Reading Material

Some favorites across from the past month:

The best speculative fiction, like travel, does that to you — it takes you to strange places, from which vantage point you can no longer take your home for granted. It renders the familiar strange, and the strange becomes, for the duration of the story, the norm.

— Vandana Singh, “Alternate Visions: Some Musings on Diversity in Science Fiction”

* * *

Without question, the historical profession has likely had no better evangelist that Ta-Nehisi Coates, certainly in the last three years and perhaps ever. The essay demonstrates his trademark chronological range. As an actual case for reparations, though, I found myself strangely unsatisfied.

— N.D.B. Connolly, “The Case For Repair, Part 1”

* * *

What is going on in USAmerican masculinity — particularly in Christian churches, that we define thriving as violence rooted in defensiveness and fear that boisterously denies our human fragility?

— didwell, “From Fight Church to Bronies: Reimagining Masculine Spirituality”

 * * *

You are not an eccentric genius, a son of funk waiting to lead the revolution, or a bluesman trying to overthrow the system, you are a charlatan and a pimp — disguised as a soul man — who has gamed the system out of millions.

— Gary Harris, “An Open Letter to D’Angelo”

* * *

I bring this up not to detract from the misogyny that was at the heart of the killings, but to show how deep it goes: Rodgers’s hatred for women was inextricable from his hatred of Asianness, which he considered a mark of effeminacy, a lack of masculinity.

— Women in Theology, “Race, Masculinity, and the UCSB Shooting”

* * *

Two pairs of pants, one bleached, the other shiny, worn decades apart, both the borrowed clothes of another persona, the boy on the edge I wanted to be but knew I would never become.

— sxchristopher, “Something Borrowed, Something New”

* * *

 And I cried. I did. I cried for all those people who got married today after 5, 15, 33 years together — or more. I cried for their kids. I cried out of sheer gratefulness that I could glance at a world-changing text message and continue on with my shopping.

— Trudging Through Fog, “Rights and Privileges”

* * *

Women sometimes become strippers to feed an addiction — to drugs, alcohol, sex, attention, etc. Looking back, I see that I was no different. My addiction was travel. Escape. But I couldn’t even hide from myself in Guam.

— J.D. Riso, “What I Was Doing in Guam”

* * *

Now is a place small enough to navigate without a map, because you can see all the way to the edges from wherever you stand. And you hardly ever see dragons.

— Muddy River Muse, “The Size of Now”

* * *

My ego sometimes swells as my fingers fly across the keyboard, only for me to realise moments later why the delete button is my friend. When we write by hand, we make an investment, we cut back on elaboration for its own sake.

— Nillu Nasser Stelter, “The Forgotten Joys of Longhand Writing”

Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

I am an editor at Longreads. For over a decade, I've worked on curation, editing, and storytelling projects across Automattic, including

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