HELLO and welcome to the 23rd 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 pregnancy tests and mirrors!
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.
Six Pregnancy Tests in One Week (February 2011), by Cienna Madrid for The Stranger – “I visited Christian pregnancy centers that lure women in with false promises of medical care. Here’s what they told me about abortions, breast cancer, shame, and death.”
My Father’s Fashion Tips (July 2007), by Tom Junod for GQ – I can’t believe I even read an entire article about men’s style and father/son relationships, but you know, I did, so you better believe that it’s good.
The Mirror-Slave Dialectic (June 2011), by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano for The New Inquiry – “I’ve had a couple of friends tell me they’re surprised to find I think as intensely as I do about beauty. Their confusion is understandable: My physical beauty labor is pretty minimal. But my emotional beauty labor is another story.”
Drive-By Truckers (April 2012), by Ginger Strand for This Land – This is about serial killers who are also truck drivers and about the culture of trucking. I liked it, but it was difficult in parts because my grandfather was a truck driver for about eight years, and I kept thinking that this article would’ve really upset him, because you know, he was not a serial killer, and the picture painted of trucking here is really dismal.
Why Not the Worst? (December 2011), by Gene Weingarten for The Washington Post – “Take a small town, remove any trace of history, character, or charm. Allow nothing with any redeeming qualities within city limits — this includes food, motel beds, service personnel. Then place this pathetic assemblage of ghastly buildings and nasty people on a freeway in the midst of a harsh, uninviting wilderness, far enough from the nearest city to be inconvenient, but not so far for it to develop a character of its own. You now have created Battle Mountain, Nevada.”
The Hardy Boys: The Final Chapter (August 1998), by Gene Weingarten for The Washington Post – As you can tell, I’m really into this writer right now. This was the story of the guy who wrote all the Hardy Boys books through a system we now call ‘book packaging’ (which’s how Gossip Girl books are written, for example).
Girls, Uninterrupted (August 2010), by Jan Hoffman for The New York Times – “The two dozen 14-year-olds forming an imperfect circle in a large hall on this humid morning in the Berkshires hail from every tier of their adolescent caste system, from the anointed to the laughingstocks. In this next exercise, they must break one of their most sacred rules. They have to act like complete dorks.”
Is An ESPN Columnist Scamming People On the Internet? (May 2012), by John Koblin for Deadspin – I glanced at this story and two hours later was still glued to this story. Obviously the draw is the idea of how people lie online and make themselves into different people, and also how easy it is to be manipulated by these people. Having been there, I’m always looking for stories of others who’ve been there, looking for patterns. Anyhow, there’s also this follow up.
Interview: Lorrie Moore (October 2005), by Angela Pneuman for The Believer – – I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet today, but Lorrie Moore is one of my Top Three Favorite Writers of All Time (along with Mary Gaitskill and Stephen Dunn), and this is a great interview with her from an old issue of The Believer, filled with tidbits of complete and total wisdom that may very well change your life forever.
Honey, I Got A Year’s Worth of Tuna Fish (May 2012), by Amanda Fortini for The New York Times – An entire article about couponing, which you’re probably really interested in if you’ve ever had the chance to view the excellent television program Extreme Couponing.
American Writing Special – Cough Syrup For the Mind by Heidi Julvits for The New Statesman – On the evolution of The Believer.
At Deadspin I preferred the article on the Sonics, but then I’m still bitter about how the Sonics were ripped from Seattle and moved to Oklahoma City
i only semi-know what you’re talking about but it sounds important
After I read Lorrie Moore in last weeks Things that I read that I love I had to go to amazon and buy one of her novels and a book of short stories because she is amazing and I am excited to read this interview.
when i was in writing workshops in college a few people had said my shit reminded them of lorrie moore, and then i read “self-help” (i think “like life” is maybe a stronger collection though, generally) and then my whole life changed, and i think the lorrie moore comparison was really just b/c she is so awkward, and talks about being awkward a lot, and living in her head
I just spent entirely too long reading up on the ESPN scammer. Dang. Wild Friday night!
One of my customers applied to be on Extreme Couponing. I’ve never seen the show, I’m afraid it would give me a panic attack.
I liked Lorrie Moore talking about awkwardness- “But awkwardness is where tension is, and tension is where the story is. It’s also where the comedy is, which I’m interested in; when it resolves it tends to resolve toward melancholy, a certain resignation, which I find interesting as well.”
I relate to how she just finds everything interesting so she breaks it down into more things she finds interesting. Fractals.
I think I’m putting this on my wall tomorrow:
“You just have to trudge ahead in the rain, regardless.”
I love TIRTIL so much; there’re full of things I’d never find without you putting them here. I always try to read everything, though I don’t usually comment on them.
reading these articles makes me feel two things:
2- i’m not doing enough and need to get my ass in gear
riese, i’m going to start compiling research/notes on how you’re kinda like Oprah and she is like Jesus and so somehow shit is biblical right now.
all of this
Please don’t ever stop making these, Riese.
They’re the reason that other people think I’m well-read/interesting.
#23 Jersey, Reise? Bayonne address? Well, that is a nice view of the city from the Jersey side, yes? Tunafish always brings back bad memories of a comment someone made of me, I’m still paranoid to this day.
hm? i meant that michael jordan had the number “23” on his basketball jersey, that’s what i think of when i hear the number “23.” besides that my birthday is on september 23rd
I clicked on the “Drive By-Truckers” article hoping it’d be about the band. Obviously it was not. Still a really interesting read though!
tbh the girls uninterrupted article made me cry a little
I wish i could have gone to that camp, so so badly. Middle school is hell.
I would actually be a different person today if I had ever gone to that camp. Middle school hell scarred me so badly that I hated, feared, and avoided people until my sophomore year of college. It sucked big hairy donkey balls and I wasn’t in any way equipped to deal with that.
Basically when I’m rich and famously I’ll donate a metric shit ton of money to them. Also Girls Rock. Because both are awesome.
yeah i found it really inspirational
Your grandad was a trucker? Dude, my grandad was a trucker. But I don’t know if he would have been upset about that article because he died before I was born.
yeah he was a farmer but then they sold the farm, or something, and then he was a truck driver for eight years and retired when my dad died. then he died about a year and a half ago. but he was like the worst backseat driver ever, he was like the safest driver in the universe and kept winning awards from r&l every year for never getting a speeding ticket and having the best driving record in the company. always weird for me to imagine him out there.
I love this quote from the Hardy Boys article: “Writing is easy,” said the author Gene Fowler. “All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
thank you for loving lorrie moore because i love her too and every time i go to reread a passage from one of her books i end up rereading the whole book and still it is not enough lorrie moore. thank you for more moore.