185. READ.LOOK.THINK.

Julia Child's house on Airbnb, climate optimism (I know?!), death of romantic illusion, grandiosity and cruelty, 82 books I recc, wedding ring croutons, leaving your husband for a house.

Apparently you can stay in Julia Child's house in France and cook in her kitchen? (Airbnb).

Hi guys,

You might need this today: fighting climate change with optimism. There are no scary news items about climate linked here.

READ.

"I was in love and happy, but doubts simmered. I still occasionally fantasized about a man who would sip coffee with me and read novels in bed on our frequent trips to India. When I shared this with my therapist, she told me to 'have a funeral for the death of romantic illusion.'"

Clever Dolly Alderton mastering the "book promo personal essay" that feels intimate but is actually quite private.

"... but I believed, then, that the only route for women to success required grandiosity and cruelty…"

"Once you get sober, you become fully aware in every waking moment, and without the generous erasure of the blackout, you meet a million details demanding to be stored."

“Climate is politics. And climate novels are political novels. And politics is the negotiation of relations of power and relations of care.”

"What I admire most in [Janet] Malcolm’s writing is her ability to allow the fullness of her emotional life to flood her prose even when that prose is not addressing her emotional life directly. It reminds me that a writer’s personal investment in their work—unless that work is undertaken only for money—has a degree of helplessness about it. Your whole life is involved in everything you write, and that involvement will make itself felt on the page one way or another, whether you like it or not."

Currently reading: The new Liane! Cruel Optimism: when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Psychological roots of the climate crisis: Neoliberal exceptionalism and the culture of uncare

I took down my list of top pandemic reads to stockpile — it was stressing me to remember those early lockdown days! But people kept asking about it, so instead I did a list of 82 (??) amazing books I wholeheartedly recc, and here they are on Bookshop.

LOOK.

A post shared by @domsli22

Wedding ring croutons. / The woman who left her husband for a house (and you get to see the house.) / A secret garden.

Some new email newsletters: Eloise Rickman's Parenting Scrapbook. / Sonya Gee’s To all the recipes I've loved before. / Philamena (interiors, Charlotte Bland is on board, promises to be good.)

We watched Mare of Easttown! ❤️ Mare ❤️

THINK.

"I encourage them to seek out blankets. Run themselves baths. Make a warm drink. That sounds odd, but they’ve taught themselves, with my guidance, when and how to self-soothe. Things we would once have associated with femininity – wrapping yourself in a blanket, making yourself cosy – I’ve tried to help them do that without questioning whether or not it’s masculine. Otherwise I’m going to raise boys who are dependent on women to help them look after themselves." How to raise boys.

Being corrected by a salesperson, forgotten by a bartender, or brushed off by a flight attendant isn’t just an annoyance—for many people, it is an existential threat to their self-understanding. / Why people are so awful online.

“‘Very good,’ says [Bessel] van der Kolk. He says that he is too embedded in the trauma world to ask about how perceptions have changed, but likes the memes I read to him.” / "In depression memes, polyvocality allows the user to identify with any number of anxieties affectively represented by the memes without being authentically tied to them, under the guise of irony."

The Lizardman Constant. The time tax. The clapter.

“There can be a certain amount of anger on the part of cis women who live with a real discomfort in relationship to their embodiment: an anger at trans people taking the easy way out – though, of course, it’s not easy at all.”

“… by framing miscarriage as a taboo, we risk implying that talking is the only remedy required – or even all that can be done. It’s an approach that can unwittingly cover over all manner of data gaps, structural inequalities and inadequacies in medical care.”

"Her account is cringey in its many blind spots. She’s also hyperaware that it has blind spots. Does that mean we are not allowed to cringe?" The moral limits of anti-racist self-help.

"And let me tell you, playing cards with a drug dealer and being taught to roll out pizza dough with a broomstick by a mafiosa certainly puts things in a new perspective—one that doesn’t excuse people’s crimes, but puts them into context." Who owns Amanda Knox?

“As long as we weren’t girls, swots, oiks, wogs or queers, we could be jolly decent chaps. All those other categories were synonymous with weakness, to be joshed without mercy by the strong […] Everyone who was not us, a boy at a private boarding school from the late 70s to the early 80s, was beneath us. Obviously, we too were a minority, but of all the minorities we were the most important. Of course we were. We’d end up running the country.”

"A carceral impulse, of course, was foundational to the establishment of the Australian state." If you’re one of the lucky few to get into Australia, you might not be allowed to leave.

Sorry if there are one hundred typos in this, doing it quickly is the only way I can make this newsletter work for me!

Jess x