While we’re all in quarantine, why not a good reading list to tide us over for a little while? Here are a few of our favorite new stories and essays published around the net over the past month!
“Parisian Honeymoon” by Ross Feeler | Electric Literature, February 26
In a previous marriage, I’d been forced into couple’s counseling. The bonding strategies described had made no difference in that relationship, but, determined not to fail again, I had recently revisited some of my therapist’s advice. If you feel like you’re losing the battle, she said, take off your armor and hand your enemy a weapon. Vulnerability and openness solve more problems than emotional warfare ever can.
“Dead Rabbits” by Ryan Jones | Split Lip Magazine, March 20
Michael got in my car. His eyes were bloodshot and he had his hair straightened over his face like the kids that used to take those selfies on MySpace. I forgot how skinny he was, and that reminded me of the rumors. When I first met him, he’d been this chubby sixth-grader who drew cartoons of rabbits at recess.
“The Trouble With Talking” by Sherry Morris | Barren Magazine, March 18
Now she’s talking about the cosmetic surgery place. The free consultation included complimentary chai-lattes. Her favourite. A sign. Since losing all that weight from those diet pills she found online, her nipples reach her belly button. She offers to show me if I’m in any doubt. I shake my head.
‘I’m only twenty-five,’ she says. ‘I need to fix this. Before another husband.’
‘Another one?’ I say.
‘A better one,’ she says.
“God in the Bathroom” by Frances Salter| The Fiction Pool, March 13
I’m here because the Church of England is scaling up its crisis communications team following a six-month period of unprecedented scandals and cock-ups: God does Twitter now, but he badly needs a copywriter. This was the subsidised housing option. I’ve signed a years’ contract on both the job and the room. I think I’m the fulfilment of a diversity quota, for both.
“Mirror Girls” by Kira Bell | Southeast Review, March 3
Some weeks later, when it becomes clear that our respective shrinking and growing will not stop on its own, the doctor puts us on special diets. My sister eats to gain weight. Her list of recommended foods is full of protein shakes, bananas, cheeses, and breads. Snacks throughout the day.
Meanwhile, I am told to cut out fatty foods, bread, pasta, dairy. I swear off sugar. The doctors are very invested in my weight loss. They bring in nutritionists and do blood tests. They find us interesting insomuch as we are twins, but I am the one they mutter about, concerned, like my body is a problem to fix, a mystery to crack. I hold my protruding stomach in the waiting room and hope they solve it.
Curated by Cole Meyer