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Verge Favorites: Adi Robertson

Verge Favorites: Adi Robertson


The Verge editors pick their current favorites in music, movies, books and more.

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The Verge staffers aren't just people who love technology. They're people who love stuff. We spend as much time talking and thinking about our favorite books, music, and movies as we do debating the best smartphone to buy or what point-and-shoot has the tightest macro. We thought it would make sense to share our latest obsessions with Verge readers, and we hope you're encouraged to share your favorites with us. Thus a long, healthy debate will ensue where we all end up with new things to read, listen to, or try on.

Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines


The laughably bug-ridden Bloodlines is by no means a perfect game, especially as it increasingly throws my non-combat character into pitched battles towards the end. But as someone who's never played tabletop games, I feel like this is the first time I can really step outside myself playing an RPG character, instead of being bound by dialog choices that let me be either nauseatingly kind or horribly callous. I'm still pretty nice for a vampire, but the usual pressure towards courtesy is gone, given that half my dialog choices are bizarre non sequiturs. If I want to make someone think his food is actually maggots, well, my character is "incurably insane." I can do that.



Released in 1989, Society reminds me of body horror film Videodrome and of They Live, which also surmised that the rich are different from you and me because they are literally exploitative monsters. What's really fascinating, though, is the fusion of teen comedy (complete with snobby villains, slapstick humor, and a pool party) with a surreal and terrifying climax. It's the kind of stridently ideological movie that uses its genre trappings as an integral part of the story, rather than simply tacking on context-free explosions and gunfights. Neill Blomkamp, take note.

Pimm’s Cup


It's painfully hot and sticky in New York, which means I'm drinking highballs for the next month or two. I tend towards cocktails with fresh lime or lemon, but after picking up a bottle of Pimm's No. 1, I can't get enough of feeling mildly posh. The Pimm's Cup is essentially the titular gin-based herbal liqueur, any sharp-flavored fizzy drink like Sprite or bitter lemon, and a slice of cucumber. I use ginger ale, which is delicious despite being (so I'm told) made far too sweet in America. For the curious, the number on Pimm's is not an affectation: five other versions have been created, each with a different base liquor.

Hermann Hesse — The Glass Bead Game


First, a confession: I have never read Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. I am, in fact, such a philistine that I heard about his lesser-known novel The Glass Bead Game after describing The Player of Games to a more erudite friend. Hesse's book, written during the rise of the Nazis, takes place in an idealized future where good men reject politics and become scholars instead. That means playing the Glass Bead Game, in which one charts the course of civilization by building connections between pieces of great art, music, or mathematics. Hesse writes the entire thing in a style that's purposely alien, since its futuristic narrators are uninterested in conflict or traditional story arcs, and he actually manages to pull it off without it being as boring as that sounds.

Lillian Faderman — Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers


One of my favorite courses in college introduced me to pre-Hiroshima radiation-based hair removal. That sounds strange – and it is – but the point was that it felt like a secret history, something that had gotten passed by in my normal studies of the past. I get the same feeling with Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, which upends a lot of what I had assumed about social progress. I hadn't realized, for example, how much same-sex female love was tolerated in the 1920s and 1940s, only to become a pressing political issue in the decades that followed. Along the way, there are also great sections on Victorian romantic friendship, Harlem jazz culture, and 1950s pulp novels. My next stop is probably George Chauncey’s Gay New York, a similar read about gay male subcultures.

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