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Books I've read and where I read them*

08/30/2020

Cover of The Crying Book Picture on Long Island, in quarantine

The Crying Book on Long Island, in quarantine

It took me a while to read this. I finished it when I visited home to see my grandma before she passed away. The timing is appropriate, I suppose.

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If you see a person crying inside a car, you know they are already held.
Empathy can be a hole through which one falls into despair.

06/19/2020

Cover of How To Change Your Mind

How To Change Your Mind for book club, in quarantine

The amount I talk about and recommend this book now is very annoying. You've been warned.

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People feel they have been let in on a deep secret of the universe, and they cannot be shaken from that conviction.
And then there was this light, it was the pure light of love and divinity, and it was with me and no words were needed.

04/25/2020

Cover of Calypso

Calypso in quarantine

I need to read more David Sedaris! I listened to the audiobook and it was funny and necessary.

03/22/2020

Cover of Bluets Picture at Buena Vista Park, in quarantine

Bluets at Buena Vista Park, in quarantine

I discovered a love of prose poetry and this kicked off a phase of learning Joni Mitchell on the piano (including Blue, of course).

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Do not, however, make the mistake that all desire is yearning.
At the bottom of the swimming pool, I watched the white winter light spangle the cloudy blue and I knew together they made God.
At times I fake my enthusiasm. At others, I fear I am incapable of communicating the depth of it.

03/20/2020

Cover of Little Fires Everywhere Picture in quarantine

Little Fires Everywhere in quarantine

I'll be honest, I started the TV show and then couldn't wait for more episodes so I read the book in 2 days.

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Mia realized that she was crossing into a place she would have to go alone.
A lifetime of practical and comfortable considerations settled atop the spark inside her like a thick, heavy blanket.

03/17/2020

Cover of Trick Mirror Picture for book club

Trick Mirror for book club

I really liked Tolentino's essays, but I almost already agreed with them so much that I found reading this kind of boring?

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Writing is either a way to shed my self-delusions or a way to develop them. A well-practiced, conclusive narrative is usually a dubious one.

02/13/2020

Cover of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone for book club

I'd recommend this to anyone considering therapy but feeling apprehensive about it.

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Maybe happiness is sometimes.
Instead of leaning into the goodness that comes their way, they become hypervigilant, always waiting for something to go wrong.

01/24/2020

Cover of Homesick For Another World

Homesick For Another World at Matching Half

I started this a few years ago and I finally picked it back up and finished it. I think I didn't get Moshfegh's writing at first, but after I read My Year Of Rest And Relaxation I understood her work better. It's brutally honest and darkly funny (...like many books on here)

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I hated my boyfriend but I liked the neighborhood.

11/17/2019

Cover of The Immortalists

The Immortalists for book club

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Judaism had taught her to keep running, no matter who tried to hold her hostage. It had taught her to create her own opportunities, to turn rock into water and water to blood. It had taught her that such things were possible.
Something is pulling her back to the person she’s been all along.

11/06/2019

Cover of In The Dream House

In The Dream House at Home

Carmen Maria Machado is my favorite author right now and I was so excited to read this memoir. She puts words to the felt but unspoken like no other. She brings to light how unproductive archetypes of traumatic experiences can be, and how the subtleties of the less extreme ones can fall through the cracks.

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I toss the stone of my story into a vast crevice; measure the emptiness by its small sound.
The nature of archival silence is that certain people's narratives and their nuances are swallowed by history; we see only what pokes through because it is sufficiently salacious for the majority to pay attention.

11/03/2019

Cover of How To Do Nothing Picture at The Panhandle

How To Do Nothing at The Panhandle

This crystalized so many things I've been feeling and thinking lately. What I actually have to say about this book needs much more than a little blurb here. This presents a reframing on our lives today that we'd all benefit from reflecting on. It also inspired me to start learning the trees around San Francisco, particularly at the park I mostly read this book in.

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Yet we inhabit a culture that privileges novelty and growth over the cyclical and the regenerative. Our very idea of productivity is premised on the idea of producing something new, whereas we do not tend to see maintenance and care as productive in the same way.

09/12/2019

Cover of Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber at Home

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It is the story of the ugly decisions made around user data and personal information as technology firms seek to exploit consumer data. But most of all, it is a story about how blind worship of startup founders can go wildly wrong, and a cautionary tale that ends in spectacular disaster.

09/18/2019

Cover of Normal People

Normal People in Portland, OR

This was a really sweet, easy read.

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Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn’t know if she would ever find out where it was and become part of it.

09/01/2019

Cover of Severance Picture in Seattle, WA

Severance in Seattle, WA

This is a story about the apocalypse, but it is much more a story about our routines and how they form us.

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To live in a city is to live the life that it was built for, to adapt to its schedule and rhythms, to move within the transit layout made for you during the morning and evening rush, winding through the crowds of fellow commuters. To live in a city is to consume its offerings. To eat at its restaurants. To drink at its bars. To shop at its stores. To pay its sales taxes. To give a dollar to its homeless.

07/03/2019

Cover of The Fifth Risk

The Fifth Risk at Dolores Park

This made me appreciate good government even more than I already do. It was also horrifying for that same reason.

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We don’t really celebrate the accomplishments of government employees. They exist in our society to take the blame.

07/03/2019

Cover of Bad Blood Picture during the Tour Du Mont Blanc

Bad Blood during the Tour Du Mont Blanc

I actually really hated that I was reading this while on a beautiful hike, but it was my only book on my kindle, and it was an incredibly juicy read.

06/21/2019

Cover of Someone Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory Picture in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Someone Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory in Rotterdam, Netherlands

This is one of many form-bending absurdist short story collections I've read lately and I'm happy to be continuing the phase.

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The things that are the most important aren't shared; they are important to only us.

06/12/2019

Cover of Hunger Picture in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hunger in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sometimes all you can do is bare witness.

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I am weary of all our sad stories—not hearing them, but that we have these stories to tell, that there are so many.

05/30/2019

Cover of How To Date Men When You Hate Men Picture in Positano, Italy

How To Date Men When You Hate Men in Positano, Italy

This is the funniest book I've read in such a long time. I thought it was actually really loving towards men and it was a good reminder that dating is supposed to be fun. I loved her point about how easy it is for women to fall into supporting a partner, and how important it is to forge your own path and focus on your own art.

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Whatever happens will happen, but the pay is certain: you'll always be able to write, or talk, or paint, or knit (why do people knit??) about it. You can make it into something beautiful or hilarious or genius or so incredibly dumb that it's hilarious and genius.

05/27/2019

Cover of My Year Of Rest And Relaxation Picture in Berlin, Germany

My Year Of Rest And Relaxation in Berlin, Germany

This book is about a woman who basically takes a butt load of drugs and fucks off for a year. It's from her point of view, so as you can imagine, this was incredibly depressing, and made me feel kind of insane. But I must have liked it because I plowed through it in one day, and it was actually weirdly funny.

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Rejection, I have found, can be the only antidote to delusion.

03/2019–

Cover of The Order of Time Picture at Golden Gate Park

The Order of Time at Golden Gate Park

Still reading this one, but already loving how poetic science can be. In a weird way, it talks about some of the same themes that Her Body And Other Parties does.

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Perhaps poetry is another of science's deepest roots: the capacity to see beyond the visible.

02/13/2019

Cover of Her Body And Other Parties Picture at a cafe in Barcelona

Her Body And Other Parties at a cafe in Barcelona

I love this one so much I've been rereading it. I'm forced me to grapple with the absurdity of what it feels like to move through the world as myself, and it resonates in a way that can only be felt. The way form and structure are twisted delights me over and over again. It makes me feel like I'm losing my mind in the best way. We live in an illogical world and trying to make sense of it is what makes us crazy.

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I took a step toward her. “It is my right to reside in my own mind. It is my right,” I said.

12/13/2018

Cover of Choose Your Own Disaster

Choose Your Own Disaster in my bed

I feel like Dana is my friend and I got to hear her funny, honest, deeply personal story.

11/26/2018

Cover of The Power

The Power during my commute

I haven't fallen into a story so quick in a while: electrifying, enrapturing, thought-provoking, heavy-handed revenge porn.

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They understood their strength, all at once.

09/19/2018

Cover of Yes We (Still) Can

Yes We (Still) Can at my apartment

I listen to the podcast so it was an easy, funny, approximation of that.

07/30/2018

Cover of Never Let Me Go Picture at my apartment

Never Let Me Go at my apartment

This story makes my whole chest hurt.

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And so we stood together like that, at the top of that field for whatseemed like ages, not saying anything, just holding each other, while the windkept blowing and blowing at us, tugging our clothes, and for a moment, it seemed like we were holding onto each other because that was the only way to stop us from being swept away into the night.

2017–

Cover of The Faraway Nearby Picture at Buena Vista Park

The Faraway Nearby at Buena Vista Park

I like this book so much that I have trouble getting through it. Every sentence feels like a whole universe that I want to soak up and live in. I think a lot about how the stories we tell shape our lives and Rebecca Solnit says it more beautifully than I ever could.

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Stories are compasses and architecture, we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice.

06/25/2018

Cover of The Sirens of Titan

The Sirens of Titan in Alamo Square

I read a bunch of Vonnegut a few years ago when I had a long commute into Brooklyn, and somehow missed this one. His books are always easy for me to pick up when I'm not in the mood to read anything else.

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The on button simply started a flight from Mars. The off button was connected to nothing. It was installed at the insistence of Martian mental-health experts, who said that human beings were always happier with machinery they thought they could turn off.

02/15/2018

Cover of O Fallen Angel

O Fallen Angel in Alamo Square

This is a weird book. I think it's in a good way. I read it in an hour.

01/28/2018

Cover of Bad Feminist Picture at Matching Half Cafe

Bad Feminist at Matching Half Cafe

I should have read this years ago, but I'm glad I finally did.

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Everybody gossips, so if you are going to gossip about your friends, at least make it fun and interesting. As a corollary, never say “I never lie” or “I never gossip” because you are lying.

01/05/2018

Cover of Her Body and Other Parties

Her Body and Other Parties on Long Island, NY

This is one of my favorite books I've read in a really long time.

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As a grown woman, I would have said to my father that there are true things in this world observed only by a single set of eyes.
* Are these dates real? Are these locations real? Who cares? Why did you even click on this? Go get back to what you were doing.