about how he blends his professional writing career with his amateur endeavors in music. Lennon has published seven novels, writes fiction for various literary magazines and teaches writing at Cornell University. The piece starts out with him explaining a conversation he had with an editor about how to best market his upcoming book of short stories to reviewers.
The book had 100 “very short” stories, so Lennon came up with the idea to make 100 very short songs to ship out with the book, a creative and innovative way to stir some buzz in the publishing world. It’s a fun read that explores the relationship of writing fiction and making songs, and how two kinds of writing experiences can be so emotionally perpendicular.
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