Things I Read That I Love #315: The Cult Thing Was Real, But In a Positive Way

HELLO and welcome to the 315th 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 sofa trends of the 1970s!! 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.

Good news everybody — Things I Read That I Love is now back on an official schedule so you can expect it every month, not every other month! Once again, I found myself astounded to realize that I’ve spent the past two months reading books and The New York Times but not as much longform as I used to. Don’t worry I made up for lost time.

The Fall Is Hard—Just Look at All the Art That’s Been Made About It, by Rebecca Brown for The Stranger, September 2014

Fall’s also a season when someone can fall out of love. It’s gradual and sad, or wild and thrashing, but always a beginning of an end. Was it something you did? A way you became disappointing? Or were you just stupid to think someone could love you? Did someone who once considered you novel get bored? Had they been mistaken to think you were worthy of love? Were you a fool to hope you maybe were? What’s wrong with you? Or how can someone not love the way one did?

No Shelter, by Lizzie Feidelson for n+1, Fall 2020

This was really great. I think the writer just hung out with this girl and her friends for a few weeks — they’re all queer — as they navigated being unhoused in the spring thick of the pandemic in New York City.

The Story of Your Grandma’s Weird Couch, by Lisa Hix for Collector’s Weekly, August 2018

Mid-century modern was cool in the actual Mid-century and a few ensuing decades, but it wasn’t technically popular — more common were traditional, practical, overly decorated Early American stuff one designer calls “Mid-Century Modest.” I got lost in all the links here, I could look at old pictures of houses forever maybe?? By the time I got to the end of this I was like, I have been on a full museum-esque journey, thank you so much, I had a wonderful time.

The Journalist and the Pharma Bro, by Stephanie Clifford for Elle, December 2020

I… have no idea what is happening here, like what is…. going on with this woman???

‘Heroes’ Was Supposed to Be Leonard Roberts’ Big Break. Instead, It Nearly Broke Him, by Leonard Roberts fo Variety, December 2020

The real reason D.L’s character barely lasted a season’s worth of episodes.

The Man Who Turned Credit-Card Points Into an Empire, by Jamie Lauren Keiles for The New York Times, December 2020

Honestly more interesting than the story of this specific guy and his website (which I am familiar with, and perhaps you are too) is the history of credit cards and incentive programs.

Anthony Bourdain Does Not Want to Owe Anybody Even a Single Dollar, by Anthony Bourdain for WealthSimple, March 2017

They do these Money Diaries, which I enjoy, I like knowing how other people do money. It was weird to see one by him on the front page, of course when clicking on it I realized it was a 2017 post they’d re-upped. I related to a lot of this, oddly!

The Cruise Ship Suicides, by Austin Carr with Zoltan Simon and K. Oahn Ha for Bloomberg Business Week, December 2020

Keeping you abreast, always, of the latest from the ships — what happens when the exploitative cruise ship industry traps its employees in tiny rooms with one window and two hours of fresh air a day?

How SoulCycle Lost Its Soul, by Alex Abad-Santos for Vox, December 2020

“It’s impossible to scale exclusivity.”

The Store That Called the Cops on George Floyd, by Aymann Ismail for Slate, October 2020

What happens next for CUP Foods, the family-owned store at the center of it all?

The Word of God, by God Shammgod for The Player’s Tribune, December 2020

I’ve been watching a lot of basketball documentaries on ESPN+. I grew up absolutely obsessed with basketball and baseball, and that faded after my Dad died and I got older. Every time I get back into a good basketball story it feels so good and fun. Like this one about one of the greatest ball handlers in NBA history (despite his short career in the NBA — he mostly played out of the U.S) and growing up in Harlem and learning basketball and there’s a lot of fun cameos in it!

The Reigning Queen of Pandemic Yoga, by Molly Young for The New York Times, November 2020

I guess I could’ve known, on some level, just by the numbers, that Adriene was not my own private yoga teacher, but here it is in black and white — everybody is doing yoga with Adriene?

The Year in Self-Improvement, by Kai Cheng Thom for Hazlitt, December 2020

Of course, I didn’t believe that other people should be held to an absurd standard of self-improvement in response to the pandemic. On the other hand, there was no reason that I, Kai Cheng Thom, Queen of the Universe and Mistress of All She Surveys, Priestess of the Old Religion, and Breaker of Chains, ought not to be, right?

What Did Emile Weaver Know?, by Alex Ronan for Elle, January 2020

Why did their sorority sister hide her pregnancy, and then kill her baby?

Fran Lebowitz vs. the World, by Wendy Goodman for Curbed, January 2021

Have you guys watched the series? God I loved it.

I would say that at least for ten, maybe more years of my life, I was out all night, every single night, and that has not been true for many, many years, obviously, but, and then when I am not out, though, I am completely solitary. I loathe domestic life; probably one of the greatest accomplishments for any lesbian is to live by themselves their entire life. Because no, guess what, unh-unh–I so hate domestic life. I don’t want anyone in my house that I don’t know when they are leaving, so [laughing] I don’t want there to be anyone else in the house.

An Oral History of Wikipedia, The Web’s Encyclopedia, by Tom Roston for OneZero, January 2021

One of the things I loved about Halt and Catch Fire was remembering about that huge chunk of years when we navigated the internet by directories rather than by search, and here we can read about how Wikipedia grew out of, in part, an attempt to make an open-source version of Yahoo!. (Apparently these guys also invented the Web Ring!) Also I love this: “My younger sister, she was in seventh grade, had written a little report about Pablo Neruda. So, I took her school report and turned it into the Wikipedia article on Pablo Neruda.”

Flimsy plastic knives, a single microwave, and empty popcorn bags: How 50 inmates inside a Michigan prison prepared a feast to celebrate the life of George Floyd, by Tana Ganeva for The Counter, August 2020

“That cold pop was a game changer,” Thompson said. “Because, for some of them, this was their first time drinking a pop in many years.”

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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. Hello, I have not read any of these yet but I needed to get in early to state my excitement over the cruise ship updates, Adriene (really why haven’t we had lengthy discourse about her already), and the overall quantity of excellent-looking stuff here, prompting me to write off doing anything useful this weekend.

  2. “Yoga with Adriene” (with only one “n”) accompanies me since the beginning of the pandemic and this has done me so much good – and of course I learned about her through Autostraddle :)

  3. a thing that i love about autostraddle is being able to count on it that Riese will find a way to mention HCF every once in a while. a little happy thing e v e r y time.

      • dunno. but if they did, then they would have something to love, too. that is how people start to be happy. and that is how we get to world peace. so …

  4. Stacey Griffith definitely gets Hamptons housewives knickers in a twist!!! She’s onto her second wife who divorced her husband for Stacey-the star Soul Cycle instructor. She’s with the founder of Milly. Also Kell’ R!p@ was a rumored paramour as well. cheerio lezzies

    • I found that article just left me with more questions than answers, especially because the journalist herself doesn’t yet have insight (if she ever will).

      Why does anyone want to sabotage their own life? What did she project onto him? Why was she so determined to win this sociopath’s love, and what could that be compensating for? So much of this story would make more sense if we knew a lot more about that her childhood.

      • right! there was a follow-up interview also on Elle but even after reading that i was like …….. I still don’t understand what is going on here!

  5. When I started reading “The Story of your Grandma’s Weird Couch” I was like, not my grandmothers! Neither of them had a couch with those outrageously weird western prints on them.

    And then I scrolled down and there was this red and green tartan couch and whelp, I recognize the fabric! My mother’s parents had a ridiculously uncomfortable living room set (couch and chair) in that exact same pattern.

  6. I have read the journalist and the pharmabro , and I am also very confused.
    It was all so sad? Her saying “Doesn’t he look human there?” made me let out a sad giggle.

      i was like “surely i will understand by the end of this piece” and folks, i do not

  7. Huh, who knew that the Grandma Couch was essentially a pop culture reference of its time. It’s like as if people today had imagery from idk, Game of Thrones on their living room furniture.

    My grandparents did not have that particular couch, but they did have a satin-finish floral one whose fabric was so slick you’d slide right off of it unless you were properly anchored.

  8. I also find it hard to believe that Adriene is not my closet personal friend who also teaches me yoga.

  9. Yay TIRTIL! I don’t always read the articles, but I like to open them in another tab and think that I will!

    I’m glad Autostraddle is covering the Yoga with Adriene beat. I’ve been following her for years. She’s just the best.

  10. that whole entire grandma’s couch article and never once did anybody use the word ‘davenport’

    • Haha, YES! Both of my grandmothers called them ‘davenports’

      Also, fun fact: the Sears bedroom set in the final gallery was my parents literal bedroom set for years! I still have and use the rightmost dresser every day 🤣 (we’re trying to find a suitable replacement now that it’s falling apart…)

      • Amazing! Gonna have to start calling them davenports when I turn 60 just so my grandkids have a quirk to remember me by

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