Read

12/9/19

  • The Story of Caroline Calloway & Her Ghostwriter Natalie, The Cut: Zara here! For those who have been following the Caroline Calloway saga ever since her creativity workshops were dubbed Fyre fest 2.0 earlier this year, this story gets stranger the more time goes on. This week, her former best friend Natalie wrote a cutting expose on their friendship forThe Cut (pun definitely intended), alleging she worked as Calloway's ghostwriter for years. Natalie paints the picture of a toxic friendship, and while it's hard not to feel for Natalie and agree she was once used, it's also hard to ignore the fact she's now using Calloway in the pursuit of fame and a writing career. Or, to be more blunt: How Natalie seems to be using Calloway in exactly the same way Calloway once used her. Which is all to say, this is a story with SO many layers, and if you've got some time, READ IT.

5/9/19

  • Renée Zellweger’s Lost Decade by Vulture: I (Zara) am starting to positively eat my hat, because there has been a litany of strong celebrity profiles published in the last month and where in the world have they all come from? In this one for Vulture, writer Jonathan Van Meter profiles Renée Zellweger, some six years after she took time out from Hollywood and a break from acting. This month, she stars as the late icon Judy Garland in the biopic Judy. In the profile, she talks about everything from her complicated history with Harvey Weinstein, the "international humiliation" that came from rumours about what she had done with her face and how she is the ex-girlfriend of a gay man. It's not a short read, but it's worth your time.

29/8/19

  • 'Taylor Swift: "I was literally about to break"' in The Guardian. OK, yes, I (Zara) often talk about how much I lament the death of the celebrity profile, but look! Another wonderful one has popped up, this time penned by Laura Snapes about the toughest couple of years in Taylor Swift's career. In this profile, she shares what it was that broke her before the creation of her Reputation album, why she refused to comment on US politics for some time, and why it is she refuses to talk about her relationship with Joe Alwyn publicly. It's a beautifully put together piece.

22/8/19

  • Today's recommendation from me (Zara) is the profile on Jada Pinkett Smith in The Guardian titled 'Jada Pinkett Smith: "The word 'wife': it's a golden cage, swallow the key"'. Jada's philosophy on why she shares so much of her personal life with the world makes so much sense. It's all a human experience that everyone's figuring out - so why not do it together? This profile made me realise how genuinely likeable Jada is, how much she knows, and how much she's willing to learn. In it, she spoke about marriage with Will, Red Table Talk, and co-parenting Trey (Will's eldest son). Give it a read!

15/8/19

  • Hello friends! Mich here. Today I want to recommend a piece in The Guardian titled 'Jeffrey Epstein is dead, but questions remain for Prince Andrew'. It's concise and easy to read and, in my opinion, paints a pretty scary picture of the Palace and the force with which it shuts down a story. The currents of privilege and power are clear, and they are terrifying. After you've devoured that article, I also recommend looking into the Jeffrey Epstein death more generally; there are so many questions to be asked and the answers could be anything but comforting.

8/8/19

  • The story of my toxic relationship by Sam Frost on Believe: This piece, penned by former Bachelorette Sam Frost on the website of her mental health initiative, Believe, goes into depth about an emotionally abusive relationship she was involved in a few years ago. It's a powerful piece on the signs and symptoms of a toxic relationship, and how she managed to extract herself from it and build her life back up.

1/8/19

  • The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser for the Paris Review: I (Zara) wasn’t expecting to love this piece as much as I did, particularly when the writer started writing about birds (!!). But genuinely, this is one of the most beautiful pieces on the breakdown of a relationship I’ve ever read. CJ Hauser writes all about why she ended her relationship when she realised her needs weren’t being met, when she realised she’d be playing too cool for too long and when she realised she deserved so, so much better.

25/7/19

  • Educated by Tara Westover: Tara Westover’s Educated is a brilliant memoir that looks at the value of - you guessed it - education. I (Mich) actually first stumbled upon Westover’s story when I listened to a podcast interview with her, and was delighted when I got my hands on the book itself. You’ll find your jaw hitting the floor over and over again as you work your way through this one. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give the storyline away, but there’s a reason this has more than 300,000 reviews on Good Reads with an average rating of 4.5/5!

18/7/19

  • Mich here! So this article - which is actually an extract from We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter, by Celeste Headlee - plunged me into an existential crisis at 11:33pm last night. It turns out, I'm the person who is irritating and unhelpful when important conversations pop up, and I am now HELLBENT on getting better at it. I mean... this article must only be about 600 words, and yet it made me rethink every pivotal conversation I've ever had. No biggie.

11/7/19

  • Yes, I (Zara) have finally bought Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s new book after falling in love with the story after hearing the early pages read on The Cut on Tuesdays. It’s the story of newly-divorced Toby, who is navigating life (and dating apps) post marriage. The writing is AMAZING, but then, everything Taffy writes is. I don’t think I’ve read a negative review about this online and for pretty good reason.

4/7/19

  • The Lingering of Loss by Jill Lepore for The New Yorker: I (Zara) think this has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have read in a very, very long time. A funny thing happens when I read something (be a well-constructed sentence or entire piece) I adore: I stare at it for a long while to read and re-read it, and then quietly despair that my words don't come out that way, too. ALAS, this is such elegant writing on loss and friendship and motherhood and is so delicate in how it pulls you in and keeps your attention. It's a longer read, so take some time out of your day to really read it properly, if you can.

27/6/19

6/6/19

  • Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton: Sometimes romantic love fails you. Sometimes - often - the love we share with our friends is the only kind of love we need to keep us sane. In her first memoir, Dolly Alderton details her failed relationships, her qualms with love and dating culture and why her girlfriends and the big loves of her life. If you're single, or if you've recently been through a break up (and truthfully, even if you're neither of those things), you will find so much solace and value in this book.

30/5/19

  • Conversations With Friends, by Sally Rooney: Admittedly, this isn't the BEST book I've ever read - I preferred Normal People - but it's still a banger. If you're into dramatic, affair-ridden plot lines (with some great sex scenes interspersed throughout) then you'll enjoy this read. I devoured it in a few sittings and now I'm desperate for Rooney to write more.

23/5/19

  • Hi guys! Mich here. Typically I'd be putting a list of my reads recommendations here for you all to check out, but to be perfectly honest with you, I didn't read much at all this week. I've been flat out at work and it just wasn't a priority. This makes me a little sad but I think it's also important; we shouldn't feel guilty for not consuming, consuming, consuming content at ravenous speeds. Feeding our brains a little bit of radio silence every now and then must be a good thing, right?

  • Allow Aurora Perrineau to Reintroduce Herself by Mattie Kahn for Glamour. The name Aurora Perrineau might ring a bell - she was the woman who accused Girls' executive producer Murray Miller of sexual assault, before Lena Dunham came out publicly and said she was lying. In this story, Kahn touches on how Perrineau "became a footnote in someone else’s public narrative", and how she's finally coming into her own and standing in a light that isn't shrouded by those allegations and that time.

  • Alabama’s abortion ban is about keeping poor women down by Emma Brockes for The Guardian. This is the story I (Zara) quoted in Monday's episode in our conversations about the abortion crisis in the US at the moment. If you're looking for a searing column that articulates everything you're feeling, this is it.

  • The Bold Type’s Fashion Is Delightfully Bad by Sarah Spellings for The Cut: Oh yes this is a very good take. Spellings writes about how the beauty of Sutton, Jane and Kat's fashion lies in the fact the clothes aren't actually that great. It sounds mean but I promise you it's not.

16/5/19

  • We Have No Idea How Scary Our Abortion Future Will Get, by Irin Carmon in The Cut: A chilling insight into just how dire the US abortion law situation is getting, vehiculated by Janet Porter, a woman at the heart of the anti-abortion movement.

  • Women Aren't Nags—We're Just Fed Up by Gemma Hartley for Harper's Bazaar: This is an old story but we've been chatting about it in a heap in our Facebook group after the story I (Zara) recommended about emotional labour last week. This is an absolute gem, and Hartley has since written a book about it.

  • James Charles, From CoverBoy to Canceled by Valeriya Safronova for The New York Times: You know when YouTube drama graces the pages of the New York Times, something's going down. This is a pretty solid recap on what's been going on if it's gone right over your head

9/5/19

  • Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden by Melanie Hamlett for Harper's Bazaar: I (Zara) think this is one of the most thought-provoking pieces I've read in such a long time, and I can't stop sending it to every woman I know. It's all about how we, as women, carry the emotional burden of men because they're never taught to form strong, meaningful and deep bonds with each other.

  • The Realness of Billy Porter by Emilia Petrarca for The Cut: Oh, Billy Porter is everywhere right now and for good reason. His recent forays onto the red carpet (at the Oscars and then the Met Gala) have seized the internet. So, who is the man behind it all?

  • My grooming bandwidth is now at full capacity, Dolly Alderton in The Times: A very funny, oh-god-yes account of hair removal and maintenance when you're a woman, particularly when it comes to your goddamn eyebrows.

2/5/19

  • How Colombo became unrecognisable on my honeymoon by Sophie Aubrey in the Sydney Morning Herald: Sophie is a beloved friend of ours, and penned this heart-rending piece after returning home from her honeymoon in Sri Lanka last week. Read right until the end, and keep her message in mind the next time you're looking to travel somewhere new.

  • Sell Out, a four-part short story series in the New Yorker: Okay, admittedly, this short story might make you hate our generation a little bit, but HOLY EFF I (Mich) LOVE IT. I stumbled across this series last week when we were preparing for a segment that never actually aired... ugh. It's equal parts witty and self-aware, and I finished Part One with a big smirk on my face.

  • The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence by Ezra Marcus and James D. Walsh for New York Magazine: Every so often a long read like this one makes waves across the internet and boy, did this one make an impact. The piece tells the story of Larry Ray, who asked his daughter if he could crash in her dorm room after being released from prison in 2010. From there, her roommates and friends soon fell under his control.

25/4/19

  • My wife and I are stuck in a passion-free routine and I’m very happy by Romesh Ranganathan for The Guardian: A perspective on love less talked about. In this beautifully put-together piece, Ranganathan contends love doesn't have as much to do with spontaneity as it does living quietly beside one another for years on end.

  • Grief Glasses by Beanie Feldstein for Instyle: Beanie Feldstein is the sister of Jonah Hill and Jordan Feldstein, who was the late manager of Maroon 5. Last year, Jordan died suddenly. In this piece, Feldstein writes about the harrowing aftermath of the death of a loved one, and how grief changes your perspective on everything. It's not a light read, but an important one all the same.

  • Why is no one talking about post-university depression? in Cosmopolitan UK. This piece was actually recommended to us by a listener, so consider this as a full 360 wrap around! I (Mich) really relate to feeling like you're in a constant state of flux and limbo after leaving university, and think this article covers the mini crisis many of us encounter in our 20s really well.

18/4/19

  • A Singular Vision: Ashley And Mary-Kate Olsen On Bringing The Row To London by Olivia Singer for Vogue. Despite boasting a wildly successful fashion resume in the years after leaving show-business, Mary-Kate and Ashley keep a surprisingly low profile. Here, for Vogue, Olivia Singer profiles the duo as the legitimate and credible fashion designers they have become, and details the methodology behind their considered business model.

  • These Women Are Only On Facebook For The Groups by Anne Helen Peterson for BuzzFeed. The online world - as we know - can be poisonous and unhealthy and unhelpful for women. So are Facebook groups the only reason we stay online? According to Peterson, they're the only "respite from online toxicity". Interested in whether you guys actually agree with this one, too.

  • Open your mind, change your life by Dr Tara Stewart: This book is what the pro-science, pro-evidence community has been crying out for. It's a beautiful alchemy of self-help, manifestation, psychology and chemistry, that will leave you feeling empowered and educated - never dumbed-down.

11/4/19

  • At Cosmopolitan Magazine, Data Is the New Sex by Katherine Rosman in The New York Times: What’s the future of a young, women’s magazine as her rivals fall around her? The New York Times’ Katherine Rosman writes about the future of Cosmo in the US and how, in the face of a choppy media climate, the brand is thriving.

  • The Authentic Lie by Pandora Sykes: Pandora Sykes’ extended essay won’t be an easy one to get your hands on, but it’s well worth it. Writing about authenticity in an Instagram age, Sykes critically analyses why we are so obsessed with pretending to be authentic at a time and in a world that has (arguably) never been more inauthentic. The first print run for the essay has completed, but keep an eye on her socials for when a second one is announced because it’s well worth your time and money.

  • Catching a catfish by James Oaten for the ABC: This is a pretty harrowing story told in a brilliant way. The story begins with Lincoln Lewis (yes, the Home and Awayactor), and explores how his boyish good looks and Australian charm were used, unbeknownst to the actor himself, by a stranger to catfish women across the country. Stay until the end, because while it ends with a kind of sucker punch, there's an important conversation to be had.

4/4/19

  • What happens when women stop leading like men, by Tina Brown in The New York Times: When there’s a story taking hold of the whole world (such as the leadership of Jacinda Ardern), trust former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown to nail the think piece. This is one of the most well-constructed pieces of writing we have read in a long time: Some of these sentences will stop you in your tracks and make you thankful that the world has writers and women like Brown.

  • What it’s like to grow up with more money than you will ever spend, by Abigail Disney in The Cut: This is juuuuuuicy. What is like having more money than you know what to do with? This interview with Abigail Disney - yes, that Disney - sheds insight into how the extremely wealthy live a life with a bottomless bank balance.

  • Keeping Up With the Kardashian Cash Flow, by Amy Chozick in The New York Times: The Kardashians make money off a bad time, this much we know. But how does it all work, behind the scenes? The New York Times investigates the cash flow machine underpinning everything the family does. Put some time aside on your lunch break to read this, she’s a heavy one.

28/3/19

  • Stop calling Asian women adorable, in The New York Times: This, by author R.O. Kwon, is a searing exploration of why we have such a tendency to comment that Asian women are “cute”, and how the concept of “model minorities” denigrates the fight of all minorities.

  • A battle for my life, by Emilia Clarke in The New Yorker: We touched on this story in the latest episode, where Emilia Clarke goes into depth on her struggle with two life-altering brain aneurysms that hit her as she found international fame on GOT. It is harrowing and hopeful and absolutely worth your time.

  • You're not broke, you're poor - Katie Smith for The Guardian: This is one of those reads that sparks a real recalibration. It's a reminder of how important language is and, how, over time, we can unwittingly become blind to our own privilege.

21/3/19

  • Mich here! After falling in love with Matt Haig on Love Stories with Dolly Alderton last week, I went out and bought his book 'Reasons To Stay Alive' - which I'm now devouring with a rather voracious appetite. This non-fiction bestseller looks at how depression and anxiety almost tore Haig's life apart at 24, and how he resisted every urge that told him to end it all.

  • Been wondering what we can do, on home soil, to tackle gender-based violence?This blog post from the brilliant Xafina Dendrinos - who has worked in finance for the last two years and has some harrowing anecdotes to share - is a must read. This is the first blog post in a series: She has just started volunteering at a feminist tech start up called She's a Crowd that aims to harness the power of storytelling to end gender-based violence. Everyone woman has her own story, and each month, they want to tell one. Even better, you can get in touch with her to tell your own. So do!

  • The Fertility Doctor’s Secret by Sarah Zhang for The Atlantic. One of those brilliant long reads that feels like a small novel, until you realise it was all true.

  • Cat Marnell Pays Taxes Now by Charlotte Cowles for The Cut. If you read How To Murder Your Life a few months ago as per our recommendation, then this is a frustratingly brilliant follow-up piece with author Cat Marnell on how her murdered life is getting on.

14/3/19

  • Where Do Former Teen Stars Go When Their Shows Die? by Thea Glassman on Vice. Were you a One Tree Hill fan? Did you grow up falling in love with James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti? This is a short but sweet profile on where the two disappeared to after their OTH days and how they struggled to land work in the years after their rise as child stars.

  • “I Felt Like I Was Being Physically Ripped Apart”: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Opens Up About Her New Fame, Trump, and Life in the Bubble by Abigail Tracy on Vanity Fair. She's been the star of US politics for some months now, but what does Ocasio-Cortez think about her own rise?

  • You Know You Want This, by Kristen Roupenian: recognise that name? Yep, this is the book from the famed author of Cat Person, that viral short story that gave the New Yorker a healthy audience boost in 2017. This is Roupenian's first book - a collection of short stories on relationships, sex and love, all topics Zara and I have been discussing at length recently. If you loved Cat Person you'll really enjoy this - I (Mich) definitely found some essays were better than others, and that the book was bleak and depressing in parts, but it's a fantastic book all the same.

7/3/19

  • My Year of Living Like My Rich Friend by Emily Gould on The Cut. A surprisingly forgiving tale of a freelance writer, her wealthy friend and the life she tried to keep up with. Don't expect bitter assertions on class divide or privilege: This is an easy, strangely likeable tale about money and how some of us just weren't born with it.

  • There’s No Such Thing As A Self-Made Billionaire by Joseph Earp on Junkee. Ah, yes. The old "self-made" debate has reared its head once more, this time after Kylie Jenner was announced as the world's youngest "self-made" billionaire. But what does it mean to be self-made? Is there even such thing? Earp asserts that no, there is not, and perhaps it's time we started acknowledging it as so.

  • Love Is Not a Permanent State of Enthusiasm: An Interview with Esther Perel on The New Yorker. A long read, yes, but if you're as obsessed with Esther Perel's insight as we are, then you will love this interview. Read it at your own pace - go slow if you like - but drink in the wisdom. She is unique, that is for sure.

28/2/19

21/2/19

  • R.I.P., the Celebrity Profile on The New York Times. This piece is about six months old, and I (Zara) stumbled back on it this week and love it as much now as I did then. The celebrity profile is dying as more and more celebrities take hold of their own narrative and refuse to be put under the spotlight and scrutiny a regular magazine profile affords. This is a fitting obituary to the death of the celebrity profile.

  • The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion: I (Mich) am reading this delightful novel a second time. I first picked it up in about 2015; it was a present from my dad and I fell head over heels for the hilariously awkward storylines and themes (the main one is called 'The Wife Project'. Yes, really). It's based in Melbourne, which makes it feel even more fun somehow?

14/2/19

  • Jen Doll's piece in Harpers Bazaar titled, Why Does It Feel Like Everyone Has More Money Than You? was popped in our Facebook group by our lovely listener Sach. It's all about young people, money and privilege and why we need to be talking more about parents who help their kids out with finances.

  • Troll Hunting, by Ginger Gorman: Mich here. This book is admittedly a little dark for my tastes (I am one of those people who cries at the WorkSafe television commercials) but it's also a super important read. Gorman is a journalist and her illustrations of the rakish trolling world shine a light into what many endure in silence. Her opening story about two dads, their little, boy, and some baby chicks will stay with you forever.

7/2/19

  • We've recommended Leigh Campbell's fantastic Treading Water blog series before, but this week her story took another turn. We highly HIGHLY recommend you begin from the very first chapter and work through chronologically. Each piece is only 300 words so it's easy to move from one to the other and never lose interest. It's a powerful and very important insight into so many women's lives.

  • The Squiz newsletter! This is just as handy and insightful as the podcast (if you're not subscribed to The Squiz podcast yet, get on it). It's a daily morning breakdown of the news cycle, designed for busy and bright Australian women just like you. It will drop in your inbox every weekday and breakdown the biggest current affairs topics into bite-sized pieces. So handy.

  • A Suspense Novelist's Trail of Deceptions, by Ian Parker for The New Yorker. Has 2019 already been the year of the scammer? If your go-to genre at the moment is rich-kid-turned-con-artist, then this is FOR YOU. Put away some significant time to swallow this one, she’s a novel-and-a-half but you will not regret it. A truly wild ride.

  • How to Detach Emotionally From Work by Kristen Wong for The Cut. A colleague sent me (Zara) this one this week, and it’s for anyone who finds themselves overwhelmed by their commitment to work. If your whole identity is tied up in your work, then perhaps it's time to re-think whether it's doing you (and your workplace) any good. Spoiler alert: You might be a more productive worker if you drop some of that intense passion.

31/1/19

  • Rihanna and LVMH Make a Deal and, Possibly, History by Vanessa Friedman for The New York Times. Sure, this is a little niche if you're not into fashion, but stick it out. Rihanna's latest project says a lot about the future of pop culture, and why she's at the centre of it all.

24/1/19

20/12/19

  • Why This Instagram-Famous Blouse Costs $260 by Leandra Medine in Man Repeller. This one's for all of you out there who are desperate to get a little smarter and wiser about fast fashion: A deep-dive into why some ethically-sourced and made garments cost as much as they do.

13/12/18

  • Another Man Repeller read! Please forgive us, but Amelia Diamond's List of Things I Consistently Regret but Continue to Do is epic and speaks to our souls.

  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper: This is Jane Harper at her best. If you haven’t read her first two novels (The Dry or Force of Nature) then DO IT. Harper writes about Australia like no one else, which is a feat given she is from Britain. Push through the first few pages of this book (super descriptive, took me a little to get in) but once you’re in you’re really, really in. The ending comes out of nowhere, too. 10/10 read.

  • Okay, this one isn't a READ recommendation, but you do need your eyes for it. Mich recommends you chuck @emandtheearthart a follow on Instagram. She's an illustration student and her depictions of womanhood are so poignant, real and beautiful. She's a delightful addition to any Insta feed.

6/12/18

  • The making of a true-crime podcast, by Rachael Brown: This piece in the Sydney Morning Herald is perfectly timed given the developments in the Teacher's Pet story this week. It's written by the host of ABC's The Trace and gives a behind-the-scenes look into the gripping crime shows we love.

  • The joy of not finishing books, by James Colley in The Guardian: This speaks to our soul. That is all.

  • History Will Recall, George Bush Did Nothing At All, by The Cut's Garance Franke-Ruta: a nuanced look at the fallibility of human memory and our rose-coloured glasses.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow Wants to Convert You written by Wall Street Journal's Elisa Lipsky-Karasz. This profile might be the most Gwyneth profile we’ve ever read, not least because she claims she made yoga a thing. But for all the question marks around the kind of brand she built - jade eggs, anyone? - the story does paint a picture of a powerful, clever businesswoman who found a gap and filled it.

29/11/18

  • LONG READ - This profile of Lena Dunham in The Cut, by Allison P. Davis: On being uterus-less, widely hated, addicted to prescription meds, the sibling of a trans person, and friends with her ex.

  • LONG READ - Is Edward Enninful the next Anna Wintour? in The Washington Post. An in-depth look at the man that might just be responsible for revitalising the entire Vogue brand.

  • The myth of the self-made millennial. Our lovely listener Anniina put this piece byMan Repeller's Philip Ellis in the Facebook Group this week, and we totally agree with its sentiment. It's a few months old but ties in nicely with what we discussed in Monday's episode about Roxy Jacenko.

  • This interview with Amanda Bynes, in Paper Mag: Some fascinating insights into the darkest times of the actress' life. Writer Abby Schreiber clearly did a great job of making Bynes feel comfortable to talk openly and honestly.

  • How To Murder Your Life, by Cat Marnell: Looking for something to fill The Bold Type-shaped void? This non-fiction read by Cat Marnell, a former glossy mag writer, will do the trick. We've both read it and couldn't stop talking about it after. Be warned, though: It's not as... glossy or light... as Stan's new drama.