Things I Read That I Love #317: One Moment Could Be Ecstatic and The Next Perilous

HELLO and welcome to the 317th 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 Choose Your Own Adventure novels!! 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.

I’m realizing that I stuff so many articles into this as a monthly that maybe I should just go back to biweekly? But I’ve been reading so many books and less articles so I dunno!!!

We’re All Living in the Bathroom Now, by Annabel Paulsen for Electric Lit, April 2020

I wonder what it means to be still, beyond physicality, now. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, I feel I am in that train car again, time hurtling past me while I can do nothing to catch it. I am in some version of the Doldrums, involuntarily sloth-like; nothing is happening, yet everything is. I cannot piece together one day from another. I can’t sleep on my couch because I don’t have it, but it wouldn’t even matter if I did. The chaos is internal.

Soho House Is Ready for Our Hedonistic, Champagne-Soaked Post-Pandemic Boom, by Aaron Gell for Marker, March 2021

That said, Soho House is not just a party palace. It’s an upscale archipelago, a hotel chain, a snug garrison for a pampered urban elite, a restaurant group, a digital play, a celebrity refuge, a coworking juggernaut, a royal love nest, a lifestyle brand, an elitist throwback, a gated community, and a state of mind.

Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene, by Caitlin Flanagan for The Atlantic, April 2021

On the most exclusive private schools in the country and their impact on higher education and eventually all of us!!!!!

GME, Doge, Supreme: How Getting Rich Went Full Internet, by Felix Salmon for Wealth Simple, March 2021

Honestly the most compelling part of this is the impact of the 2008 financial bust on how everybody thought about wealth and investing to begin with.

1979: The Cave of Time, by Aaron A Reed for 50 Years of Text Games, March 2021

I fucking LOVED THE CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE BOOKS SO MUCH!! Even just reading about them I got that feeling, an intense sense-memory, of the joy I experienced reading these books.

I Turn My Camera On, by Marlowe Granados for The Bafler, November 2020

On the aesthetics of TikTok.

Reviewing the Book Review, by Parul Sehgal for The New York Times, February 2021

A survey of the past 125 years of the New York Times Book Review — the voices it championed, the voices it silenced, the way books by non-white non-male non-straight authors were discussed and judged.

Girls, Uninterrupted, by Nancy Jo Sales for Vanity Fair, September 2002

Wow this was a deep blastoff to the past!!!! I went to a few of these parties in New York, hearing that they were like great parties for bi-curious girls in their twenties, but didn’t realize it was part of this whole thing that almost reads like a satire of itself at this point. But is also interesting to think about w/r/t the context of the Britney documentary that everybody has been DISCUSSING. (also i found it easier to read in the actual scan of the magazine but you need to be on a computer for that)

The Way We Worked Out, by Kate Dwyer for The New York Times, February 2021

I would like to add “fitness industry history” to the list of topics I am very interested in.

The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers, by Alec MacGillis for ProPublica, March 2021

Man, this was so sad!!! One of the most “grabbed my attention” pieces I read this week.

Bad Form: Sexual Abuse and Ambiguity on “A Teacher”, by Anna Krauthamer for The Los Angeles Review of Books, February 2021

This Hulu show was such a strange watch, and this digs right into that.

Aestheticized with all lower-case font, the first disclaimer cautions viewers that disturbing content, including grooming, will follow, and the second reminds viewers that if they’ve been groomed, help is available. These warnings circumvent the perils of depicting abuse onscreen, specifically its ambiguities and ambivalences, its ostensible status as something less extreme (and definite) as outright assault, and finally, abuse’s tricky narrative double vision — how its fictional object might continuously register what’s happening to him differently than the viewers who watch it happening. The warnings, in other words, make things easier by telling us how to read.

Beige Ambition, by Matthew Schneier for New York Magazine, March 2021

Did you know that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen had a very popular upscale fashion brand called The Row that is (was?) like a thing? I for one did not!

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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 3229 articles for us.


  1. Oh god, I read so many CYOA books as a kid (first one was Outlaws of Sherwood Forest). Fittingly, I feel like they were a gateway to so many life-affecting things for me that I feel comfortable hyperbolising that I would not be here commenting today without them.

    ALSO I don’t feel like this subject can be mentioned without referencing Xenaworrierprincess’s Choose Your Own Dykeventure zines which are pure genius.

    • The article’s description of The Row as a “wealthy woman’s Uniqlo” truly is spot-on when it comes to the brand’s style, isn’t it ?

      • Yes, agreed!

        I read this piece about a week ago when my sister sent it to me (we watched Our First Video until the vhs broke) and have not been able to get out of my mind the woman who spent $30,000 on identical crewknit pullover sweaters.

  2. I just started to read “She/He/They/Me” by Robyn Ryle which surprised me as a CYOA book. it is great, can recommend!

  3. Helen lewis is a terf so I would be suspicious of anything she writes that decries people “hoaxing identities not their own”

  4. I’ve thought many times how grateful I am not to be a teenager in this pandemic. It must be so tough.

  5. I knew almost immediately after starting the article about teenagers in the pandemic how it was going to end, yet I kept reading anyway. My kids are younger (11 and 7) and are thankfully doing okay, but it’s been hard.

    My older kid was in 5th grade last year when schools shut down. We had no advance warning. They went to school on Friday, March 13th, then over the weekend the city put out an announcement that schools were closed effective immediately, and they never ended up going back. All the 5th graders, most of whom had been in the same school since kindergarten, suddenly never got to set foot in their elementary school again or say goodbye to any of their teachers. It was hard and there were tears when we all realized they were not going back at all that school year. Now she’s in 6th grade, at a new school that she’s never set foot in being taught over Zoom by teachers she’s never met in person. She doesn’t know what half the kids in her class look like, because they never turn on their cameras. We’re surviving, and she’ll make it through this school year, but I pray they can all go back to school full time in the fall. We’re cautious and wary of COVID, being in NYC, but the kids are definitely suffering.

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