HELLO and welcome to the 142nd 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 death penalty! 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 Witness (September 2014), by Pamela Colloff for The Texas Monthly – The horrors of the death penalty in Texas, as told through the story of a woman who was paid to witness and report on 278 executions thoughout her career. It’s a vast and fantastic piece.
Diary of a Young American Girl in Los Angeles, by Alice Bolin for The Awl – “The picture she paints of an American girl is someone ambitious, independent, rebellious, and trashy… McKee illustrates Los Angeles’ special boredom—there is nothing to do, but so much to get into. She’s not the only one who has believed the essential invocation of the American—and more specifically Californian—spirit is the bored, sexually mature suburban teenager.”
The Future of College (August 2014), by Graeme Wood for The Atlantic – Well, hm, so this is about a for-profit college called Minerva that happens online and they don’t have any lectures because lectures suck but they also don’t have a library which I think also sucks. I’m not sure how I feel about this idea, but I laughed out loud when they said government’s financial stake in higher education is the problem because isn’t a corporation’s financial stake in higher education also a problem in its own way? Also, it seems like a lot of kids these days get more out of the college environment/community than the academics specifically (I’m not one of those kids, I just waited tables and went to class, so the academics were the highlight of the experience for me), so I don’t see how this is a viable alternative to that. But it could be a viable alternative to something else.
Reedeemed: Cheryl Strayed (June 2013), by Amitava Kumar for Guernica – The interviewer hadn’t seen my favorite human Cheryl Strayed for twenty years when she got the chance to interview her at Vassar, the content of which has been transcribed for you in this convenient article. Strayed says ten thousand things you’ll want to copy-paste to your soul, but I’m sure you’re already sure of that.
The Problem With Entitlement: A Question of Respect (September 2014), by Steve Almond for Poets & Writers – “But entitlement is the enemy of artistic progress, which requires patience and gratitude and, above all, humility. You don’t grow as a writer by writing off other people’s efforts. You grow as a writer by respecting the process.”
Difficult Girl: Growing Up In Therapy (September 2014), by Lena Dunham for The New Yorker – IT’S YOUR FAVORITE PERSON LENA DUNHAM! This is Lena Dunham’s personal history of OCD and anxiety and bouncing around therapists as a child in New York City and befriending her therapists’ daughter in college and etc.
The Strange & Curious Tale of The Last True Hermit (September 2014), by Michael Finkel for GQ – “For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend—or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest.”
In Praise Of Younger Men (July 2014), by Chelsea G. Summers for Adult Magazine – This was a pretty cool response to a piece about the allure of older men written by a woman who prefers them. You do you, Chelsea!