books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About

These are the articles that got me reading and thinking this week.

It Will Look Like a Sunset (Guernica Mag)

In light of what’s been happening with Ray Rice, there have been a lot of pretty good essays about domestic violence, etc.  Someone in the comments section of The Toast (my current internet obsession, sorry not sorry) linked to this creative non-fiction piece by Kelly Sundberg about her own experiences with domestic violence.  And it’s beautiful and incredible and completely riveting.  It’s well worth your time:

He only hit me in the face once. A red bruise bloomed across my cheek, and my eye was split and oozing. Afterwards, we both sat on the bathroom floor, exhausted. “You made me hit you in the face,” he said mournfully. “Now everyone is going to know.”

I mean, it’s obviously a hard read.  But it’s also beautiful and full of hope, I think.

The Root 100 (The Root)

The Root has published it’s list of 100 people that are movers and shakers, and it’s pretty excellent.  Shonda Rhimes and Laverne Cox are in the top 5, which is excellent.  My favorite, Roxane Gay, is on the list at #39.  Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of people I’ve never heard of, so there’s a lot to dig into and learn with this list.

Can a Book Ever Change a Reader’s Life for the Worse? (NY Times)

This piece is part of the NYT’s Bookends, in which two writers discuss a given topic.  This time, it’s about books that can make a reader’s life worse.  Is this a thing?  I think so.  Leslie Jamison discusses this concept:

I’m not saying that Salinger or Fowles are responsible for what Chapman or Lake or Ng did. Clearly, they weren’t. Their novels weren’t. I mention them only to suggest the ways that novels can become embodiments of our own worst impulses, can christen or distill or liberate these impulses…

Francine Prose mines her own childhood for such a book:

So what in the world were they thinking when they allowed me to read Howard W. Haggard’s “Devils, Drugs and Doctors,” an illustrated history of medicine that focused on plagues, venereal disease, mental illness and the horrifying extent to which women, in earlier eras, suffered the fatal agonies of unhygienic childbirth? Because I was a somewhat morbid child, this book, which I discovered in our attic, remained my favorite for years.

There aren’t any answers here, but instead thoughtful ruminations on the topic.  It’s definitely a topic worth considering.

“As a Father of Daughters, I Think We Should Treat All Women Like My Daughters” (The Toast)

Mallory Ortberg, absolutely killing it like usual:

Did you know that when you have daughters, it’s like making a woman you have to care about out of parts of your own body? Well, it’s true. Now that I have daughters (two of them, to the best of my knowledge), I’ve got all sorts of new ideas about how to treat women. Now that I’ve got daughters, it’s time for the whole world to make some changes.

What got you reading and thinking this week?


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