Discover more from Cruel Summer Book Club
Cruel compendium #34 🍑
The bleak gender dating gap, rejecting self-betrayal, and lots of summer reading
I’m Jillian Anthony, and this is Cruel Summer Book Club, a newsletter about change, heartbreak and healing. In the Cruel Compendium I send out links to everything I’m reading and thinking about. Last week I wrote about manifesting my dreams, and how to harness your own power. Thanks for being here.
PS: I’m looking for BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ sources for a podcast episode I’m working on. If you ended a relationship, started one, or both (!) during the pandemic, I’d love to hear from you! And send friends my way too.
A delightful, horny Upper West Side luncheon with Christopher Meloni by Andrew Nguyen
A comic by Aubrey Hirsch about the attack on women’s reproductive freedom
Steel yourself for all the truth bombs in this interview about the “gender dating gap.” Anna Scholz speaks to author Anne-Kathrin Gerstlauer about some bleak truths about dating as a woman.
Journalist Andrew Kaczynski on publicly grieving his infant’s death from cancer in Charlie Warzel’s newsletter, Galaxy Brain. I’ve followed Kaczynski’s work for years and was so sad to hear of his daughter Francesca’s (nicknamed Beans) illness, then death. You can donate to Team Beans’ infant brain tumor fund here.
So many people have a desire to help or fix the situation in some way. But they cannot fix it. So, in response to posts, my feeling was and still is: I need you to just be there. I need you to hold my story. Just doing that will help me.
A lot of books!
A Year Without a Name by Cyrus Dunham. Dunham writes about a lifelong struggle with their body, and the couple of emotionally complicated years before they came out as trans and had top surgery. The book is full of self-hate, love, sex, so much longing—Dunham is so unsparing toward themselves. Their shame is yours to see, and it’s wildly comforting and also uncomfortable. And—for those who read Lena Dunham’s book of essays years ago—it’s interesting to read Cyrus’ take on how their sister Lena’s skyrocket to fame affected them, and their relationship.
Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford. I’ve loved Ford’s work for years and even got to interview her for Time Out New York, so I was really excited to read her memoir. She tells a beautiful and sometimes wrenching story of her childhood growing up with an incarcerated father and a tough mother, and explores issues of sexual abuse, and stepping into who you really are. Here she is on The Daily Show talking about how shame keeps us lonely.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I finally read this book after it sat on my shelves for years. After Kalanithi spends half his life in school preparing to become a neurosurgeon, he is diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer and dies within a couple years, leaving behind his wife and infant daughter. He wrestles with what makes a life meaningful—and how to make the most of your time on this earth—in his heartbreaking memoir, published posthumously.
Open Book by Jessica Simpson. I needed something light and this really hit the spot! Simpson spills allll the tea on her alcoholism and pill habit, her brief and rocky marriage to Nick Lachey, having an emotional affair with Johnny Knoxville, and the raging asshole that is John Mayer. A gift for millennials everywhere.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. A beautifully written debut novel about the intersecting histories, traumas and joys of one family. As Little Dog grows up steeped in both American culture and the Vietnamese culture he’s so close to at home, he discovers several family secrets—and helps free the family from their bonds as they voice them one by one.
Questionable self-care advice
Nicole Zhu on the power of checkmarks as a productivity tool
Juneteenth recommended reading from bookshop.org
Do you ever feel like your meds are cheering you on?
What you clicked on most in the last Compendium: You couldn’t get enough of what happened when a woman tried to get her husband to take on the full mental load of feeding his own dog
Check out the full CSBC playlist
I’m the top right, hbu?
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