the unthinkable, by amanda ripley

Emotions and feelings were not impediments to reason; they were integral. “Reason may not be as pure as most of us think it is or wish it were,” he wrote.

really good, actually, by monica heisey

She’s a nightmare, top to bottom, but being mad at her is technically biphobia, so.

testo junkie, by paul b. preciado

A woman who has reached forty-five in the heterocapitalist economy can arrive at the lesbian economy with a status close to adolescence. Bingo.

20 years ago

“There has been a break-in,” says Jeremy. “They need you to go down there and talk to the police.”

adventure time: francophilia

Everything went impossibly right. We spent months trying and failing to sort big kid’s passport and didn’t have it in hand until the very hour of our original flight, which we had to rebook at vast expense. Despite this I managed to overlap with dear friends in Paris and spend our first afternoon together at a cafe in the square. There was a fricken accordion player, it was ridiculous.

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The fast trains to Narbonne were sold out so we rented a car in Paris instead, picked a village halfway there at random and ended up having one of the best meals of the trip in an absolutely gorgeous covered market in Souillac. We revisited the lovely abbeys at Fontfroide and Lagrasse and finally made it to Niaux Cave, which instantly joined Newgrange as one of my favorite places in the entire world.

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Back in Paris we got Bastille Day free entry to the Louvre and I went to a concert in Sainte-Chapelle – Vivaldi and Pachelbel. Shivers up my spine. Then Jeremy and I rented bikes and accidentally crashed the victory rides around Paris with Team Rynkeby. Everything planned half-assedly and coming together at the last minute into delight. Amazing grace.

radical companies, by matt perez

Our deepest problems are the inescapable side-effects of the FIAT system we live in, a system based on domination: our collapsing climate, the gaping wealth gap, discrimation against people of color, the exploitation of women. We need a generative way of relating to one another…

who killed my father, by edouard louis

For the ruling class, in general, politics is a question of aesthetics: a way of seeing themselves, of seeing the world, of constructing a personality. For us it was life or death.

when we cease to understand the world, by benjamin labatut

…every individual manifestation is only a reflection of Brahman, the absolute reality that underlies the phenomena of the world.

we all want impossible things, by catherine newman

My whole life with the girls is telescoped into this moment—running away, running back. Fly, be free! I want to say. I want to say, Stay with me forever! Come to think of it, these are the two things I want to say to everyone I love most.

deep hanging out, by malcolm margolin

The reality that seized me is the reality of a world more abundant and wise and beautiful than anything I deserved, its people more courageous and more generous.

birnam wood, by eleanor catton

A defeated, airless, ugly feeling rose in her whenever she heard a person of her parents’ generation talking brightly about home ownership, or foreign holidays, or financial serendipity, or education for its own sake, or second chances in a crowded field; she felt this way sometimes simply if someone spoke about the future – even the very near future – in optimistic terms.

change

We knew coming in here that the tall green stand of top-heavy, shallow-rooted blackwood acacia trees would have to come down, and that we would be lucky if they didn’t come down on the house. We lost them to this winter’s unending chain of atmospheric rivers. Even expected, their loss is incalculable. They were invasive, but the hummingbirds and woodpeckers and grey squirrels loved them, and so did I.

Without their shade and shelter, my little garden feels much more exposed. The patterns of daily sunlight have changed and the fog wind whips across the deck. I got two lovely Japanese maples from Flowercraft and put one on the deck and one in the shady alley above the stairs. I worried for the one in the shade, but the deck tree blew over half a dozen times and is dry and shocky. I have put it with its friend in what is now the maple courtyard, the shaded tree still green and thriving.

After considering buckeye – toxic to cats – and bay laurel – a carrier of sudden oak death – I noticed a tree at the barn, on the bank of the creek, with maple leaves and a weeping habit. Box elder. Paul at Bay Natives had two of them in fifteen gallon pots, over six feet tall. He’s had them for years and was delighted they finally found a home. They barely fit in the Prius, which is still full of their leaves. Aisea planted them yesterday and this morning I drank my bowl of latte in their dappled shade. No single thing abides, but all things flow.

cold comfort farm

For Easter I rewatched my favorite film, Jesus of Montreal, and reread my favorite novel, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. Both of these, along with the sonnets of Donne and Hopkins, the complete novels of Graham Greene and the second season of Fleabag, describe unhappy love affairs with God, which I suppose makes that one of my favorite genres. At one point Angel Archer quotes Donne’s “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” in its entirety. My unsettled mind latched onto “Reason, thy viceroy in me” and has been worrying it like a broken tooth ever since.

It’s easier to leave some parts of the church than others. It’s easier to leave the smiling horrible minister who was raping a teenager in the vestry, and all the others like him, easier to leave the inerrancy of scripture and a scholarship fund called Sons of the Parish than it is to leave sixteenth century choral music and the enigma of Jesus himself, remote as the Nabateans one minute, immediate as any other Palestinian freedom-fighter the next. I think Jesus is hardest to understand, or maybe believe, when he is at his simplest and most direct. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor. Okay I get that, I do, but Jesus I’m genuinely worried I haven’t saved enough for retirement?

Consider the lilies of the field, says Jesus, and I consider them a lot actually. Louise, my house’s benevolent ghost, planted calla lilies and roses in the garden, and while I indulge her survivor roses, I dig the calla lilies out by their roots as soon as I catch so much as a tender leaf unfurling. Sure, I can say they’re invasive and toxic to cats and that I’m trying to nurture wildlife habitat here, and God could say the same about me. This is Ramaytush land, pull me out by my roots, three-person’d God, you coward. So the lilies of the field are cold comfort to be honest.

My high school librarian Marie Suchting, may her name be blessed forever, never reread anything – she didn’t have time – but I circle back endlessly searching for clues. How in God’s name did I end up here? What ridiculous superposition of texts made this set of choices seem logical? I just wanted to be safe and happy and not to have to hurt anyone, and here I am working in the tech industry. Humbling to acknowledge how much of my ethics I owe to Hawkeye Pierce, how great my debt to Felicity Kendall in The Good Life. Reason, thy viceroy in me, frankly derives its political legitimacy from highly dubious grounds.

elderflora, by jared farmer

TREES ARE PLANTS THAT PEOPLE CALL TREES—A TERM OF DIGNITY, NOT botany. Personification is intrinsic to treeness.

the possessed, by elif batuman

The British called this conflict “The Great Game,” but no Russian people called it that.

the idiot, by elif batuman

Turkish, for example, had a suffix, -miş, that you put on verbs to report anything you didn’t witness personally. You were always stating your degree of subjectivity. You were always thinking about it, every time you opened your mouth.

stolen, by anne-helén laestadius

Then came the inexplicable shame. Of not being believed. Of not being worth more.

the fourth child, by jessica winter

“I feel a responsibility,” Mom said. “You always want to feel responsible for everything,” Lauren said. “And that’s so bad?” “It’s like—you want to feel guilty about it, like you’re being selfless, but you’re not, you’re just making it all about you.”

the candy house, by jennifer egan

“…friendship risks the end of friendship…”

109 east palace, by jennet conant

“The things we are working on are so terrible that no amount of protesting or fiddling with politics will save our souls.”