This week we've got two essential collections of essays. Do not sleep on these! (But you may read before going to sleep.)More
I read every night before I fall asleep. Sometimes I like to read things I've read before, because I find it soothing. I don't have to worry about getting so wrapped up in a new plot that I read until all hours to find out what's going to happen. My favorite thing to re-read is short essays—it's a form I love, and it can feel really warm and snuggly before falling asleep. Last night I was re-reading the late David Rakoff's debut essay collection, Fraud. Rakoff, who died in 2012, is sorely missed; a biting humorist with real heart. My favorite essay in the book is when he goes to track down the sperm he froze during a bout with Hodgkin's lymphoma in his 20s. It's funny and sad and winning.
Last year, the poet Claudia Rankine released a hybrid book of poetry and criticism called Citizen. It is impeccably and viscerally written, a deep examination of what citizenship can (and cannot) look like for black people, especially women, in America. Since the book's release, its ideas have materialized in other venues in second lives. Citizen contains an essay on Serena Williams; in a profile for the New York Times Magazine, Rankine sat down with Williams and wrote further on the idea of the black American athlete. And then a few days ago, at a god-awful Donald Trump rally, Citizen appeared again, in this incredible vine. Citizen is a book that will live many lives, critical, funny and poignant ones, and I totally urge you to live with it.