Things I Read That I Love #119: I Wouldn’t Say It’s Making Me Happy, Per Se

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HELLO and welcome to the 119th 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 tigers! 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.

*Hey Mama (March 2014), by Kiese Laymon for Guernica “You are a grown man, but you’re still a black boy from Mississippi to people that want to hurt you. Speaking and writing in a respectable way is just one small way to protect yourself. How do you not understand this?”

The Secret World of Fast Fashion (March 2014), by Christina Moon for The Pacific Standard – “From 1960s Korea, through Brazil, to today’s Los Angeles: Inside the world that brought you Forever 21—and those skinny jeans in your closet.”

Fangirl (January 2014), by Elizabeth Minkel for The Millions – I feel like I understand television fandom in general so much better now that I have read this essay! This girl is big into Sherlock.

The Lady and the Tigers (February 2002), by Susan Orlean for The New Yorker – The tigers have since been taken away, just so you know. She lived in New Jersey and owned all these tigers, this wild lady.

Flight of The Birdman (March 2014), by David Kushner for Rolling Stone – I don’t play games on my phone, I barely know how to use it to make phone calls, so this was very educational on so many levels. It’s about Dong Nguyen, and why he built Flappy Bird and why he decided to stop selling it.

The Indian Sanitary Pad Revolutionary (March 2014), by Vibeke Venema for BBC World Service – This dude rules! “A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.”

Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem (March 2014), by Yiren Lu for The New York Times – About the cult of youth and youth in tech and software vs. hardware and the relative value of college and the connections from the Ivy League and all the stuff that’s happening with these dudes on the Google busses and those who came before them and are still here now.

The Cold, Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U (March 2014), by Gary Rivlin for The New York Times – About titans of the mobile home (aka “trailer”) industry, which is becoming more popular and profitable as low-income housing becomes harder and harder for low-income Americans to find.

How To Be a Good Bad American Girl (March 2014), by Anna Holmes for The New Yorker – On the connections between Scout Finch, Harriet the Spy, and Lisa Simpson. I think you’ll really like this one. It’s about feminism and pop culture, so.

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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 3182 articles for us.


  1. That excerpt from hey mama reminds me of a moment I had with my grandmother when I was about 10 years old. Even though it was probably something she doesn’t remember, it has been seared so much into my identity that I think about it at least once every week or two. Being from North Carolina, we, as the south, tend to have a bit of a drawl and a certain vernacular. I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of me saying “ain’t got” in a sentence that prompted her chastising me saying “your mother has a degree in English, you need to start talking like you have some sense”. Now to someone else that might just be some trivial injection during the day, but it seems like i just cant escape it. I love linguistics and languages. I’m currently trying to learn about 5, but after that I think I subconsciously, tried to hide my accent. And now, at 22,every other day it seems like, I get asked from northerners where I’m from. And then my disappointment with them being surprised when I say “here”.

    sorry y’all for the somewhat of a diatribe that was.

  2. So proud to have finally read one of these articles before it was posted here. Feels like I took a step forward in awareness of the internet.

  3. I love this column so much every week but this week I’m especially excited to read all these articles!

  4. As a pedant, I am seriously *thrilled* that “per se” is spelled correctly – very high on my list of pet peeves.

  5. Riese, thank you for introducing me to the writing of Elizabeth Minkel. After that Sherlock piece (and two more pieces by her on The Millions about Fifty Shades of Grey and Kindle Worlds) she has quickly become one of my favourite internet writers.

  6. I loved the report about the Indian man who has made sanitary pads available to Indian women. This is great, he is a hero.

  7. The Lady and the Tigers is fascinating. There’s a couple near me that own lions, and sometimes I’ll just randomly hear lions roaring close by. It freaks out visitors.
    When I was younger, my dad’s med school buddy had a mountain lion. Raised her up like a dog, basically, taking her everywhere and doting on her. Regulations got tougher and he ended up having to put her in a double-wall cage and she got really violent, so he had to end up giving her to an animal sanctuary. I met her when I was really, really small, like three, and I remember it was just so sad that she was in captivity.

  8. LOVED “How To Be a Good Bad American Girl”, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books and there was a lot of insight in the article I had missed before. I don’t think I’ve ever read Harriet the Spy, I just saw the movie a lot as a kid, but I’m tempted to read it now.

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