20 Articles To Read Under A Blanket

Sit right next to me/pour yourself some tea, and binge-read the best articles of the week while Winter Storm Jonas rages.**

**Those of you unaffected by Winter Storm Jonas are welcome to enjoy these pieces as well. You weren’t going to leave the house tonight anyway.

The Best Of The Net

  1. “Letter of Recommendation: Sick Days” by Sheila Heti, The New York Times Magazine

A timely read. Snow days are like sick days where everyone has the same doctor’s note.

Sick in bed is a bit like Halloween: a day on which you wear a costume to express the parts of yourself that can’t normally be expressed. In this case, what can’t be expressed on other days is that all of our activity is ultimately worthless, that we are going to the grave, that being busy is largely about keeping up the appearance that our lives mean something, our relationships mean something, our work means something and crossing things off a list means something. It’s true. These things do mean something. But they also don’t. Sick days are like Halloween; days on which you can live and dress up wholly in life’s bleakness. The costume is simple: It’s bed.

Speaking of actively not-working…

2. “Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate” by Adam Grant, The New York Times

If the following excerpt reads like a description of you, you need this article:

For years, I believed that anything worth doing was worth doing early. In graduate school I submitted my dissertation two years in advance. In college, I wrote my papers weeks early and finished my thesis four months before the due date. My roommates joked that I had a productive form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychologists have coined a term for my condition: pre-crastination.
Pre-crastination is the urge to start a task immediately and finish it as soon as possible. If you’re a serious pre-crastinator, progress is like oxygen and postponement is agony. When a flurry of emails land in your inbox and you don’t answer them instantly, you feel as if your life is spinning out of control. When you have a speech to give next month, each day you don’t work on it brings a creeping sense of emptiness, like a dementor is sucking the joy from the air around you (look it up — now!).
In college, my idea of a productive day was to start writing at 7 a.m. and not leave my chair until dinnertime. I was chasing “flow,” the mental state described by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in which you are so completely absorbed in a task that you lose a sense of time and place. I fell so deeply into that zone of concentration that my roommates once gave a party while I was writing and I didn’t even notice.

3. “Revisiting the All-Girl Online ‘X-Files’ Community That Helped Me Survive High School” by Anna Fisher-Pinkert, Flavorwire

I read every X-Files take the internet had to offer this week.

There were many.

This is the only piece that made me feel something. Well actually that’s a lie, I had feelings (different kinds of feelings…) about T H I S too.

+ CHECK OUT THIS BEAUTIFUL STAT ABOUT X-PHILES AND OTHER FAN CREATORS:

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a nonprofit that supports the creators of fanfiction, fan videos, and fan art, conducted a self-reported census of fan creators in 2013. Eighty percent self-identified as female, 4% as male, and 6% as genderqueer (the rest of the surveyed members identified as transgender, androgynous, or other non-binary genders).

4. “A Story of a Fuck Off Fund” by Paulette Perhach, The Billfold (on Medium!)

Remember in 5th grade when someone taught you the basics of money management? Like, how to write a check and balance a checkbook?

If that’s still a thing, they should also hand out this article to 5th graders.

The Short List

5. “What Goes Through Your Mind: On Nice Parties and Casual Racism” by Nicole Chung, The Toast

6. “The Happiness Code” by Jennifer Kahn, The New York Times Magazine

If this peaks your interest, read Bright-sided by Barbara Ehrenreich. Ask nicely and I’ll lend you my copy.

7. “‘A Very Sadistic Man’” by Janet Malcolm, The New York Review of Books

The question of what [Ted Hughes] was “really” like remains unanswered, as it should. If anything is our own business, it is our pathetic native self. Biographers, in their pride, think otherwise. Readers, in their curiosity, encourage them in their impertinence. Surely Hughes’s family, if not his shade, deserve better than Bate’s squalid findings about Hughes’s sex life and priggish theories about his psychology.

Sorry not sorry, this is my TMZ. Gimme dat lurid new unauthorized biography of Ted Hughes.

8. “The magic that makes Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists so damn good” by Adam Pasick, Quartz

9. “Platonic, Until Death Do We Part” by Ephi Stempler, The New York Times

10. Too young for Tinder, LGBTQI youth find love through Tumblr” by Heather Dockray, Mashable

11. “The Ways We Tried To Erase Each Other” by Paul Lisicky, BuzzFeed

↑ Double-dose ↓ of Paul Lisicky. Buy his new memoir here.

12. “The Promise of Flawed Characters” by Paul Lisicky, The Atlantic

A narrative, when it’s really alive, will always disturb you when you’re there to seek comfort, and sing in two contrary voices when you just want to hear a single, pure melody.

13. “Should Fiction Be Timeless? Pop Culture References in Contemporary Novels” by Kevin Pickard, Electric Literature

14. “The 80/20 Rule” by Tyler Coates, Matter

15. “Winter Doldrums Got You Down? Have Some ‘Hygge’” NPR

Usually it is translated as “cosy” but hygge means much more than that. Hygge refers to a sense of friendly, warm companionship of a kind fostered when Danes gather together in groups of two or more, although you can actually hygge yourself if there is no one else around.

16. “The Hottest Show On Netflix You’re Not Streaming Is ‘The Borgias’” by John DeVore, Decider

I watched two episodes of this stupid show and it is indeed stupid, but this piece made me laugh.

17. “Lin-Manuel Miranda on Jay Z, The West Wing, and 18 More Things That Influenced Hamilton” by Rebecca Milzoff, Vulture

18. “The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2016” by Jonathan Sturgeon, Flavorwire

NEW HELEN OYEYEMI COMING IN MARCH

19. “Inside Facebook’s Ambitious Plan to Connect the Whole World” by Jessi Hempel, Wired

20. “Eileen Myles Wants Men to Take a Hike” by Ana Marie Cox, The New York Times Magazine

I think it would be a great time for men, basically, to go on vacation. There isn’t enough work for everybody. Certainly in the arts, in all genres, I think that men should step away. I think men should stop writing books. I think men should stop making movies or television. Say, for 50 to 100 years.

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