You Know What Rules? Science and Sunshine

Edition 28: April 2021

Hi, friends.

At the beginning of March, I feared being the last of my circles to get vaccinated. Then the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was available en masse in my area right when I became eligible. Just like that, I’m the first of my friend group to be fully vaccinated and somewhere in the middle of my family to be fully vaccinated.

I have no idea when I’ll feel completely safe out in the world, but that’s okay. We’re all figuring it out as we go, right? I’m mostly looking forward to hugging my mom and my dad and my brother and my grandpa again, for as long as it takes to make up for a year without hugs.

What I read

Easy Crafts for the Insane: A Mostly Funny Memoir of Mental Illness and Making Things by Kelly Williams Brown: A really lovely memoir by the wonderful Kelly Williams Brown, queen of Adulting and graciousness, about the easy crafts that helped her get through her darkest days following divorce and numerous broken bones. [Content warning for attempted suicide.]

Feelings: A Story in Seasons by Manjit Thapp: Feelings is a year in Majitt Thapp’s life, told through the ebbs and flows of six seasons: the anxiety of monsoon, the exuberance of high summer, the desolation of winter. Each page, with colorful illustrations and few words, is a marvel.

The Way She Feels by Courtney Cook: Comics! Essays! Lists! All my favorite things wrapped up in one book! Courtney Cook writes about how no one really talks about borderline personality disorder, and her work makes the disorder a little less scary, taboo, and misunderstood. She writes candidly about her experiences with self-harm, trich & derma, and numerous hospitalizations in an astounding way that feels like reading a friend’s diary. The book is raw, but also full of humor, heart, and oh so many bright colors.

What I learned

It’s not impossible to turn regular meals into vegetarian or vegan meals. My partner doesn’t eat meat and tries to avoid dairy, and in the year of us being on the same working/feeding schedule, we’ve been cooking and eating together like a real couple! It hasn’t been easy and I’ve definitely lost my cool over not being able to feed him my cheesy casseroles or standard Holstrom family recipes the traditional way. But it’s been fun to try new things, like this peanut sauce with veggies and noodles! Also, the TikTok feta pasta is absolutely worth all the hype.

What I wrote

I spent my spring going to the library and leaving with armfuls of comics and graphic novels so I could put together this definitive list of the best, most emotionally devastating mental illness graphic memoirs. I read about 30 others that didn’t make the cut.


Crooked Reads is a monthlyish newsletter from Ashley Holstrom.

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