Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
I’ve searched this piece by Jessica Mooney over and over, trying to choose a single quote that captures it. It’s impossible. Mooney’s writing mimics the way the mind dances around something too difficult to look at, repeatedly approaching and retreating. Wry, sad, reflective, angry, she shifts from the history of insomnia to her mother’s history of sexual assault, from cartography to her own ceaseless motion … Oh, just read it. It’s very, very good.
My mom, the Sudafed socialite of Chicago, called me in Seattle, fresh from an Aisle 4 gossip session. She could barely catch her breath. She couldn’t remember what she took or how many.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she said, pushing blooms of static through the phone. “What if … ” she gasped, “What if I’m a shadow who’s lost her person?”
Overall, good news here: some of the losses to book coverage that came with the decline in print journalism are being recovered online. I still believe that “shareable” is not the final word (or even the first word) on what deserves focused attention; “yes” to writing about books vibrantly, imaginatively, passionately — “no” to dressing books in clickbait’s hand-me-downs. But I’m not going to quibble: more writing about books makes room for more writing about books, and that’s good for readers and authors alike.
Given the deluge of movies, TV, and tweetstorms, it may be more important than ever for publications to help books accomplish these goals. But the best format for them to do so is likely no longer the traditional, single-book, literary review. To break through the noise, editors must translate old-fashioned book coverage to the lingua francas of today’s impossibly paced media climate: shareable lists, essays, digestible Q&As, podcasts, scannable email newsletters, hashtags, Instagrams, even book trailers.
No, I am going to quibble, just a bit. Or let Tavi Gevinson, the editor-in-chief of Rookie, quibble for me. Her farewell letter as she closes out the seven-year publication is an incredible reflection on compromise, on becoming an entrepreneur, on growing up and knowing what you want (or don’t). And it’s a reminder that professionalizing creativity comes with a cost, especially online.
This organicness of Rookie was in part a testament to the way people rallied around it: the contributors and readers who were willing to share pieces of themselves and support each other. This is still happening, thanks to you, reading this, but organicness on the internet is not as easy now as it was back then. Rookie started in 2011, and to remind you where technology was then, I had a slide phone and no Instagram account. When I got home from school every day, I looked at websites on a desktop computer. To get to school in the mornings, I had to walk ten miles in the snow, and actually never even made it because I would trip and fall on my back and have to wait for hours for someone to stand me up because my coat was so puffy that I could not move. Nowadays, social media gets more of people’s eyeballs than publications do.