Books I’ve read and loved since the last time I wrote: The Hours, by Michael Cunningham, whose entire catalog I’ve now collected; Stoner by John Williams (“This made me cry in a coffee shop,” the Kramerbooks cashier warned, and she was not wrong); An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken; Fried Green Tomatoes (Idgie and Ruth!); The First Bad Man by Miranda July; My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, now the subject of one long text thread.
I’m now on the second Ferrante (even better than the first) and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, both of which are slow going since I want to stretch them out as long as possible.
A reminder to you but mostly to me: I collect quotes here.
Was there a more pure delight in 2015 than Miranda July’s talk with Rihanna, probably not. (“I said that it took me a long time to find a guy who wasn’t threatened by my power, and Rihanna quietly replied, ‘I’m still in that time.’”)
From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself by Marlon James: “I was a kid again, frightened by school, praying to God every night, please let me wake up in another body. One that walked and talked right. That did not play house with a boy in the neighborhood that time when he was 8 and I was 9 and ruin him and myself.”
“As I wandered across Copenhagen from artisanal coffee shop to curated bookstore, I thought about why I want the things I want: an industrial loft apartment, a precisely poured cortado, intimate dinner parties... Lined up, they seem like the punchline of a joke at my own expense, the reduction of an identity to a few arbitrary objects, and yet I feel an unjustifiable loyalty to them as mine.” A meditation on ‘lifestyle’ and Kinfolk.
The sheer abundance of #longreads on the internet means I often get to things a few months late, but w/e. Everybody was right; “The Hunt for El Chapo” was fucking great. So was “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.”
“Neither of us are the same. I’m still learning how that will be true.”
“There Once Was a Girl.” I love Katy Waldman’s writing so much.
A week in the life of fairy godmother Maira Kalman.
More good reads: The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield. On “diversity.” On widowhood. Hope for a real homecoming. “I wished more than anything that I had always known.” A fuck-off fund. A love story.
Lorrie Moore on Miranda July. Parul Sehgal on Mary Gaitskill. Wesley Morris on Carol and Transparent.
Justin Bieber: “Everyone told me not to bring the monkey. I was like, ‘It’s gonna be fine, guys!’ It was”—he shuts his eyes—“the farthest thing from fine.”
I would read Jia Tolentino on just about anything, but here are a few favorites: Kidz Bop, Cracker Barrel, drawer novels (“It seemed a great human constant to try, and fail, to escape one’s own self”).
Hoping to read soon: What Belongs to You and The Lonely City (Olivia Laing wrote that gorgeous Aeon essay on loneliness I love).
An interview with the owner of my favorite Boston bookstore / 25 songs that tell us where music is going / A poem.
“Part of it is just the fiction of being alive,” she said. “Every step, you’re making up who you are.” All of a sudden everybody’s interviewing Eileen Myles and I am here for it. From Ariel Levy’s piece on Transparent.
“She can write like a man, they said, by which they meant, She can write.”