READ.LOOK.THINK.

155. READ.LOOK.THINK.

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 wifethe 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.

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154. READ.LOOK.THINK.

READ: “Faced with a woman’s story, we’re overtaken with the swift taxonomic impulse an amateur astronomer feels on spotting Sirius: “There it is!” he says, and looks to the next star. It’s a pleasant activity because it organises and confirms, but it produces the fantasy that a lazy reading – not even a reading, but a looking – is adequate, sufficient, complete, correct.” | “If writing is like motherhood, is motherhood like writing? A child is not a draft. You cannot delete and start again. But there are some rhythms the two tasks share. Both are arts of attention.” | “With his close-cropped silver hair, gnomish goatee and general air of placid competence, he could have been an actuary or an I.T. manager — that is, until he opened his mouth.” Profile of beautiful Alan. | My slightly-neglected Hollinghurst tribute Twitter is in the New Yorker! | A poem: The Miscarriage. | The pre-2007 psychological thrillers of Nicci French are uniformly brilliant! | My shelf of Purely Pleasurable Perfect Rereads!

LOOK: Why haven’t I shared this favourite parenting blog before? Frida Be Mighty. | Made Honey & Co’s lamb, pine nut and pepper pilaf this week. And will make Meera Sodha’s mum’s chicken this weekend. | The flower room in my country house. (Not really mine!) | A Hackney flat. (There is nothing wrong with your house.) | “However, she couldn’t afford to store it and it was destroyed.” | “The image made me think maybe I could do it—maybe I could take my child everywhere like my parents did. Maybe I could go to a party in New York, and set her down on a bed if she gets sleepy, and later, pick her up and carry her home.”

THINK: I love iconic Australian Nick Kyrgios!!! | “Everything, really everything, has been codified in terms of male needs.” | The Cut and its philosophies of “[n]uance, empathy, and a reverence for women’s inner lives.” (Certainty is the enemy.) | “One day, while she was picking their children up from daycare, he burned a handful of her possessions: her Nasty Women shirt, her Hillary Clinton pins.” The liberal men we love. | Two very intense, very good podcast episodes: Five WomenWhy now?

READ.LOOK.THINK.

153. READ.LOOK.THINK.

READ: I have forgotten how to read. | “She tries “even though I’m married” and “I know it’s wrong” and “my wife” with no luck.” | Elena Ferrante: “I’m tired of fiction, I no longer see a reason to go hunting for anecdotes.” | “I hated my father more than my siblings hated him because, as a writer, I was sensitive to the fact that he’d ruined all my stories.” | “People get trapped in time,” she says when I call her a few days later. “They judge you on your history and bring that baggage with them.” | “Writing depends on authority, the belief that what we say matters. But I’d weigh every paragraph of that necessarily crappy early draft against my children’s needs, and the paragraphs mattered little. | “He knew that to groom girls you must erase mothers.” | “Are you willing to go to war and write about it?” | “I have had to fight these feelings—simultaneously being too much, not enough, misunderstood, not seen—all of my life and now, it seemed, the messages were coming not just from society or pop culture, but from inside my own house, my own body, my core, the life I am so proud to be growing and full of.” / Angela Garbes’ book: Like a Mother: a feminist journey through the science and culture of pregnancy. | Asymmetry sounds good. | I loved Knausgaard’s Spring.

LOOK: This podcast interview with Zadie Smith makes me feel better and more righteous about some of my girls’ stereotypically feminine preferences. | Sorry, is this too obvious? But you should definitely watch the Crown. | Edith Zimmerman’s first year sober. | “Keep some parts of your life, memory and culture off line.” | How to preserve your family memories. | How to break up with your phone. | Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House photograph album. | David Tanis’ spiced lamb meatballs with yogurt and herbs. / Creamy potato gratin with smoked and fresh salmon. / (You can probably tell I recently signed up to the very good NYT Cooking newsletter.) | Basically. | KKW Weekkly. | #28daysofoatmeal!

THINK: “Following the Fort Lauderdale rally, after more media interviews, Kasky invited everyone over for a slumber party…” Beautiful brave inspiring teens. | “I know that many men and even women are afraid and angry when women do speak, because in this barbaric society, when women speak truly they speak subversively – they can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.” | “Feminism is a vision of active freedom, of fulfilled desires, or it is nothing.” | “But by and large I had been alone. So. Very. Alone. Publicly Alone—abandoned most of all by the key figure in the crisis, who actually knew me well and intimately.” | “Harassment is always a sexual demand, but it also carries a more sinister and pathetic injunction: ‘You will think about me.’” | “… each time, I hesitated, and a handful of hesitations that take only a second added up to years of failing to make a decision.” | By “making choices and, more important, imagining other, better choices, will give us the best chance possible of coming out of the darkness better than we were when we went in.”

READ.LOOK.THINK.

152. READ.LOOK.THINK.


READ: “The power you feel in drag is available to you 24/7.” | Fate. | Helen Garner reading True Stories. | Alan Bennett’s diary. | What does your husband think of your novel? | His own pictures weren’t hung in the house. | Katja Blichfeld gets what she wants. | “I fell in love with the virtues of reading before I understood what I was teaching myself to learn, which was: how to be wanted and how to be hated, for the same reasons.

LOOK: A beginner’s guide to backing up all of your photos. | “But, if we’re being honest, these days that future feels like optimism.” | The Daily episode on Tonya Harding. | How can we oppose Trump without being like Trump? | Making Obama podcast. | Layers podcast. |
The Bride (Lawrence Alloway)’, Sylvia Sleigh, 1949. / Mutual muses. | Maggi Hambling smoking in an orchard. | “Packing a single suitcase, she moved into a studio apartment in Greenwich Village…” | “all my life I sculpted motherhood.” | Yum though. | Irish stew. | Beans. | Samin Nosrat’s garlic bread. | Beautiful flat. | Revisit the spaces you’ve resigned yourself to.

THINK: “You can probably take it as a rule of thumb from now on that if people don’t think you’re weird, you’re living badly.” | Things that children say that mean “I’m anxious.” | “tense but secure.” | “Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what only lives for a day. It pours the whole of itself into each moment…” | Work wife. (Chief Feelings Officer). | “It seemed to me that too many of the women’s culture people had merely switched from trying to please men to trying to please other women.” | “I kept quiet for a while, and then typed something like, “Aww guys, no, the Internet is great.” I meant it, though the sentiment now feels as distant as preschool.” |  Should I have a baby? | Serena’s birth story. | “Now, unwillingly pregnant at age 37, I had no idea if I was capable of either option: another baby, or ridding myself of a pregnancy. Each option felt equally terrifying.” | Twenty parenting books you should actually read. / “Our mistake […] isn’t one of employing the wrong techniques, but of thinking in terms of techniques at all – in imagining that anything as complex as a relationship between humans could be reduced to a set of consciously manipulable variables.”

ME TOO: We harpies want more. | “The animal can’t relax until it knows the presence of authority of another, and we are all animals.” | “I started the Media Men List.” | “…then she’s out like yesterday’s trash, and then what does she have to take care of herself? These poor girls have no real money.” / Podcast deepdive: how Ellen Pompeo got paid. | Maybe men will be scared for a while. | “…women are more likely to cry when they get angry, as if their bodies are forcibly returning them to the appearance of the emotion — sadness — with which they are most commonly associated.”