Things I Read That I Love #32: I’m Collecting You

HELLO and welcome to the 32nd 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 secret shoppers and book collecting! 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.

My Father’s Unholy Local Union (August 2004), by Doug Crandell for The Sun – If you can get past the hurdle of how much the last sentence of the first paragraph makes you want to spork your eyes out, this is a really interesting essay by a not-very-sympathetic narrator dealing with his father’s infidelity and other things.

Amber Waves of Green (July 2012), by Jon Ronson for GQ – “GQ sent Jon Ronson on a journey into the secret financial lives of six different people on the ladder, from a guy washing dishes for 200 bucks a week in Miami to a self-storage gazillionaire. What he found are some surprising truths about class, money, and making it in America.”

Uncomfortable in Our Own Skin: The Body Image Report (June 2012), by  Eva Wiseman for The Guardian: “…when I know that beauty is subjective, that nothing terrible would happen if I put on weight, when my desk is covered in annotated research on bodies, do I still feel bad about the way I look?”

Katie Holmes ‘Biggest Nightmare’ in Scientology History Say Experts (July 2012), by Dana Kennedy for The Hollywood Reporter – WHAT. Don’t tell me you weren’t really relieved about Katie Holmes and aren’t totally obsessed with how fucked up scientology is and are totally gonna read the article.

The Secret Shopper (June 2012) , by Willie Osterweil for The New Inquiry – Anybody who’s ever worked or is working in the service industry in any capacity, like retail or food service or anything, will appreciate knowing more about those omnipresent mystery shoppers.

When Lois Pearson Started Fighting Back (June 2012), by Michael J. Mooney for D Magazine – This is one of those sick fucks who like totally destroyed this poor woman, assault, rape, all the trigger warnings.

Open Letter From a Millenial: Quit Telling Us We’re Not Special (June 2012), by Sierra for The Phoenix & The Olive Branch:  “[David McCollough’s message to high school grads] doesn’t belong in an address to the generation who began running the rat race at age 4. It doesn’t apply to the generation that knows hard work guarantees nothing, that can’t hope to own a home before we have our own children, that pours coffee for other people’s parents for free in the name of gaining “work experience” through “internship.” David McCullough ought to have given that speech not to the graduates, but to their parents. We have not yet begun to shape the world: we are living in the one you created. And it’s killing us.”

The woman in the Facebook Frat House (June 2012), by Katherine Loose for The Wall Street Journal – “The author joined Facebook in 2005 as one of the first members of the company’s nascent customer-relations team. It was just a year since Mark Zuckerberg had moved Facebook’s headquarters from his Harvard dorm room to California. When she arrived, there were 50 employees working from a small office in downtown Palo Alto, and the collegiate culture remained thick. Here is some of what she remembers from those days.”

The Monster of Florence (July 2006), by Douglas Preston for The Atlantic “Between 1974 and 1985, seven couples—fourteen people in all—were murdered while making love in parked cars in the hills of Florence. The case was never solved, and it has become one of the longest and most expensive criminal investigations in Italian history.”

Death by Degrees (June 2012), by The Editors for n+1 – Interesting to think about. – “Americans have been affluent enough for long enough that it’s difficult to remember there was once a time when solidarity trumped the compulsion to rank. The inclusive vision that once drove the labor movement has given way to a guild mentality, at times also among unions, that is smug and parochial.”

My Life As a Bibliophile (June 2012), by Julian Barnes for The Guardian – I fear that when I finally live in a place I plan on staying for more than a year, that I will quickly fill the entire house with books. Which will be AWESOME!

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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 3183 articles for us.


  1. Katie Holmes is about to fuck shit up all over the place.

    their whole situation needs to be turned into a Quentin Tarantino film starring Katie Holmes revising her role as Joey Potter with guns strapped to her hips and Suri driving the low rider.

  2. I loved ‘life as a bibliophile, expected more from the Facebook piece, and The Secret Shopper made me grateful I don’t work in retail anymore.

  3. I LOVE “Quit Telling Us We’re Not Special”. I just graduated from high school, and I’m tired of adults who barely know me telling me how great my future is going to be. I wish they would read this and realize how terrifying it is to be told that you’re going to do great things. Like I need more pressure to succeed, on top of the worrying about whether the college degree I’m about to start pursuing will even help me get a job.

    • I also could totally relate to that article. I just graduated from college and don’t have a job, despite having applied to multiple jobs (and probably about to get some part-time work from people I did internships with). I live with my parents and haaaaate it. I just want to have a job and move out and they act like I don’t really want one and I’m lazy. They are telling me what to do all the time so I’m somehow always busy though never with anything actually interesting or productive! And like someone else said in the comments in that article, my parents told me not to get a job while at school (to focus on my education) and I now have no work experience, just internships… AND my mom still yells at me for being 22 and never paid for work!

      She’s asked me before, “Do you think my generation messed up the world for you?” and this is the first article I’ve read addressing that (so the first time I’ve ever thought about it), and I have to say, I have absolutely experienced what the author is talking about.

  4. Holy crap, the testimonies from ex-scientologists in the Hollywood Reporter piece are so scary. I knew that they brainwash people and steal all their money and are generally an evil cult, but child labor?? Sequestration? Separating kids from their parents for YEARS? Why aren’t they all behind bars yet! WTF!

    I usually don’t care about celebrities’ lives, but damn I really hope Katie Holmes will win her custody battle and manage to keep her daughter away from these psychos.

  5. “I fear that when I finally live in a place I plan on staying for more than a year, that I will quickly fill the entire house with books. Which will be AWESOME!”

  6. Hey, here’s an interesting rejoinder article to the “Open Letter from a Millenial”. It was written in response to Esquire’s Millenial vs. Boomer article (featured on an earlier “Things That I Read…”). If you get past the Exile-talk, it makes a salient point about generational conflict versus class conflict. It’s cathartic to rage against our parents, teachers, bosses etc. because they’re the most salient representatives of the failed system we’ve endured. But most of those people are victims of the same system as well, albeit in different ways and degrees. The primary sources of our current scarcity aren’t the Boomers, per se, but economic elites who have corrupted our system in order to accumulate as much wealth as possible. Simply attacking the previous generation will mean fighting over what little resources we have left instead of, say, demanding an end to that corruption and restitution for the myriad of injustices committed, while at the same time perpetuating the class system that’s taken so much from us in the first place.

  7. “Amber Waves of Green” was the most accessible, cogent thing I’ve read on the topic of income disparity. Everyone should read it. Political rhetoric on both sides has the nasty habit of removing human faces from the conversation, but individual testimonies like the ones in this piece make the whole situation much clearer, more digestible, and infinitely more urgent.

    That said, in like 100 years, I think people will be totally BEWILDERED by the fact that there was a time in the United States when healthcare wasn’t universal (a la the UK), taxes weren’t hefty for the rich and lighter for the middle class, and the idea of the US as some perfect, untainted meritocracy wasn’t considered complete bullshit.

  8. I didn’t find the narrator in My father’s unholy union to be particularly unsympathetic, its a weird thing to see your family like that

    The Lois Pearson story was legitimately one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. I can’t believe that guy managed to escape jail so many times or convince those other women to be with him.

    I loved reading about the mystery shoppers. We have them where I work, although they can’t fire you over them or anything. I always sort of vaguely wonder who they are though.

  9. It took me approximately two profiles in to the “Amber Waves of Green” piece to start getting incredulous and pissed off at the people profiled (/the author). I’m trying to work on that part of my character. The 5x steps are very revealing, though, of wealth in America — obviously the rich seem really overrepresented, and it reveals how much damn money is compressed into a small population.

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