December 22, 2017

The second-to-last Friday of the year! I might give myself the week off next week, since we’re all in holiday mode, and because I’ll be in a wedding next Friday! This week’s reads, short n sweet:

  1. Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days, Jeanette Winterson. Loving these tender, bittersweet short holiday stories.
  2. ‘Persuasion’, the Most Moving Love Story Jane Austen Ever Told, Turns 200. “More broadly, in its blend of the public and the personal, Persuasion explores both the torment of silence and the value of hope.” I think it’s time for me to visit to the world of Jane Austen again, because reading this reminded me how heartwrenchingly good this book is.
  3. Behold The Most Hilarious Wildlife Photos of 2017. One of the best “Best of 2017″ pieces I’ve seen this year.
  4. If You Want Perfect Pasta, “Al Dente” Is Actually Overcooked, Bon Appetit. This is the only website whose weekly newsletter doesn’t get on my nerves – I’ve learned a lot of cooking techniques from Bon Appetit!
  5. The “backlash” against Star Wars: The Last Jedi, explained. This article and this one from Vanity Fair are helpful reporting on the mixed feelings of the newest movie. I’m still chewing on my opinion of the film, but I can see where lovers and haters are both coming from.

With that, have a wonderful Christmas, and see you in the new year!


December 15, 2017

“All I want is a room somewhere / far away from the cold night air…”

  1. Evocative Illustrations Show What Women Do When No One’s Watching, VICE. Women portraying themselves in art! Yes!
  2. The Untranslatable Emotions You Never Knew You Had, BBC. I like that this article and lexicographical project are focused on positive, and sometimes bittersweet, emotions. (I feel gigil all the time, and shout out to sehnsucht and sukha!)
  3. Why Do Recipe Writers Lie About How Long it Takes To Caramelize Onions?, Slate. This is one of many bizarre things about “recipe writers” – but reading this did prompt me to caramelize a whole bag of onions in my slow cooker. David made a shrimp pasta with some of the onions last night…truly to die for. Anyway, don’t believe the lies about a 5 minute caramelization!
  4. Digital Distraction Is Bad for Creativity. This essay talks about how your “clubhouse” – a group of writers, or people in the same field, or fans of the same game – is an insuluar world and how in the past, sometimes taking leave of the clubhouse is necessary to refresh your perspective. But in the age of Internet, you have access to that group of like-minded folks always, “and now that you can choose to remain online all the time, why wouldn’t you? Who wouldn’t prefer to be diverted, to skim laterally link to link, than to pursue the interminable, doubt-filled, vertical work of mining the imagination and locating the right words? Guilty as charged.”

  5. What the World Gets Wrong About My Quadriplegic Husband and Me. “When I lie awake at night, the honest-to-god truth is that I don’t fantasize about miracle cures and redemption songs. I dream of ramps.”



December 8, 2017

My students are bouncing off the walls with stress & questions, & I’ve got some kind of goopy cold, so my reading list is on the shorter side this week. Here’s to a cozy weekend under a stack of blankets!

  1. Living More with Less, Doris Janzen Longacre. This book has had the largest impact on me, out of anything I’ve read this year. In simple but truly radical writing, the author helps you think of your role in over-consumption and waste, and how minor changes in perspective and daily habits can make a difference. The book also shares frugal and responsible living tips from Mennonites in the USA and abroad, and the advice is very immediate for all it was written in 1980.
  2. Turn Toward Instead of Away, Gottman relationship blog. I thought the idea of “bids” (for attention, support, love) which are sometimes unspoken or hiding in subtext, was really helpful. Making “turning toward” each other the goal of conflict resolution and daily support of one another has been valuable to me.
  3. TIME’s Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers. I’m impressed with this choice – and naming this collective of people who have said, “No more abuse in our workplaces, there must be consequences for offenders,” you can really see how powerful women can be when you pool our voices together. 
  4. Raising a Teenage Daughter. This essay is written by the mother and annotated by the teenage daughter (click the blue highlighted words to see Hannah’s comments). What a cool format for an essay.
  5. The Most Fascinating Part of The Big Bang Theory Is How Bad Everyone Is at Fake-Eating, Vulture.

    There are plenty of gifs in this post to back up the fake eating on this sitcom. Just like Friends was notorious for big and obviously empty coffee mugs!

Bonus Features:


December 1, 2017

Is there a Christmas song that plays on repeat in your head all month? Mine is Sleigh Bells (it’ll-be-the-perfect-ending-to-the-PERFect-day, just over n over). I don’t mind though, and if you see me bopping my head at my desk, you can assume it’s sleigh bells jingle-in, ring-ting-tingle-in too.

  1. Lady Bird (2017), Greta Gerwig. Ok so I didn’t read this but I did see it this week and absolutely loved it (see above photo of my man at the theater). Such a life-affirming film, and one that upholds the dignity of women and girls and the complexity of their relationships, which is something I need a good bit more of in films.
  2. So Much Synth, Brenda Shaughnessy. An excellent book of poetry that also examines being young and a girl, and how vulnerable that is. She does something really clever involving mixtapes too, but I won’t spoil it.
  3. The Evolution of Miss Scarlet, the Hairpin. Kinda fun to look at different iterations of the femme fatale Clue character. Here’s a few more versions of the lady that always rolls first (although there’s a tacky joke at the end of that post that I do not endorse).
  4. Rebecca Traister on the Post-Weinstein Reckoning, the Cut. “Still, I’m half-frustrated by men who can’t differentiate between harmless flirtation and harassment, because I believe that most women can. The other half of me is glad that these guys are doing this accounting, reflecting on the instances in which they wielded power. Maybe some didn’t realize at the time that they were putting the objects of their attention at a disadvantage, but I must acknowledge that some, even my friends, surely did.” Content warning for discussion of sexual harassment. A helpful piece.
  5. The 8 Types of Friends You Need to Be Happy in Life. I LOVED thinking about the different types of friends, and which one I am (could your type vary depending on the relationship? I think so), and contemplating how to be a better friend. If you can only read one of this Friday’s 5, read this one!