READ. Simone Biles is the best gymnast in the world. | Lily Briscoe’s painting. | Return to “The Secret Garden”: a perfect, perfect, perfect book. | “And whatever he might feel, it doesn’t touch the pain you are feeling as a grown, thinking, feeling woman.” / “It’s crazy how knowledge can shift inside the space of one second. You’re not pregnant until you read the results in a tiny test window. You’re pregnant up until one scan. I was technically pregnant before the test, and I was technically not pregnant before the scan, but I didn’t know that until I knew that.” | “Ask your friend how the birth was; be visibly shocked by the answer – you must agree two things now. One, that it sounds like a particularly scary, appalling birth and two, that it was fine.” | How to tiptoe around a depressed mother. | The book of my enemy. | In the restroom at the Walter Reade Theater.
LOOK. Shed envy. | Classic carbonara. | How to make the perfect meringue. | Palak paneer. | Dishes to cook for new parents. | How Helen DeWitt wrote The Last Samurai. | Is it pathetic to admit I actually cried in a bit of this Longform interview with Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau? I was just so envious of his meaningful work for a kind boss. | Jon Favreau’s politics podcast Keepin’ it 1600. | Genial political chat on The Axe Files with David Axelrod. | Emily Books is expanding (and the story of Virago will be told in a new documentary!)
THINK. “It’s worth asking to what degree charisma, as we have defined it, is a masculine trait. Can a woman appeal to the country in the same way we are used to men doing it?” | Are you in despair? That’s good. | The media don’t hate Jeremy Corbyn. It’s more complicated than that. | Could Bill Shorten actually win? (No, but this is an interesting profile. His book choices are sooo boring and earnest.) | Shame: an explainer. | McDonald’s: you can sneer, but it’s the glue that holds communities together. | I’ll be Right Back: a parenting newsletter. It’s all great writing but Issue 11, has especially good resources for people who need or wish to formula-feed.
READ: “In Horgan’s office, childish handwriting remained scrawled on a whiteboard: ‘I am so glad that Sharon Horgan is my mummy.'” | “Knausgaard, in writing “My Struggle,” hasn’t conquered his fear of his father; he’s done the opposite and recreated it. He’s made it more real within his own mind, more “chaotic” than, for a long time, he considered or allowed it to be. In doing so, he’s brought himself back to life.” | “I’d gone from an idiot to a visionary.” | “I was like any girl who had been raised to have faith in a tradition that choked my imagination dead and left me with a head full of delusions…” | Hilary Mantel’s writing day. | “For an influential group of writers, the purpose of novels is to bear witness to the spectacle of aloneness.” | “Like, of course I would get the husband who is sick.” | Germaine Greer’s long letter to a short love. | Your dad’s friend who makes you a little uncomfortable thought it was great seeing you. | Amazing Petronella Wyatt profiles of her close friends David Cameron and his “wandering warm hands,” Boris Johnson, the “loner who wants to be loved,” and George Osborne the “sexy hotshot.”
LOOK: New (obviously not actually new new) Paris neighbourhood. | Elizabeth Jane Howard on Desert Island Discs. | Social Capital, an NYT series that analyses the social media presences of celebrities. | A reading of Eileen Myles’s poem “Milk.” | Coffee & TV, a TinyLetter by Ruth Curry. | Undercover on BBC One. | A photo an hour in the life of a mother of three. | How to start running.
THINK: “Intimate justice.” | How to be polite. | Public speech remains an act of gendered authority. | Is domestic life the enemy of creative work? | “We conceive of our mothers as beautiful because it means that we are special, significant, important…” | Is attachment parenting a plot to force women back into the home? | Mother for hire. | This is what giving birth feels like. | Patricia Lockwood’s long, dark night in Trumplandia. | Monica Lewinsky: “The shame sticks to you like tar.” | Should we scrap benefits and pay everyone £100 a week? | Incredibly gripping: The Killing Season Uncut (a podcast of Sarah Ferguson and Lenore Taylor in conversation about it). | Double lives: a history of sex and secrecy at Westminster. | A political satirist for the internet election.
READ: My mother is not a bird. | “Remember, you’re a woman, and there are consequences.” | “Cats were dying. This happens, of course…” I became engrossed in Rebecca Curtis’s short story The Christmas Miracle and looked up only when my hairdresser repeated my name. | “There is often a moral antithesis in her fiction, opposing those who are virtuous, truthful, genteel and stylish, to those who are monied, coarse, and careless. The latter have happier lives than the former, since they lack both moral integrity and the capacity for self-awareness or self-doubt.” | “‘Do you want to take these now?’ he says, gesturing to the stack of books.” A day in the life of a (self-published) book tour. | “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. And that is exactly the way I see it: I think the pursuit of fame is basically a tragic pursuit.” | “At this point, I’m in my late thirties, it’s too late for me. I’ve hardened into this particular character and people can either take it or leave it.” Jessa Crispin, who closed BookSlut shortly after this interview. | Literary conversations on 0s&1s.
LOOK: Self-Portrait, Pregnant, N.Y.C., 1945. | J.K. Rowling’s rejection letters. | I need to undertake some jiggery pokery to watch Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’ When I Get a Minute culture show on Australian iView, but in the meantime: the show’s email newsletter is brilliant; Chat10Looks3 is the podcast that started it all (and makes me so homesick for Australia and office best friendships). | More podcasts: The Author’s Voice. | The West Wing Weekly. | How to find your next favourite podcast: HotPod / YSLTF/ The Podcast Broadcast. | Martin Parr’s everyday England. | Good books on Instagram at @herpickings. | Perfect show: The Night Manager on BBC One. | Charred food. | Easy jam biscuits. | “[O]ne of my biggest bugbears is when people try my food and simply say “delicious”. I want people to comment, to talk about it properly and honestly.” Anna del Conte’s final meal. | A simple, natural nursery.
THINK: ‘‘Nothing like a good ‘Ouch!’ to destroy psych safety in the morning.’’ | “Our therapy helped her hone her anger into a courageous, well-considered and pointed group email…” Why therapists should talk politics. | How do you talk to your children about Donald Trump? Thoughtfully. | Is Kinfolk the last lifestyle magazine? | “It turns out that consumers have little interest in the content that brands churn out. Very few people want it in their feed. Most view it as clutter—as brand spam.” No shit. | Sleep is a feminist issue. | I’ve always taken “it’s hormonal” as an unkind, probably-sexist brush off. But now I’m craving knowledge about everything to do with hormones: this Cup of Jo post about the temporary but horrible condition of depression brought on by weaning; I’ve already linked to Jeanette Winterson on hormone replacement therapy; the great book Moody Bitches (remember the author’s article in New York Times about medicating women’s feelings?); some interesting stuff in “FitBit for periods” and the rise of fertility tracking. | Some babies are just easier than others.