The First Letter

Volume 1, Edition 1: July 2019

Hi, friends!

July was kind of a bust in my reading world—we went on vacation and I also got that summertime sadness where I can't read a thing. But then I went to the library and brought home a stack of comics, because they're all I can stomach during this time of year.

Isn't it wild that mental illness can be cyclical? Every July, when the days are nice and long, and the temperature is toasty, I burrow deeper under the covers.

Here are some of the words I read and wrote this month.

What I read

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer: It's a real life horror story about factory farming and why we should try to not eat meat! Or just eat less of it! Or just don't eat the pigs because they're so smart and they know what's happening to them. As soon as I finished this audiobook, I vowed to be more conscious of how much meat I consume. It is HARD, but totally worth it.

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun: I highly recommend reading this on the beach or near a pool. These lil existential comics are adorable and sad and moving.

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes: My friends have been getting pregnant lately, and while I have zero interest in reproducing myself, I'm SUPER interested in the entire concept of pregnancy. So I'm reading all these pregnancy books so I can better empathize with them, I guess? Or just throw fun facts at them. Pregnancy is fascinating, the female body is magic, etc.

Revenge of the Red Club by Kim Harrington: DID YOU KNOW that my entire wheelhouse can be found in one book? Riley is the lead investigative reporter for her middle school's newspaper, and when she causes a stink with one story, the principal swoops in and decides now is the time to follow the student handbook. That includes disbanding the Red Club, where young menstruators meet weekly to vent and learn about the changes in their bodies. Riley and the club won't stand for it, so they rise up and are the coolest little menstruation activists I've ever seen (or read about).

What I wrote

Over at Book Riot, I wrote about 5 important books about periods, how to keep up with new releases, why that one Ted Bundy book is so hard to find, my 25 favorite weird bookstagram accounts, and rounded up some cute, soul-warming John Green quotes and prints.

On my blog, I posted the usual photo dump from our road trip to northern Michigan. We adventured SO hard.

If you enjoyed this letter, please consider forwarding it to a friend and/or sending me a tip. Or just send me a note. That's nice, too.

Thanks so much for reading. See you next month!


Ashley Holstrom is a book person, designing them for an indie publisher and writing about them for Book Riot. She also wrote an essay for (Don't) Call Me Crazy, an anthology about mental illness. Tweet with her at @alholstrom.