It’s been about a month since I’ve taken a break, which was greatly needed—I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the first draft of my book (!!!!) as planned, and am riding that blissful high for a minute and letting it all marinate in my brain before I start editing. It feels very, very, very good, and as much as I missed doing this newsletter, the time for myself was good. I finally got back into journaling, which I’d woefully neglected to my own mental detriment. I didn’t realize how stretched I was until I took this time. I feel like I can breathe again.
That being said… I’ve decided that this newsletter will become a monthly thing. I don’t want to stop it entirely, but I just don’t have the bandwidth anymore to keep it up as a weekly. In taking this time off, I realized how much I wasn’t doing for myself. I’ve spent the past couple weeks, especially since my birthday (hello, I am a year older now!), doing a lot of self-assessment and self-inventory on my thoughts, feelings, where I am in life and where I want to go. It’s good work but hard work (as most good work is) and I’m very glad I’ve given myself some time back—I want to preserve it. I hope you all understand. (Now… does this mean I have to change the newsletter’s name? How ‘bout just “The Interwebs?” Suggestions welcome here.) I’m traveling to Spain and Portugal for 2.5 weeks soon, so you’ll get the next newsletter mid-September when I return. And it will have all the links and good things of the weekly editions, just at a slower pace.
Now, on to the good news. The past month I was also working very hard putting together… drumroll… THE BUZZED WORD LIVE!
Starting September 17th, I’m doing monthly wine-and-book clubs with McNally Jackson in NYC called Books & Bottles, with a wine tasting + lesson and a discussion of the selected book. For the first one, that’s The Ten Loves of Nishino by Haromi Kawakami—you can read an excerpt on Guernica now, and if you’re attending the event, buy it through McNally for 10% off. I’m TREMENDOUSLY excited, and I hope I’ll see all New York readers of this there.
But that’s not all! I’m also doing a one-off event in D.C. at Domestique Wines, one of my favorite shops ever, on October 11th. That one will feature a reading by author Rion Amilcar Scott; his book, The World Doesn’t Require You (out August 20th), is a terrific collection of short stories set in various times and following various characters in a fictional Maryland town that was the site of the first successful slave revolt. I’m very excited to host my first author Q&A with him; hopefully I’ll be bringing some authors to the New York version at some point, too. The best way to get updates on all this is to follow @thebuzzedword on Instagram, though I’ll send some through this newsletter as well. The full dates and the books for each event are at the bottom of this email—hope to see you there!
I hope you’re all having as good of a summer as you can, what with the news as it is. I know it’s hard—there’s some kind of violence almost every day, it seems. So make sure to take some mental time for yourself too, if you think you need it. <3
And as promised, here are (some of) the things I read in the past month:
BOOKS!: Mostly, I read books. My New Yorkers languished in a pile as I powered through quite a few titles, including the two for those Buzzed Word events. Best of them was Jia Tolentino’s book, Trick Mirror. It’s so fucking good that I bought two copies even though I already had gotten a review one. I’ve connected with her writing for years, moreso than with anyone else writing online today, and this book will crack your brain open on subjects around our presence in an online / fucked-up world and the presentation and inhabiting of a self in it. It so smartly interrogates everything about life today, I cannot recommend it enough. Also, Jia did literally all the press things for it, but my two favorites were this interview by her former co-editor Hayley Mlotek in SSense and her Longform podcast because they actually talked about very different things and were done by her longtime friends. Other books: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells: I’d been wanting to read this for a long time and it fucked. me. up. If you have any interest in or concern about climate change, READ IT. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, as damn fucking good as everyone said it was. A Prayer For Travelers by Ruchika Tomar: a debut novel thriller about two girls in nowhere Nevada, one of whom goes missing; a summer read, page-turning for sure.
Longreads: “The Radical Vision Of Toni Morrison”: A definitive profile from 2015 of the legend herself, by one of the best writers out there, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. “Nicolas Cage”: The absolutely BONKERS interview/profile in the Times magazine on Nick Cage was a gift from the Internet. Read it for his choice quotes on searching for the holy grail, buying an octopus, his debt, his deliberately weird persona, and so much more. “Whatever happened to Villanova basketball star Shelly Pennefather?”: An incredible story of the best woman’s basketball player of her generation who disappeared into a cloistered nunnery. “Ivanka Aeternum”: The New York cover story on Ivanka and her social climbing, and her pivot from liberal-adjacent New York society girl to totem of Republican whiteness was very interesting. “Elizabeth Warren’s Classroom Strategy”: Really loved this case for Warren as an excellent leader because she was a teacher—of law at Harvard, but also of Sunday school and elementary school kids. I’m getting to be more team Warren the more time goes on and the more I read about her. “
Culture: Rachel Riederer on FISH TUBE: “‘Life is like a hurricane.’ One imagines that the fish—minding his own business along a familiar river, all at once inhaled into an aerial tube—would agree. Yet is there not a strange peace to be found in surrendering to whatever chaos has plucked you from your personal mental river?” The caftan is sexy. The implications of Banana Republic now selling hijabs. Not a new concept but: Women’s greatest enemy is a lack of time to themselves. The dangerous problem of the “gamification” of everything. Pink strawberries and climate change. On the loss of Dean & Deluca, Barney’s, and other specialty retailers. “Want to look good in your wedding dress? Put it on. Walk down the aisle lined with everyone who loves you.” The absolutely most batshit Ask Polly of all time. David Berman made us feel less alone.
The whole new Chance album is great but this song, especially, rules. (I am also an enormous Death Cab fan.)
The Buzzed Word Live
September 17, McNally Jackson Williamsburg: The Ten Loves of Nishino by Haromi Kawakami
October 11, Domestique Wines D.C.: The World Doesn’t Require You by Rion Almicar Scott
October 28, McNally Jackson Williamsburg: Book to be announced
November 25, McNally Jackson Williamsburg: Book to be announced
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