the new yorker

D.B. Jackson – Author

David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson is the award-winning writer of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His current series, The Thieftaker Chronicles (Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry), is set in pre-Revolutionary Boston and combines historical fiction, mystery, and urban fantasy. Learn more about David and his work at http://www.dbjackson-author.com.

Good things to read.

The Tamir Trilogy (The Bone Doll’s Twin, Hidden Warrior, and The Oracle’s Queen) by Lynn Flewelling. This is one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, and, for reasons surpassing understanding, it is relatively unknown. The series plays with the trope of the royal prince born with a hidden twin, but does so in a way that is unique, chilling, and masterful. I really can’t recommend it enough.

Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay. I love Kay’s work. Always have. He was an inspiration to me when I was still an aspiring writer, and I continue to be impressed by every novel he writes. His first work, the Fionavar Tapestry, remains a sentimental favorite of mine, and so when he released Ysabel in 2007, I was delighted to see that he had returned to some key themes from that earlier work. Read the Fionavar books, and then read Ysabel. Definitely worth the investment of time.

The New Yorker. Yes, magazines still exist, and this one contains, week in and week out, some of the best writing you can find anywhere. I will admit that I don’t read every article. Some topics interest me more than others. But that’s the beauty of The New Yorker: every issue has something in it that will appeal to every reader. Politics, world affairs, history, fiction, sports, cinema, fashion, theater, music, science — the magazine’s articles have covered all of these things. In the past four weeks.

Good things to watch.

Sports Night. This one is only available on NetFlix or the like, but it is just a wonderful show. Created and written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing could just as easily have made this list, but everyone is already watching that, right? Right??), starring Felicity Huffman, Josh Charles, Peter Krause, Joshua Molina, and Robert Guillaume, it tells the story of a SportsCenter type news program struggling to make it in prime time. The writing, like all of Sorkin’s writing, is crisp, funny, totally brilliant. But the networks never knew what to make of the series — it was too smart for them — and it only lasted about three seasons.

Birds. Someone else said this down the list a bit, but it is worth reiterating. I have been birdwatching for nearly all my life. Seriously. I started when I was seven. And it has never, ever gotten old. Start with a feeder or two in your backyard. Maybe put up a hummingbird feeder in the summer and one that holds sunflower seeds in the winter. Get a field guide and a pair of binoculars. Go look at warblers during spring migration (April and May) or hawks in the fall (September and October). You’ll be amazed by what you see.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. ‘Nuff said. (Except to warn that it is a bit dated, and there is a moment of rather disturbing gender abuse in one of the early scenes — he smacks her, rendering her unconscious. You’d never see it done so casually in a movie today. But in every other way the movie is terrific.)

Good things to use.

MyRadar, is my favorite iPhone app. It’s a weather program that gives you live radar anywhere in the country, as well as forecasts and all the other things weather apps offer. But the radar is the kicker. It is absolutely accurate, has never crashed on my phone, and looks really cool.

Kirk “L” Bracket. I’m an avid photographer. Nature photography mostly: macro work, landscapes, that sort of thing. I have learned over the years that I do much better work when I use a tripod rather than hand-holding the camera. Not only are my images sharper, but I also take more time and care in composing my shots. The “L” Bracket, made by Kirk Industries, is an attachment that goes on the camera, making it possible to mount the camera on the tripod on its bottom or on its side. In other words, it basically allows me to turn my camera from horizontal orientation to vertical orientation in a matter of seconds, without having to reposition the tripod at all.

Intellitouch PT 10 Tuner. I am also a long-time guitar player, and I LOVE my little clip-on guitar tuner. It clamps to the headstock of the guitar and senses the vibration of the note in the wood. Tuning my guitar has never been easier.

Find David on Twitter at @DBJacksonAuthor and on Facebook under the same name.

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Andrew Warner – interviewer

These are Andrew Warner’s good things.

What are some good things you’ve read?

Book: Empire of the Summer Moon
Magazine: New Yorker
Newspaper: NY Times

What are some good things you’ve watched?

Breaking Bad
Larry Sanders
The Daily Show

What are some good things you use?

Nike running backpack
Merrell barefoot running sneakers
Race Ready running shorts

Anthony Austin – postdoc

This is Anthony Austin and these are his good things.

What are some good things you’ve read? 

The New Yorker. I had never read this magazine until I came across two discarded issues in an airport a few months ago. The magazine is jam packed with articles and I was able to read it from front to back without skipping over anything. I’m debating whether to get a subscription or not, simply due to the cost of getting it delivered to Canada.

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A lot of people have read this book. It’s for everyone. I’ve read it around 10 times and each time it’s all in one session. When my French gets good enough, I intend to read the original: Le Petit Prince.

The Door into Summer, by Robert Heinlein. This little known sci-fi gem about time travel is great, especially if you’re a cat lover. It’s also a soap opera with lies and deceit.

What are some good things you’ve watched?

Cowboy Bebop. This was an anime series that was on for two seasons in the beginning years of Adult Swim. Great storytelling and great visuals make this easy to watch over and over.

L.A. Story. “Let us just say I was deeply unhappy, but I didn’t know it because I was so happy all the time.” Steve Martin wrote and starred in this film. It’s the only romantic comedy that I own, but it’s so much more than that. It really gets at the heart of life. Plus, it’s full of Steve Martin’s wit at its best.

The Last Waltz

What are some good things you’ve used?

I use AdBlock for Google Chrome. No more ads. Plus, if I’m feeling goofy, I can use CatBlock. Instead of ads, you get cats.

I use my OPUS transit card in Montreal. Getting rid of my car was probably the best thing I could have done for my transportation needs. Gas, maintenance, insurance, parking, snow tires. Those things add up. With the OPUS card, it’s $75/month and I can go anywhere in the city.

I use my iron skillet all the time. It hardly ever needs to be cleaned and the flavors from previous food just builds and builds over time. Plus, it helps add iron to my diet.