Weekend Reads

Reads. For the weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! We made it to November 2020 but time has no meaning, so who’s counting.

Pictured: Pumpkin Dutch Baby. Did I make this? Or did I steal this amateur photo off some hapless food blog with less than a thousand followers? Who’s to say.
  • I continue my deliriously happy read of Harrow the Ninth; I am on my last round of Sixfold (thank heavens, I forgot how intense a slush pile can be); and I am in possession of Bluets by Maggie Nelson because of C. Russell and also I was one of many people who answered The Strand’s call for patronage. I spent my undergrad in Manhattan and I think I was expecting more bookstores? The Strand filled much of my surround me with books ennui, so to show my appreciation I now own a little bit of prose poetry that I’m cautiously excited about.

  • The Queen’s Gambit Is the Forrest Gump of Chess, by Jane Hu in Vulture

    Listen, I got another subscription to NYMag essentially so that I can enjoy Ali Barthwell’s Bachelorette recaps unhindered. Handle it. I also just finished The Queen’s Gambit and I LOVE how this article picks at an aspect of the show that I wasn’t registering: that the style and production design didn’t serve the story. They were incidental to it. I love finding arguments that have a deep alignment with my viewing. It’s like when mefarshim do a close reading of the pshat and it’s totally convincing – like, yes, obviously that entire conversation happened between those two psukim! It’s so clear now!

    “… a period piece’s aesthetic immersion is typically meant to jar with the world’s imminent collapse. The world-building details in The Queen’s Gambit are instead literal and inert: Beth’s vintage beer cans and constantly coiffed hair provide visual pleasure and not much more. They signify in the show the same way they would at some hipster bar today … [Beth’s] frequent spirals into addiction … no longer register as moments of concern, so much as opportunities for cinematographic play while Taylor-Joy stumbles around in her underwear. Everything potentially traumatizing or problematic gets actively taken up as fodder for beauty.” ISN’T THAT WONDERFUL??

  • Twitter thread about Will Maclean’s autographed book copies

    This dude. I’m caught between admiration and a serious eyeroll. This guy put a single word of a short story in each of the 1000 autographed copies of his book. I guess if you’re going to write a short story that the world may never see in completion, it helps if you go viral for it. There’s a hashtag – #apparitionphase1000. I will not be holding it against authors whose books came out in this terrible terrible year of 2020, especially debut authors whose full-fledged tours and speaking engagements got canceled but still had their books released. Seriously, this is the equivalent of the Season 12 queens being unable to do their Werk The World and bar circuit victory lap despite being the strongest cast in a hot minute. So okay, this is a gimmick, but it’s one that has piqued my interest. Mr. Maclean, hats off to you!

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