The Internet can be overwhelming and a real time suck. Which is why we’re thankful for Philip Bator and his website, Lunch Reads.
What’s that? The Internet made easy. Visit the website, sign up for the newsletter, and every Wednesday at lunchtime you’ll receive a curated and eclectic list of articles on topics you may or may never have thought to google yourself —like The Lofty Optimism of Spotify and the Influence of the Streaming Revolution or How Pedialyte Became the Go-to Hangover Cure For Adults.
It’s the way to expand your consciousness in the digital world without falling into perennial black web hole AKA universal third space.
Bonus: you don’t have to read the articles during lunch. We enjoy them as mid-afternoon snacks or the occasional insomniac indulgence.
In this edition of Chit Chat, we get a up close and personal with our favorite content curator vis-à-vis his brother, Ben Bator—over text.
Enjoy the ride, Friends.
Ben Bator: oy bill!
so I guess we need to do this interview, and I think it’s fitting that we do it over text
Philip Bator: Our preferred method of communication!
*one of them
BB: So, obviously, you read.
How much time per week would you say you’re on the hunt for articles
PB: It’s gotten to the point where if I want to get anything else done, I have to actively block out WiFi.
But I try to always keep an ear out for new things. Lots of bookmarking and adding to reading list.
BB: How are you finding them? or do you have half of the content world bookmarked?
PB: All of the same ways that everyone else finds stuff and some of the ways that you don’t. I use Twitter to keep track of writers and sites, then there’s the places I try to visit every day.
BB: Damn, no hints
PB: why not!
people always seem to be on their phones during lunch and it’s a good distraction from checking emails.
BB: What makes a good Lunch Read?
PB: Generally speaking, I look for articles that somehow address culture – whether it’s in relation to present day, connecting dots from the past, or looking toward the future without being over the top. Also, it has to hold your interest – the longer needs to be that much more interesting.
BB: That’s true, you have to keep coming back to it between bites without checking instagram in-between
PB: You hope that it passes the text test.
Will you swipe up to ignore a text notification while you’re reading it? If so, you’re on the right track.
BB: “Sorry, work/family/friends, I’m in the middle of this”
Do you have a favorite, or a few favorites you can mention
PB: Buddy do I ever.
Oh man, there are so many great pieces and writers out there it’d take forever to give a full list. BUT – here are a few…
BB: Those are rad. I think I left the Jon and Vinny’s link open for two weeks of re-reading.
It seems like there’s an endless stream of interesting pieces out there, but with the lackluster pay of writers, ad-blockers, etc, what do you think about the state of content right now?
PB: In my highly unprofessional opinion, it seems to be incredibly hard (and only getting harder) for writers to make a living without resorting to finding additional $$$ streams
BB: Like newsletters!
PB: And that’s super disheartening, BUT makes supporting their work even more important.
I’m gonna keep talking about writing online for a minute. On the same hand, there’s a lot of exciting territory to explore when it comes to telling stories or producing content with an internet-first (and oftentimes, only) mindset. I think about what writers like Jenna Wortham and Rachel Syme did with Matter (/Medium) in 2015 for their ’Everybody Sexts’ and ‘Selfie’ projects. I was talking to someone yesterday about Jon Bois and his futuristic football odyssey ’17776’ that came out last year.
Also the New Yorker has hired some INCREDIBLE writers and it’s such a joy to read their work on a very regular basis – Jia Tolentino, Helen Rosner, Matthew Trammell, Naomi Fry.
BB: Is there a grand vision for what Lunch Reads becomes? Or is this just a better way to share the favorites with friends and family in one email?
PB: My excitement about all that is really tied up in the grand vision of Lunch Reads. Which is to say, I just want to keep shining my tiny spotlight on great writers doing incredible work. If someone finds a topic, writer, or outlet through LR, then that makes it all worth it. Read it, share it with someone, support the places that pay their writers, etc.
And if we happen to publish a zine or two along the way, that would be great, too.
BB: You’re a great brother. What are you up to outside of Lunch Reads?
PB: You are also a great brother.
Oh man, I mean, I’m moving. You already know this because you’re going to help me (ur gonna help, right? Right?!) but I’m moving back from Austin to Detroit in a few weeks.
Other than that, well also because of that, but just work stuff at our new creative shop Lafayette American. Stepping back into a team environment is really nice because so much of work over the past few years has been just me in front of a computer… which gets old.
BB: You knew I had to get a plug in!
BB: Well, this has been nice, sitting across from you, texting a fine Q&A. Now where should we eat dinner?
PB: Wow, way to hit me with the hard-hitting questions to END the interview!
Sign up for Lunch Reads here.
And then take the time to learn more about Lafayette American here.