«If I open my eyes, it’s all gone.»

An extra long issue, including all the books you want to read next (#492)

Are you ready for an extra long newsletter issue? In addition to the usual recommendations and instant gratification links, we have all the books you told me you want to read next (aka: the Weekly Filet Book Club, 2024 edition).

I've received fewer submissions this time around than in previous years. My hunch: The prompt which I had designed to be a lower bar turned out less interesting. Well, that happens. Nonetheless, I've already added a handful of books to my reading list, less choice isn't always bad. Thanks to everyone who submitted a book.

And with that, enjoy!

1. What Ukraine Has Lost

«If I shut my eyes, I can see everything from my old life.»
«But if I open my eyes, it’s all gone.»
The kind of story only The New York Times can pull off.

What Ukraine Has Lost
We measured every town, street and building blown apart in Ukraine to show the first comprehensive picture of where people can’t return home.

2. How to Walk and Talk

The manual for a wonderful practice, the «moveable salon» by Kevin Kelly and Craig Mod. The concept is simple enough: A small group of people embark on a weeklong hiking trip, 100km in total. Days are for walking and casual conversations, evenings are for deep group conversations, on a single topic suggested by a group member. In this manual, they share everything they've learned so far, so that others can recreate the experience. Lots of small details that make a lot of sense as soon as you read them.

3. ​​What these elections are really about

Some good food for thought while we are waiting for the results of the European elections. «We know the far-right’s vision for Europe. But Europeans deserve more than that. We're facing enormous challenges that only a united Europe can answer. [...] We need to get excited about what Europe could be – and work toward it. [...] American historian Timothy Snyder described Europe as a source of hope for anyone on the outside. It's time we own up to that role.»

Read European Journalism now! — The European Correspondent
The European Correspondent is the place where you read about the climate crisis, migration, digitisation and much more – with an European angle!

4. What Jumping Spiders Teach Us About Color

A thirty-minute documentary on how spiders see the world – and how scientists figured it out. Totally worth your time.

What Jumping Spiders Teach Us About Color
How jumping spiders reveal an entire secret world of colors. Let BetterHelp connect you to a therapist who can support you - all from the comfort of your own…

5. The Unbearable Greatness of Djokovic

It's not quite David Foster Wallace on Roger Federer, but it's this type of essay. It clicked for me when I read this: «Djokovic’s problem is that he manifestly hates being hated, hates that he doesn’t receive the love and respect that Nadal and Federer did.»

The Unbearable Greatness of Djokovic
Novak Djokovic may be the greatest tennis player ever—and I can’t stand him.

What else?

Instant-gratification links that make you go wow! or aha! the moment you click.

Books for curious minds: Your precommendations

Always Coming Home, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Picked by L., who describe themselves as a «curious reader»

At the moment, I enjoy going back to sci-fi classics, especially by female and marginalised authors. Ursula K. Le Guin explores so many interesting ideas in her works, like exploring a possible anarchist society or the perspective of elder women in a misogynistic world. This book is about a civilisation rebuilt after a climate catastrophe, which feels very relevant to the current moment.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khalid Hosseini

Picked by Coco, a «new law school graduate and soccer fanatic»

I read «The Kite Runner» by Hosseini when I was in high school, and I remember the book moving me in so many ways and directions, like no other book had done before. Now, about ten years on, I’d love to read a book that explores similar themes and is written by the same author so that I can learn more deeply about myself and the world.

The last murder at the end of the world, by Stuart Turton

Picked by Florian, a «story-loving dad short on time»

Stuart's previous books have left a lasting impression. Even if the endings of both books didn't really work for me, the journey of getting there was an enjoyable ride. The atmosphere and characters are well written and there's always a unique twist to his stories. This time? The last people alive on earth need to figure out a murder to save everyone, but their minds have been wiped so even the murderer doesn't remember they did it. And there's a countdown? I'm in!

The women, by Kristen Hannah

Picked by Annemari Coetser, a «mother, wife, author, gardener, avid reader, photographer»

This book is described as powerful, uplifting and compelling – and it is thick! I've been waiting for it to be published as I've loved some of her other books. Books by women about women are my favorite reading material. I believe this one honours all women, and I'm particularly drawn to books about loss and love and about heroic ordinary women who rise above their circumstances.

There's more. Head over to the Book Club subsite to see all other books from this year's edition, as well as all from previous years.

A gem from the archive

From «Little Hope» to «Mount Dispair» – a homage to the saddest-sounding places on earth.

This Instagram account collects the saddest-sounding places on Earth
Cape Disappointment, Mistake Island, Unfortunate Cove.

This is a randomly picked gem from the archive of the Weekly Filet, going back to 2011. You can also search the archive, shuffle for a gem yourself, or browse this collection of some of my all-time favs.

I wish you a nice weekend and hope to see you again next Friday!

— David 👋