Things I Read That I Love #138: I Am Perfectly Normal And Fine, I Told Myself

HELLO and welcome to the 138th 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 the tallest woman in the world! 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.

The Order of Things (February 2011), by Malcolm Gladwell for The New Yorker – Why the US News College Rankings are basically useless and also a little bit weird.

The Sad, Strange, True Story of Sandy Allen, The Tallest Woman In the World, by Sandra Allen for Buzzfeed – Aw man, this is about a lady who was a really good sport and wanted to make people feel better about being different because she was a giant. She was so tall! But on the inside she was often very sad. Also surprisingly I am tall enough to be in a Tall Club, why didn’t anybody tell me about this.

*The New Face of Hunger, by Tracie McMillan for National Geographic – This is a really fantastic (and depressing) multi-media feature about food insecurity in America funded by grants and really chock-full of information. This is part of a larger project on National Geographic called The Future of Food that has so many incredible components that you’ll probably spend the rest of your life reading it.

Hiking While Black, by Francie Latour for The Boston Globe“…if African-Americans don’t figure in our notion of America’s great outdoors, geographer Carolyn Finney argues, it is also because of how the story has been told, and who has been left out—black pioneers and ordinary folk whose contributions to the land have long gone ignored. Reclaiming those stories, she contends, could have huge implications for protecting our wilderness in the future.”

Why America is Addicted To Olive Garden (July 2009), by Chuck Salter for Fast Company – As a former Olive Garden employee I found this piece very interesting and informative, especially in the wake of the Red Lobster sale and the Darden CEO stepping down last week.

We Lie the Most To Ourselves (July 2014), by Roxane Gay“When you’re fat, no one will pay attention to disordered eating or they will look the other way or they will look right through you. You get to hide in plain sight. I have hidden in plain sight, in one way or another, for most of my life. Willing myself to not do that anymore, willing myself to be seen, is difficult..”

The Transgender Crucible (July 2014), by Sabrina Rubin Erderly for Rolling Stone – Remember when Rolling Stone wrote about Laura Jane Grace and used male pronouns and gave it a really awful headline? It seems things have improved since then! There are a few things about this article that weren’t exactly perfect (like playing into the idea that being a transgender woman = being feminine and being attracted to men) but overall I was impressed, and it was also just great to know more about CeCe’s story.

Dreams Incorporated (1997), By Matt Roth for The Baffler – AMWAY AMWAY AMWAY I COULD TALK ABOUT AMWAY FOREVER AND EVER.

New York State of Mind: How American Sitcoms Depict Cities (July 2014), by Maria Bustillos for The Guardian – This is a really extensive and interesting look into the portrayal of so many cities and towns and suburbs and how they are portrayed on American television and what this evokes personally for the writer.

Burger King Is Run By Children (July 2014), by Devin Leonard for Bloomberg – I wonder if this is how the Proud Whopper happened.

The Journalist and The Suicide (July 2014), by Jesse Barron for The New Inquiry “Much is staked politically on viewing suicidal or violent veterans as a little bit crazy. PTSD is as useful as hysteria was, because it allows us to pretend that the problem’s in the prescription, or that going to war doesn’t make some people want to die. It’s the achievement of Demon Camp subtly to stand against all this, to see the Black Thing and PTSD, Xanax and exorcisms, the VA hospital and the Pentecostal Church as equally viable reactions to a particular kind of suffering. To say that Caleb in the Best Western is as lucid as Daniel Somers was when he walked out into the suburban Arizona evening and shot himself in the head. To see for neither any cure.”

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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 3211 articles for us.


  1. That Amway article is fascinating. I moved to Grand Rapids as a teenager and I’ve never fully understood Amway and its all-encompassing reach. Plus now my sister lives out by the headquarters (I think?) and it’s huge and creepy.

  2. I don’t know why, but I always assumed they approached the Rolling Stone article that way with Laura Jane Grace’s full approval. The things you reference here about that article made me uncomfortable when I read it; however, I had somehow arrived at the conclusion that they’d done so because she’d wanted readers to, er, more fluidly “transition” from thinking of her as male to thinking of her as female. In retrospect, that explanation probably just came from my head, didn’t it.

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