A February weekend reading list starring David Carr

We have a long weekend (“bank holiday” for our British Red Brick Readers) here in Toronto which has meant lots of time for reading and watching over the last three days. That has meant three days to reflect on the work of a great writer, David Carr, who died on Thursday. Carr was the media critic for the New York Times. A respected, if not sexy position, Carr had an above-average level of name recognition because he was the character who stole the 2011 Times documentary Page One.

Page One is where I started my Carr tribute. The documentary, ostensibly on how to land a story on the front page of the Times but really about the crazy cast of characters who staff the newspaper, is a must-watch for any media nerd. I’ve watched it three times since it was added to Netflix and my awesome husband let us kick off our Valentine’s Day weekend with a re-watch on Friday night.

Because of Carr’s status and relationships in the New York media community, just about every major publication ran a long-form obituary this weekend. As is often the case, my favourites came from Gawker. In tributes from Hamilton Nolan and John Cook, the blog focused on Carr’s generosity as a resource for young writers. I hope I am one day lucky enough to have a David Carr in my life.

There was lots of Carr’s writing to re-read. Several publications posted round-ups of their favourite pieces, but for this sort of thing I usually head to Longform, where their selected pieces are usually my personal favourites. If you’re going to skip the archive and only read one piece, make it Me and My Girls, an excerpt from Carr’s 2008 addiction memoir The Night of the Gun. You should read the book, too. You’ll want to once you read the excerpt and learn a bit more about the crack-addicted Carr, a single parent of twin girls.

Bonus Content: If you need a pick-up after all that (and you might be a sociopath if you don’t) you can check out my Saturday night viewing choice. After a weekend of re-reading Carr and re-visiting the Basquiat exhibition at the AGO, I needed something lighter so we watched Sabrina (the good version, not the Harrison Ford version) on Netflix. I’ve been humming ‘La Vie en Rose’ ever since.*

*Post Script to the Bonus Content: Much as I loved Sabrina, I realized for the first time that Humphrey Bogart was 57 and Audrey Hepburn was 25 when that movie was made. I was recently complaining about a 46 year old Will Smith and a 24 year old Margot Robbie being cast in Focus, and it turns out that Hollywood has been this gross for at least 60 years. Stop being so gross, Hollywood.


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