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.
The Cruel Summer Book Club podcast is officially launched! You can listen to episodes one and two right now—and if you love them, please subscribe wherever you listen, and leave me a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you so much to all of you who already did this—it means a ton!
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?
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
🧠 A newsletter I love: Deep Fix by Alex Olshonsky. Deep Fix is a newsletter and community exploring mental health, addiction, philosophy, and psychedelics. I love Alex’s raw, fascinating stories about his past life as an addict and how he turned excruciating experiences into chances for personal growth and huge change. I loved this piece on how we are actually addicted to relief, and this piece on the inner work it takes to be a bridge builder in our communities. Subscribe!
🏃♀️ This runner went from giving birth to the Olympic trials in six months! And she ran a 5:25 mile two weeks before giving birth!!! This video kicks my ass.
🍑 This theory that Bennifer are recreating the “Jenny from the Block” video shot-for-shot
🥴 How summer of 2021 feels
🛀 Wheeling out onto the balcony for my bath
🐌 This Instagram full of snails living it up:
“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.
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.
If you value Cruel Summer Book Club, please consider showing your support on Venmo @jillathrilla, or through PayPal. And thanks for sharing this newsletter with friends!
Thank you so much to readers Alla, Amelia, Andi, Annabel, Anne Marie, Ann-Kathrin, Brenna, Brittany, Brittany, Cara, Catherine, Christine, Courtney, Danielle, Edith, Emily, Erin, Esme, Grace, Hannah, Jacki, Julia, Kate, Katie, Katie, Mallory, Maria, Melanie, Molly, Naureen, Rachel, Rahul, Riddhi, Rocky, Samantha, Sarah, Sasha and Scarlett for your support!
You are not alone!