READ: My mother is not a bird. | “Remember, you’re a woman, and there are consequences.” | “Cats were dying. This happens, of course…” I became engrossed in Rebecca Curtis’s short story The Christmas Miracle and looked up only when my hairdresser repeated my name. | “There is often a moral antithesis in her fiction, opposing those who are virtuous, truthful, genteel and stylish, to those who are monied, coarse, and careless. The latter have happier lives than the former, since they lack both moral integrity and the capacity for self-awareness or self-doubt.” | “‘Do you want to take these now?’ he says, gesturing to the stack of books.” A day in the life of a (self-published) book tour. | “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. And that is exactly the way I see it: I think the pursuit of fame is basically a tragic pursuit.” | “At this point, I’m in my late thirties, it’s too late for me. I’ve hardened into this particular character and people can either take it or leave it.” Jessa Crispin, who closed BookSlut shortly after this interview. | Literary conversations on 0s&1s.
LOOK: Self-Portrait, Pregnant, N.Y.C., 1945. | J.K. Rowling’s rejection letters. | I need to undertake some jiggery pokery to watch Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’ When I Get a Minute culture show on Australian iView, but in the meantime: the show’s email newsletter is brilliant; Chat10Looks3 is the podcast that started it all (and makes me so homesick for Australia and office best friendships). | More podcasts: The Author’s Voice. | The West Wing Weekly. | How to find your next favourite podcast: HotPod / YSLTF/ The Podcast Broadcast. | Martin Parr’s everyday England. | Good books on Instagram at @herpickings. | Perfect show: The Night Manager on BBC One. | Charred food. | Easy jam biscuits. | “[O]ne of my biggest bugbears is when people try my food and simply say “delicious”. I want people to comment, to talk about it properly and honestly.” Anna del Conte’s final meal. | A simple, natural nursery.
THINK: ‘‘Nothing like a good ‘Ouch!’ to destroy psych safety in the morning.’’ | “Our therapy helped her hone her anger into a courageous, well-considered and pointed group email…” Why therapists should talk politics. | How do you talk to your children about Donald Trump? Thoughtfully. | Is Kinfolk the last lifestyle magazine? | “It turns out that consumers have little interest in the content that brands churn out. Very few people want it in their feed. Most view it as clutter—as brand spam.” No shit. | Sleep is a feminist issue. | I’ve always taken “it’s hormonal” as an unkind, probably-sexist brush off. But now I’m craving knowledge about everything to do with hormones: this Cup of Jo post about the temporary but horrible condition of depression brought on by weaning; I’ve already linked to Jeanette Winterson on hormone replacement therapy; the great book Moody Bitches (remember the author’s article in New York Times about medicating women’s feelings?); some interesting stuff in “FitBit for periods” and the rise of fertility tracking. | Some babies are just easier than others.
READ: A manifesto of gym literature. | “There’s a fundamental problem in working-class families. It’s like you revere art, you believe in reading, you believe in books, but you don’t understand their production… And that’s the nonlineage that cuts people from other classes out of the art life. Art looks like a lottery from out there.” | Elena Ferrante in The Gentlewoman. | Painfully often, in the margins I found the notation “not good enough,” or “this needs to be better.” | “Like so many of my friends, I knew her long before I ever saw her in person, and that’s the magic of the internet. Sometimes I sit back, and just marvel at it: I built my whole life with words.” | The only thing I envy men. | “…I was keeling towards the midpoint of my 30s, an age at which female aloneness is no longer socially sanctioned and carries with it a persistent whiff of strangeness, deviance and failure.” How art helped Olivia Laing see the beauty in loneliness. | Black women writers and the secret space of diaries. | “I love watching and reading about white people having sex.” | The overwhelming whiteness of selfie feminism. | MFA vs. CIA. | On being a le Carré bore.
LOOK: You are what is most beautiful about me. | Sharehomes of Melbourne. | Before you were mine: writers reflect on photographs of their mothers before they were born. | In therapy. | Turkish delights in a London supermarket (TFC in Dalston!)
THINK: How to raise a brilliant child without screwing them up. / Middle class parenting: kids are “urged to find their enthusiasms and pursue them into rewarding nonconformity.” | “Like the other children drawing their memories of Syria, he reaches only for black and blue pencils, the darkest colours.” | The rise of American authoritarianism (and how four questions about your parenting goals can reveal it). | “Women are not going to start claiming too much. Women are just getting closer to claiming something closer to their share. What looks like overreach is simply reach.” | “Often when we sedate them, we are sterilizing them from their own dying process,” he said. “I have done it, and it feels horrible. They’ll say, ‘You robbed me — I was with my wife.” A new vision for dreams of the dying. / Better off dead: why good people are dying bad deaths. | Pop music cruelty: narrated by the aggressor and addressed to “you.” | “The young must forgo travel, live away from the city, work overtime or two jobs – above all, they must not be young.” In Australia: the boomer supremacy. (“Emotions! So fucking emo!” Some young people having a late night out just because they could.) | How power transforms a person. | How society pays when women’s work is unpaid. | A composer and his wife: creativity through kink.
READ: “You had less freedom, true. But what was so great about freedom?” Elif Batuman on the head scarf. | How to plan your wedding in one week. This is probably why Meaghan’s writing is so 100 emoji. | A novel is a machine for simulating experience, a ‘life simulator.’ The follow up to Essays in Love will soon be out: The Course of Love. | “I think if a) no one else would do it like me and b) I myself could not do it better, then I’ve succeeded.” | “In literature and life, it’s been a woman’s survival tactic to understand and adapt to the character of a man, whether her boyfriend, husband or father…” | The evolution of a first novel. | Write fiction about your life and pay with your life. / [O]ne night at MacDowell, the writers colony, [they] kept chanting at me “delete your blog delete your blog.” | A guide for writers planning on taking up residence at Shakespeare and Company in Paris. | Eileen Myles on the excruciating pain of waiting for love (I didn’t realise my hatred of perfume in public spaces was a boundaries thing, but of course it is!) / Eileen Myles’s ideal syllabus. / More Eileen Myles: A portrait of the artist engulfed in flames. | Self-help for artists. | Delighted by this Bieber profile. | Winona, forever.
LOOK: Michael Pollan’s documentary series Cooked will be on Netflix this week. | A tour of Florence Welch’s London dream home. (The garden!) | Gastropod: food with a side of science and history. | Shell pattern. | ‘Beauty Revealed‘ (1828) | Misty Copeland and Degas. | Girls at Library. | Pop culture died in 2009. (The video in this is insane.) | Tiny London shop behind some of the very best libraries. | Labia library. | Clue: the not-ugly period tracker.
THINK: Erasure. / Building a black literary movement. | Give children the space to have secrets. | “That is why I say to people: if your children misbehave, if a young man is irritable, if your daughter has a lot of somatic complaints, this could be a mental issue. We have to be able to ask questions such as, do you wish you could just die sometimes?” | When your baby won’t eat. | Should I throw in the towel? (Sorry, you might have to do weird hacks to view this FT article). | Bodily integrity: “our skin needs to be the line of defense between our own dignity and will and any outside force.” | Problems with food media. | Indigenous men and women are now allowed to sell their artwork while in prison. | “Supporting Clinton means justifying the thousands of concessions she’s made to the world as it is, rather than as we want it to be. Doing this is easier, I think, when you are older, and have made more concessions yourself. Indeed, sometimes it feels like to defend Clinton is to defend middle age itself“. | Finally someone has uploaded a Liberal Party ad from 1996 that made a big impression on me. The dancing – so gruesome. Was there another follow up that just had Gareth Evans in slow motion? I wish I could find it.
READ: Do not coddle men. | Hilary Mantel on Elizabeth Jane Howard. | Adelle Waldman’s essays for The New Yorker. | AS Byatt’s children call her AS Byatt. | Just what you need to hear today. | On being ugly. | “… a young girl’s coming of age in the cutthroat world of New York City ballet” ADD TO CART.
LOOK: @sqirlla on Instagram. / Turmeric tonic. / Jessica Koslow on Freunde von Freunden. | Cooking for the storm. | Leftover porridge cake. | Wholesome pregnancy eating. | Alice Bowman: Waiting. (The seductive audacity of “Transparent.”) | Psychoanalysis podcasts from the Freud Museum London. (Therapy wars: the revenge of Freud.) | Babe vibes interviews. | Coloured Stones: beautiful mix of indigenous Australian music. | Miranda July’s first house in LA is a time capsule of her life and career. | Bible of British taste. | “He even managed to return to the theme of mother and child, one final time, by carving a small maternity from the butt of a stolen rifle.”
THINK: The reductive seduction of other people’s problems. | Keep the nuclear launch codes in the chest cavity of an innocent volunteer. | Australia Day: it’s time to change our traditions.