All The Best Things I Read On Summer Vacation

08.01.20

It’s so much easier to read on vacation. Am I right or am I right?

There’s something about the physical act of *leaving* your house or place of work to go somewhere new that affords you the mental capacity to digest a book or an article or an essay better. Or have I just complicated it? You know what I mean though. It’s like, there’s more room in my physical surroundings therefore there’s more room in my brain to fill it with whatever I want. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the speed with which I read on vacation completely surpasses the speed with which I read at any other point during the year. Both speeds are offensively slow, by the way. Infants read faster than I do. Your dog reads faster.

I finally finished Sweet Sorrow by David Nichols; a coming-of-age story about first love, being a teenager, the confusions of family life (namely coming to terms with our parents own humanity), and that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it feeling of being young and hopeful. Charlie’s account of his fathers depression (which Charlie and his family spend the majority of the book refusing to name) was particularly affecting, but my favourite line in the book comes when Charlie is recounting, retrospectively, just how much concern and anxiety plagued his adolescence: “The greatest lie that age tells about youth is that it’s somehow free of care, worry or fear. Good God, doesn’t anyone remember?”

I’m now pumping through Ronan Farrow’s Catch & Kill (while simultaneously devouring his podcast of the same name – if you haven’t listened, start now). The book chronicles the series of extraordinary events that led up to the explosive article Farrow published in the New Yorker in October 2017 exposing Harvey Weinstein – work for which he, along with The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, shared a Pulitzer Prize. Last week I went back to Farrow’s original New Yorker piece and found it even more fascinating two years later, in the wake of everything we know now.

Monica Heisey wrote a funny and clever piece for The New York Times on why she no longer trusts herself – or possibly any woman  – based on how often she engages in contradictory behavior: “I attend therapy for 50 minutes a week but spend as much time reading tweets by people I know dislike me. I know too much about my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriends. I buy headbands.” Also in the realm of funny and clever was this Man Repeller piece by Molly Conway on replacing self-care with “self-parenting”. You’ll love it.

The Ask Polly column on The Cut is one of the most intimately human and perfect corners of the Internet, and it’s January 1st submission about a reader who “lost her joy” made me reexamine my own understanding of joy, and consider when and how I allowed myself to get so damn serious all of a sudden (New Years Reso: find it, reclaim it). And on the beauty front, Into The Gloss broke down all the skincare buzzwords for 2020 including five exciting new ingredients to know about. For those with sensitive skin, apparently there’s a new retinol-alternative called “bukachiol” that we should all be v. excited about.

David Wallace-Wells’ piece for The Intelligencer helped me to understand why it took the global news media So! Long! to start covering the Australian bushfires with the intensity or urgency they deserved. Wallace-Wells chalked it up to two main reasons: the duration of this climate horror (two months and counting) allowed people to normalise it even as it continued to unfold and, secondly, the world is moving towards “a system of disinterest defined by ever smaller circles of empathy”. Essentially suggesting that we are now only able to access basic human empathy when we can directly see how it will impact our own lives. Devastating.

And finally, if the thought of a new year is still too much for your (although it’s technically the second week of January so it’s probs time to face the music), then why not read about 2019 in retrospect or the simple ways readers are saving the planet, or job rejection or birth control or the US Democratic primary or Summer Friday’s Vitamin C serum. Because it may be a new decade but I’m still trying to fade the acne scars on my chin thank you for your prayers.


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