Outside Reading — Join Us, Won’t You? edition

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How Karina Longworth Brought Sex and Sleaze Back to Hollywood History by Alex Morris

Given my specific cultural interests, it’s ridiculous that it took me as long as it did to listen to You Must Remember This, the Hollywood-focused podcast written, produced, and narrated by Karina Longworth (that’s her ⬆). Now, I’m hooked, so I was delighted by this profile of the host and the show written by Alex Morris. I’ll add that I am excited beyond reason for the prospect of Longworth spending an entire episode detail the spectacular debacle that is Showgirls, promised for the forthcoming “Erotic 90s” season. The article is published by Rolling Stone.

Republican Women Are Upset. I Don’t Care. by Jessica Valenti

With customary fire, Jessica Valenti offers a deserved declaration of “Too late!” to the small but vocal batch of Republican women who are now expressing concern over their party’s malicious rush to impose draconian restrictions on abortion and threaten the same against birth control and any number of other long-established rights that let women citizens have some measure of autonomy. They are contributors to this dire moment, not victims of it. As I’ve typed in this space before, I’m long past the point of pretending that the Grand Old Party is anything other than a meeting place for chauvinists, bigots, and oppressors, committed to nothing more than using their retrograde views to cause pain for others. It’s time for the news media to stop pretending otherwise. Voices like Valenti’s should be leading the way. This piece is published in her own newsletter, It’s All in Her Head.

The Obelisk Gate (2016) by N.K. Jemisin

For me, the second book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy doesn’t have quite the same roundhouse-to-the-soul effect of its predecessor, The Fifth Season, but the author’s ambition remains evident throughout. The world-building remains vast and intricate, and Jemisin still delivers brutal moments that are utterly logical and yet shocking. Her characters are so richly drawn that the fantastical elements of the novel feel as grounded as the most mundane stretches of a story tethered by realism. It is that sure-footedness, along with the pointed parallels to challenges of tribalistic skirmishes that have been part of humanity’s grind for time immemorial, that gives the science fiction its weight. The Obelisk Gate is a tremendous work.

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