all we can ever know, by nicole chung

We were sisters, at last, because we had decided we should be.

the rules do not apply, by ariel levy

My mother was happy in a way I never knew I could make her, and this made me love her with an openhearted abandon I had not experienced since childhood.

spinning silver, by naomi novik

And I was so tired of being afraid all the time. It felt like I had been afraid and afraid without stopping forever. I did not even know how afraid I had been

from “housing inventory snapshot”

When we left for the hospital to have our first child, that was our cozy Mission district nest. When we got home, sleep-deprived and terrified, with a six pound baby girl, her eyelids thin as membranes and her fists clenched on air, that house was a wreck, an unmaintained hovel with a deathtrap fire escape and peeling lead paint at toddler eye level.

the fact of a body, by alexandria marzano-lesnevich

They are dead. I am alive. What I feel standing on the grass of their grave isn’t release, not exactly. It’s grief, but not a bad kind.

there are more beautiful things than beyoncé, by morgan parker

When I drink anything out of a martini glass I feel untouched by professional and sexual rejection.

the trauma cleaner, by sarah krasnostein

…pain is a sacred puzzle…

secret historian, by justin spring

He…told me of the sad discovery he had made when he was 40, namely, that ‘pleasure doesn’t really make one happy,’

the road to jonestown, by jeff guinn

Everyone loved San Francisco, but Jones couldn’t suppress his fears that it would soon disappear in a mushroom cloud.

from “truman springs”

They played a podcast about a gay clockmaker in the deep South, as depressing as it was fascinating. The moral seemed to be: throw yourself into your work as much as you want, become the very best in the world at what you do, it doesn’t matter, nothing matters, you’ll still die alone.

Erica slumped in the back of Stephanie’s RAV4 and drank in the scenery. It was a cold, bright spring day. Snow lingered in the high Sierras, even as Hope Valley spread out a brilliant blanket of wildflowers. Past Markleeville, the redwoods gave way to the high desert and Bodie, the ghost town, lonely and severe. Then a twist of the highway revealed the pastel pink and blue moonscape of Mono Lake, its tufa towers menacing as alien monoliths.

rogue protocol, by martha wells

I hate caring about stuff. But apparently once you start, you can’t just stop.

circe, by madeline miller

How many times would I have to learn? Every moment of my peace was a lie, for it came only at the gods’ pleasure. No matter what I did, how long I lived, at a whim they would be able to reach down and do with me what they wished.

lower ed, by tressie mcmillan cottom

All institutions require our collective faith in them for them to work. We call that legitimacy.

the brothers, by masha gessen

“I’m sad. I feel like I’m watching the last perfect justice system in the world destroy itself.”

from “a bloody business”

Every day I wake up and find myself on a planet of barely-sapient chimpanzees, so, you know. I’m already dealing with a lot. Sasquatch has been on my mind, probably because we took the girls camping in the redwoods over July 4th. There seem to be a couple of things going on with our friend the Bigfoot. One is America’s class dynamic: the hoaxers, those clever rural con men, trying to get one over on gullible city folk like me.

The other is bears. The Sasquatch sightings in the Pacific Northwest that aren’t obviously faked, coincide with the distribution of grizzlies. In this age of a video camera in every jacket pocket, we’ve learned that bears with sore front paws will walk on their hind legs.

Bigfoot, in other words, is a wounded bear. And this is not just a case of mistaken identity. It’s about how lonely we are. How much we long for the other animals to requite our terrible love. How frightened we are at all the death we’ve caused, and how many more extinctions lie in wait.

little fires everywhere, by celeste ng

Izzy had the heart of a radical, but she had the experience of a fourteen-year-old living in the suburban Midwest.

revenant gun, by yoon ha lee

All across the hexarchate were people like his older sister: loyal citizens, decent people in their day to day lives, many of whom had benefited even from a system that ran on regular ritualized torture.

five things make another midyear reading update

…so yeah. Lots of escapism, some memoir, a little unflinching political realism. And Michelle McNamara’s extraordinary book, unbearably unfinished, filled with righteous anger, and an instrument, in the end, of justice.

celebrating pride month 20gayteen

Janelle Monáe
Angels in America
God’s Own Country
Ocean’s 8

(Turns out my sister and I watched Nanette on the same night.)

self-medicating with art

The world is on fire, and everything seems to be about death right now, but some things have dealt with death in a way that makes me feel less terrible.

Nights are endless because you wake at the softest cough or sob, then lie awake listening to her breathe so softly, like a child. – A Manual for Cleaning Women

This book encouraged me to go back to the stories I’ve already told that still haunt me.

I took the kids to see an all-woman production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It was fabulous, all Resistance and bisexual lighting. Jesus was so good she almost upstaged Judas. Between my parents loving the Sydney production and the Spiral Oasis staging at Burning Man in 99, I have such an odd relationship with this play. It’s puzzling that Lloyd Webber could have written this one decent thing, in a career otherwise so very full of crap. Maybe Judas is his Mary Sue, as Doctor Horrible is Whedon’s.

He rubs his fingers over old scars. – I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Michelle McNamara and death fought one another to a draw.