Reading list: Smart, poignant, beautiful, true, and ridiculous things other people wrote

Things that have made me guffaw in public:

Furiously happy [audiobook]. This book is the most hilarious books which reflects all of the most ridiculous things. It is about depression, but also about taxidermied raccoons riding house cats, and glitter-eating monkeys. I am sure the print version would be a delight, but I highly recommend the audiobook version, read by the author, which has just the right inflections for these stories.

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The Guilty Feminist podcast: When you put a wonderful UK and a Danish comedian into a room to take on feminist “challenges” the results are usually magical, often ridiculous, sometimes touching, but always worth a listen.

My dad wrote a porno podcast: Not actually. Well, not that I know of. But someone else’s dad wrote a porno, and he reads it aloud on his podcast, deconstructed with two friends. Disturbing, amusing, and the sort of thing that may cause you to guffaw aloud in public as you listen to the episodes, while always afraid your headphones will accidently unplug just as they are deconstructing whether or not one can “grab a cervix” (note: you can’t, without specialized equipment really).

Things that resonated with me:

When breath becomes air: Ouf. This is a heavy one. A beautiful, powerful, but heavy one. I have followed the blog “A Cup of Jo” for several years now, and learned about this book, as the blogger is the sister-in-law of Paul Kalanithi (author of this heartbreakingly beautiful memoir). It took me a while to read it (more accurately, took me a while to feel like I was in a good enough place to read a book that I knew had a tragic end). This is not a spoiler, as you learn in the foreword, this bright, young neurosurgeon resident with a new baby and a terminal cancer diagnosis has died. Can’t recommend highly enough (but also can’t promise that you won’t weep.

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Ask Polly: Ask Polly is a NY Mag advice column written by Heather Havrilesky. It is a weekly constant source of wisdom, her points often punctuated with profanity, but she doesn’t mince words. She is a modern sage, with poignant reflections on how the world works. Most weeks, get myself a hot cup of coffee and open that week’s installment of real talk. Some weeks, I am not emotionally equipped for the inevitable truth bombs, so I let it sit in my rss feed, waiting for me to steel myself for the truth. I usually drag my besties in, sending snippets of the most recent article that hit closest to home.

On true friendship (from How do I dump my crappy best friend):

But you know what? Some people will welcome your garbage. You’ll knock on their door, feeling small, and they’ll welcome you in and they’ll make you tea and they’ll say, “Let’s go out back, where you can dump all that garbage onto the ground and we can sort through it together.”

On relationships (From “Why am I always too much for men“:

Stop torturing yourself. Go out with men who are present, who are interested, who want more, not less. When someone reminds you “I can’t do this, you care too much,” listen to that person. And instead of trying to care less, say, “I agree, I care too much. I am in too deep.” Protect yourself. Don’t sleep around if you tend to feel worse afterward. Do things that make you feel stronger, not weaker. Tolerate that “meh” space, but don’t linger there…

So stop asking for water and then pretending it’s wine. Ask for wine. And if your wine tastes like water, send that shit back! Don’t pretend that you didn’t want wine in the first place. DON’T FUCK THE DUDE WITH THE WATER AND THEN TELL HIM ALL YOUR SECRETS.

Ask for wine. Don’t be embarrassed that you want wine. Just say “I am someone who drinks wine now. Nothing else will do. It’s okay if you can’t give it to me. I will find someone who will, or I will make it myself. I am good and strong and I can do lots of things. I am beautiful and broken and I deserve this.

And she has endless advice on just how to be a person in the world (which happens to be the title of her book, which I read and recommend, but not for any ardent Ask Polly fans, as it is a collection of her essays, many of which I have already read before. I also found a non-stop barrage of intense life advice to be a bit too much for me to handle in one (or two or three) sittings. I think the bite-sized weekly installments are just right for me.

Here is an assortment of some other articles that I really liked and you might also enjoy:  

Friendship in a world made for couples

Fuck yes or no

Being single is hard

And then, my current obsession:

You can also see other books I liked (and didn’t like) on my Goodreads account (where I am giving myself an enthusiastic self-five for thoroughly surpassing my 2016 reading goal!)

Hope you are having a magical week!!


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