Things I Read That I Love #111: But If I Was Holding A Coconut

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HELLO and welcome to the 111th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about toast! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.

How Did Toast Become The Latest Artisanal Food Craze? (January 2014), by John Gravois for Pacific Standard Magazine “I did a study in New York and San Francisco, standing on the street holding a sandwich, saying hello to people. No one would talk to me. But if I stayed at that same street corner and I was holding a coconut? People would engage. I wrote down exactly how many people talked to me.”

How Has Bust Magazine Survived? (January 2008), by Chris Chafin for The Awl – This was REALLY interesting to me because obviously BUST magazine was a big influence on me and the fact that they have continued to survive has given me hope for feminist media that is also kind of glossy. But also it scared me that although this magazine has been around since the mid-’90s, Debbie Stoller’s life looks like mine does now and I sort of hoped this phase of “doing all the things and not having time to follow through on other opportunities” would be temporary. La la la.

On Muppets & Merchandise: How Jim Henson Turned His Art into a Business (September 2013), by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens for Make Art Make Money via Longreads – This is one of those things that might only be relevant to my interests but who knows!

The Ghost Of V.C. Andrews (January 2014), by Kate Arthur for Buzzfeed – There’s a lot of buzz about V.C. Andrews right now ’cause another adaptation of the famed book Flowers in the Attic was on Lifetime this week! This is about her life and her phenomenal and unexpected success and also the life of the man who has been writing books under her name since 1987.

I Went On A Backstreet Boys Cruise (January 2014), by Torie Bosch for Buzzfeed – A former diehard Backstreet Boys fan and prolific penner of B2B fanfiction embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Homeschool Apostates (December 2013), by Kathryn Joyce for The American Prospect – On how fundamentalist Christian homeschooling has become an enormous segment of the homeschooling population and it’s really fucked up and often even abusive and how it isolates kids from the world and is just overall not necessarily the best idea of all time and is also giving homeschooling a bad name.

Hana Williams: The Tragic Death of an Ethiopian Adoptee (November 2013), by Kathryn Joyce for Slate – I was led here via the article above and this story is really sad. “In 2008, Hana Williams left her Ethiopian Orphanage for a new life in America. Three years later, she was dead. In between, Hana’s life was a nightmare of abuse and neglect, as she struggled to adapt to her large new family, where dangerous ideas about religion and discipline ruled the home.”

Love and Death in the House of Prayer (January 2014), by Jeff Tietz for Rolling Stone – Holy shit this is fucked! “Tyler Deaton, a self-appointed apostle in one of the fastest-growing evangelical movements, loved Jesus, Harry Potter and, much to his dismay, other men. When his wife turned up dead, the secrets began to spill out.”

Fifty Shades of Greyhound, by Harrison Scott Key for The Oxford American – I’ve had numerous Greyhound bus experiences all over the country and always love reading about the Greyhound experiences of others. Like this essay, which is also funny, but also SUPER snobby.

The Ghostwriting Business (December 2013), by Alex Mayyasi for Priceonomics – Who really writes books written by celebrities or politicians or business leaders, how these books are put together, ghostwriters who write fiction, the future of ghostwriting, how it resembles other industries and so forth.

Sexy NYC (January 2014), by Lori Jakiela for The Rumpus“For the rest of this horrible flight, I imagine taking the E train to the 6 every morning. I’ll stop at a corner deli for coffee in an “I Heart New York” cup. I’ll take the elevator to my office in one of the world’s most romantic buildings, a building so legendary I never thought of it as functioning office space but more of a movie set, the kind of place where ordinary people can be transformed.”

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.


  1. The NYC article annoyed me a bit. It seems less like fighting for your dream and more of the same old story of another young person from a middle-class background over-romanticizing New York. The whole reacting by checking out some Ginsberg in response to lowering oneself to a sub-par job was a cringe worthy bit of unintentional self parody.

    • Sorry, I came across as rather vitriolic with that. Can’t convey tone over the internet, etc, etc. But yeah, seems like a bit of a juvenile idea of moving to NYC and getting a fabulous writing job, idk.

    • yeah i see what you mean, i sort of assumed it was intentional self-parody? but maybe i was projecting

  2. Some of my best friends are fundamentalist Christian homeschool survivors and I made it out of fundamentalist Christian parochial school with only moderate social anxiety and no concern for the rights of women, the gays, the poor, the nonbelievers, etc., so I am really pumped for this homeschooling article. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. i was really hoping there would be a new “things that i read” tonight, since i’m suffering from not yet having gotten a library card after moving. so thank you for this!

    the hana williams article really horrified me. i don’t know if the adoption laws described are representative of all states, or just washington, but i can’t believe how little restriction seems to be placed on parents after adoptions are finalized. i would think that much more follow-up would occur in all adoptions, but especially in adoptions concerning children who had already been exposed to traumas like war or abuse before being adopted.

  4. That top article. Read that top article if you haven’t already. Someone shared it in my news feed earlier this week, and I almost didn’t read it because I thought it was about toast, but it’s not really about toast. It’s worth several times over the time it takes to read.

    • i know my girlfriend had to convince me to read it, because i was like, come on, how interesting can an article about toast be

  5. oh man snobby doesn’t even begin to describe that greyhound essay. now i’m wondering how many middle-class-to-rich people are taking the greyhound and judging me wondering what my Poor Person’s Story is when i’m just trying to go see my girlfriend for a while. all i can think is that i don’t pay $200 round trip to be awake for 48 hours straight and use bathrooms with no locks on the stall to be judged by people like that

  6. The Greyhound article- people who make fun of poor/mentally disabled/lower class people make me so angry. I feel like lower class people (so-called “rednecks”) or people who take Greyhound buses are the last group that it’s acceptable to make fun of. Evidence: this article, the People of Wal-Mart blog.

  7. Great BUST article! Right after college I was an editorial intern and blog contributor for BUST for a little while. It’s definitely amazing and hopeful that they’ve been able to continue surviving.

  8. I really appreciated the homeschool article. I wasn’t homeschooled but I did grow up in a fundamentalist home and I went to an unregulated Christian school. Even after having left that church and environment ten years ago I still sometimes feel like I speak a foreign language. Fortunately I have acclimated, but some circumstances still give me a huge amount of social anxiety–like concerts–I think because of the large amount of non-Christian young people all gathering in one place. Lord knows what could happen… :)

  9. i survived evangelical christian homeschooling–love seeing the stories of others and how it shaped their worldviews. what a complex, fantastical, freaky land. thanks for sharing, riese :)

  10. I can’t overstate how much I loved the toast article. It starts off about toast, and then becomes so much more. <3

  11. we went to trouble today and the toast was very tasty, because butter & cinnamon sugar. also it was really foggy so that even on the beach you couldn’t see the water

    • I want to go to Trouble after reading that article too. Did you meet Giulietta Carrelli and was it easy to talk to strangers there?

  12. That toast article was fantastic, and like ya’ll said, about so much more than toast. I’ve been thinking/reading a lot about mental health lately and I like the idea of creating routines and reference points and patterns that other people can follow as a way of making sure a self can be found even when the mind is fuzzy or not cooperative or whatever.

    I read the House of Prayer article before bed and then had a quasi-related nightmare, but of course the next day I still read the articles/blog posts linked in the comments from another member of the university and group. Because I gobbled up fundamentalist ideas as a kid and read that Left Behind series and god is it scary to think about how different/worse my life could have turned out. Also, no wonder I was in the closet.

    Also also also I read the Hana Williams article when it came out on Slate so I had a mixed reaction of feeling awesome for reading the same stuff as Riese and being disappointed that there was one less new article for me to read this week.

  13. The Trouble toast article went audio — it’s a feature on This American Life this weekend – Episode 520.

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