Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Article Reading Group

Romy Schneider via Into the Gloss

Oh, poor neglected blog. You are not what you once were - you no longer seem to fit seemlessly into my life, online and IRL. My reading habits and routines are in flux and it's all kind of awkward. Sometimes I think about putting you down or quietly letting you slip away but I'm not there yet. I still want and need a space to share words and I suppose you have never been on the cutting edge of topicality anyway. Let's see where things go - no pressure; only affection. (And pretentiousness. Sometimes.)

Here are some excellent if slightly dated things I've read and enjoyed enough to make a note of:

  • Lindsay King-Miller (of the Hairpin) wrote a beautiful piece for the Rumpus about pre-adolescence, female friendship and grief. Hold On To What You've Got is the article I want to send to those people who claim female friendship is catty and competitive. 'It’s difficult to articulate the process by which two twelve-year-old girls with a lot of things in common—archetypally awkward, voracious readers, intellectually far ahead of their burgeoning social skills—become inseparable. It feels predestined, unfolding with the simplicity of a teen-movie montage: sleepovers, slasher movies, painting each other’s fingernails, singing into hairbrushes. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time I didn’t know her; that there are aspects of my personality that predate Heather. It feels like we created each other from scratch, scribbling in the details and watching ourselves take shape.
  • I am very fond of Hadley Freeman and her response to Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy was predictably thoughtful. I have had to endure people being snide and unpleasant about Jolie's decision and the subsequent publicity and I should probably forward them this. Whatever your personal opinions on her, publicising breast cancer and preventative surgery is a worthwhile endeavour and a brave one for a woman who effectively made her career as a sexual fantasy.
  • Time's 2011 article on fanfiction, The Boy Who Lived Forever, hasn't aged flawlessly. The world Lev Grossman is writing about is evolving too fast for a two year old piece to be anywhere near conclusive but there is still plenty to think about and some basic truths. Well worth a read if ff interests you. 'Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.'
  • I didn't hear about the New York Times weekly Sex Diaries column until they closed it. Always the last to the party... Their round up of the twenty most read sex diaries of the series Sex Diaries is diverting. I am assuming that they are meant to be read as short fiction scattered with glittering flashes of social and personal truth. You won't persuade me otherwise.
  • Man, I got a bit overexcited reading Kathryn Schulz's Gatsby piece. There might have been a fist pump or two. I totally loathed the film, partly because I found it bloated and ugly and overlong and I thought the acting was hammy (the whole thing was hammy) and the 3D made me feel queasy, but also, partly because I think the source material is weak. Sure, there are moments of wonder in The Great Gatsby but I think it is massively overhyped and, in many ways, rather unpleasant. Schulz's countercultural analysis is a joy and I could wallow in it all day. 'I find Gatsby aesthetically overrated, psychologically vacant, and morally complacent; I think we kid ourselves about the lessons it contains. None of this would matter much to me if Gatsby were not also sacrosanct.'
Do you have any more current reading recommendations? Sharing is caring. Just saying...

Chuck x


  1. I always so enjoy your article lists - they really broaden my reading interests on the internet and you are always showing me new things to be intrigued by and new writing to admire.

  2. I'm a fan of Grossman's work and I like this piece he wrote on fan fic. Although I don't participate, I GET fan fic. I understand why you want those characters to live on and the only way to do so is to keep writing.

  3. Intelligent and wonderful as always. Please don't disappear again. x