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A perfect Sunday with... Matthew Rosenberg
The romance of drinking coffee, This American Life and thinking about whales (the mammal, not the country!)
Every week, one of my pals reveals how they’d fill their perfect Sunday, sharing their favourite comfort reads, movies, food… anything that would make their weekend great. Today, it’s the turn of comic writer extraordinaire Matthew Rosenberg, who you may know from What’s The Furthest Place from Here?, The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing, DC vs Vampires, and so many more awesome books!
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… brunch
Brunch requires getting up before I usually get up since I tend to work overnight, and I was never much of a breakfast person to begin with, but I'd say maybe a hot cocoa and an everything bagel with cream cheese in Central Park.
I'm a real sucker for drinking hot drinks out of paper to-go cups with lids while you walk around. I probably spent too much time as a child buying into the mystique of people who are "overworked" and "on the go" but drinking coffee while you walk has been wildly romanticised in my brain. And I don't drink coffee, so cocoa it is. Any morning I get to do that is a good one.
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… read
I just finished Philip Roth's The Plot Against America and I loved it. It feels painfully prescient in some ways before you realize that Roth isn't some prophet, he just knew we live in incredibly stupid times and those times tend to go a certain way. But I am a sucker for stories where you explore a different world through a child's eyes. There is fun honesty to the discovery and confusion that way. I don't know that it's my ideal Sunday read, but it was my last Sunday read.
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… comic
Ask me what my favorite comic is three days in a row and I'll most likely give you three different answers. I tend to read a little of everything and there is nothing I love more than falling in love with a good comic, so I tend to fall in love with comics deeply and often. But since it's a terrible answer if I don't choose something specific I'm going to say Guy Delisle's travel journal comics- Pyongyang, Jerusalem, Burma Chronicles, and Shenzen. They are the perfect balance of being educational without ever feeling like it, fascinating without being stressful, and intimate in a way that makes you feel like you've just spent a while catching up with an old friend.
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… movie
I have a stable of movies that I know every word and every shot of by heart. I go back to them all frequently for comfort, but even more so it allows me to turn off that part of my brain that is hypercritical or analytical of the media I consume. The biggest problem with being a writer is that you see the architecture of every story you consume and it's hard to step back and see the whole landscape. I don't meditate, and I probably should, but when I hear people discuss why meditation works for them I often feel like I get a lot of those same things from comfort movies. I can turn my brain off and just be present. It's very hard to pick just one but Barcelona by Whit Stillman is a biggie for me. No matter how often I watch that movie I come out energized and contented.
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… TV binge
Patriot. It's probably my favorite show of all time. I can throw on Seinfeld, 30 Rock, Law & Order, The Wire, or Atlanta and be totally immersed but still feel totally at peace watching them because I've seen them so many times. But Patriot hits me like no other show and as soon as I start an episode I feel the need to watch it all. I think some part of me thinks if I just watch it "the right way" they will make another season. But yeah, that's my comfort show.
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… podcast
I don't listen to as many podcasts as I used to because I am locked in my house writing so much, and when I'm not doing that I'm reading or watching movies (the locked in my house part never changes.) But I have been a huge This American Life fan for as long as I can remember. Technically it's a radio show, but that's not how I listen for the most part, so it's a podcast to me. I've discovered a lot of writers I love on there and heard a lot of stories that changed the way I think about storytelling.
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… album
I've been listening to a lot of classic jazz lately. Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, Oscar Peterson, stuff like that. But I'm not really a "jazz guy" as much as I wish I was. I just never learned it when I was younger so I feel like a tourist. So while I'd like to say some jazz record my honest answer is probably Silver Mt. Zion's He has left us alone but shafts of light sometimes grace the corner of our rooms. I don't know what it is, but there is something about that record that really transports me. It somehow both makes me anxious and puts me at ease. I can't really explain it but it is a gorgeous work that satisfies something in me that no other album quite does.
Matthew’s perfect Sunday… treat
Thinking about whales. I spend a lot more of my time than anyone realizes thinking about whales. I don't know why.
I asked Matthew what he wanted to plug at the end of his picks, because hey, writers have to plug stuff. It’s literally in our contracts. Here’s what he had to say:
“And then I have a bunch of new stuff coming via my Substack at AshcanPress.com. I guess I should say I have a podcast too. It's called Ideas Don't Bleed and you can hear it on AshcanPress.com or wherever you get podcasts. Unless you get your podcasts somewhere weird.”
And I can recommend all those things, especially Ideas Don’t Bleed which is one of my favourite podcasts at present! Subscribe to his substack below!
Come back next week for a perfect Sunday with Alexander Darwin. In fact, make my Sunday by subscribing to the Cavletter today!