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Issue 30

Happy Friday! If you can believe it, we have nearly made it to the penultimate month of a year none of us were expecting, and it is still not over yet, folks! Maybe if we loop Taylor Swift’s “this is me trying” one more time we will start to feel a little less wobbly. We’ll try anything at this point!

In addition to our typical three reviews, we’re also including another bonus review from our lovely friend Barbara, who read Anne Helen Petersen’s new book Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.

Stay with us,

Courtney, Kelsey, and Madeline

As always, share the newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy it and give us a follow on Instagram at @read_receipts_.

Courtney: I read this sweet, commercial novel a while ago but figured I’d recommend it now as a nice distraction while the world is melting. Perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult, The Daughters of Erietown spans from the early 1950’s to the late 1980’s and follows three women: Ellie McGinty, her daughter Sam, and Rosemary Russo, whose lives intersect because of their love for Brick McGinty, as a husband, father, and lover, respectively. The characters are charming and realistically portrayed, the language is sweet, and I think it has a lot of heart. It’s not so much a love story (though there are elements of that) as it is a family drama and a look at familial expectations in a time when women were expected to spend their days quietly at home while the men ruled the roost. It’s entertaining and a solid read and I can see many of our subscribers (looking at you Kelsey Connelly) liking it. 

Read if you want a break from the news 

Best if you like: Elin Hilderbrand, Jodi Picoult

Kelsey: One of my reading focuses of this year was to be more proactive in exploring books that took me out of my bubble and into worlds I have not experienced. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams follows, well, Queenie, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London and working in media navigating relationships of many shapes and sizes. A blind-side breakup punts her into the dating world while she is struggling to love herself first. As she struggles with her mental health and makes questionable decisions with men in search for some validation and self-confidence, she leans on her close friends to pick up the pieces and keep her from totally imploding.

There is a lot here that is really relatable as a millennial woman depending on my friends more than ever this year. While Queenie’s voice is so entertaining making this a fun read, the novel also covers topics of racism, gentrification, self-worth, forgiveness, and the stigmatization of mental health. I wish I had read it as part of a book club or something because there were so many things I wanted to talk about once I finished. 

Read after FaceTiming your best friends for two hours   

Best if you liked: Luster, Girl, Woman, Other
Madeline: Although I love to read, I’ve had a hard time getting myself to sit down with a book lately because of, well, you know, everything going on. Instead, I’ve found myself enjoying reading essays and other shorter-form pieces for the time being.

I’m always particularly nostalgic about New York in the fall, and I tend to romanticize nearly everything about it. Luckily, there is no shortage of love-letter-to-New-York-City-style writing out there, and reading some of these pieces has reminded me why I love it here. At least once a year, I revisit Nora Ephron’s 2006 essay about her apartment at the Apthrop, a historic building on the Upper West Side. She talks about how she began to “make a religion out of my neighborhood,” and all the ways we build our identities around the places we live. I also read E.B. White’s essay (it’s long but still technically an essay) Here is New York, and was struck by how the city has developed over the years, and yet how many of his perceptions of New York still ring true. Hopefully my attention span kicks back in soon, but in the meantime, these more manageable reads have been doing the trick. 

Read if the idea of reading a whole book is a tad overwhelming at the moment

Best if you liked: That issue of The New Yorker that’s been sitting on your coffee table for six months, and Sloane Crosley
Guest Recommendation: Barbara

Remember Buzzfeed’s ‘burn-out’ article from 2019? Culture reporter Anne Helen Peterson is to thank for that, and she’s back with a book on the same topic. Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation is an exploration of Petersen’s personal relationship with burn-out, and it’s the most eloquent and comprehensive commentary on millennial-ness I’ve read. 

Petersen traces how we are primed and optimized for the workplace at a young age, first in school, and then through secondary education. This optimizing behavior continues into college, she says, where we are encouraged to work hard and play hard(er). Then, we enter the workforce, post-Great Recession, and look for the cool job, the one that may come without benefits, with freelance hours, or both. These are just a few examples of her burn-out diagnosis. Sound familiar? 

Can’t Even equips its readers with a lens for identifying and evaluating symptoms of our millennial condition. Unfortunately, you won’t find handy checklists or every day tips to help you manage your inbox or strike a better work/life balance. There are plenty of listicles across the internet for that (and best of luck!) But there is a more poignant takeaway: millennials must unite in resistance to the way things are, and the conditions that are stacked against them, to elect politicians who will advocate for public-sector reform and drive change en masse. So, please 1) read this book and 2) vote

Read if you’re convinced that Slack *isn’t* the greatest thing to happen to WFH.  

Best if you liked: Trick Mirror, Untamed 

All books can be found at Books Are MagicMcNally JacksonGreenlight Bookstore, and other independent bookstores, but if you don’t live near one, you can also click the links and we may earn an affiliate commission.
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