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The Discourse

What We’re Reading This Week

Because so much of what we're exposed to is Bad, we're highlighting some of the things we've read each week that were Good.

Photo by Jack Crosbie

The staff of Discourse Blog is constantly online. Have we seen the thing? Yes. Almost certainly, one of us has seen the thing. Have we read the take? We have read the take.

Because so much of what we read and are exposed to online is Bad, we figured we’d highlight some of the things we’ve read each week that were Good. I slacked everyone a very open-ended prompt about the books, blogs or posts they’ve been reading and this is what I got back — please, feel free to post your own recommendations in the comments. It was my idea to start doing this blog so I’ll kick things off.

I read a couple great blogs this week. The first, by Chris Hooks in Texas Monthly, takes a hard look at the history of the Democratic party in Texas and what Tuesday night means for them: “Texas Democrats Went Missing for Decades. Can They Come Back Tuesday? Texas Monthly is a consistently great read, and especially as the state flirts with flipping blue, I’m looking to their staff (and our own Texan Sam Grasso) to explain things along the way.

The other thing I read that was great is this extremely strange blog about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers being a gigantic weirdo freak. It is delightful. That’s it for me.

Katherine Krueger

I’ve actually been reading NOVELS (what a concept!) with renewed zeal lately. I’m currently reading The Nickel Boys (which I am criminally late to), but also recently tore through I Hold a Wolf By the Ears by Laura van den Berg and Real Life by Brandon Taylor. Run don’t walk if you haven’t read them yet. I have become news-illiterate, except for this excellent post [it’s Paul’s post about post-Biden].

Paul Blest

The Legend of Roy Cooper,” by Nick Martin in the New Republic — My state’s Democratic governor is set to coast to re-election despite winning by a little more than 10,000 votes in 2016. Nick Martin might be the smartest writer on North Carolina politics, period, and this is a really interesting look into why Cooper has been successful.

Crosbie’s note: Paul then typed “i’m on deadline right now but i’ll try to get you another before this goes up” and then “actually no, this is number 2” and sent me:

Emails With Intercept Editors Showing Censorship of My Joe Biden Article,” Glenn Greenwald. This was just really funny to me.

Sam Grasso

“Before ‘Get Out,’ There Was ‘Candyman’” by Manuela Lazic in The Ringer. After watching Candyman earlier this week, I wanted someone far smarter than me to break down the movie’s messages about racism and privilege, and ended up finding this 2018 piece, which also did a solid comparison between that and Jordan Peele’s Get Out (Peele also produced the new Candyman, which has gotten pushed back to August, so I’ll be looking forward to that).

Rafi Schwartz

What to Do If You See a Ghost,” by Rebecca Fishbein in Lifehacker. I’d never have guessed there was a plausible link between ghost sightings and basement mold, and — let’s be honest — you wouldn’t have either. Nevertheless, there apparently is one, which is just one of the many semi-supernatural takeaways from this skeptically spooky blog, just in time for Halloween or whenever.

Red Dust by Yoss. This is the fourth of the Cuban heavy metal sci-fi phenom’s books to be translated to English, which is good for me because I can’t speak any Spanish. Also good for me is the fact that, like the rest of Yoss’ books, this one is fewer than 200 pages, which means it only took a few days to plow through his weirdo crime caper about a noir obsessed robot cop, a probability-bending crook, and an ancient crime boss who’s 12 feet tall with jellied bones. Yeah.

Aleks Chan

I have neither the stamina nor interest to engage with any journalism, longform or otherwise, that is not in the immediate orbit of my two jobs, so I have been relishing the newsletter Gossip Time by Allie Jones, which just launched a few weeks ago and is already a must-read. (Full disclosure: Allie and I used to work together at Gawker, so I trust her nose for celeb news.) Gossip Time is a weekly, bite-sized recap of the primary narratives running through the broader tabloid circuit, presented with honed skepticism and an eye toward the delightfully goofy things celebrities do and say. If you enjoy the iconic Celebitchy, the academic Lainey Gossip, and the late, deranged Defamer, you will love this.

Caitlin Schneider

My brain is absolute mush these days, which has somehow meant that I’ve been reading more poetry than ever before. I just started a collection called What Work Is by Philip Levine. It’s full of stories about class, labor, and family (some have called it “Marxist”), and even though it’s not exactly escapist, it’s been a balm for my fried nerves. 

I also loved this story by Bettina Makalintal in VICE (full disclosure, my employer) about a 1994 essay collection by Filipino food scholar Doreen Gamboa Fernandez called Tikim. The piece is about the food world, influence, culture, writing, and much more, and it’s just a lovely, fascinating read.

Jack Mirkinson

Crosbie’s note: in lieu of recommendations, Jack sent along this short poem to include in the blog:

“literally all i have read this week
is discourse blog”

That’s it from us! Enjoy the weekend! As usual, Rafi will be along to wrap up the news this week for subscribers in Man, What the Hell.