A Very Short Post About The New York Observer’s “VERY SHORT LIST”

August 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Short, Sweet Email - Great Discoveries - High/Low Culture

The New York Observer, is the insightful, weekly New York newspaper, published each Wednesday, in print and online.  Across the top of The Observer website, you’ll find a list  of their other sites, one of which is the “VERY SHORT LIST.”

Once each day, just before noon, I receive a VERY SHORT LIST (VSL) email with the day’s pick.  Each VSL email includes a Venn diagram with other, associated cultural suggestions, at the center of which lies that day’s focus.  All are interesting; none are run-of-the-mill.  According to their website:

VERY SHORT LIST points to excellent new (and sometimes vintage) entertainment and media that haven’t been hyped to within an inch of their lives. Each weekday, we recommend a single gem from the vast mass of films, TV shows, books, websites, music, and more. The focus is on products that deserve attention but haven’t already been subject to giant media pile-ons.

Take today’s VSL email, which recommended a website that I’d not heard of called “FiveBooks.”  The premise is that experts in various fields are called upon to put forth five books that they suggest be read in order to gain an understanding of a particular topic, presumably one that pertains to that field of interest.  Not sure where to start when it comes to learning about Queen Elizabeth I?  Historian and University College London Professor, Helen Hackett gives her picks.  Or perhaps you find the Israeli-Palestinian conflict confounding, Robin Yassin-Kassab, author and political blogger, makes his recommendations.  Each FiveBooks list is accompanied by an interview with expert and includes the rationale behind the suggestions, either print, as in the case of Hackett, or video, as with Yassin-Kassab.  If you have research to conduct, or are just plain interested, then you might like FiveBooks, “the authoritative way to be an authority.”

This is just one example of many from VERY SHORT LIST.  If you want to get a sense of other items they’ve covered previously, the daily emails have been archived, and can be searched.  And, you don’t need to live in New York to appreciate the gems they unearth.

Try it, you might like it.


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