Friday High Five: Andrew Solomon, Obama, Alice Munro

Andrew Solomon interviews Adam Lanza’s father

In his extraordinary book, Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon interviewed hundreds of parents from ten categories of identity, about how they connected with and dealt with children who were significantly different to them. One of those categories was criminals; his sensitive, insightful interview with the parents of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine killers, was a highlight of that section of the book.

After reading that interview, the father of Adam Lanza (the teenager who perpetrated the Sandy Hook massacre, two years ago) approached Solomon to interview him, as a way of sharing his experience in a controlled way. The resulting profile is published in the New Yorker, and it’s a compelling read. ‘I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them,’ he told Solomon.

Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon

Obama interviewed by Zach Galifianakis

If you haven’t already seen Zach Galifianakis’s funny (yet insidiously serious) interview with President Obama on his cult internet chat show Between Two Ferns, take a coffee break, put your headphones on, and watch it now. The interview has had 13 million views, and boosted visits to healthcare.Gov (which was the objective) by 40%.

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama

Keith Richards writes children’s book

Yes, you read that right. Keith Richards - best known for embodying the fabled sex, drugs and rock'n'roll lifestyle, and surviving - has written a children’s book. Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar is about his grandfather, a jazz musician who introduced him to music as a child. It will be illustrated by Richards' daughter.

Alice Munro short story becomes movie: Hateship Loveship

Alice Munro’s short story ‘Hateship Loveship’ (from her collection Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage) has been adapted into a movie, starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce and Hailee Steinfeld. You can watch the trailer below.

Silicon Valley’s Culture Divide: Useful vs Cool

In Silicon Valley, there’s a growing divide between the old guard and the new. What that means in practical terms, suggests a New York Times article, is that what’s being produced is often more cool than it is useful.

In pursuing the latest and the coolest, young engineers ignore opportunities in less-sexy areas of tech like semiconductors, data storage and networking, the products that form the foundation on which all of Web 2.0 rests … The talent — and there’s a ton of it — flowing into Silicon Valley cares little about improving these infrastructural elements. What they care about is coming up with more web apps.