This month’s Reading Roundup offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph, flooding in Malawi, and queer truckers. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!
Book review: “The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali” by Sabina Khan
Book review: A Triumphant Return: The True Queen by Zen Cho
Movie review: Jordan Peele’s Us: A Full-Spoiler Movie Review
“Beto’s Just Not Doing It for Me” by Lily Herman for Glamour: “O’Rourke’s been on the campaign trail for two years straight since launching his Senate bid in March 2017, in addition to defending a congressional seat for six years; it’s not like he’s new to this. He has no excuse for not having a strong point of view and concrete, original solutions of his own.”
“Confronting racism is not about the needs and feelings of white people” by Ijeoma Oluo for The Guardian: “I was leaving a corporate office building after a full day of leading workshops on how to talk about race thoughtfully and deliberately. The audience for each session had been similar to the dozens I had faced before. There was an overrepresentation of employees of color, an underrepresentation of white employees. The participants of color tended to make eye contact with me and nod – I even heard a few “Amens” – but were never the first to raise their hands with questions or comments. Meanwhile, there was always a white man eager to share his thoughts on race. In these sessions I typically rely on silent feedback from participants of color to make sure I am on the right track, while trying to moderate the loud centering of whiteness.”
“The villages in Malawi that prepared for the floods – and survived” by Simon Allison in Ndamera and Chikali for Mail & Guardian: “In the heavy rains that preceded Cyclone Idai, a broad swathe of southern Malawi was submerged by flood waters. At least 60 people have died, and tens of thousands were made homeless. But things could have been much, much worse. Understanding how affected communities took steps to protect themselves, sometimes long before the waters rose, is key to understanding how to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events in the future. In the stories of these villages lie the lessons that southern Africa must learn if it is to have any chance of coping with climate change.”
“Funny or Bust: Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph Take Vanity Fair on the Ultimate Joyride” by Joy Press for Vanity Fair: “Maya Rudolph remembers the first time she met Amy Poehler. It was September 2001, and Poehler had just joined Saturday Night Live, where Rudolph was a cast member. “I walked into the writers’ room, and I feel like you were sitting on the table and everyone was just gathered around like, ‘Ahhhh, finally: Amy’s here,’ ” she says.
Poehler’s face twists in disgust. “What an asshole power move. Sitting on the table! I hope I was also urinating in all of the corners?””
“The Trauma Floor” by Casey Newton for The Verge: “The panic attacks started after Chloe watched a man die.
She spent the past three and a half weeks in training, trying to harden herself against the daily onslaught of disturbing posts: the hate speech, the violent attacks, the graphic pornography. In a few more days, she will become a full-time Facebook content moderator, or what the company she works for, a professional services vendor named Cognizant, opaquely calls a “process executive.””
“George Washington’s enslaved chef, who cooked in Philadelphia, disappears from painting, but may have reappeared in New York” by Craig LaBan for The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Only the details of the clothing on the Colonial-era portrait were visible. A white tall hat, an embroidered silk coat, and a ruffled cravat glowed eerily in the ultraviolet light as a dozen art experts from around the world gathered at Mount Vernon to solve an art mystery that has lingered in the public’s imagination for half a century.”
“The Erasure and Resurrection of Julia Chinn, U.S. Vice President Richard M. Johnson’s Black Wife” by Amrita Chakrabarti Myers for Association of Black Women Historians: “Great Crossing Baptist Church lies nestled in the curve of a quiet country lane just outside Georgetown, Kentucky. Founded by Vice President Richard M. Johnson’s parents in 1785, it was where his enslaved wife, Julia Chinn, was baptized in 1828, and where she and Richard worshipped. While the first sanctuary burned down in 1925, the cemetery behind the building contains markers dating back to the 1790s. Many Johnsons are buried in this tiny stone-walled graveyard, including both of Richard’s parents. Richard is buried in the state cemetery in Frankfort, and an enormous monument marks his gravesite. We don’t know, however, where Julia, his wife of 22 years, is buried. The location of her grave has disappeared, just as her very existence was erased from the history books, and from the memories of her own descendants, in a nation still wrestling with its history of slavery and interracial sex. ”
“Inside the Growing World of Queer Truckers” by Leigh Ann Carey for Rolling Stone: “Climbing up into the seat of her first big rig truck, author Anne Balay felt powerful instead of angry. Semis tower menacingly above all other vehicles. Looking out over the dashboard can make you feel invincible in ways most jobs can’t compete with. Even with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago, finding a tenured job in academia is no easy feat. While stitching together adjunct gigs, Balay found herself broke. With two small kids to look after, she needed steady employment. With an abiding love of cars, she took a job as an auto mechanic. Soon after, she parlayed that experience into a truck-driving training program with one of the nation’s oldest and largest trucking companies.”