The Reading List: When Civility > Empathy, Civil War-Level Family Drama, Harry Styles As Longread Escape.
Poppets! We made it to the Friday before the long weekend. So whether you’re braving the airports, or stuck in the car on the way to Tahoe, or doing what I’m doing (staying in town, eating all the foods, going to yoga and museums, watching Schitt’s Creek,) there’s quite a bit to get on your Kindle this weekend.
But first, to discuss: My mother reminded me that Margaret Atwood has written her Handmaid’s Tale sequel and tbh, I still don’t know how I feel about it. As I’ve told you all so many times, The Handmaid’s Tale is my favorite book, a book I wrote a Princeton admissions essay on AND have read nearly every year since I was 16. This new book, which comes out IN A FEW WEEKS OMG, is set 15 years after the end of the original, which is a good sign I guess, as it might help avoid some of the traps sequels can fall into in trying force a narrative through line across decades. I dunno, I’m over-the-top excited about it but am also keeping my expectations below sea-level for my own mental health. #selfcare
Also: the Missive will be off on Monday, as I hope most of you will be.
TO THE LONGREADS
1619 Project (The New York Times) - This came out a couple of weeks ago, but I was only able to start reading it yesterday. And this interactive project spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones on the legacy of slavery is stunning in its breadth and devastating in its content. Unsurprisingly, I found the essays on how structural racism contributes to urban traffic, our lack of universal health care, and the “brutality of American capitalism” most compelling.
Eve Fairbanks, The ‘reasonable’ rebels (The Washington Post) - And if you’ve followed any of the criticism of the 1619 Project, this essay will be recognizable. Fairbanks compares the rhetoric of current conservatives calling for public civility—claiming they are being pushed further right by uncouth and interrupting liberals, claiming to merely fight for the quality of public discourse, not on-behalf of those who spout and enact horrible world views—to antebellum language defending the systems that held up slavery. And not just generally. She pulls line-by-line parallels between what’s being said by the intellectual right now to what was published by proslavery factions in the 1830s-1860s.
Jessica Roy, Two Sisters And The Terrorist Who Came Between Them (Elle) - Told from each woman’s perspective, Roy presents the stories of two American sisters, one of whom is on trial for aiding and abetting ISIS in Syria and purchasing child slaves. Was she being held against her will? Or did she willingly participate in the terrorist community her husband moved her and her family to the Middle East for?
Jeffrey Goldberg, The Man Who Couldn’t Take It Anymore (The Atlantic) - Don’t read this one if you want to be able to go about your day today comfortable in assuming we’re not on the brink of calamity, but Goldberg’s profile of former secretary of defense General James Mattis is so fascinating. Mattis won’t answer certain questions about 45, but as Goldberg pushes him with the most egregious examples of Trump’s failings, he captures the cracks in Mattis’s outward fortifications. Fascinating / terrifying if you’re, you know, a human living in this country in 2019.
Rob Sheffield, The Eternal Sunshine of HARRY STYLES (Rolling Stone) - Sometimes, on an American long weekend, you need a sexy and over-the-top celebrity profile to get you in that end-of-summer mindset. And I unabashedly loved Harry Styles’ last album so come at me pop music haters, I will eat your for breakfast.
Y’all are wonderful. Be kind to each other, and see you on Tuesday.