What I read in June

June was a great month for reading. Not only because I read quite a few books, but because I also discovered a new favourite book. Now, when I say “favourite” I don’t mean my number 1 favourite of all-time, because I don’t have one. I believe books are like friends, you don’t necessarily have a #1 best friend above all others (although to be fair, I happen to), but they’re more like a tier. Your favourite books can come to you at certain times in your life, and that doesn’t make them better or worse than the ones that come to you at other times. I wouldn’t consider the Harry Potter series the absolute best thing I’ve ever read, but I would still call them a favourite because they are special to me in a way no other books are. In conclusion, read Normal People by Sally Rooney.

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For your 2019 TBR

I always like to wait until as close to the end of the year as possible to determine my favourite books of 2018, in case I read something incredible in the very last days of the year. Sure enough, three of my favourites this year were books I read in the last two weeks. I’m even a bit hesitant to make this list now, with a day and a half still to go, in case I finish another book and realise it was one of the best, but I’ll chance it. Here are the top 10 books out of the 50 I read in 2018; I highly recommend adding them to your TBR (To Be Read) for 2019, and as I am busily shelving books to the “to-read” list on my Goodreads account, I would love if you shared your favourites as well!

Continue reading “For your 2019 TBR”

Stories You Should Read This Week (4/2/16)

It’s time for the latest edition of Stories You Should Read This Week. I’ve got six links to awesome things I’ve read around the internet recently. Read them at work, read them on the bus, read them in bed. Tell me what you think, tell the authors what you think, tell everyone what you think.


Burgers, Bitches, and Bullshit by Bethany Cosentino (via Lenny Letter)

I generally like to avoid most-things-Lena-Dunham, but this essay by Best Coast’s front woman Bethany Cosentino on Dunham’s Lenny Letter site is a must-read. Not because her experiences–being told to smile, being lauded for her looks over her achievements–will be unfamiliar to many (most) women, nor because should come as a surprise that success may only increase these sexist instances, but because Cosentino rightly joins artists like Cvrches’ Lauren Mayberry in loudly and boldly calling these assholes out.


A Chat About Diversity in Publishing by Nicole Chung and Linda Z (via The Toast)

Like the interviewee, who works in my dream career of publishing, I fit the majority demographic of the publishing industry: female, white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and from an educated, middle-class background. Yet books about people in this demographic are still so often pigenholed as “Women’s lit” rather than just “lit,” and books by women who are minorities in other ways (non-white, LGBT, and so on) are even further marginalized on the shelves. The current cultural conversation is about another media format (see #OscarsSoWhite) but it’s just as relevant in books.


Marcia Clark On What Episode One of The People v. O.J. Simpson Got Right and Wrong by Maria Elena Fernandez (via Vulture)

I’m a little too young to really remember the O.J. Simpson trial, but I still remember and know that it was a major event if not the major event of the mid-90s, so of course I was excited for the start of this miniseries, even if it’s helmed by Ryan Murphy. In this interview, Marcia Clark talks about her reaction to the premiere episode.


An Invitation Into the Shadowy World of Match Fixing by Ben Rothenberg (via NY Times)

Match fixing conspiracies seem to abound whenever there’s an upset, or a lot of betting on a match, or pretty much any time a sport is played. But it does happen, sometimes obviously and sometimes not. Tennis is the sport currently embroiled in the scandal, but this fascinating read could surely occur in any sport.


Alternatives to Resting Bitch Face by Susan Harlan (via McSweeney’s)

I’ll just post an excerpt from this perfect list:

I Would Prefer Not To Face

A Smidge of Self-Awareness Would Not Go Amiss Face

The Situations Are Really Not Analogous Face

Please Tip a Bottle of Bourbon Down My Throat Immediately Face


Stop Trying To Out-Feminist Each Other by Maya Kachroo-Levine (via The Financial Diet)

I’ve been reading The Financial Diet recently since my fellow Ithaca journalism alumna Maya is a writer there, and I enjoyed this piece she wrote about your earning versus your partner’s earning and whether it matters as a feminist. She says, and I agree, that it doesn’t. If you earn less than—or more than! or the same as!—your SO, your partnership and everything else in your life can empower you as a woman and a feminist, and just because you don’t shout about it doesn’t mean people can tell you otherwise.

Stories you should read this week (7/1/16)


How Our February Cover Star Amandla Stenberg Learned to Love Her Blackness by Solange Knowles (via Teen Vogue)

Warning: this profile of the very cool Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg by the equally cool Solange will definitely make you wonder why you couldn’t be this awesome at 17.

How Islamophobia Hurts Muslim Women the Most by Sirin Kale (via Broadly)

This article from Vice explains how the intersection of Islamophobia and misogyny makes Muslim women particularly vulnerable to violence and harassment.

Two Sisters’ Escape from Syria by Sarah A. Topol (via The Cut)

This article focuses on two young female refugees (a minority, as most women who leave are traveling with their families) as they journey from Syria to seek asylum in Europe.

This Couple Wants to Show How Traveling With A Partner Isn’t Always A Fairy Tale by Annie Daly (via Buzzfeed)

As someone who also hopes to do extensive traveling with her partner in the future, I enjoyed reading this honest piece about the relationship struggles created by full-time travel.

The Wall Dancer by Nick Paumgarten (via The New Yorker)

This New Yorker piece profiles Ashima Shiraishi, the incredible girl who is, at the age of 14, already one of the most (if not the most) talented rock climbers in the world.

Read these when you need a break from your relatives this week

The holidays can be stressful.  So many people, so much socializing. Sometimes you need to take a break and curl up in your room with something to read, but I know from experience that trying to fit in an entire novel between dinner and coffee is generally frowned upon. For a shorter pick, here are five essays posted in the last month that are definitely worth a look. Bonus: you’ll have something to talk about when you rejoin the group.

On Dossiers, Permitting Shame, Error and Guilt, Myself the Single Source by Brian Blanchfield (BOMB Magazine)

A dossier then is a repository of otherwise loose relevant material, a file, on a subject. Usually a human subject. The term is professional, and may be primarily legal. I believe there is even a kind of briefcase called a dossier briefcase, one which—in my image of it—is still portable by a handle but larger than standard, with an overtop flap and front clasp. One might keep a dossier on a client or a suspect, or, in other professions, a recruit. I think it has currency in the world of espionage. For me, though, for many teaching writers, more than ever, the term is a codeword of academia, full of a kind of consternation for those who struggle for a career there. As I write this, it is again high season for applications, and I am yet again updating my teaching dossier, which has been kept on file with a dossier service since 2005.

On Pandering by Claire Vaye Watkins (Tin House)

 Now, I realize I’m not a special snowflake, that every woman who writes has a handbag full of stories like this. There is probably an entire teeming sub-subgenre titled “Stephen Elliott Comes to Town.” I offer this here partly because it was my very first personal run-in with overtly misogynistic behavior from a male writer, and so perhaps my most instructive. I learned a lot from that Daily Rumpus e-mail (which is a sentence that has never before been uttered). I want to stress that I’m not presenting Stephen Elliott as a rogue figure, but as utterly emblematic. I want to show you how, via his compulsive stream-of-consciousness monologue e-mailed to a few thousand readers, I was given a glass-bottom-boat tour of a certain type of male writer’s mind.

Teach Yourself Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri (The New Yorker)*

 In a sense I’m used to a kind of linguistic exile. My mother tongue, Bengali, is foreign in America. When you live in a country where your own language is considered foreign, you can feel a continuous sense of estrangement. You speak a secret, unknown language, lacking any correspondence to the environment. An absence that creates a distance within you.

In my case there is another distance, another schism. I don’t know Bengali perfectly. I don’t know how to write it, or even read it. I have an accent, I speak without authority, and so I’ve always perceived a disjunction between it and me. As a result I consider my mother tongue, paradoxically, a foreign language.

As for Italian, the exile has a different aspect. Almost as soon as we met, Italian and I were separated. My yearning seems foolish. And yet I feel it.

How is it possible to feel exiled from a language that isn’t mine? That I don’t know? Maybe because I’m a writer who doesn’t belong completely to any language.

Men Explain Lolita to Me by Rebecca Solnit (LitHub)

It is a fact universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of an opinion must be in want of a correction. Well, actually, no it isn’t, but who doesn’t love riffing on Jane Austen? The answer is: lots of people, because we’re all different and some of us haven’t even read Pride and Prejudice dozens of times, but the main point is that I’ve been performing interesting experiments in proffering my opinions and finding that some of the men out there respond on the grounds that my opinion is wrong, while theirs is right because they are convinced that their opinion is a fact, while mine is a delusion. Sometimes they also seem to think that they are in charge, of me as well of facts.

My Life as an Abortion Provider in an Age of Terror by Dr. Natalie Whaley (Broadly)

 I wasn’t yet a doctor when Dr. George Tiller was murdered, though the memory of it is indelible. It would be impossible to ever forget the way he was taken: executed while serving as an usher at his church. Acts of terrorism are the most profound for those who have the lived experience of being afraid. In the 1990s, long before I started providing abortion care, abortion clinics were bombed and set on fire, abortion providers were shot and murdered, and so much violence occurred that the FBI and Department of Justice began tracking and addressing it as a form of domestic terrorism. I knew about these acts of violence, but I was not directly involved in abortion care when they occurred.

*I have such trouble choosing a no. 1 favourite anything, but this is probably the best essay I have read this year.