READ: The last Swiss finishing school. | No Makeup, by Sharon Olds. | No one wants to hear the truth. | Meaghan Daum’s affair with the intellectual dark web. | “While I’m doing those secretarial tasks, the book begins to secretly take form.” An interview with Olivia Laing, plus screenshots. | The sunburnt country. | Chinatown. | When you were six. | Cusk. | I want to read a whole book being inside this woman’s mind. | Lily Allen narrates her autobiography My Thoughts Exactly. | Nigella has recorded How to Eat as an audiobook! She commented to someone on Instagram that it will soon be released outside the UK. | Importantly, The Line of Beauty is also on Audible, the same incredible droll, poignant recording I had on CD that cost me about £50 to get off eBay many years ago.
LOOK: “May I accept my sadness knowing that I am not my sadness.” | I often find recipes online by just googling what I want to cook +Felicity Cloake Perfect. Excited for this! | Watch Salt Fat Acid Heat and fall in love with Samin Nosrat. | Even if you never went to my favourite restaurant in Hackney, Railroad, you should buy the Railroad Forever cookbook. Every single recipe is simple but wonderful, like home cooking but about 20-25% better. When will the chef Lizzie Parle get a TV show? I’m desperate for it! | Everything that rises must dance. | 18 around the world. | A former vicarage. | The Old Parsonage. | Braving the cold with Hampstead’s women swimmers. | How to minimize repetitive stress injuries from carrying a baby. | Jam bars.
THINK: Neoliberal perfectionism. | “The glou glou aesthetic applies to more than wine. Glou glou is a stripped-down renovation that showcases a building’s “bones.” It’s not wearing makeup and looking great, because you’re well rested and have an elaborate skin-care routine. (Natural wine, like natural beauty, requires long-term commitment. Minimalism works best when it’s minimal only on the surface.)” | The almost impossible difficulty of being a woman barrister. | Should art be a battleground for social justice? | “It’s amazing that a tech company can make me—me!—divide my self-worth into endless discrete moments and distribute them among people I’ve never met and on average don’t think are very smart.” | Instagram Stories have helped men accept their strange faces. | Erectile dysfunction or performance anxiety? | “If you intend to have children, but you don’t intend to have them just yet, you are not banking extra years as a person who is still too young to have children. You are subtracting years from the time you will share the world with your children.” | It’s okay to have children. | The man who knew too little. | Blow, pick or swallow? A definitive guide to clearing a blocked nose. | Between the ages of 8 and 14, girls’ confidence levels fall by 30 percent. | Of the four parental ‘feeding styles,’ only one is good for kids’ health. | Why white parents need to talk to their children about race. | It’s really okay to say no to playing with your child. | Very good and reasonable podcast episode about attachment. | “It is painful to watch a woman caught and torn in the gears of a man’s progress.” | The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method. | “The intimacy that develops within fraternal circles between men who care for each other necessitates a vigorous performance of heterosexuality in order to combat the appearance of homosexuality.” | “Poor souls. It was best not to provoke them.” | How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour. | All career advice for women is a form of gaslighting. | Everything you know about obesity is wrong. | The idea that sperm race to the egg is just another macho myth. | Group therapy for the end of the world. | No one likes being called out, but here are some things to say instead of getting defensive. | Open marriage is a neoliberal pathology. | A relatively small, single-food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact. | Britain’s middle-class Brexit Anxiety Disorder. | How to raise optimistic kids in pessimistic times.
This interview with Viv Albertine from punk band The Slits made me immediately buy her two books. Both are great but To Throw Away Unopened is some kind of masterpiece of structure. | Important Zadie Smith interview. | Painful. (Currently reading The World as it is but more excited for From the Corner of the Oval Office.) | “[Ottessa Moshfegh’s] unusual discipline has come close to driving her crazy. The results have been both refined and depraved.” | Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: her posters, her shoes. | So sad to have finished all four seasons of The Bridge. | Do you remember the Longform interviews with Rukmini Callimachi? How they were so good they could not edit them into one episode? Her new podcast is like a thriller. | And Elif Batuman’s Longform is surely up there with the best. | Bookmark to share with the many, many women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, or want the equality benefits of bottle feeding. | My hero Helen Garner — such a great profile. | “But carrying something like that around doesn’t only give you a neck ache, it also gives you a particular type of strength.” | “I’m pretty much the opposite of fragile. I don’t need internet engagement to make me vulnerable. Real writing makes me — makes anyone doing it — vulnerable.” | Artemisia was my email password in high school. | Ana tweeted a cure for all our rickety hips. | Great book beautifully narrated: Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race. | Literally how is this amazing podcast made? Is it all improvised? | “I treat women badly in my sex life but still think I’m a feminist. Is that hypocritical?” | Canned tuna. | Everyone has an accent. | There’s no such thing as a feminist brand.
PS You may’ve noticed this READ.LOOK.THINK. is quite late and looks different. It’s because the service I’ve used to produce it for seven years has been unavailable for months.
READ: Japan’s Rent-a-Family industry. | Obviously I will watch it but I’m worried about how the Patrick Melrose novels will translate on TV. (How Edward St. Aubyn made literature out of a poisoned legacy.) | The girls and I have been loving Frog and Toad and it seems very poignant now I’ve read this New Yorker piece about how it’s an amphibious celebration of same-sex love. | The brilliant, mordant This Really Isn’t About You by my friend Jean. Do you read Jean’s TinyLetter? | Kudos, the last of Rachel Cusk’s Faye trilogy. (“She is doing it, I thought. Go on, go on, go on.”) | The Only Story by Julian Barnes. | I loved Chasing Hillary by Amy Chozick. The audiobook was wonderfully narrated by the author. | Revisiting a classic detective novel: On Beulah Height. | CrimeReads.
LOOK: JOFFREY ELITE! | I’ve been using Clementine app to help go to sleep and I think it works? | (Speaking of: clementine cake.) | David Tanis’s column in the NYT (stuff like savoury oatmeal with greens and yoghurt) / David Tanis’s kitchen. | Build a beautiful savoury tart out of leftovers / Tart crust recipe. | (Why food tastes better in a bowl than on a plate.) | I love this Quentin Blake poster on the tube: London is open for summer! | Podcast: About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge. | Barbara Klemm, Louvre Paris 1987. | Adding value to waste. |
THINK: Deaccessioning. | Tactical pause. | “We have figured out how to launder our money through higher virtues.” | Empathic, selfless, vigilant or fatalistic? Class is still written into our psychology. | “In the relationship between foetus and woman, the woman is granted fewer rights than a corpse:” Sally Rooney. | What does being pregnant feel like? | Leandra Medine: The comments on my selfies are different now that I’m a mom. | What to know before starting therapy (telling jokes is doing it wrong). / Why I lied to my therapists. | “The call was brief, and had the relaxed feel of someone making a reservation at a restaurant.” When calling the police is a privilege. | “There is nothing that racist people can do about it,” she said happily. “So they might as well get used to it.” | “[Kanye] West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant… | “Okay, so I need to talk to the white women for a minute.” | Still Processing watches whiteness. | What do we mean when we call a work of art “necessary“? | “Somewhere along the way, these young people were told by teachers that who they are in their writing ought to be divorced from who they are on their phones.” | In praise of the twink. | “… what the natural world is experiencing is a bottleneck — long, painful, undoubtedly frightening and likely to get worse in the short term — but with the forces of an eventual breakthrough and environmental recovery already gathering strength around us.” | I don’t know how to waste time on the internet anymore.
READ: How do we write now? | “[Penelope] Fitzgerald was fifty-eight when her first book was published. Her whole life, she was just as smart, just as capable of greatness as she was when her books finally came out.” | New York in the 80s: “The sidewalks along St. Marks over to Astor Place were just as lively — they were a sort of souk where you could buy back what the junkies had stolen from your apartment.” / “Eventually you’d realize that he died, and his family came and put his artwork in a dumpster. Or his family didn’t come, and the landlord put his work in a dumpster.” | “Hannah gives so much to other people that at a certain point there is literally nothing left,” a friend said. | This time, I’m not afraid to give birth. (Meaghan’s book reviews are in: “joyous, useful, grim.”) | “Outline a system of tender rewards”: a poem about miscarriage. | “During one performance, she noticed midsong, breathless and sweating from the effort of dancing and singing, an executive casually reading a magazine. ‘I cried,’ she said. ‘I mean, I cried.‘” | Enjoyed a Deborah Levy-fest: Things I Don’t Want to Know / The Cost of Living (a little taste of it.)
LOOK: How did I miss these insane, amazing Eddie Mair interviews with a married couple after the wife discovered the husband was having an affair?! Listen to this first: the wife and husband. Then their updates from a year later: the wife / the husband. | Eating right. | Tinyletters: The Great Women Artists / Close, exploring intimacy, intimate lives, and objects. | My Birth, Being: New Photography 2018, MoMA. | How to do laundry. Key takeaway for Jude, who flatteringly reads all my READ.LOOK.THINKs: we no longer separate by colour but by type of fabric. | What to do when I’m gone. | Queering the map. | The High Low podcast.
THINK: “It is in this way that parenting becomes a process of piecing together the unwritten rules about how to advance your own child through a broken system, rather than considering the system as a whole.” | Tim Winton on toxic masculinity: “Sadly, modernity has failed to replace traditional codes with anything explicit, or coherent or benign. We’re left with values that are residual, fuzzy, accidental or sniggeringly conspiratorial.” | Have algorithms destroyed personal taste? | Disasters are public events that feel personal. | “Defying branding, ultimately, will be the most successful strategy of all.” | London Fields Lido: did saving a pool mean losing a community? | “At a time when Jews are being accused of faking antisemitism, it is important to stress that our default position is to make light of it.” | They push. They protest. And many activists, privately, suffer as a result. | Why I’m giving up on preventative care. | Bad skin.