Solitude, Sleep & Spotify

Can you really be alone without switching off your phone?

Hello GentleReader,

Didn’t find much time to read anything truly compelling this week? Well, we’ve got you covered. 

In this weekend’s GentleReader round-up, we’ve got a few pieces exploring the uneasy balance between freedom and control in the modern age.

The week’s best reads

Walking Alone: On “Digital Minimalism”
Taylor Fayle, Los Angeles Review of Books

“For the first time in human history, it is possible to completely deprive ourselves of solitude.”

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sleep?
Alex Shultz, GQ 

"By snoozing a few extra hours, are the world’s tip-top athletes—whose jobs require them to stay in outrageously good shape—on to something the rest of us aren’t?”

Is Poverty Necessary?
Marilynne Robinson, Harper’s

“Poverty is static, effectively resourceless, subject to interests that are not its own, therefore valuable to those interests.”

How L.G.B.T Couples in Russia Decide to Leave the Country 
Masha Gessen, The New Yorker

“Until, as Katya and Nina would say, Putin barges in brandishing a Cossack whip, all threats seem vague and remote. The losses that emigration would impose, on the other hand, are immediate and certain.”

Big Mood Machine  
Liz Pelly, The Baffler

“The decision to define audiences by their moods was part of a strategic push to grow Spotify’s advertising business.”

Free from clutter, free from annoying pop-ups. Here at GentleReader we want your reading experience to be as seamless as possible. The less you notice us, the better. 

That said, we are constantly experimenting with new formats as we look to improve the newsletter and the platform, so please do let us know what you think. Just send an e-mail over to (yes, I’m new to the team, so you can also just say hey).

Until next week!