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.
READ: “Our emotional orbits intersected in a thousand places every day but never exactly aligned. There was a space between us as we moved through life. Sometimes I think it is this space that allows us to stay married. Sometimes I think it is this space that makes me stay hungry for something else.” A friendship affair. | “Wry detachment, especially when funny, rings masc because it’s about not caring.” | “It is not a wonderful thing for a man to leave another woman for you. Do not want this for yourself.” | “Could Marsh, this brilliant neurosurgeon, be troubled by a constant need to call attention to himself? Weren’t his extraordinary qualities, so obvious to everyone around him, fixed securely in his own image of himself?” | The unhappy king of snooker. | “Neither of us are the same. I’m still learning how that will be true.” | “This year, I shelved a novel that I had been writing since 2010.” | “My father’s mantra, “Don’t upset your mother,” gathered new meanings. She was not who I thought she was. Or, I suppose, she was more than who I thought she was: more complex, more brave, more tragic.” Postpartum.
LOOK: I relistened to Harry Potter and Half Blood Prince on audio over Christmas, and found this transcript of an early TV program on JK Rowling. “It’s a book for the kind of people who enjoy every little tiny detail about a world. Because I have every little tiny detail about the world.” cf. this Scriptnotes episode about epic top down/bottom up world-building. | There must have been others. | “My BODY hasn’t aged as well as I have.” | Emily Books forum. | Bitchy hungover Jane Austen. | New Guardian Australia podcast Token. | A flat in Bloomsbury. | Winter salads. | Chicken with cardamom rice. | Fig and earl grey Victoria sponge. | Quince and thyme crumble.
THINK: Quite upsetting 71 page PDF summary of a metafilter thread on unpaid emotional labour. | White fragility. | “Chill is a sinister refashioning of “Calm down!” from an enraging and highly gendered command into an admirable attitude.” Against chill. | Germaine Greer “was the catalyst. Let’s remember that as we rightfully tell her to get out of the way.
” | Men explain Lolita to me by Rebecca Solnit. | Saying nice things about Hillary Clinton is a subversive act. | No offense. (How to be less outraged.) | “Labour people are optimists, but this time I see no hope.”