READ: Did you make it up? Did it happen to you? Against explanation. | Notes From London In December: Vol. 1 | “She’s no longer a person with a body, but merely an obsessive mind.” On the work of Lydia Davis. | Since living alone. | “[D]ivorce is a kind of anti-story: It is the spectacle of narrative breaking down, both personally and publicly.” Rachel Cusk on the divorce memoir. / Fascinating review of Rachel Cusk’s ‘Outline.’ / (Heidi Julavits was a brilliant guest on Inside the New York Times Book Review, which I love.) | Couch features essays by psychotherapists, patients and others about the experience of therapy. | Excited for Muse: A novel.
LOOK: Photo essay of a Melbourne Christmas. | On repeat. | Australian Screenwriters Podcast (bless the modesty of Australians compared with the people on Nerdist Writers’ Panel!) | Deep style. | Why did I wait so long to get A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones? | Cruelly in the first trimester of this pregnancy I suffered two food aversions: my pregnancy vitamins, and kale. Thank god they passed. Ten best kale recipes. | Two beautiful food blogs via the wonderful In a Pavillion: Spasiba / That’s food darling.
THINK: What do we give up when we turn freelance? (“… offices provide a “holding environment” […] to contain our existential anxiety.” | “I’m relevant and I’m going to tell you my story before it’s even started.” | Kids, the Holocaust, and “inappropriate” play. | “Prosperous Australians, even those who’ve snuck under the wire like myself, forget so easily that others are still living over-determined lives in another economy altogether.” Tim Winton on class.
READ: Listen up, women are telling their story now. / The promise in Elena Ferrante. | “Once a work was done, I quickly arranged for it to be picked up so there was no chance of her destroying it.” Assistant for 30 years: Life with Louise Bourgeois. | Norman Rush’s Art of Fiction. “An agent sent it out and it elicited some rave rejections…” | Ana Kinsella’s week’s clicks are such good value. | Station Eleven is as good and readable as people say. | Quoting the genius blurb of this genius book in full so you know why it’s perfect: “An improvisation on a number of themes by Helen Garner, on one level this book is a study of literary semiotics and linguistic meaning. More importantly perhaps, it’s a careful picture of what it was like to be in Sydney, and living the life of the mind, during the Big Brother season of 2005.” I read this, somehow, in its entirety on Christmas Eve and Christmas day: Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything.
LOOK: The tragedy of this food-heavy “LOOK” is that this week I have had a sinus infection that’s entirely deleted my sense of taste! It is even more horrible than I could imagine. Whole chicken poached in the slow cooker. (How good is Food52?) | Chez Panisse gingersnaps. | Delicious salad recipes on Salad for President. Did everyone know about it except me? / The beautiful home of Salad for President’s Julia Sherman. | Apple and cheddar scones. | I blogged some girl news.
THINK: “All my heroes are men who hated women…” | “When I scroll backward through my Instagram, I kind of hate myself.” | “When this sort of thing starts happening, it is difficult to keep your faith with pessimism.”
READ: “Whatever I was writing at the time, I knew there was no market for it and never would be, because there’s never a market for true art, so my main concern was always to have a job that didn’t require me to write or think.” Nell Zink | “Mindlessly self-deleting, it turns out, is addictive.” | The results of my Penelope Fitzgerald under-£3-each eBay spree are clomping through the mailbox every day. The victory of Penelope Fitzgerald by Alan Hollinghurst. | “It took me some time, when I was a very young man, to grasp that a writer—even a mature, experienced one— could have made an emotional transference to me.” | “Trying to remember books that I read.” | Excited for Meaghan O’Connell’s mothering column in The Cut.
LOOK: Chef Skye Gyngell’s kitchen. | The inside baseball of podcasting. (Now I have a special Gmail folder than TinyLetters go straight into I am more able to take chances on newsletters like this.) | The Legacy: a new Danish family drama (a dead body, but no murder). | “Waifs and solitary dreamers, pranksters and mischief-makers, and girls of deep goodness and compassion solve mysteries and travel in time.” | Australian legends Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales have a homesick-making podcast about books, politics and food (and occasionally showtunes, which I must say I detest): Chat 10 Looks 3.
THINK: “The conditional quality of novel speech, applicable only to particular characters, enables the novel to be acute without being reductive. In novels, it is left to readers to see—or not to see—the universal in the specific.” An answer to the novel’s detractors. | “… I had a baby of my own and loved him so entirely I couldn’t honestly remember what I thought my purpose had been on this earth before he came along.” Cheryl Strayed. | The best gifts for a baby’s first year. | “We all agreed that being a blogger isn’t a big enough dream for us.”
READ: “… within the space of what employees call The Property, the apathy of a hideously unfair world is suspended.” | The rules and hazards of presenting flowers in ballet. | The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, living the dream of being a brain on a stick. | “[M]y women were interested in other things… their own lives and calling and politics and what they could give to life.” Margaret Drabble interviewed in the Believer. | “I wish you’d been raised by the new me,” she said more than once. | Envy: “I was falling for another writer, and I recognised my descent by its peculiar calling card: the fear of what I wanted.” | “There are mistakes of form and mistakes of content to be made in building a body of work. And for most of my life, I was unwilling to make a single one of them.”
LOOK: Hillary Del Ray. | London through the eyes of a New Yorker: cierva on Instagram. | missingfillmore on Instagram. | Lydia Davis: “This was not one of my own mother’s favorites.” | Nutrition Unplugged: what we’ll be seeing on Instagram in six months’ time. | Coconut red lentil soup. | Perfect lunch. | Bookmarking: Jarvis Cocker’s TV series about outsider art is in on YouTube. | C/O Journal. | I have never found Dan Stevens attractive before this episode of High Maintenance. (Don’t bother watching any of this series if you’re not ready; the great thing about any artistic product is that you can get to it in your own time and when you are receptive! Not just because everyone’s saying it’s a “must watch.”) | Of course I’ll sign up to Sheila Heti’s Pigeon.
THINK: Social media is not self-expression. | Black lives matter.