Last week was... exhausting, as most weeks after a holiday tend to be. Compared to the complete break that Thanksgiving offered, balancing work with puppy and tons of other life things felt like being thrown into cold water and not remembering how to swim. I have a tendency to give 100 percent of myself, my time, and my energy, but I've been trying to get better about advocating for myself—letting Jonah know when I just need a second and carving out time for something unproductive to everything but my mental health. This weekend, after catching up on some work and personal to-dos, I cooked a meal for myself that did not include turkey, went on a long hike with an audiobook, and read an entire New Yorker with Toast on my lap. Here are a few other things I loved this week:
I may be the last person to read (okay, technically I listened to the audiobook) Isabel Wilkerson's brilliant and important book, Caste, a deeply engrossing and disturbing piece about what Wilkerson calls America's "hidden caste system." While I'd previously associated "castes" with the system in India, Wilkerson shines a light on America's two castes—essentially white and Black. She reveals that Nazis studied segregation in America to cast out Jews in Germany, and even weaves in the impact of the coronavirus. If you live in America—or think you would have spoken out for persecuted people during WWII—this book is a must-read, and provides even more examples of racism's poisonous, systemic roots.
Back when I tried watching the first season Fargo, I couldn't get past the first episode. It felt like a strange version of the '96 film I love a lot (like, so much that one of my college application essays was, "Why I Love the Coen Brothers' Film, Fargo"). Fortunately, the series is an anthology—so season 2 is entirely different and, though slow to start, one of my favorite things I watched this year. The cast is incredible and includes Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons (who fell in love on set!), Ted Danson, and Cristin Milioti. Once it gets going, by the third episode, it's nearly impossible to turn away—the character development alone is worth watching, as a hit-and-run goes terribly, terribly awry.
Megan Kimble's Unprocessed begins with a working definition of the word "processed," as anything she couldn't conceivably make in her own home. Peanut butter? Fine. White sugar? No way you can bleach that at home. Bread? As long as you can grind wheat berries into flour! In it, Kimble documents a year she spent eating unprocessed foods, on a graduate student budget in a major city—something I read, because I'm interested in doing it myself! While I haven't fully gone unprocessed yet (see the cereal I ate for breakfast), I felt inspired enough by Kimble's funny, honest book to make some immediate changes in my buying and eating habits.
I've never loved that my phone's home screen is a mess of attention-grabbing colors and notifications, so I was quickly inspired by @ihonestlyloved's DIY using Widgetsmith for a much more calming screen. It took about thirty minutes to get everything looking the way I wanted it to, but I'm so, so happy with the result.
I recently subscribed to Hung Up, Hunter Harris', a former staff writer at Vulture (remember this piece?), newsletter, at Stella Blackmon's recommendation. The newsletter comes out every Tuesday and Thursday, and includes such gems as a hilarious and spot-on take on an unforgettable line in Taylor Swift's song, "seven," as well as the unexplainable Casino poster in Hillbilly Elegy. Like Harris' tweets, Hung Up is smart, funny, and worth a paid subscription (I opted for $5/month)—though Harris also offers free options. It's a culture commentary hug for your inbox.
1. Portlanders—check out these guided walks in Mt. Tabor!
2. I'm intrigued by this "plant-based" spirit.
3. This story is so sweet, and so sad.
4. "The joy of Fortnite parenting."
5. A good visualization of how impactful ventilation is for COVID.
7. Haley Neuman has made her podcast Maybe Baby available for free this month (if the paywall kept you from listening.)
8. Booksellers on anti-racist book purchases, "I’d say that more than half of the purchases were completely performative."