Burnout is the New Pink

Edition 31: August 2021

Hi, friends.

I’ve been struggling lately. I hit that point beyond burnout where I feel like I don’t have time for anything—taking a shower, going for a walk, making something other than cheese and crackers for lunch. Reading is a chore and I’ve been neglecting it the way I neglect dusting. I’m just tired.

From what I’ve seen around the internet, I’m not alone in this feeling. We’ve been at this for a year and a half. This constant state of survival mode and anxiety about the unknown future. I don’t have anything new to offer here, just acknowledging it and giving it a name so maybe it’ll back off.

Here’s hoping for a relaxing new season ahead. In the meantime, here are some good reads.

What I read

💀 Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead by Emily R. Austin

This one’s a contender for my favorite book of the year. Gilda, our narrator, is a gay woman who accidentally got a job at a Catholic church as a secretary. Her predecessor died under slightly suspicious circumstances, and Gilda’s life zig-zags around as she becomes obsessed with this woman whose personal emails she now reads and occasionally responds to. It’s a book that is so wonderfully written that a synopsis will never do it justice. Just read it.

💅 What to Miss When: Poems by Leigh Stein

Leigh Stein’s collection of poetry written during the pandemic is *chef’s kiss* perfection. There’s a little bit of satire, a little bit of heart. There’s humor and guilt and fear and boredom. It is a flawless time capsule of the COVID year and the universal experience of so many privileged Americans. I had to reread a handful of poems because they mirrored thoughts and feelings I didn’t even know I had. Like this one:

“I wake up and touch my phone to see
who was thinking of me as I slept.”

I mean, come ON. That is gold.

🎻 The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang is a treasure! I love this romance series so much because they aren’t only romances. The characters are real and deep and human. In The Heart Principle, Anna and Quan have to learn to trust each other when they’ve been unable to trust others for most of their life. And that is really beautiful. There’s a lot of grief and other devastating things going on, which happens to be my jam.

🍔 Springer Mountain by Wyatt Williams

From my review for Foreword: “A short fever dream of a book, Springer Mountain combines historical records with personal philosophies about the evolution of meat-eating and vegetarianism in human beings.” This book is really rad, and unlike the other “why do we eat meat?” books I’ve read.

Here are some long reads from around the internet.

What I wrote

Reading Pathways: Mary Roach

If you still haven’t read Mary Roach’s incredibly weird science books, you really need to before you get her newest book, Fuzz, which comes out Sept. 14.

Books about Sustainability and Nature

It’s easy to feel existential dread/anxiety about climate change and the state of the world, but maybe these helpful and hopeful books can help you find your way.


Crooked Reads is a monthlyish newsletter from Ashley Holstrom.

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