Last Call: Two worthy book recommendations

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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

Very Bad Poetry

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Two worthy book recommendations

One of the best birthday gifts I received this year was a copy of Very Bad Poetry, an anthology edited by Kathryn and Ross Petras. As the editor of my high school’s literary magazine, I’d already read a lot of very bad poetry—usually involving the word soul and horrible rhyme schemes—but some of the poems included herein take the cake. [Kate Bernot]

Deep Work

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Two worthy book recommendations

This is perhaps the most profound book I’ve read so far this year. Side note: I’m endlessly fascinated by sleep science, and what I’ve learned about deep sleep is that it’s the most restorative of the sleep stages. In that spirit, this fascinating book by author and computer programmer Cal Newport deals with the idea of deep work, a state of intense focus that helps you master cognitively demanding tasks. One of the more eye-opening revelations from Deep Work is the idea that our brains have been wired to reject boredom—we can’t even go to the bathroom without checking our phones. This book, along with my renewed interest in meditation (plus removing Twitter and Facebook from my browser bookmarks) has already made a big difference in my productivity in 2018. [Kevin Pang]


Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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One of the stories of misspent youth involves, a date. I never did date much, as I’m weird and awkward. So I met this girl at a coffee shop, and after a bit, she said she wanted to read some of her poetry. It was bad. I grimaced through for a few minutes until she told me she would read intentionally bad poetry to new people to see how they would react. I have no idea how I did on that test (not well, probably, as we never went out again). I don’t know what the correct reaction would be, though. Polite smiling and nodding? Honesty?