READ: “As she attempted to turn the lock, her hand was suddenly covered by Ms. Gause’s. Ms. Brown turned to find Ms. Gause gazing at her.” | The Story I Can’t Write about my Family. | Kylie wears Balmain. | “Who are you? Who am I? What will the biographer make of this? Who might I be?” | “But whatever “bad” edge your writing brushes up against, I think it’s important to touch it. You can always pull back from it, but at least you know where it is.” | “The argument about excellence – that women’s work just isn’t good enough – is incredibly hurtful given that there is so much mediocre work by men around.” | Opening night at Chez Panisse. | I combed my hair out with a nit comb straight after reading this. (But did not find any?)
THINK: If someone wears fragrance around me I have instant respiratory problems and, later, a migraine. To me, fragrance is the new smoking! So I love Kate Grenville for this: The Case against Fragrance. | Nightmare on the maternity ward. | “At first, nothing happened. Then there was a crackle of static, followed by a voice on the other end. ‘That’s a strike,’ it said.” The parents who pay to be watched. | Are awards for young writers discriminatory? | Social shaming is an ‘ego defence’ which enables one to feel better about themselves by locating ‘badness’ elsewhere. | “The choices that I have are obscene. Six-dollar bread is obscene:” how economic inequality is hidden, justified and maintained. | Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world. (Also available on the Guardian Long Read podcast.) / The most arrogant people in Australia are business people and we’re sick of them.
HILLARY STUFF: Of course I’m reading What Happened, “a post-mortem in which [Hillary] is both coroner and corpse.” It’s terribly painful to imagine an alternate reality where she is the leader of the free world. / Trigger warning: the New Yorker cover planned for Clinton’s election win. / HRC: “You should be able to work hard and succeed — not because you’re perfect, but because you’re good enough. We should be proud of that. Instead, we get constant messaging our whole lives: You’re not thin enough, talented enough, smart enough. Your voice isn’t what we want to hear. This has to be called out for what it is: a cultural, political, economic game that’s being played to keep women in their place.” / I feel murderous when people criticise Hillary Clinton, just murderous. But here is a thoughtful counterpoint focusing on Hillary as a wonk. | If you don’t have time for the book, two great podcast interviews with her: Longform | New Yorker podcast. In them, better than in the book — which, although candid, has obviously passed through many people’s hands — you can tell she is a lover of fiction. The way she tells David Remnick about her meetings with Putin especially, her precise word choice… so vivid and literary. PS. She mentions in the book that she is now a penpal with a crime fiction author. Do we know who yet?!