Things That I Read That I Love #186: As If They Had Just Been Waiting For Us To Ask

HELLO and welcome to the 186th 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 cult murders! 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.

The Mother of All Questions, by Rebecca Solnit for Harper’s, October 2015

Rebecca Solnit KILLLING IT as usual. Why do people think women need children to be happy and actually why do we think people need to be happy, period?

Questions about happiness generally assume that we know what a happy life looks like. Happiness is understood to be a matter of having a great many ducks lined up in a row — spouse, offspring, private property, erotic experiences — even though a millisecond of reflection will bring to mind countless people who have all those things and are still miserable… We are constantly given one-size-fits-all recipes, but those recipes fail, often and hard. Nevertheless, we are given them again. And again and again.

Bernie Sanders, the Populist Prophet, by Margaret Talbot for The New Yorker, October 2015

As a socialist, I’m really interested in this man as a candidate, and this was a really great look into his story and platform and made me realize I really didn’t know anything about him at all, and now I do, and feel like it’s a good start towards figuring out who I’m gonna vote for.

I’ll Cover You, by Melissa Febos for The New York Times, July 2012

…I could never have imagined this: accompanying someone I love through the labyrinthine annals of treatment for a disease that the medical establishment doesn’t yet understand. I never imagined asking for so much help. And I certainly never imagined having to pull a melted bandage off a tube that entered in a small hole in my lover’s arm and led straight to her heart. But there I was. And I could do it, because I had to.

The Believers: Cult Murders in Mexico, by Guy Garcia for Rolling Stone


The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, by Tah-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic, October 2015

Like Coates’ story on reparations, this is one of those game-changing must-read stories of the decade that everybody living in America should read. (In addition to reading The New Jim Crow, which addresses the same issue, although in this piece Coates briefly mentions his mixed opinion on that book’s conclusions.) If you read TIRTL every week you’ve likely read a lot on this topic but I promise there’s stuff in here you don’t already know.

They Built It, No One Came, by Penelope Green for The New York Times, May 2015

These two gay guys decided to start a commune for people with similar ideologies but they turned out to be more alone in those ideologies than they perhaps had anticipated.

“Their ideals were lofty but simple: They would live off the land, farming with Colonial-era tools, along with a band of like-minded men dressed in homespun robes wielding scythes and pickaxes. They would sleep in atmospheric log cabins and other 18th-century structures that they had rescued from the area and that they began to reconstruct, painstakingly, brick by crumbling brick and log by log.”

Amaris Tyynismaa: The Human Body Is A Miracle, The Human Body Is A Curse, by Duncan Murrell for Highline, May 2015

A unique, gorgeous story about an extraordinary runner who is a young woman and finds running to be the only escape she can obtain from her Tourettes. Highline itself is a pretty cool project, too.

Dreamgirls, Nine, and the Greatest Face-Off in Tony Award History, by Michael Riedel for Vanity Fair

This surprisingly compelling article (but only b/c I’m so into musical theater) inspired me to look into “Nine,” a rare case of a musical I know nothing about and… what the HELL?? That plot sounds TERRIBLE, like such a misogynist circle-jerk festival. I know there are other musical theater buffs who read this column and I need you to explain this to me. How the fuck did that stupid story become a musical and then a movie and how on EARTH did it win a Tony over Dreamgirls?

The Passion of Nicki Minaj, by Vanessa Grigoriadis for The New York Times, October 2015

Addressing Cyrus, she told me: ‘‘The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects black women makes me feel like you have some big balls. You’re in videos with black men, and you’re bringing out black women on your stages, but you don’t want to know how black women feel about something that’s so important? Come on, you can’t want the good without the bad. If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us. You shouldn’t not want to know that.’’

Ina Garten Does It All Herself, by Choire Sicha for Eater, October 2015

Mostly I read this because Choire wrote it but about mid-article I was like, well, this is the life. 

This Never Happened, by Rachel Kincaid for A+, October 2015

This is behind the A+ silver/gold paywall because it is something about her family Rachel can’t talk about publicly, but it’s just wonderful, and I hope that if you can, you join A+ and read it, or if you’ve already joined, that you read it, because it’s wonderful.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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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 3212 articles for us.


  1. Have only read the first piece so far, but omg my heart. It really got at a lot of the things I feel re: love. Especially this bit “While many people question the motives of the childless, who are taken to be selfish for refusing the sacrifices that come with parenthood, they often neglect to note that those who love their children intensely may have less love left for the rest of the world.” I often feel that if I were to have kids, I wouldn’t be able to continue doing the job I do which is inherently intensive in terms of emotional labor.

  2. I must be impulsive because I signed up for A+ just to read Rachel’s piece but I was bronze and then I tried to upgrade just to read Rachel’s piece and it still thinks I’m bronze and won’t let me see it and in general I do want to be bronze but this month I want to be silver. To read Rachel’s piece. :-P Oh well, best-laid plans and all that!

      • just kidding, cee’s email is broken because our server decided to send her 57,000 emails today! you should try logging out and logging back in, try restarting your browser, and if that still doesn’t work then e-mail us again and let us know and we’ll figure out if the problem is with the server.

        • “Did you try turning it off and turning it back on again”

          My life, forever, at work, and yet somehow I can’t do it with my own stuff???

          Yes, lol, logging out worked. Thank you Reise!

  3. I would love to live on a gay self sufficient commune but I want to wear normal underpants and have a fridge. Saving Bernie Sanders to read tomorrow.

  4. This is great.

    And Rachel’s A+ piece *clutches heart* — totally worth the A+ membership.

    Thank-you! Thank-you!

  5. Enjoy reading about Tommy Tune as a director, since I am really only familiar with him in Hello, Dolly! Another movie filled with great behind-the-scenes drama – Walter Matthau hated Barbra Streisand and they clashed constantly. Still can’t believe Streisand was only 27 when she performed that role – she doesn’t look old, but she looks mature in a certain way.

  6. Ehe hehe of course the thing that makes Riese go “WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK” is something I’ve read already that reminded of a sorta mayombero type of gang from a Post-Zombie Apocalypse Reconstucted Era webcomic.
    I’d say what they do that makes them murder cult-y, but I think it might be upsetting and I don’t want to be that person.

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