books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

I took last week off because of the holiday, so here are the things I collected from the past two weeks that got me thinking.

Prey (Random House)

This piece, written by Kathleen Hale, is not an easy read.  But it’s a powerful, important one.  I visibly recoiled when I read this:

I lost a lot of friends that year, in part because I wanted to tell everyone about the trial. Boys fetishized me, thinking they could reintroduce me to sex, which I had never learned to hate—or else they pulled my head to their chests, kissing my hair, like they were enacting some paternalistic movie moment. In general, I think hearing what had happened made recently-deflowered Harvard boys feel like sexy dads.

This piece is long and upsetting, but it’s also extremely well done and well worth your time.  Hat tip to my sister, who sent it my way.

 Your Female Characters Are So Strong (The Toast)

This humorous (I mean, kind of) piece just takes the phrase “your female characters are so strong” and runs with it.  Mallory Ortberg is awesome, and this short piece helps illustrate just why that is.  Also, if you haven’t, start reading the article tags on the pieces at The Toast, because they are amazing (“Feminism sort of!” and “some quotes from Job and some from Paradise Lost I think”).

90 One-Hit Wonders of the 90s (Salon)

I sent a link of this to my best friend with just the word “AHHH” because that’s how exciting something like this is to me, a lover of lists and all things nostalgic, especially when it comes to 90s music.  She and I regularly (like, nearly weekly) drink wine and watch YouTube videos on our giant TVs together, so this is the perfect sort of thing to dissect together (and apart).

What’s amazing about a list like this is that it’s automatically polarizing by claiming to be definitive.  I can’t wait to really delve into a nostalgia hole with it.

A Reluctant Star, Sia, Deals With Fame on Her Own Terms (NPR)

I’m obsessed with Sia’s latest single, “Chandelier,” so when I stumbled across this NPR interview after watching her performance on Ellen where she sang live facing the corner away from the cameras, I was super intrigued.  Basically, Sia doesn’t want to be that kind of famous (she writes pop songs for other singers and prefers to make her living that way).  And she has the privilege of being able to deal with fame (or avoidance of it) in her own way, which makes her a total bad-ass.

It’s definitely an alienating approach, which is probably why I like it and respect it so much.  Plus, she had this to say about the whole thing:

“I’m trying to have a good life,” she says as we look at the wigs, which symbolize her fame and what she’s doing to escape that fame, all at once. “Basically, my plan is to enjoy what I have.”

What got you thinking this week?

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