What I'm Reading

The Year That Was

Here we are—almost at the end of a rather terrible year. I suspect we will be processing all of this for a long time, but let us hope we are now nearer the end than the beginning. Let us also hope that the pendulum swings hard in a new direction, that we use this momentum, this anger, this unrest, to build something better.

Like I’ve said before, chaos can create great art, and despite everything else, a lot of great art was made this year, friends. Enjoy a look back.

Year-in-Review

2017 Book Concierge, NPR

NPR’s Book Concierge is now an annual tradition. Maybe you read a few of these that stuck with you? Or perhaps you will spend the next 12-months catching up?

100 Outstanding Pieces of Audio, Bello Collective

I’m so proud of this list. It’s a lot of work, but we found some great shows that deserve your attention. Enjoy.

The Lives They Lived, New York Times

The incredible legacies of some lesser known names remind us there there is much more we can do.

Best of 2017, Longreads

May we all strive to read more than headlines and tweets in the year ahead. 

Best Movies of the Year, Vanity Fair

Let us be transported.

The Year in Graphics, Washington Post

This year has revealed to me how little I know and understand about our systems. Everyone benefits from these explainers.

The 100 Best Movies Streaming on Netflix, New York Times

A reminder that good things do exist.

The Most Read Stories of 2017, New York Times

The news we could not escape.

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What I'm Reading

Do Your Research

I find the Supreme Court endlessly fascinating. Assuming we don’t move to the upside down (who knows, maybe we’re already there?), the next few months should be pretty interesting.

  • Some background on nominee Neil Gorsuch from Washington Post. Gorsuch is young—just 49—meaning he could be a justice for a long time.
  • Here’s a quick primer from FiveThirtyEight on where Neil Gorsuch rests on the liberal/conservative spectrum.
  • Here’s what it takes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee.
  • Whether you’re a Supreme Court novice or not, give a listen to RadioLab’s More Perfect mini series for some thoughtful explorations on cases that have appeared before the highest court in the land.
  • If you’re ready for the nerdy stuff, dig in on SCOTUS Blog or Slate’s Amicus podcast.
  • This really cool visualization from Axios shows the shifting ideology of the Supreme Court.

Obviously this is a stolen seat. Last year, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland and he was shut out by a Republican Congress who refused to even meet with him. It was small and petty, and a bullshit way to run a democratic government. Early takes on the Gorsuch nomination suggest that Democrats will avoid a fight for now in order to put all their weight against the second nominee, which could upset the balance of a blended Supreme Court. We’ll see.

Oh, and by the way, I sure miss the days when women at these events were more than just wifely props. Yeick.

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Intention, What I'm Reading

Today We Awoke to a New World

Since I saw yesterday’s press conference, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. To follow yesterday’s events with this statement—I am in horror. Somewhere there is a person who saw that press conference and took those words to be true. Somewhere there is a person who will believe that the press are making up and distributing false information. With terrifying ease, this administration has likely struck doubt into the hearts of some individuals. A year ago, gaslighting was a Hollywood prop, today it is deployed by our President.

If you know me even a little, you know that news and reporting is a subject very close to my heart. I consider the fourth and fifth estates to be one of the greatest privileges afforded to us by our democracy. Therefore, I don’t take yesterday’s stunt lightly—a representative of the highest office in our land publicly lied to the American people. It is now the mantle of the press to report on these inaccuracies with vigor, and the right of the public to demand retraction.

As I sit in my little corner of the world, ruminating on my promise to take action at yesterday’s march, I am fretting about what I can do in this moment. Without truth, without facts, who are we?

Finding Credible News Sources

I look to four primary sources for my news: National Public Radio, The Washington Post, PBS and The New York Times. They are not perfect, but I find that these outlets have done the hard work of examining their own blindspots and are constantly working to adjust for them. They have wide access to a variety of reporters, researchers and opinions and they deploy them wisely.

Access to National Public Radio is free and accessible from any device. You can stream the news anytime on their website, or download the NPR One app to your mobile device for a personalized playlist. If you have an Apple TV, you can listen to NPR on the Music app. Or, if you still own one, just turn your radio to the low end of the dial. Once in awhile, I change up the local station that appears at the top of my NPR page, just so I can hear what they’re reporting on in different communities.

PBS has erected paywalls for some of its most popular content, but you can still stream (for free) one of the most thoughtful, and quite frankly neutral, evening news reports in the form of PBS NewsHour. PBS is also still available, even to cordcutters, on any television with a receiver.

If you have a .mil, .gov, or .edu email address, you can access The Washington Post for free. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you can access the digital edition for six months, for free. After that, it’s $9.99 per month. If you’ve cut cable already, take $10 of those monthly savings and put it into a subscription.

The New York Times, for me, remains the standard-bearer for excellence in news and reporting. David and I have had a digital subscription to the Times for years now, and should we find ourselves in a more austere position, I suspect it would be the last of our luxuries to go. We depend on it for more than just news; our Times subscription provides access to conversations about business, technology, art and cooking (and the mini-crossword too).

It would be easy for someone to look at my primary sources and suggest that I only subscribe to elite media, but the truth is I have a very high standard for what I include in my streams. The sources I look to must be smartly written, fact-based journalism. If you have suggestions for others I should consider, I welcome them.

Going Beyond Local

It is a privilege to have my local newspaper be The Washington Post, but even so, I’ve worked hard to introduce both global and regional information to my media streams. On social media, I follow The Martinsville Bulletin, the newspaper where my parents live, and I recently subscribed to “Happening at Home,” a newsletter from Roanoke Times writer Tiffany Stevens, that collects and shares local journalism from across the country. As we wring our hands over American politics, it has been a gift to find the BBC World News Radio Service, which serves as a reminder that the world is far greater than us alone. I’m also tuning in to ProPublica, which just established a new cohort of beat reports to dig in on specific issues for the long-haul.

Media Criticism and Research

There is not a day, particularly in these tumultuous times, when I don’t miss David Carr. Carr was a prominent media critic who looked closely at the ways the press reports on issues and offered thoughts (and often tough love) on how they could do it better. No one has quite replaced Carr, but Nieman Lab and Poynter Institute have done good work in his stead. I also like what I see from media critic Jay Rosen, and Elizabeth Jensen, the NPR ombudsmen. I’m excited about the work of Melody Kramer, a media jack-of-all-trades, who prefers to work in and with the public to imagine better mechanisms for reporting. Most days I can take or leave Margaret Sullivan, the media critic at Washington Post, but occasionally her bombastic headlines are a salve for the rage burning in my chest.

One of my biggest personal blindspots is research. By the time that a fact has been stretched and pulled by both a writer and editor, it is inherently imbued with an editorial slant (Aside: I recently stopped watching CBS’s morning news after more than 3 decades because the hosts found reason to comment on every story). I’ve been looking for more ways to introduce research into my media diet, and welcome your ideas.

An Offer, and Some Thoughts on Access and Privilege

I recognize it is indeed privilege that allows me to have enough disposable income to subscribe to or support journalistic endeavors. Even the best and most intellectually filling content will not be enough to sustain those in homes where hungry stomachs and electricity bills are the greater concern.

And yet—everyone deserves access to truth. If you have internet access—whether at home, on your phone, or at the local library—then you can have ownership over your own media diet. While some of these sources have paywalls or subscriptions, you can still follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to see headlines and the best photo- and video- journalism anywhere. Each of them also have reporters who have opened their personal and professional social feeds to provide greater access to the public. During major events, including both the 2016 election and Friday’s inauguration, several took down their paywalls completely.

Even so, I want to take this opportunity to help someone genuinely interested in greater access to national news who may not have it. Our New York Times membership comes with a free one-year subscription to give away. I will also happily sponsor 2-3 others, who cannot afford access on their own, with a year-long subscription to The New York Times or Washington Post.

If that’s you, or someone you know, contact me and I’ll help set you up. It’s a small thing, but if it’s the only thing I can do right now to ensure greater reach of fact-based reporting, let it be so.

Onward

I feel like I’m beginning a chapter in Fahrenheit 451 when I say to you: be vigilant. As the surreal headlines become de rigueur, we will quickly approach a time of outrage fatigue. We have entered a new universe where facts are up for debate. It will be easy to spend hours watching Netflix, to tune out completely, but I implore you friends, stay vigilant. Find healthy ways to care for your mind and body, turn off social media once in awhile, hug your family, have dinner with your friends, but remain vigilant.

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What I'm Reading

Don’t Be Afraid

It’s snowing. If you’re doing anything except reading or crying over Michelle Obama’s last speech, you’re doing too much today.

Most Women Don’t Have the Luxury of Being Unlikeable

Although writer Emily Gould describes her experience from inside the publishing industry, I’d dare say this is a scenario applicable to every woman, everywhere, and it sucks. (Buzzfeed)

Productivity in Terrible Times

“When your heart is worried for your Muslim friends, and deep in your bones you’re terrified about losing access to healthcare, it’s very hard to respond graciously to an email inquiring about the latest microsite analytics numbers. ‘THE WORLD IS BURNING. I will have those content model updates ready by Thursday. Sincerely, and with abject terror, Eileen.'” (Super Yes More)

In Praise of Maintenance

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the need to always be pushing for something more, bigger, better. These days I’m finding more ways to appreciate the power of routine, of maintenance. Steven Dubner explains why you should too. (Freakanomics)

Eric Holthaus on Climate Change

Yup, we’re fcked. (Twitter)

On Letting Go

“How lucky are we, to have you? Another year of you. Despite the pain. The questions. Despite all that may go wrong. We still have you. You, so precious and so rare.” (Medium)

Ivanka Trump Won’t Fix Women’s Issues—She’ll Distract From Them

I. can’t. even. (Elle)

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What I'm Reading

Things I Loved in 2016

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

In 2016, instead of turning to books I zoned out for hours in front of the TV instead. And while we may be in the midst of peak television, I’m not proud to admit that my diminished attention span caused me to continually renew a 400-page novel from the library for more than 12 weeks. That said, I was conscious of finding quiet moments over the holidays and I finished the year averaging about one book a month.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, written by Michael Chabon, received the Pulitzer prize a few years back, and then managed to remain a constant on the shelves of my favorite bookstore, so I decided it was time to finally give it a shot. The plot is has some holes and it rushes through some seasons, but the characters alone are worth your time. Get the “define” button ready in your Kindle, there are wonderful large and literary words embedded everywhere. Buy on Amazon.

La La Land

Over the holidays, I saw Star Wars: Rogue One, Manchester by the Sea and La La Land. If you told me that I would be recommending the latter, I’d call you a liar. In the world of musical film, La La Land is a flimsy bit of sugary non-sense—it certainly doesn’t have the staying power of Singing in the Rain, West Side Story or even Chicago—and yet I found myself humming its signature tune even weeks later. The move is overlong, but there are scenes that are worth waiting for: a tortured Ryan Gosling playing “City of Stars,” the energetic opening scene in sunny L.A., and an epilogue that shoots you right through the heart. Gosling and his costar, Emma Stone, are raw in their talent, their voices have not been trained into rigid submission, which makes this movie a real pleasure to watch. Now in theaters.

The People vs. O.J. Simpson

I was in elementary school when “the trial of the century” took place. Even to my child eyes it was a complicated affair, which made watching this 7-hour documentary through adult eyes far more compelling. Race, misogyny, abuse, politics, and celebrity formed a dangerous breeding ground for the tragedy that would play out in televisions across homes. As one person interviewed for the documentary said, this may have been a story about O.J., but it was also a story of race in America. Streaming now on Hulu.

The Great British Bake Off

When I am weary, I turn on the equivalent of watching one of those looping fireplace videos, The Great British Bake Off. The show as we know it ended last summer, but it will be coming back in some other form this year and with new hosts and distributors. In the meantime, warm the cockles of your cold winter heart with a show about people who are not competing for a prize, not trying to knock their competition off a rolling log, they simply want to bake.

Hamilton

One of my greatest privileges was seeing Hamilton live in March. Luckily for everyone else, the soundtrack takes you most of the way there. I shared my reaction to the performance here.

Good Coffee

A cappuccino at Blue Bottle Coffee that brought me close to tears. Cold brew from Vigilante that helped me push through 4 weeks of jury duty. Toby’s Estate in a tiny bottle. Dancing Goats Blend when all you’re capable of is stumbling to the grinder and waiting for the moment when can press the plunger on your French Press.

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What I'm Reading

Distractions

5th Avenue Display

Fucking fabulous.

It’s a few days before New Years and I’m surrounded by half-used tissues. About once an hour, I let out a half cough/whine and David is loving enough to ask what he can do (“More Ricola.”) and how he can help (“A foot rub would be nice.”). Although I did my very best to avoid it, I am thoroughly entrenched in the Christmas crud. It’s like 2016 had to get in one last punch before it goes. Here’s how I’m staying distracted from my raging throat-fire.

A/S/L?

It’s strange to imagine I lived through the genesis of the Internet as we know it today. The sweet sound of dial up and the eternal shooting start of the Netscape logo are nostalgic remnants of my youth. Sadly, that internet of yore is dying.

Menstruation is Having Its Moment

Every time I think about all the goddamn woman taxes, I get angry. NPR talks with a leading researcher on just how damning periods can be for women in third-world countries.

5th Avenue, You Shining Star

David and I popped up to New York on Christmas Eve to see the holiday lights in what is becoming an annual tradition. It was magical. Luckily for you, Vanity Fair has saved you the trip.

Predictions for Journalism in 2017

We’re entering an era where the fourth estate will be more critical than ever. Pay particular attention to this prediction on the rebirth of “populist journalism” then read the full list of predictions from Nieman Lab.

On Steeping Bags of Tea, Twice

I have been converted to the church of Marie Kondo, full stop. Blame it on growing up in a house where the fear of so. many. things. toppling over on you was very real. My friend Sameer has a different perspective though, and one I can appreciate. Read this, but also all of the things he writes.

Make This: Dutch Baby

I can’t even look at food right now, so all those lovely leftovers are going to waste. But that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming about this savory Dutch Baby.

Moving Memoirs in the Age of Tweet Storms

I hate Buzzfeed’s front page; it represents everything I despise about the internet. But I would daresay that Buzzfeed has done more to sponsor and distribute literature that is truly representative of our times than almost any other publisher out there. This excellent collection of personal essays is worth reading, in particular “The Weight of James Arthur Baldwin” and “What Happens to Your Body on the Appalachian Trail.”

Falling

Sadly, I have never gravitated toward poetry; it appears I am fully a product of prose. There are only a few poems that stay with me, this is one of them.

Christmas: Party of 2

We pulled off a hell of a solo Christmas this year, friends. It was quiet and it was glorious. We even made this mostly vegetarian meal for ourselves.

Catastrophe

When I was a kid, there were not a lot of powerful, feminist characters on TV. Storm and Jean Gray. The Pink Power Ranger. Angelica and Helga. Buffy. And gratefully, there was Leia. While her turn as space princess is iconic, some of Carrie Fisher’s best work would come later in When Harry Met Sally and most recently, Catastrophe. Do yourself a favor and find a reason to watch both this weekend.

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What I'm Reading

10 Lists to Help You Forget the Garbage Fire That Was This Year

KC Green

KC Green

While recognizing this year has been a garbage fire of epic proportions, I think it’s also worth noting the tremendous talent that emerged in the form of outstanding books, journalism, audio, film and television. Challenging times like these can spark creative genius, and if there is nothing else that comes from our impending doom, let it be that.

50 Most Popular Recipes of 2016New York Times 

Just because I’m mostly vegetarian doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy looking at these mouth-watering recipes from the New York Times. On my list to try soon? Baked rice from Yotam Ottolenghi, Danielle Oron’s salted tahini chocolate chip cookies, and this Lemon Angel Food Cake With Preserved Lemon Curd.

100 Outstanding Audio Stories of 2016, The Bello Collective

Although I’m an occasional contributor to this well-listened collective, I can honestly say I’ve added this list without bias. If you listen to podcasts, the churn of a notable few can be deafening (This American Life, RadioLab, Gimlet), which is what makes this list of podcasts rather exceptional. The team has dug deep to find the best audio stories from across the landscape, and in doing so, broadened our queues.

Slightly More Than 100 Exceptional Works of Journalism The Atlantic 

If we’re being precise, this annual list from The Atlantic‘s Conner Friedersdorf doesn’t belong here: it was released in August and highlights the best works of journalism from 2015. But I’ll make an exception here, because it’s one of the lists I look forward to most all year long; and let’s be honest–I don’t get much reading done until the quiet of the holidays anyway. For the second year in a row, I’ve made it my goal to read this list in its totality; you should too.

23 of DC’s Most Interesting PeopleWashington City Paper

Nothing annoys me more than hearing someone from Bethesda, or Alexandria, or fucking Fairfax, say they live in Washington, DC. There are only 561,702 people who live in Washington, DC, proper. 561,702 people without representation in Congress. 561,702 who pay the second highest individual income taxes in the country. We are a people working hard to help others understand our community encompasses more than Congress, more than the Smithsonians, more than the monuments. Washington City Paper interviewed 23 of my fellow residents living and working to make a difference in the District we call home. Over the shouts to “drain the swamp,” I invite you to remember that this is the real Washington.

Book Concierge, National Public Radio

One of my favorite year-end traditions is NPR’s book concierge, where surprisingly, no audio is involved. This list allows you to whittle down their impressive 309 suggestions to exactly the kind of read you might be looking for at any given moment. Feeling a little dark? Check out Han Kang’s The VegetarianLooking for your next book club selection? Reach for Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. See, now wasn’t that easy?

100 Americans on the Meaning of Their Jobs, The Atlantic 

The Atlantic asked 100 Americans a simple question, “What motivates you to go to you job every day?” The answer can be found in this series highlighting a generous cross-section of American employment. From a train conductor, to an improv teacher, these interviews offer up the best and worst parts of living in a culture obsessed with our professions.

The Best Personal Finance Posts of 2016, Lifehacker

Despite having a comfortable home and job in one of the wealthiest corners of the country, I’ve never really stopped feeling poor. Here’s hoping Lifehacker’s list of their best personal finance stories can alleviate some of that anxiety in 2017.

20 Best Movies of 2016, Rolling Stone

In 2016, I spent a lot more time at theaters showing limited releases, foreign films and art house flicks, which is why this list from Rolling Stone feels like it gets it right. I’m disappointed not to see some of my favorites, including A Man Called Ove, Sing Street, and Hunt for Wilderpeople, on the list. I also can’t agree with their selection of Love and Friendship, which I found terribly boring. With Moonlight, La La Land, and Manchester by the Sea still in theaters, this list still gives me something exciting to look forward to in these waning days of 2016.

Best Television Shows of 2016, New York Times

I spent far too much of my year watching television. I want to blame it on a quarter life crisis that has emerged about 10 years too late, but truthfully, there was so much worth watching this year, that not doing so risked being irrelevant. I loved Fleabag, High Maintenance, and The Crown. I stopped watching old stand-bys in favor of Crashing, Lovesick, and Catastrophe. I marveled at the exquisite seasons of Game of Thrones and Westworld, and I marathoned hours of  The Great British Bake-off.  I head into 2017 with the same resolutions as most people—more books, less TV—but with stories like this, who can turn away?

2016 in Review, Associated Press

A stark reminder that, despite our current political situation, we lead a charmed life, friends.

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What I'm Reading

A President We Don’t Deserve

Photo by Pete Souza / White House

Photo by Pete Souza / The White House

In 2007, I sat on the phone with a loved one as he explained why he would be not be voting for Barack Obama. After we hung up, I cried the kind of tears that leave you gasping for breath. Maybe because I knew that underlying that vote was years of racial tension, small-town groupthink, and the kind of deep conservatism formed by religious ideology. It hurt to imagine he could be like those people who are so hell-bent on protecting their own interests that they could not be bothered to look out for the interests of others.

When Mr. Obama became president, I wept again. This time, it was standing out on the National Mall as frigid tears streamed down my face. It was a moment that felt like the start of everything, and I walked the 2 miles home, surrounded by throngs of people, feeling the same things.

It has been a long and contentious 8 years, but one that has manifested, if only in glimmers, all of the hope Mr. Obama foretold. In small, but meaningful ways, things are better for many people. Women, and those in the LGBT community, especially, but also the untold many without healthcare, 774 people who have been unfairly incarcerated, and the Supreme Court. Imagine what might have been possible if Congress had been a willing partner to this administration?

In my lifetime, I don’t know that I will ever feel this way about an election again. I worry that our current iteration of politics will discourage people from seeking office—but we need these people who understand the value of hope, of measured confidence, of an American dream that extends out like bright sunshine and warms us all.

There is so much more I could say about this moment in our history—including the exquisite benevolence of Michelle Obama—but there are others who have said it better than I ever could.

Thank you, Mr. Obama. We don’t deserve you.

Eight Years in America: Hope, and What Came After

“…No president since at least LBJ, and probably FDR, has arrived in Washington at a moment of greater historic urgency than Barack Obama. The man who took that oath of office seemed cut from American folklore — a neophyte politician elected senator only four years before, a prodigious and preacherly orator from the “Land of Lincoln” and the South Side of Chicago of the Great Migration. An embodiment not just of the American Dream as it had been imagined by the Greatest Generation of his own maternal grandparents but of a new version, too…” (New York Magazine)

My President Was Black

“It is said that Obama speaks “professorially,” a fact that understates the quickness and agility of his mind. Once, I watched him effortlessly reply to queries covering everything from electoral politics to the American economy to environmental policy. And then he turned to me. I thought of George Foreman, who once booked an exhibition with multiple opponents in which he pounded five straight journeymen—and I suddenly had some idea of how it felt to be the last of them.” (The Atlantic)

Moving Stars

“Of all the accomplishments of Michelle and Barack Obama, individually and together, this may be their greatest: They leave the White House not only strong, but actually stronger than when they entered. All visible evidence points to two people utterly centered, at perfect peace with themselves, each other and their place in history.” (The Morning News)

Now is the Greatest Time to Be Alive

“Given the chance to immerse myself in the possibility of interplanetary travel or join a deep-dive conversation on artificial intelligence, I’m going to say yes. I love this stuff. Always have.” (Wired)

Barack Obama and Doris Kerns Goodwin—The Ultimate Exit Interview

“Goodwin likes to tell the story of the day in the spring of 2007, when a young Illinois senator phoned her, out of the blue, requesting that they meet because he’d just finished reading Team of Rivals. That call would begin a friendship.” (Vanity Fair)

Obama After Dark

““Are you up?” The emails arrive late, often after 1 a.m., tapped out on a secure BlackBerry from an email address known only to a few. The weary recipients know that once again, the boss has not yet gone to bed.” (New York Times)

Obama’s Way

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” [Obama] said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” (Vanity Fair)

Photographing the Real Barack Obama

White House photographer Pete Souza has chronicled the most intimate, candid and comical moments of Barack Obama’s presidency. (The Guardian)

Michelle Obama: Hugger in Chief

“Hugging is how I connect to people–how I show warmth and make folks feel at home.” (White House)

Barack Obama: Dad in Chief

He particularly loves babies. (Buzzfeed)

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Intention, What I'm Reading

Inbox, Managed

Like most people, the way I have been using email has changed over the past decade. As the number of personal emails I receive grows fewer, I’ve been reevaluating how to make my inbox less burdensome.

For a few months now, I’ve been pretty aggressive in hitting the unsubscribe button; I even thought about just letting unroll.me do the heavy lifting for me. Yet, the whole process has turned into an act of digital meditation—not to mention a real exploration of the “unsubscribe” user experience—and it forced me to get intentional about what I let into my digital homebase.

Listservs

When I worked for Borderstan, I had subscribed to every DC neighborhood listserv. I loved hearing how other neighbors were connecting and sharing ideas across the transom. Not long after Borderstan folded (update), I unsubscribed from most, and moved others to a daily digest. Recently, however, I left all listservs, except my very own Adams Morgan.

Even with the reduced flood of emails, however, I have found that I just don’t have time to read the AdMo listserv’s daily digests, and their unopened presence in my inbox was creating some serious FOMO. There is no RSS feed for this closed group, so this week I shifted to the “no email” membership, knowing that I can always head to Yahoo to read the listserv online.

Finally, what about the other types of listservs I had voluntarily opted into? What about JMU Alumni Metrodukes or WRTC Alumni Committee? If I was able to find them on Facebook, I liked their page there. Otherwise, I evaluated how often I had actually opened the emails they sent and began to opt-out.

Notifications

I have a number of Google alerts set up: my own name, clients at work, and even the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Why? Because even though I follow a lot of Adams Morgan businesses on social media, my Google alert has consistently brought me more news about happenings in and around the neighborhood than just about any other medium. I’m keeping these alerts, along with the ones for my own name, and killing the rest.

And about those social media notifications? Most of those are gone now too. Now I mostly receive emails only when someone tags me directly. I login to these platforms often enough that their email notifications are duplications of things I’m already certain to see.

Sales, Promotions and Offers

Gone. All of it. I was ruthless.

Welcome to my Inbox

With as consciously as I’ve been removing emails from my inbox, I’ve also been adding them. Tiny Letter has made my inbox interesting again. Ultimately, I wish each of these emails was also a blog post, making it easier for me to add to Feedly and pick up on my own time: there are undoubtedly weeks when the majority go unread, and given the wealth of ideas, stories and perspectives here, that’s a damn shame. Here’s a look at what I’m reading via my inbox.

The Internet

Ann Friedman Weekly

One of the greatest tragedies associated with the death of Google Reader was the social reading list. You could argue that Twitter has made a social reading list out of every retweet, but it’s not the same. On the left panel of my Google reader page, I could see all of the things my friends were reading and it was often a place where one might come upon a new favorite serendipitously.

These days I’m relying on strangers to help me find new sources of interest. I receive random emails from Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post, who sends links she would gchat if we were friends; Ann Friedman, pop-culture references and POVs on feminism, race and so much  more; a wide-ranging look at long and short form from media from Jason Hirschhorn’s MediaRef; and web theories from a vocal Internet ingenue Melody Kramer. I also regularly check out the New York Times’ What We’re Reading newsletter.

Food

NYT Cooking Newsletter

I love Sam Sifton’s daily emails from the New York Times‘ food team. Not only can I hear him in the writing, but the carefully selected recipes are almost always what I need and want them to be. Feeling rushed on a Monday night? Sam’s got me covered with an easy dish. Thinking about a weekend in the kitchen? Sam suggests bread-making. It’s a quick bridge between food and imagination.

Podcasting

Hot Pod logo

There is a lot on this blog about my love of podcasting, so I’ll save you some preamble and just share that a wide swath of my podcasting information comes from three sources: Nick Quah’s Hot Pod, Sam Greenspan’s “‘You Should Listen to’ Friday” and The Timbre’s weekly Postmortum.

Media + Publishing

Muck Rack Daily

I’m a bit of a newshound, and since a kid I’ve been fascinated with the evolution of media and publishing. Every morning, I get several newsletters that combine whats happening in the world, with what’s happening within the media industry. Muck Rack Daily is my first start—it reviews the most popular news content and reactions from journalists on social media; Nieman Lab’s Daily Digest discusses the latest innovations in news/media; finally, the American Press Institute’s Need to Know newsletter provides insight into the evolution of modern journalism.

What’s in your inbox? Anything worth adding to mine?

 

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