Because it’s fun to be nosy and ask what your coworkers are reading, watching, and listening to.
Saga The Wicked and The DivinePaper GirlsSaga
, a beautiful and funny collection of prose poems and essays about colors, keys, Bartleby the Scrivener, menopause, Christmas trees, and many other things.
—Yuka Igarashi, Editor in Chief, Web; Editor in Chief, Soft Skull Press
I’m reading Angie Thomas’s stunning debut The Hate U Give. Don’t let the YA label fool you. This novel about a teen girl grappling with the aftermath of her best friend being murdered by the police is absolutely riveting. Thomas’s writing is heartbreaking, realistic, hilarious and flawless.
Like the rest of the world, I’m currently listening to Kendrick Lamar’s new album, DAMN. I also found myself spiraling down a YouTube wormhole that pleasantly led me to an incredible song called Gobisiqolo.
—Leila Green, Social Media/General Intern
I was trying to figure out how to talk about my reaction to Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, as I’m hosting a viewing party every Wednesday to watch two episodes at a time. Then I received Ann Friedman’s essential TinyLetter and she sums it up better than I ever could, and this is exactly what happened to me:
“I binged four episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and had a physiological reaction: sweats, nausea, shaking. I had to take a break from hanging out with men. (sorry/not sorry, men.) It was so intense and horrible, and also wonderful and highly recommended.”
—Jennifer Abel Kovitz, Associate Publisher
I’ve been dipping in and out of the new Mary Gaitskill essay collection. Her craft in every one is immaculate, naturally, which means that I can only read so many together before I need to look elsewhere for something messier. Also my kid is very interested in the clip of Dave Sim’s Cerebus on the cover, which isn’t ideal.
I’ve also been pawing clumsily through the backlist of our sister publisher Counterpoint to read Evan S. Connell’s Mrs. Bridge, which is as masterful and quintessentially American a novel as I ever hope to read. It’s one of those toxic novels so good but so seemingly effortless that it’ll ruin mid-century realist fiction for me for a while.
Oh, and the new Mt. Eerie album is, as everyone warned me, a good way to fuck up your emotional equilibrium for the next year or so.
—Dustin Kurtz, Social Media Editor
I just finished reading Stephen Florida, a novelby Gabe Habash. It’s a chilling study of single-minded obsession, loneliness, and pain, complete with a deliciously weird narrator. It also perfectly captures the overwhelming bleakness of long midwestern winters. Everyone needs to read this immediately because I’m dying to talk about it, which is something I never thought I would say about a book with this much wrestling in it.
—Elizabeth Ireland, Publicity and Marketing Associate
This week I’ve been rereading The Handmaid’s Tale because I’m watching the show and had forgotten a lot, and apparently I never want to sleep again. I already shared this in a link roundup, but I really enjoyed the New Yorker profile of Kumail Nanjiani. And I spent a long, long time reading and talking to the Lord about this article yesterday.
—Nicole Chung, Managing Editor, Web & Community
My friends and I are always in the process of trying—and failing—to start a book club. Instead, we have a group text thread in which I frequently interrupt conversations to harass my closest friends into reading whatever I’m currently obsessing over. Suzanne Scanlon’s Promising Young Women is one of those books; a book that elicits all-caps text messages, which I think, while not always the most eloquent review, are one of the highest compliments a reader can give. It’s a story everyone is familiar with—those promising young women that fill the pages of books like Girl, Interrupted and The Bell Jar—but Scanlon’s innovative approach to the nonlinear nature of trauma captures the significant, and often understated, decision of waking up each and every day and making the choice to continue being a person.
On Independent Bookstore Day, I picked up a copy of Book of Mutter by Kate Zambreno from Printed Matter, despite having no idea what it was about. (Kate Zambreno’s name on a book cover is really all it takes for me to make a purchase.) Later that same day—at a picnic table littered with friends’ various book hauls, on one of the first evenings of the season that felt like a summer night—my friend Luis described it as fragmentary writing about grief, which another friend then described as “exactly Allie’s type of book.” He was right.
And to end on a note that isn’t about grief, trauma, or fragmentary writing: Charly Bliss’s debut album, Guppy, is (finally!) out. Besides being one of the most fun bands to see live, guitarist Spencer Fox is one of my favorite humans to discuss short stories with.
—Allie Wuest, Editorial Assistant, Web.
Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.
—Morgan Jerkins, Contributing Editor, Web
I’m thinking about this accessible, inviting essay on CulturalAnthropology, in which a South Indian man who has steadfastly adhered to his treatment for HIV now asks his doctor for “an injection to kill him.” Why? Because his costly therapy threatens the process of saving money for his daughter’s wedding and her future financial security.
There are questions here about what we recognize as ethical, how ethics can be ordinary, or overt, or surreptitious. How to rethink ethics from within lived experience?
I just saw the documentary Casting JonBenet, which explores the murder of JonBenet Ramsey by interviewing local actors auditioning for the roles playing those central to the case. The conceit might sound a little bit bizarre, but trust me when I say it’s not; it’s a fascinating new take on the still-unsolved murder.
I also recommend this picture of a bird on a skateboard I found on Twitter and now keep on my desktop to look at when I’m stressed.