An Open Love Letter to the Sunday Edition of the New York Times

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My Love of the Sunday Times

“Although there are some people who rip away the outer edges of import to get to the tasty filling inside - that is, the Book Review, the Arts and Leisure sections, Travel, and Style - anyone who was raised right knows that there is only one way to read the times or eat an Oreo - all at once, taking in both the sad and urgent (the cookie) with the fun and frivolous (the white center), making it all the more tasty with frequent dips into a beverage of choice that makes the whole lot go down that much easier.”

Ah, Fall. I love it so much. With fall comes the feeling of all things new. New pencils and fresh pens scribbling away on never before opened notebooks, new shoes proudly squeaking and clicking against newly polished linoleum floors.  Fall brings new schedules, new obligations, new reading materials, new duties, and new chances to finally get done what we set out to accomplish back in January when the new year was undeniably that - new.

Like many adults in the fall I always find a replenished desire to learn, grow, and stretch myself. To "Get back to it."  So when the lower humidity hits and the temperatures begin to lower, I find myself attracted to learning, to soaking up new information, all in the quest of feeling re-invigorated, 'with-it', and decidedly scholarly. Enter the Sunday edition of the New York Times. It's economical use of space and flimsiness of ephemeral newsprint should not fool you - this is dense stuff. Dense in the sense of information (there's a lot of it) as well as breadth. (They go deep.) The magnitude of excellent reporting and editorials offset by the more artistic and easily-devoured sections make it like a journalism sandwich of the highest quality. The sad, important, crazy, timely, urgent stuff at the back and front. And all the fun stuff at the center. And although there are some people who rip away the outer edges of import to get to the tasty filling inside - that is, the Book Review, the Arts and Leisure sections, Travel, and Style - anyone who was raised right knows that there is only one way to read the times or eat an Oreo - all at once, taking in both the sad and urgent (the cookie) with the fun and frivolous (the white center), making it all the more  tasty with frequent dips into a beverage of choice that makes the whole lot go down that much easier.

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The Simple Joys of the Sunday Times

There's nothing I like better than the feeling of sitting back in a chair with nothing to do and nowhere to go and the paper splayed out in front of me, the bifurcated sections on the floor in front of my armchair like a deck of tarot cards, each one waiting to be turned over, examined, analyzed, and internalized. Indeed some of the best reading I come across each year can be found within those pages.

Although it sounds a bit elitist or affected, I truly love learning something new about our complicated, magnificent, beautiful world through the paper.  And this sense of accomplishment and joy can only be accessed through reading a physical copy of the paper.  Yes, of course I read news on my phone like everyone, but this does not give you the same experience of flipping through a physical manifestation of the countless hours and effort exhumed in order to bring one 'all the news that's fit to print.'  Physical papers impart a sense of importance, timeliness, and relevance, but they also do one thing so well that our modern devices have not been able to replicate: the curation of articles in such a way as to be presented to the viewer in a way that both encourages discovery, while promoting relevance. Reading the physical paper from cover to cover, one is much more likely to come across a wide cross-section of information on all sorts of issues, from varying perspectives, industries, and sectors of the American populace. This is the exact opposite of  the siloed, algorithm-filled Facebook newsfeed or aggregated web-results of the mobile phone era.  Somehow, this old-school, low-tech, in-the-flesh experience is the original elegant user experience that no mobile app - not even the Times' own - has been able to replicate. Want to get out of your existing beliefs and dive into perspectives that are wholly different from your own? Pick up a paper.
 
There's nothing I like better than the feeling of sitting back in a chair with nothing to do and nowhere to go and the paper splayed out in front of me, the bifurcated sections on the floor in front of my armchair like a deck of tarot cards, each one waiting to be turned over, examined, analyzed, and internalized. Indeed some of the best reading I come across each year can be found within those pages. And it's not only the pieces themselves that illuminate, it's also the writing itself. Whole reams and pages, an endless-parade of beautifully orchestrated and choreographed words that both inform and educate. A usual part of my routine with the Sunday paper involves having my phone or tablet in my lap, so I can look up words I don't know, and record them, along with their newly-procured meaning, in a one-note Notebook that grows considerably each week when I read a new edition of the Times. It's a simple and quiet hobby that most find super dorky, but I am no longer comfortable with mentally skipping over the words I do not know, and instead choose to learn them, if only to understand some of the insanely clever turns of phrases a bit better than I would have before.

 I know a lot of people reading this are thinking the same thing: that I'm a pompous and self-pleased erudite asshole who will lord the definitions of obscure words over you and would be a real drag to try and have some fun with. But that's not the case. I watch Amazing Race, laugh at Cedric the Entertainer, really love any movie with Ice Cube in it, hate people who claim they don't really watch TV, and eat whatever I want with abandon on most days. That is to say: I'm not a culture snob. But do I love good reporting, generally get a kick out of improving my vocabulary, and remain endlessly impressed with the amazing content housed within each magical edition of the New York Times? Absolutely. So if you're interested in learning more about the world and getting just a little bit smarter than you were on Saturday, let's dig in to the Sunday Section

 


My Favorite Articles from The New York Times, September 10 2018 Edition

  1. How Michigan Became the Epicenter of the Modernist Experiment.
    Tmagazine, Sept. 6 2018.
    "A perfect storm of manufacturing money, ample space, and robust industry created one of Modernism's most fertile and important outposts in and around Detroit."

  2. In 'Small Fry,' Steve Jobs Comes Across as A Jerk. His Daughter Forgives Him. Should We?
    The New York Times, Aug. 23rd 2018
    "Lisa Brennan-Jobs has written a memoir about her famous father. The details are damning, but she doesn't want them to be."

  1. A Champion, a Critic, a Therapist: Dyana Williams is Hop-Hop's Artist Whisperer.
    The New York Times Music Section, Sept 6 2018.
    "As the pre-eminent media coach in the music business, Ms. Williams has worked with Rihanna, Justin Bieber, T.I. and a constant flow of young rappers."

  1. Has This Neighborhood in Seoul Figured Out the Secret to Slow Living?
    T Magazine, Aug. 30th 2018
    ”In Korea, one housing development offers new versions of tiled-roof residences, and with them, a less frenetic lifestyle. “

  2. The Father of Personal Computing who Was Also a Terrible Dad
    the New York Times Book Review, Sept. 4 2018
    "With "Small Fry," Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the first child of Steve jobs, delivers an eloquent memoir of a childhood steeped in emotional abuse."

  3. The Designers Envisioning A Bold New Kind of Japanese Architecture
    the New York Times, Sept. 18, 2018
    "A freethinking firm makes its mark exploring the intersections between public and private, indoors and out, function and form."

  4. Opinion: Coders of Kentucky
    the New York Times, Sept. 21 2018
    "A bipartisan effort to revitalize the heartland, one tech job at a time. "