Welcome to No Complaints, a twice-weekly newsletter by Browser editor-in-chief Caroline Crampton. On Fridays, I share links of interest to me that I have gathered during my many hours of reading online. Correspondence always welcome: reply to this email or contact email@example.com.
In this edition: a thriller recommendation, the curse of “good material” and a date with Chekhov.
As you read this, I am on my way south after three weeks spent at my house on a tiny Scottish island, where phone signal was minimal and it was only light for about six hours a day. I really recommend leaning hard into the darkest time of year: it makes every speck of light you see, both real and figurative, feel much more precious. I’ve been working on and off, but I return to my desk in earnest on Monday. There is an exciting year ahead, with my new book coming out in April and an audiobook to record and so forth. But I have enjoyed this deep, quiet breath drawn at the start of everything.
Here are some things I came across during this time that I thought you might like too.
- The fiction of Anthony Gilbert, aka Lucy Beatrice Malleson. I have recently read five of her novels from the 1930s and 1940s, and I would highly recommend them as a spirited blend of thriller, noir and crime fiction full of lots of pleasing period detail. The Woman in Red from 1941 was my favourite. Malleson’s memoir of writing in the 1930s, Three-A-Penny, is also well worth your time.
- Apt, for the season of the writing life I am about to enter: this piece on writerly jealousy. “There’s a bad double bind in being a writer: If you don’t write about things people are interested in, nobody is going to read you. But if you write about things people are interested in, other people are writing about them, too.”
- I found this piece about a man who moved from Bogotá to Helsinki without ever having set foot in Finland before very wholesome and heartwarming. He finds the high level of personal safety delightful — children are left to sleep alone outside! — and becomes a big fan of walking in pine forests.
- Maud Newton’s concise, conflicted thoughts on being a writer with “good material” in their past. As someone who is about to publish a book that talks for the first time in public about her teenage experiences with cancer, I identified with some of what she had to say.
- There are a lot of very strange customs that I, a British person, had never heard of in this video roundup of recent folklore practices, but I still watched the whole thing.
- I’m planning on listening to fewer podcasts in 2024 and instead devoting more headphone hours to audiobooks and radio plays. This collection of BBC audio adaptations of Chekhov will keep me busy for a while.
- Jonathan Jones on tarot. Both informative and, because he seems completely unaware of the non-ironic love for the form among thirty-something Instagram witches (hi!), hilarious.
- I am obsessed with the Icelandic singer-songwriter Laufey and have watched her appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk about three times a day since it was published last month.
- I recently revisited this, by Alex Sujong Laughlin, about how the state of modern media forced her into becoming an unwitting ghostwriter of other people’s stories. I still think it’s the best thing I’ve read about how today’s journalism has The Stars who rack up the big paychecks and social media followings while the unknown, overworked people behind the scenes who make it all happen go unacknowledged.
- A kind of jukebox for your browser, which allows you to pick a single song on Spotify and then hear never-ending, always-changing versions of it.
Until next time,