All The Best Things I Read On Summer Holiday
One of my favourite things about being on holiday is the luxury of reading at a slower pace.
I’m a naturally slow reader – in the time it takes you to read four pages I might only get through two. And yet throughout the year I always feel the pressure to read quickly. Mostly because I’ve got shit to do. Deadlines to meet. Articles of my own to write. And so whenever I’m on vacation I make a point to read at my own comfortable, biologically-decided, snail pace.
Here are all the best things I read over the summer.
Robin Givhan’s piece for the Washington Post on the significance of the fashion choices made by newly elected congresswomen in the US on the day they were sworn in. From why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chose a white pant suit, red lipstick and gold hoop earrings, to Rashida Tlaib’s Palestinian thobe in honour of her mother, “Fashion was not merely a footnote, it was a rallying cry.” This gave me goosebumps.
‘Can A Designer Be a Fashion Critic?’ on SSENSE.com was a great read. SSENSE editor (and my all-time favourite writer) Durga Chew-Bose, interviewed fashion designer Recho Omondi about redefining luxury and her bold new podcast, ‘The Cutting Room Floor’ which has been garnering praise and attention. I started listening to the podcast at the start of summer and was both fascinated and startled by Omondi’s candid and confronting interview-style. She asks plainly in one episode, “What the hell does Vogue stand for?”.
I’m still working through Zadie Smith’s collection of non-fiction essays called ‘Changing My Mind’ which was first published in 2009. Reading essay collections is one of my favourite ways to read because no piece is too daunting in size or scope. In this one, Zadie covers everything from attending the Oscars to British comedy to Obama and her favourite literature.
Frank Ocean’s cover story for GQ was heaven in every direction. As if his pitch-perfect floral Prada turtleneck, sad eyes and sweet smile weren’t enough, Frank waxed lyrical about his love of skincare: “I need the night cream because when I wake up I feel very beautiful, moisturised and ready to have people make eye contact with me.”
Anyone interested in the power of manifesting should read this New York Times piece about a Stanford University study on how our beliefs surrounding our bodies, capabilities and limitations might be more influential than our genetics. Meaning, if you tell someone they are prone to weight gain or bad digestion or skin issues, there is a good chance those things will manifest – regardless of whether you told them the truth.
Harling Ross’s essay for Man Repeller on why being “needy” isn’t such a bad thing is a particularly poignant read for women, since it is a term more frequently associated with our gender than the opposite. Harling used to resent her needs, dilute them, ignore them, feel unworthy of having them. She’s now changing that relationship, and at the same time understanding their function: “To spark the special variety of electricity that propels us forward.”
And lastly, if you were one of the bazillion people who read Kristen Roupenian’s viral short story “Cat Person” on The New Yorker last year, then her interview on The Cut about her upcoming book is a fascinating read. It’s a long-form interview that dives into Kristen’s desire to make her readers uncomfortable and how “Cat Person” expanded the #MeToo movement beyond just a cultural conversation about nonconsensual sex to also cover the female experience of sex and pleasure.