Cruel Compendium #37 🐌

Conspiracy theories, free bleeding, and snail socials

I’m Jillian Anthony, and this is Cruel Summer Book Club, a newsletter about change and living well. In the Cruel Compendium I send out links to everything I’m reading and thinking about.

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I’m reading

What Bobby McIlvaine left behind by Jennifer Senior. A stunning story of a family’s grief after losing their son on 9/11, 20 years later, and why his soon-to-be fiancée refused to return his last diary to them—until now.

I’m a Parkland Shooting Survivor. QAnon Convinced My Dad It Was All a Hoax. By David Gilbert. Wild and excruciating to read.

Are single people the real grownups? By Bella DePaulo. Single people are the ones who genuinely learn to parent themselves.

Scrolling past my American dream by Nichole Perkins. On wanting a home when you’re 40, Black, single, and a woman.

Every time I gave an honest answer about my salary and what I could afford as a down payment, the agent would pause delicately then ask if my parents would be able to contribute. I’d chuckle and say no, then they’d inquire about a boyfriend or husband, and then I’d laugh fully. 

This situation was so funny to me because everywhere I turned, people told me I could not buy a home by myself. The real estate industry said my money as a single woman from a working class family was not enough, and to make matters worse, family and friends warned me away from buying a home solo because when and if I did find a husband, he wouldn’t want to move in to my place. Men wouldn’t be interested in me. Being a homeowner as a single woman was too intimidating. What could I possibly need a man for if I’d already done everything by myself?

Conz Preti on free bleeding, and giving up disposable period products for good

Growing up, I was told regularly by my mom and sex-ed teachers that people who menstruate should hide their flow at all cost. This is terrible advice. Doing this is exhausting and stressful, and I wish someone had told me that it's normal to not want to hide menstruation.

I want my three kids to grow up with more body autonomy and liberty than I did. So I have no problem talking to them about my blood-stained underwear when they see me change clothes. Normalizing bleeding is the least I can do for them.

Questionable self-care advice

Support system

A post shared by @galadarling

Vision board

A post shared by @ghost.and.wren


A post shared by @aleia

Minerva moment


“Shine Your Light On Me” by Natalie Bergman. I have been obsessively listening to her album, Mercy—it’s Christian/gospel and was written after her father and stepmother were killed in a car crash. It is dripping in grief, and it is stunning. Check out “Sweet Mary” next.


Cruel compliments

Thanks so much to Catherine Andrews (a future podcast guest!) for recommending people read “Don’t hurt your own feelings” in her grounding, gentle newsletter, The Sunday Soother; and to Anna Scholz for saying CSBC is one of her fave reads in her feminist essay newsletter, The Verve Letter.

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