November reading

Recommendations edition

Just as I warned you in the last newsletter, I actually cannot write a newsletter all that often these days, whoopsie. I’m currently freelancing full time and writing a book that is kinda sorta due in February. And then there are the children and the dog and the house and the bills and the life. But! I have been squeezing in reading whenever I can so I have a ton of great pieces to recommend. You should also squeeze in reading whenever you can because isn’t reading great? It so is.

I unearthed my 1980s sticker collection a few months ago and whenever I look through it I love it just as much as I did back then. My 13-year-old daughter’s eyes spiraled when she saw it and asked if she could have it. I responded just as any selfless mother would which is with an emphatic “ABSOLUTELY NOT.” This is a wonderful history of Mrs. Grossman’s, which still exists! “The Last True Sticker Factory in America” from Medium.

The most common question I got on my book tour was, “Have your kids read your book?” I tapdanced around, joked about, and generally tried to dodge this very reasonable question because they had not. I am still haunted by this and will be forever and like a person who possesses the course correction abilities of a parakeet, I’ll be in the same goddamn position with my next book (I expect to handle it differently this time around. I think?) I loved this: “Great Draft, Dad. I Have Some Notes” from The New York Times.

I’ve been very light on the Radiohead content lately and it’s unforgivable. Let’s fix you right up with Thom Yorke on Desert Island Discs (BBC). I also just realized last night there’s an interview with Thom in the NYT Sunday Magazine so la-dee-da.

YOU WILL NOT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that I enjoyed this: “What if you are a fucking bitch?” from Popula.

I can’t bark enough about how much I want to leave my entire life behind and live on an island away from all of humanity, with only dogs and beaded gowns for company. An odd choice for someone who isn’t—in the immortal words of Martin Short’s character in the SNL synchronized swimmer sketch—“that strong a swimmer.” This profile is so incredible and definitely confirmed I am not hearty enough for island life but I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON MY DREAM. “A Life of Her Own” from Maine.

Yes I know, I know Halloween is over. I have had two terrible Halloweens in a row which I will not get into in this newsletter because, hello, none of your beeswax. (Or, as I like to shout inside my own head, “Save it for the book, dummy! You’ve got pages to fill!) For some reason the universe must’ve sensed it was coming because it kept sending me many, many poignant Halloween pieces to read. Here are two: “The Halloween of my dreams” from The Washington Post just about broke me. You’ll see why. And from this year, in The New York Times, “Houses Where Friends Used to Live.”

Speaking of Halloween, I love the Evil Witches Newsletter which is actually about being a mother and less about actual witches. This is the one that hooked me: “Would You Do It Again?” I know society is all up in arms about mothers being honest but I wish there were more spaces to hold complex truths at the same time. You can love your kids and still be all what the fuck is this shit. Fathers have been able to do this since the dawn of time and everyone is very, very chill about it!

This is just so very good. “I was an ex-wife. Time to become a hot ex-wife.” from The Guardian. There are many jaw-droppingly-good lines in this thing but, as a taste: “If you are interested, for reasons of narcissism or masochism, in experiencing what it’s probably like to be famous, I would venture you can approximate the feeling by getting divorced within a small community.” And yes, if you live in proximity to me, I am absolutely subtweeting you right now.

I mean, this is just the gift that keeps on giving. There was also this profile that included this detail about his Santa Fe ranch: “He … painted the bright yellow tractors on the ranch black, to go along with his black Angus cattle, black horses and black backhoes.” I’ve internalized this so much that just a few days ago I thought, “That is the Tom Ford of chickens.” Also, FYI, I tried on a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses last month that legit would’ve changed my life but—and I know you’ll never believe this—THEY WERE UNAFFORDABLE. Tom Ford whyyyyyyyy we’re all gonna die someday make your sunglasses cheaper pleeeeease :(

1) Agents and Books is an excellent newsletter for authors, aspiring authors, and people who are curious about publishing in general. It’s just so straightforward and good! 2) Literary agent Anna Sproul-Latimer dispenses wit and wisdom (and for real #PubTips) via Twitter. Follow her immediately.

That’s it for this time. (Also, photo credits: Thom Yorke by Mamadi Doumbouya, Barbara Beebe by Christina Wnek. Please don’t sue me, this is a free newsletter!)

By the way, I have a piece forthcoming in McSweeney’s either this week or next. It will be dirty!

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