Things I Read That I Love #311: As If I Were a Train and the Last Page Was Anna Karenina

HELLO and welcome to the 311th 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 know more about cruise ship disasters!! 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.

It has been so long and I am so sorry but listen I am here I am back, and I have taken some real journeys into the peaks and valleys of various niche topics over the past billion weeks. I have never read the news more! Also I updated the Black Lives Matter longform reading list last month, which you should check out!

The True Cost of Dollar Stores, by Alec MacGillis for Pro Publica / The New Yorker, June 2020

On the history of Dollar Stores and where they thrive in the present and why they are a often a target of armed robberies that put vulnerable workers at risk. Also surprise, the CEOs are making ten million dollars a year while refusing to compensate employees fairly or provide basic security or surveillance!!!

The Pariah Ship, by Michael Smith, Drake Bennett, and K. Oanh Ha for Bloomberg, June 2020

Friends if you think my momentary obsession with cruise ship mishaps was a passing fad from when we last gathered in this space to share longform pieces, you would be very wrong. In addition to the two articles I shared last time, I also read this one, watched 10 documentaries and read an entire fucking book about the cruise ship industry! It was medicore (the book).

Diary, by Patricia Lockwood for The London Review of Books, July 2020

I think this is my favorite thing I read this week?

It seemed more sensible to crawl from place to place rather than walk. My mind had moved a few inches to the left of its usual place, and I developed what I realised later were actual paranoid delusions. ‘Jason’s cough is fake,’ I secretly texted a friend from the bathtub, where I couldn’t be monitored. ‘I … don’t think his cough is fake,’ she responded, with the gentle tact of the healthy. ‘Oh it is very, very fake,’ I countered, and then further asserted the claim that he had something called Man Corona.

Debating Hamilton as It Shifts from Stage to Screen, by Stephanie Goodman for The New York Times, July 2020

Wesley Morris,Jesse Green, A.O. Scott and Maya Phillips discuss the differences between Hamilton’s filmed production  and the experience of watching it live, as well as how its themes have aged from the Obama-era to the present. BTW  saw Hamilton for the first time on Disney+ right right I know.

Out of Work, as told to Rowan Moore Gerety and Laura Rena Murray, California Sunday Magazine, July 2020

A photoessay that shows the coronavirus shutdown through the eyes of the recently unemployed — what they did before, what they’re doing now, and how they’re getting by.

Send in the Clowns, by Namara Smith for n+1, Spring 2020

The Democratic primaries, in their modern form, have always been a dance between imitating Republicans and rejecting them, rewarding politicians able to reconcile these two poles the most gracefully. But Trump heightened this tension to new levels, turning what had in the past seemed like a choreographed performance into a series of convulsions. All the customary moves were therethe turn to the left, the pivot to the center, the coming-together at the endbut the timing was off and no one seemed in control of what they were doing. If this was a dance, it was one that had gone badly wrong.

Sick Days, by Russel Brandom for The Verge, May 2020

Instacart is a terrible company who treats their employees terribly. And for all the money they have they really should be updating their interface more, it’s shocking that so many people have gotten mad at INSTACART SHOPPERS for unavailable items. After this I also read The coronavirus crisis has been great for Instacart. For its workers, it’s a different story.

James is a Girl, by Jennifer Egan for The New York Times, February 1996

In recent years, America has become obsessed with “girls,” and the fashion world has a theory about why: actresses have lost their glamour by turning into real people, and models have replaced them as the stars of our time. Certainly models are this decade’s contribution to our already crowded celebrity pantheon. They are what rock stars were to the 70’s and visual artists were to the 80’s. The rise of models has less to do with the fashion industry, whose business has slumped since the 80’s, than with the potent blend of cultural preoccupations they embody: youth, beauty and, perhaps most of all, media exposure.

You can see the pictures from this piece here. Also, mid-article Joi Tyler, a Black model struggling to get runway work in Paris due to anti-Black racism, which the author mentions and then just… leaps right past?

Tune In, Drop Out, by Ann Babe for Rest of World, July 2020

In South Korea, an entire economy and subculture is building around “honjoks,” people who “prefer, out of pleasure or practicality — and, often, utter exhaustion and sheer desperation — to live outside of conventional social structures and simply be alone.

Peak Comfort, by Kathryn VanArendonk for Vulture, July 2020

On prestige TV vs. the new wave of comfort television, particularly suited for The Present Moment. (The author is a particular fan of The Baby-Sitters Club.)

How 2 Pandemics Made Way For A Reckoning In Black Media, by Taryn Finlet for The Huffington Post, July 2020

How Covid and the uprising against racialized Police Violence prompted a hard look at the treatment of Black writers in mainstream media and in Black media.

Who’s Afraid of Ziwe Fumudoh?, by E Alex Jung for Vulture, July 2020

An interview with the comedienne whose Instagram Live show “asks subjects disquieting questions about race.”

The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus, by Richard A. Oppel Jr, Robert Gebeloff, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Will Wright and Mitch Smith for The New York Times, July 2020

The New York Times had to sue the CDC for the data that revealed how “Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.”

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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 3179 articles for us.


  1. Could there be a hallowed day where we get an entirely cruise ship-themed TIRTL?

    Like also including throwbacks to ones where the cruise ship was possibly incidental like that one about the awful bitcoin entrepeneurs. And I know that great one about the lesbian journalist who went on an Olivia cruise and fell in love with an older butch was linked off AAA and not here, but I feel it bears re-linking.

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