Cruel Compendium #64 💭
No gifts, no email, no brain November
Please take three minutes to fill out the CSBC reader survey! It’s been two years since I last asked you for a favor, and your input means so much to me.
For Tribeza, I asked the Texas Book Festival Literary Director Hannah Gabel for her essential reading list. The event has passed, but these are still really good book recs!
It’s Giving Tuesday! I donated to Trans Santa, delivering gifts to trans youth in need, through Anne Helen Petersen — if you Venmo her @annehelen she’ll match all donations up to $1000. I also donated to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. Anti-Racism Daily suggests donating to Emergency Relief for Gaza, the Palestinian Youth Movement, or Anera. You could also donate to Doctors Without Borders and the National Network of Abortion Funds.
On to the links!
What I’m Reading
She revealed she’s taking time off to have a baby, but also that her past 15 months have been full of extreme twists and turns including an unplanned pregnancy, a miscarriage, and getting hit by a car. She’s taking all of us along for a serialized essay while she’s on maternity leave, and I’m so excited to read her story. Start with part one.
The writer’s holiday survival guide by Caroline Donague
“You don't have to forfeit writing for the rest of the year.” It’s all about setting boundaries and protecting your time, as usual! I’m going to try my best not to give up on my art during the busiest time of year.
Don’t reply to your emails by Taylor Lorenz
She means, like, never. Could you do it?! 😬
The boundary lady’s 2023 slow gift guide by Melissa Urban
How to introduce a No Gift policy into your family, or if you’re not ready to take that plunge, how to limit the cost and scope of the holidays and curb rampant, thoughtless consumerism and stuff-buying.
When war sells serum by Jessica DeFino
The modern beauty industrial complex is also a descendent of the modern military industrial complex. Some historians believe bullet-shaped lipsticks became standard after World War I, when bullet-manufacturing facilities, now less necessary, were transformed into lipstick-manufacturing facilities. During World War II, the U.S. War Production Board affirmed that cosmetics were “necessary and vital to the war effort because of their potential to boost morale.” Plastic surgery as we know it was invented to reconstruct soldiers’ wounded faces. In a certain sense, the concept of cosmetics as “armor” rings true.
Links, resources, and reading on Palestine:
I was moved and comforted by stories of hostages safely reunited with their families, and Palestinian prisoners freed and welcomed home. It is important to find joy and hope where you can, and celebrate wins. But there is still much work to be done for permanent peace. Let’s keep learning, taking action, and doing what we can.
Actions for Palestine:
Download the 5 Calls app to easily dial your representatives and demand a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Forty-eight members of Congress have now called for a ceasefire — these calls are working.
Join this webinar: How to take action on Palestine Solidarity Day — hosted on Nov. 29 at 1pm ET by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
Contact Austin’s City Council members by 11/29 to add the Gaza ceasefire resolution to the 11/30 City Council meeting.
I’m listening to:
This episode of’s podcast resonated to my core. I will have a lot more to say about it in the future. Read more in their newsletter.
Questionable Self-Care Advice
It’s safe to be wrong. It’s safe to be correct. It’s safe to not know. It’s safe to let people down. It’s safe to practice living your values. It’s safe to fumble. It’s safe to trust what you know, to trust your gut response. It’s safe to be a beginner. It’s safe to be wise. It’s safe to have unformed opinions. It’s safe to grieve. It’s safe to try. It’s safe to quit. It’s safe to surrender. It’s safe to listen to your intuition. It’s safe to hold multiple truths at once, to let them swirl into something confusing yet still true. It’s safe to be uncomfortable.
🐌 Some things I loved over Thanksgiving break: Lucky Charms. Cooking at a snail’s pace all day long. Watching all of Lord of the Rings…again. Watching all of Fleabag…again. Rotting. Going on chilly walks and listening to the leaves chime in the wind. Saltburn. Talking about outer space with friends.
🌻 My friend Brittany Gowan is publishing her first book! Pre-order Turn to the Sun: Your Guide to Release Stress and Cultivate Better Health Through Nature now!
📖 Austin Kleon’s gratitude zine, plus a printout template for yours!
👑 Abortion rights have won in every election since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Don’t forget to celebrate wins: Jessica Valenti lets ‘em know abortion rights win win win win win in Fuck You, We Win.
💯 Why you need a hype file (I keep one)
👛 These artistic beaded bags make me emotional
🤘 Harry Potter in Berlin makes me excited
➗ Millennial math. Checks out.
✔️ What you clicked on most in the last Compendium: Ta-Nehisi Coates on his time in Palestine and Israel this summer and the segregation he witnessed there. Here are clips/the transcript from a recent discussion between Coates and Palestinian-American author Rashid Khalidi.