required reading: a list of my favorite things around the internet this week


  • Yesterday was Bloomsday, named for the character Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, the whole of which is set on June 16, 1904.  Joyce, ever the romantic, chose this date for his novel because June 16, 1904 was his first outing (a walk to the Dublin suburb of Ringsend) with his wife-to-be Nora Barnacle.  Joyce’s dirty love letters to Barnacle are always a joy to read, if you’re looking for a quick, belated way to commemorate Bloomsday.  Or, if somehow you’ve already read all of Joyce and need something extra to celebrate, a collection of previously unpublished “epiclets” are now available.
  • Not a fan of Ulysses?  You aren’t alone.  June 17th (today) marks the celebration of a different kind of literature: Blumesday, the celebration of Judy Blume!  If, like the holiday’s creator Joanna Miller, you think “Blume’s topics — being bullied, getting your period, having your parents divorce — are timeless issues,” why not celebrate this holiday by reading Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.  Frankly, as a book about menstruation and bodily issues, I bet Joyce would approve, too.
  • Did you, like me, think that the phrase “just deserts” had something to do with cake or pie?  The “deserts” (not desserts) of that phrase actually comes from the Old French word for “deserve.”  Makes sense, but we rarely give much thought to common idioms, do we?  This list of  words and phrases that we unwittingly use every day contains some surprising revelations regarding ancient origins.
  • Edward Snowden’s girlfriend has been getting a lot of unnecessary press about her occupation as a pole dancer, but this article in The New Yorker by Sasha Weiss gives an interesting take on the news: where the juxtaposition between an emphatic call for privacy and the normalization of online exhibitionism has become the mystery of our generation.  Weiss aptly states, “It feels strange and a little mean to scrutinize Mills’s self-portraiture, especially now that her exposure will no doubt invite all kinds of speculation about her personality and her politics—but, until Tuesday, Mills offered herself up for scrutiny to whoever might wish to look at her blog.”
  • I somehow only just found out about Food52, a beautifully group-curated food blog, but now I’m obsessed.  Rosemary Gin Cocktail? Count me in!

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