This Week in Reading: Samantha Irby and Tom Kizzia -The Toast

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Previous installments of “This Week in Reading” can be found here. Most recently: French Women.

I had a particularly good week reading things, so let’s start with my favourite thing: recommending a debut volume by a female author. I never get to do that, because I almost always read new things after they’ve been out for ages and ages and then no one wants to discuss them with me any more.

Samantha Irby. Meaty. Do you read “bitches gotta eat”? WE CAN WAIT. GO.

If you haven’t read it, the grossest and sweetest and funniest of blogs, you may still have read her essay “My Mother, My Daughter” in The Rumpus, which is wrenching and perfect and deeply kind. I read it when it came out last June, and wept snottily for an hour, and have thought about it at least monthly since. We can also wait while you catch up with that.

Okay (looks both ways warily), I didn’t want to include a sample of “bitches gotta eat” until after the jump, because it’s SAUCY, so proceed now at your peril. How should you have sex? Here are two things:

1 create some motherfucking ambiance. oh, i know. all you need is a half-inflated air mattress and a quiet corner of an abandoned warehouse to get your dick hard, sir. and that’s cool, but i’m not seventeen anymore. i’ma need some soft lighting and a spotify mix called “bedroom jamz” or an old jodeci cd on repeat or some shit. i need clean sheets and a pillow to support my head. you kids can have sex on park benches and the folding table at the laundromat, but after a certain age the mood and the surroundings have to be right. want to know where i lost my virginity? ON A WASHING MACHINE IN THE BASEMENT OF MY SISTER’S APARTMENT BUILDING. twenty years ago that was an acceptable circumstance for me. but i have arthritis now, homie. i’ma need you to have a nightstand i can leave my water bottle, potassium supplements, icy hot, prune juice, orthotic inserts, reverse mortgage paperwork, reader’s digest, worn cardigan sweater, and room temperature soup on.

2 let’s make on-top-of-clothes sex a real thing finally. i’m so fucking lazy. if i ever have sex again the only position i ever want to do it in is this one i read in cosmo called “saucy spoons.” erotic instructions: lie on your sides with him behind you so you’re both facing the same direction. push your butt toward him as he enters you. put your hand on his and show him how you want your clitoris to be touched. have him alternate between there and your breasts. THIS SOUNDS PERFECT. if a dude would agree to only fuck me this way while i 1 read my kindle and 2 just pull my nightgown up around my waist i will marry him. real talk. submit your applications, gentlemen.

Love her, and Meaty is great. It’s not a huge departure from the essays that a Samantha Irby completist like myself or Thomas Pynchon would be familiar with, but if it had been a volume dedicated to the intriciacies of campaign finance reform, I would have been deeply disappointed.

It’s good that Meaty was so fun and life-affirming, because Tom Kizzia’s Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier really messed me up. It’s wonderful, it’s like Under the Banner of Heaven, but it will eat your soul. Never have I finished a book and been so pantingly grateful that the author tells you what all the protagonists are up to now. I needed to know people were okay. And Kizzia manages to achieve the correct balance of self-insertion, I think, as someone who was a mover of events, in addition to a journalist, as well as letting the story unfold itself.

Next week, we’re going to have to talk about Francesca Segal’s reimagining of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence as a tale set in modern-day Jewish London society. I’m not done yet, but I’m having a much better time than I expected. Now, what are you reading? And what is your favourite single line from “bitches gotta eat”?

Works Referenced:

Samantha Irby, Meaty (Indiebound | Amazon)
Tom Kizzia, Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier (Indiebound | Amazon)
Francesca Segal, The Innocents (Indiebound | Amazon)
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence (Indiebound | Amazon)

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