HELLO and welcome to the 290th 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 Chernobyl! 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.
How Sassy (Should Have) Changed My Life, by Carlene Bauer for n+1, July 2007
The book “How Sassy Changed My Life” did change my life… it planted some Autostraddle seedlings. But Sassy Magazine itself didn’t, really, and so there’s a lot in this somewhat-takedown of “How Sassy Changed My Life” that rings true for me, and even the parts that don’t are worth A THINK.
Tourism, Construction and an Ongoing Nuclear Crisis at Chernobyl, by Alexander Nazaryan for Newsweek, April 2014
I honestly was surprised by how literary this essay was, as I generally associate Newsweek with reporting rather than excellent creative non-fiction. But for obvious reasons (THE HBO MINI-SERIES) I have been thinking and reading about Chernobyl a lot lately and wanted to you know, READ AND THINK EVEN MORE.
Not to get all William Wordsworth-at-Tintern-Abbey on you, but there was immense power in walking through a graveyard of gas masks on a classroom floor, or the fresh-meat station of what had once been a bustling supermarket, or the natal unit of a hospital, rusted cribs still looking, after all these years, as if they had just been robbed of their newborn contents. I don’t want to claim to have heard the same “still, sad music of humanity” that famously played to Wordsworth on the banks of the River Wye, but, well, Pripyat is the most life-affirming place that I have ever been to, despite all the suffering that lingers there. For all the cancers, deaths, irradiations and lives broken, the place remains, and there is something to be said for brute rage-against-the-dying-of-the-light survival.
Impossible Foods’ Rising Empire of Almost-Meat, by Chris Ip for Engadget, May 2019
It’s true these things are everywhere and I did not know until this article that they actually are supposed to taste like beef, maybe I will taste one??? Who’s to say?
Why Are We Still Drinking the Paul Newman Lemonade?, by Cathy Erway for Taste Magazine, May 2019
I for one… still automatically buy Paul Newman salad dressings and marinara sauce and popcorn? It’s what I grew up on, ’cause my parents always got it and that seems to be a common generational experience. So I ate this too.
The Black Law Students’ Association Party (or, Why Can’t I Write Joy?), by Wendy S. Walters for The Iowa Review, Spring 2019
This was so beautiful, the writing is just so incredible, and also it’s set in a landscape I know oh so very well (the White Castle they go to at the end I am certain is in Ypsilanti, right)
The party showcased the most glamourous blackness I had ever known. It swept down from the sky like a weather pattern, a high blue northern coming across a great lake so cosmic it blew clear. Blackness unfurled like a freshly paved road on a night drive through the Metroplex. It tumbled through the outer atmosphere, smooth as a Model 500 with no UFO interference, and after that, it dressed androgynous for church while it rocketed fuzz through the Griot Galaxy. I saw it get up and get out centuries past our lifetime, this everlasting blackness that dragged every song’s intro into an “aintro.”
The Real Los Angeles, by Chris Eggertsen for Curbed LA, April 2019
Mi Vida Loca, Jackie Brown, Boyz n the Hood, Boogie Nights, Pulp Fiction, Magnolia — how ’90s films offered a different and more authentic look at Los Angeles than what we got served in the ’80s.
Unlimited Power, by Jane Bradley and Kate JM Baker for Buzzfeed News, May 2019
You probably already suspected Tony Robbins was an asshole but surprise, he’s definitely an asshole.
It’s Difficult to Talk About Soviet Food, by Rachel Sugar for Taste, January 2018
Listen I read a lot about food and a lot about Russia this month, I don’t know why but it’s where I’m at!
My Childhood in a Cult, by Guinevere Turner, April 2019
I had been looking forward to this since she told us about it during our interview with her for The L Word podcast and here it is and I liked it so much!