The Longing for Less came out last Tuesday and it’s been easily one of the most stressful / exciting weeks of my life. It’s a joy to see the book out in the world and have people responding to it — critics writing about it, bookstores shelving it, and (especially) readers posting it on Instagram lol. (BTW it’s being shelved in a lot of different places in bookstores, so maybe ask for it by name.)
This newsletter is a recap of what’s been going on. You can order the book at these links: Bloomsbury / Amazon / Indiebound / Barnes and Noble / Books-a-Million and I’ll explain this more below, but if you already have the book and enjoyed it, please leave a review on Amazon, even if you didn’t buy the book there. It helps hugely.
There is also now an audiobook version available on Audible and elsewhere.
NYT Op-Ed: My New York Times opinion essay about the book, “What We Got Wrong About Minimalism,” is also in the Sunday paper (today) if you see it!
Paris Review: I also wrote an essay for Paris Review about the difficulty of writing about minimalism, since it’s so often against language itself. “The word kills art,” as Philip Johnson said.
New York Times: Jennifer Szalai, the NYT’s daily nonfiction critic, reviewed the book in the Thursday newspaper. I love the way she gets at the purpose and themes of the book: “The ‘deeper minimalism’ Chayka pursues is more about vulnerability than control.”
Slate: Laura Miller, a critic whose work I’ve always enjoyed, reviewed the book. I wish she had liked the visual art aspects more, but I do think there’s much more to be said about design, politics, and minimalism.
Deez Links: Delia Cai wrote a really nice piece about the book in her media newsletter. It’s not as pretentious as it seems! “If anything, it feels like reading a dense but decidedly accessible text from your favorite college class.”
Washington City Paper: Emma Sarappo reviewed the book in my now-hometown alt-weekly, noting that DC is a great place to see minimalism. “As Chayka shows in the book’s moving last act, it’s still possible to encounter something sublime.”
LitHub: Andru Okun wrote a meandering essay that uses the book as a tool to look at other objects and experiences, which is exactly what I hoped. Also great company with Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing and Oli Mould’s Against Creativity.
It’s been really fun to talk about the book in interviews! Though I’m trying not to repeat myself. Here are some of the publications I’ve talked to:
— Vanity Fair (on changing the meaning of minimalism)
— Hazlitt (on minimalism as not giving a fuck)
— Fast Company (on the myths of minimalism)
— NumLock (on luxury goods, 4’33”, etc)
— Deez Links (on the publishing process)
— MrPorter (on sensory deprivation)
Washington, DC: Tuesday, Jan 28, at Politics & Prose Union Market at 7 PM.
Boston: Thursday, Feb 6, at Porter Square Books at 7 PM.
Buy the book! Ask for it at a local bookstore! Instagram the cover! Tweet that you got it! Send me a nice note about it!
But, especially, when you read the book please leave an Amazon review. The conventional wisdom is that there’s an algorithmic boost around 30-35 reviews, and while I don’t necessarily believe that, I am definitely going to be superstitious here.
Thank you readers for everything and don’t hesitate to email me questions / comments / suggestions to stop spamming so much.