Digest, 9/4/2021: I Can't Fall Asleep Without a Little Help
the nineteenth weekly digest post
It was Lit Week this past week! I had a lot of fun. Hope you did too. We’re doing a book club! Read all about it. I’m excited.
This Week’s Posts
Monday, August 30th - Some Friendly Advice on Reviewing Books (or Anything Else Really)
Reviewing is something everyone can do but few can do well. I offer a few tips for how to make your reviews better, if you were to write one. For a contest, for example.
Tuesday, August 31st - Do You Hate Catcher in the Rye, or Are You Just a Ball of Perpetual Insecurity and Self Doubt?
Here I make the case that the endless, exhausting designation of the bad white male author of the moment fundamentally stems from the insecurities of those who take part in this boring practice.
Thursday, September 2nd - Review: Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #7 - Snowbound
This one cannot be summarized. It can only be experienced.
Friday, September 3rd - One Post on the Wayside School Books, One Book Club Announcement, and One Mysterious Reference to a Subscriber-Only Bonus Hopefully Soon to Come (subscriber only)
I love the Wayside School books and I want you to love them too.
And we got two chapters of The Red, the Brown, the Green - two good ones, IMO.
From the Archives
It’s pretty common for people in “antiracism” circles today to decry how Martin Luther King Jr. has been misrepresented as some sort of softhearted liberal. And it’s true that MLK was a radical. But he was also a lifelong critic of political violence and riots and all manner of other things frequently defended today, and he also advanced precisely the “colorblind” ideology that is now frequently derided as white supremacist or whatever.
Song of the Week
How to Be Depressed, George Scialabba, 2020
I frequently tell young writers, someone hypocritically, that they should plan on having a day job and learn to love it. Independence is hard to achieve in the best of times and, anyway, you probably can’t afford to live off of your writing one way or the other. If one were to worry about what this said about them as writers, I would simply point out that George Scialabba has a day job and leave it at that. There are very few writers who invest their writing with a sense of personal integrity the way that Scialabba does; it is very easy to want to have an ethos, as a writer, and very difficult to actually have one. I trust that everything George writes is the product of some deeply authentic and intensely felt personal need. This book is deeply intimate and yet, in a generative way, rather impersonal. The backbone of the book is real edited notes from Scialabba’s long battles with depression. It’s a deeply humanizing look at a punishing mental illness that does not shy from making its subject look pathetic, at times, which is important because mental illness frequently does make us pathetic. Scialabba also includes a deeply humane set of observations and advice about how to live with this terrible disease. It’s a rare thing, this book.
Comment of the Week
What the fuck. - Yolo McPhee
See you next crime!
A contest! Defender’s given its blessing then? Sharpening my pencils—and fearing the skills of your learned commentariat.