Things I Read That I Love #214: It Was Time To Leave The Noise And The Bodies Behind

HELLO and welcome to the 214th 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 Cracker Barrel! 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.

Life in Chains: Giving Thanks at Cracker Barrel, by Cari Wade Gervin for Eater, November 2014


Shoplifting and the Teen Girl, by EJ Dickson for Racked, October 2016

Shoplifting and white teenage girls: two images that come together in pop culture all the damn time, but also can be very true in life. This article talks about why that is.

The Exile: Kesha, Interrupted, by Taffy Brodesser-Anker for The New York Times magazine, October 2016

This is about Kesha and how her rapist has interrupted her career and the club shows she’s doing now and why some of the lyrics on her first album were pretty dumb and what’s gonna happen next and how she has changed.

The Writer Who Was Too Strong To Live, by Dave McKenna for Deadspin, October 2016

A brilliant and talented sportswriter was at the top of her game — but on the way to drinking herself to death.

On Female Friendship and the Sisters We Choose for Ourselves : Longreads, by Chloe Caldwell for Longreads, October 2016

About the writer’s friendship with Cheryl Strayed and Cheryl’s daughter Bobbi.

In my own life, in my own apartment, all I have to take care of is a jade plant, which barely needs anything. Besides that I just make sure to get out of bed every day, shower, eat protein, get a little exercise. I answer to no one. So it’s a trip, walking into Cheryl’s and having responsibility for not only two small humans but also a dog and two cats and a fish. Usually I am my first priority, but now I am my last. When evening rolls around, I become completely overwhelmed with fixing dinner, loading the dishwasher, walking the dog, getting the kids to brush their teeth.

Think of This as a Window, by Maggie Estep for “Goodbye to All That,” 2013

A girl I was dating in 2006 gave me Soft Maniacs by Maggie Estep and told me it was really good and I’d like it. She’d found it at a thrift store, which seemed like marvelous luck, ’cause it didn’t have a bookjacket or anything, so she somehow just knew it’d be good. Estep was like a lot of my favorite female writers, which is to say “sexually daring,” blunt, a little bit dirty. I was shocked to hear that she died last year. She was so young. Longreads has published Estep’s essay from Sari Bottom’s Goodbye to All That essay collection and much like Soft Maniacs, it’s gritty and wonderful.

Twilight of the Pizza Barons, by Bryan Gruley for Bloomberg, July 2014

As a Michigander, this story about the CEOs of Little Ceasar’s and Domino’s Pizza  really got me right in the eyes and brain. I’d always heard rumors about the Dominos guy being super-conservative (although we held my brother’s Bar Mitzvah at Dominos Farms regardless) but didn’t realize the extent of it. Interesting guys, I guess!

Disney Should Have Closed This Attraction Years Ago. Here’s Why They Finally Are, by Brian Krosnick for Theme Park Tourist, July 2016

You don’t understand how hard it is to only provide you with one Theme Park Toursit article every two weeks. However, this one is a bit tricky because midway they advise you to read the entirety of ANOTHER Theme Park Tourist article — about The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter — to get all the required info necessary for enjoying this particular article. So I am telling you about one, but I’m also KINDA telling you about two. Anyhow this particular piece is about Stitch’s Great Escape, which true story is the worst ride I’ve ever been on in any Disney Park, because there is a part where Stitch burps chili dog into your face and nobody warned me.

This is Not My Beautiful House, by Kim France for Medium, October 2016

The ending to this one is KILLER.

Increasingly, we fought. He disliked it when I mentioned anything about work at home; he got angry when, out with friends, the attention shifted to the topic of my job, and it got to the point where I became anxious if anyone brought it up. He became fiercely critical of stupid things, alighting particularly vehemently on my toilet paper consumption, which he found excessive. It is hard enough to keep the mystery alive in the best of marriages; when your husband is confronting you mid-pee and shouting “DO YOU REALLY NEED TO USE ALL OF THAT?” you can pretty much kiss it goodbye forever.

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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 3213 articles for us.


  1. I can already tell that I will love the Chloe Caldwell piece! I love everything she writes; she’s like a more queer Leslie Jamison. Thanks in advance and I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

  2. On the teenagers and stealing piece: I had a teenage patient (I assess kids for things like autism, learning disabilities, etc) last week who said, and I quote, “I mean, I’m an average stealer. Not particularly great, but not bad either. Just, you know, middle of the road.”

  3. I experienced that Alien Encounter Disney attraction when I was 13 years old.

    When I walked out of there I was a complete mess for the rest of the day and I had nightmares for weeks.

    I will NEVER forget the feeling of that escaped alien breathing on the back of my neck while I was TRAPPED in my seat in the pitch black dark.

    I have been telling people for 20 years how fucking terrifying it was and they almost always think I made it up.

    • That site sucks you in! Each article has a link to like five other related articles and then you look up and suddenly the sun has set and you missed two meals.

  4. Brother’s Bar Mitzvah party at Domino Farms – Tom Monahan no longer owned it. Cause I wouldn’t have had it there otherwise. js

  5. I’m having so many feelings about the Cracker Barrel piece right now. Haven’t even read the other articles yet but just had to say thank you for posting that piece, I related to that real hard. I’ve even eaten at that exact same Cracker Barrel.

    Also Cracker Barrel might actually be the solution to my family’s Thanksgiving dilemma that we’re having this year? I may end up sending the article to my parents to try and convince them.

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