Happy September! It may be a bit aggressive to say “happy fall” just yet but we think we can feel those chilly edges of the breeze, so we’ll hold off a little longer. In the meantime, we’re soaking up the last bits of that Late Summer energy the best way we know how-- bringing our books outside.
We hope you enjoy this issue, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @read_receipts_! Over on the ‘gram we’ll soon be revisiting our Trick Mirror virtual book club and answering the questions we’ve received over the last couple weeks. If you are just now finishing, feel free to DM us with any thoughts or burning Qs.
Courtney: I tore through Mike Isaac’s Uber exposé, Super Pumped in two days and have since cornered no less than five friends/family/coworkers and demanded that they read it. The book spans Uber’s entire “lifetime” from conception to downfall to now and is incredibly fascinating, well researched, and compelling. It’s similar to John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood in the telling of the unchecked power of major companies backed by unfathomable amounts of money (venture capital is insane) and the inevitable fall of the charismatic founder, in this case, Travis Kalanick, who skirted and later broke the law in crazy ways. Uber’s growth at unprecedented rates and their complete disrespect for any law makes for an entertaining read and it’s an incredibly thought provoking look at the dangers of big-tech. When I finished, I thought, ok Uber is bad, bad, bad, but it isn’t going anywhere and maybe that says something about technology, culture, and our need for absolute convenience—no matter the cost. Uber (and other tech companies) have propelled us forward and it’s now impossible to go backwards. Anyway, it definitely has me thinking and it will have you thinking too!
Read if you want to be reminded of your role in bad big-tech but then remember that you’re just a teeny tiny cog in a very big machine
Best if you liked: Bad Blood, and the movie, The Social Network
Kelsey: Well, life got away from me and I didn’t finish the book I wanted to talk about in time, so you’ll have that to look forward to in the next issue. When I was thinking about what I should write about, Home Is Burning by Dan Marshall came to mind immediately. This book is so good that I can write this whole thing on my phone with no service, which is exactly what I did. (I love the MTA.)
Spoiler alert, this book is sad because it’s about ALS and that my friends, is a degenerative, awful disease. But this book manages to not be a total bummer until, you know, the very end. It’s actually really funny, like in David Sedaris sort of way. Marshall manages to find the light in the absolute shit storm he’s weathering, which I feel is an applicable lesson regardless of what you’re going through. This memoir is profane, crude, and a little problematic, but I did just give it to my mom to borrow so it’s not that bad.
Read after finding a video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice over your head
Madeline: I missed out on reading The Bell Jar in high school. And while I wonder what the teenage version of myself would have thought of Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel, I appreciate the perspective I have reading it now. The novel’s protagonist is Esther Greenwood, a bright young woman studying creative writing in college. The first hundred or so pages follow Esther’s month-long stay in New York for an internship at a fashion magazine. If you live in New York or had a summer internship in college, the majority of this section is such a delight. I don’t think I’ve ever underlined as many passages as I did in the first part of this book. If you need convincing, here are a few of my favorites:
“I never feel so much myself as when I’m in a hot bath… I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water.”
“I’m not sure why it is, but I love food more than just about anything else.”
“What I decided to do in the end was lie in bed as long as I wanted and then go to Central Park and spend the day lying in the grass, the longest grass I could find in that bald, duck-ponded wilderness.”
The rest of the novel depicts Esther’s battle with mental illness, which is, at times, very disturbing. The story is compelling enough on its own, but it’s also interesting to think about her experiences in the context of today’s dialogue about mental health. Ultimately, if you read The Bell Jar in high school, I’d suggest revisiting it with fresh eyes—your adult brain will thank you. And if you didn’t, this is a modern classic that’s definitely worth a read.
Read if watching the Little Women trailer made you want to revisit all the books you read (or didn’t read) in middle and high school.
All books can be found at Books Are Magic, McNally Jackson, Greenlight 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.