Quick Thoughts on Non-Required Reading Series, Age of Average, Daisy Jones, Perry Mason, Succession

Josh Spilker
3 min readApr 12, 2023

I’m sending an extra newsletter this week. I’m working on a longer essay, but wanted to send a few notes on things I’ve been enjoying. Maybe I’ll send a roundup like this more often. Subscribe on Substack.

Remember those great American non-required reading books?

  • I always really liked those because they were great magazine stories, and I still get magazines (yes, to my house, in print).
  • They discontinued them a few years ago (not sure why) but I found this one from 2016 at the local Books-A-Million
  • I like anthologies because you have permission to skip around
  • That said, I’m not a huge fan of short story collections. I get too invested in the characters and then it ends

The Age of Average by Alex Murrell (article)

  • Everything looks the same now. You can’t stop it. Every coffeeshop, every apartment complex, every Airbnb, every book, every Instagram face.

Jami Attenberg’s Substack

  • I’m not a huge fan of her novels, but her Substack is a breath of creative fresh air. Especially because she lives in New Orleans, and I used to live in New Orleans, and I was just in New Orleans a few weeks ago
  • Her latest is called “Let’s Only Make Good Art” which is true, let’s do that

Speaking of classics, should they be updated for modern sensibilities? (article)

  • Finished Daisy Jones and The Six on Amazon. I didn’t read the book, but the show had a nice will-they-or-won’t-they affect, and it took some turns I didn’t expect. Like the singer getting sober early. And the two leads not quite catching up with each other. More thoughts here. What did you think?


  • Perry Mason on HBO. I have some gripes about this show — but the main plot is very smart and twisty, the same as season 1. It’s like True Detective with an actual mystery and not as much gore.
  • I talked to my Grandma this week and she was telling me about Gunsmoke. And Bonanza. Big fan. She also likes Perry Mason (the original).
  • Succession on HBO. Lots of Succession discourse. I’ll just say before the “thing” happened, I was getting slightly frustrated by how the show seemed to be going in circles. This took care of it. Thoughts?
  • I’m rewatching Seinfeld. The show is so much better now that our understanding of TV has evolved.

Office Space.

  • I rewatched this over the weekend. Yes, it’s the classic workplace comedy, complete with an epic printer destruction sequence. I was struck by a couple of things:
  • I used to have commute! I don’t anymore. This is a gamechanger for a lot of my frustrations at work
  • Formal wear! It was crazy when Peter came into the office wearing a short-sleeve button up and sandals. Wild times. Thinking of the tech-bro culture of the mid-to-late 00s, this movie had an immediate impact on being more casual at work. Towards the end after Peter gets “promoted” he goes back to wearing a suit.
  • Simple apartment buildings. We still have basic apartments, but very few movies show *real-life* like this: big parking lots, non-descript apartment buildings, chain restaurants. That’s the way it is in the South at least.

Originally published at https://joshspilker.substack.com.