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.
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 Women / Why now?