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Cruel compendium #22 🎉 HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The books I read, the Tiks I Tok'd, the tweets I lol'd
Happy New Year! You made it through 2020, and that’s a huge accomplishment. You are enough. The only thing I can promise you about 2021 is that it will be different than last year. For me, that is enough.
The books I read in 2020
I’m inspired by Nicole Zhu’s meticulous 2019 reading data. From what I can find, I read 24 books in 2020, though I’m sure there’s some I left off this list. 2021 is the year I keep track! If you’re into Goodreads, add me. And here’s more reading suggestions from CSBC readers.
All About Love by bell hooks
All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung, a memoir of the author getting to know her birth family, and the complications of transracial adoptions
All seven Harry Potters by J.K. Rowling, which I read in weeks, mostly while suntanning nude in Las Vegas. I wrote about re-reading these books through the lens of grief here.
Big Friendship by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, about making (and keeping) our big friendships a priority
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, a novel about a young woman enjoying her sexuality in the 1940s NYC theater scene
In Pieces by Sally Field, a memoir about her rocky early life
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, a therapist on what she learned from her therapist after a breakup. One of my favorite reads of the year.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad. Essential reading for anti-racist education.
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-love by Jonathan Van Ness. JVN has been through it, and always maintained their beautiful spirit.
To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins, a memoir about the author’s bike ride from Washington state to Patagonia, and embracing his sexuality
Summer of Pink by Gabrielle Mbeki, a book of poems about three stages of love, tied to tarot
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. Taddeo embedded herself in three women’s lives to learn about the intricacies of women’s desires.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, a novel about what happens to Black twin sisters from the South after one of them decides to pass as a white woman and leave her past behind. As good as absolutely everyone says it is.
The TikToks that made me laugh this year
How to be a husband by Christine H. Lee
Have yourself a lonely little Christmas by Stephanie Foo
The joy of frivolous sex by Megan Nolan
Running through 2020 by Lyz Lenz in her newsletter, Men Yell at Me
A brother’s grief, a father’s joy and learning to live with both at Christmas by Stephen J. Nesbitt. Nesbitt explores the grief of losing his baby sister to Covid-19 while welcoming a newborn.
On Love Bombing, FKA Twigs, And How We’ve Been Conditioned To Accept Abuse by Samantha Stallard
The journalist and the pharma bro by Stephanie Clifford
🤔🕵 It’s very hard for me to understand this journalist’s decision to uproot her entire life to be with… Martin Shkreli?! But I did see a possible explanation from Helen Rosner: limerence.
I’m listening to
Reply All: Happiness Calculator. What a scientist finds when he dissects Twitter to probe our collective unhappiness—and what he discovers when he analyzes the host’s text messages from the last year.
Rachel Syme’s sweetly morose Snow Day playlist
Questionable self-care advice
Support I got that you might need to hear
This woman I lovingly call The TikTok Breakup Poet. Her feed is full of scenes of her wandering Brooklyn in various states of heartbreak and introspection, reading aloud her poetic musings.
Emerald Fennell! She directed Promising Young Woman, and played Our Hated Mistress Camilla Parker-Bowles in The Crown season four.
I miss Pop-Up Magazine, one of the only shows in NYC I always made sure to see (h/t True Colors)
- My friend is working on an illustrated grief companion, and would love to know what you found helpful during your own grieving process.
Check out the full CSBC playlist
Thanks so much to Edith Zimmerman for including Cruel Summer Book Club in her list of favorite newsletters. I adore Drawing Links too!
Cruel Summer Book Club is so glad 2020 is over. Celebrate the future by subscribing to this newsletter and sharing it with friends. And go ahead and smash that heart button.
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You are not alone!