August is generally a very stupid month, for reasons. It’s stood as a marker of time passing — first, school starting; then a death; then the anniversary of that death coinciding with school starting. Now that I’ve been out of school, it’s only the middle one that holds any meaning during this hottest, stickiest month of the year. And I gotta say, it ain’t my favorite way to mark time.
It’s been hot and humid and gross in Chicago. I don’t really go outside anymore because UGH the HUMIDITY. Like “Oh, the humanity,” but in the midwest. It’s taking a toll on me. No long walks means no new Little Free Libraries.
I can’t wait for fall. The first few days of September have already been a wonderful reprieve.
Now, on to the things that weren’t humid or stupid this month.
What I read
Oh boy, oh boy! This year has been filled with so many feminist books, and this month had the cherry on top: Andi Zeisler’s We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. That’s right. The editor of Bitch wrote a book about feminism evolving into a marketing tool. She chronicles the history of marketplace feminism, from lady cigarettes and lady credit cards to THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE undies. She talks about celebrities taking a stance on whether or not they want to call themselves feminists, like Kim Kardashian saying she believes in all the merits of feminism, but doesn’t consider herself a feminist. What?
I also read Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State and it blew my mind. Woman lives fairy tale life, visits family in Haiti, gets kidnapped, endures unspeakable things, is set free, must learn how to be a human again. I can’t stop thinking about it. It was my pick for The Best Books We Read in July over at Book Riot.
Oh, and Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. I took this in small spoonfuls, because it is too beautiful to wolf down. It is mostly writing advice, but also lots of life advice. Pay attention. Listen. See. Smell. Feel. Discover. Then write about it. She is wonderful and this book was such a delight to read.
What I learned
Having a cat has changed my life entirely. It’s been a year since I brought home my silly boy, and I have grown so much as a human. His needs always come first. I am covered in scratches from trying to get him in the carrier to take him to an expensive vet trip for his booster shots, while I have yet to even make an appointment for me to get my yearly checkup.
What I wrote
I branched out and wrote a thing and submitted it and it got published. How Cooking Casseroles Helps Me Conquer the Darkness is one of my favorite things I’ve written. Bonus: Recipes for the best casseroles I know how to make! Special thanks to The Establishment for being a wonderful website with lovely editors.
You may have noticed an explosion of lists of 100 must-reads over on Book Riot. I got my hands on 100 Must-Read Books in and about Chicago and want to read all of them right now, forever and ever, please and thanks. I was inspired by Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener and made A Literary Drinking Game (and John Green replied to it on Twitter, oh my goodness).
This is the fourth edition of my quasi-newsletter. I’m rounding up my month with what I read, what I learned, and what I wrote, and whatever else I want to write about, in a hope to be more mindful of my days. If you gotta write about it later, you make notes to remember stuff, you know? Check last month’s letter, and the This Month archive.