People are out here cutting their own bangs, making sourdough bread from scratch, learning new TikTok dances, and doing push-up challenges on social media. Me? I'm just reading to stay sane. There are a couple from the archives, a book, and a financial report about having babies.

All over the place this month.


*****

Before the internet broke my attention span I read books compulsively. Now, it takes willpower.

by Josephine Tovey for The Guardian

Reading books is something I was once did compulsively, willingly and joyfully. But as I get older and spend more of my life online, reading books has become harder.
Technically, people like me aren’t reading less. I’m reading all the time – from the news alerts that greet me when I wake up, to the papers I get across each morning for my job as a news editor, and the endless mix of articles, emails, tweets and messages that fill my waking hours. But it’s the deep, disconnected reading of books that can slip from grasp.
I fell into a deep reading slump last year. I blamed it on being pregnant. I blamed it on being tired. I blamed it on having a new baby. I blamed it on the fact that I couldn't find anything good to read. The truth is, it takes a more intentional effort to actually read a book these days, and this article perfectly explains why.
 
*****

The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare.

by Lia Russell for The New Republic
When Bain, who lives in Palo Alto, California, became a shopper in 2016, she believed that gig work would provide her with both financial stability and schedule flexibility to take care of her young daughter. However, as independent contractors, Bain and her husband, a fellow shopper, don’t receive sick leave or holidays. And in practice, the “be your own boss” promise of the gig economy instantly vanishes the moment you take on a gig job: It is, instead, a system that relentlessly dictates your schedule.
God bless every shopper for companies like instacart, doordash, and the like at a time like this. The article was published before the pandemic was declared, making it eerily timely.

*****

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple [goodreads link]

Those East Coast rich kids are a different breed, on a fast track to nowhere. Your friends in Seattle are downright Canadian in their niceness. None of you has a cell phone. The girls wear hoodies and big cotton underpants and walk around with tangled hair and smiling, adorned backpacks. Do you know how absolutely exotic it is that you haven’t been corrupted by fashion and pop culture? A month ago I mentioned Ben Stiller, and do you remember how you responded? ‘Who’s that?’ I loved you all over again.
This book had been on my TBR since it came out in 2012. I finally got around to reading it, and I am beating myself up for waiting so long. Semple's writing is fantastic, and the way she carves out her characters is spectacular. They felt so real; I could've reached out and hugged them from the page. Also, the whole story is pretty much told through a series of letters and email exchanges. It's a tricky format but fun when done properly. Now I have to watch the movie so I can pretentiously rant about how the book was so much better.

*****

On Average, Raising a Child Costs $13,186 in First Year

a financial report presented by Mike Brown for LendEDU
A combined 53 percent of parents indicated that the expenses of taking care of their newborn baby during year one have deterred them from having more children to some degree. Specifically, 27 percent said they need to wait a few years, while 26 percent simply stated they are not having any more children.
By comparison, a combined 37 percent responded that the financial commitment has not deterred them, while 10 percent opted not to say how they felt.
"Family planning" is very much a privilege and a luxury. Not everyone has access to quality healthcare, proper sexual education, contraception and other advantages that make it possible to take control of your reproductive choices - especially here in America. Still, it's great to get a peek at some real-life numbers, so thanks to the team at LendEDU reaching out and sharing this study. As with any online study, it should be taken with a hearty grain of salt. These kinds of numbers will vary drastically according to race, region, economic background, and other demographical factors.


photo source »»

11 comments

  1. I've been trying to figure out why it has been so hard for me to actually sit still long enough to be engulfed by a good book. For me, it wasn't that I lacked time. I think for the most part, I would be so busy and mentally drained from the thinking involved at work that I just didn't want to subject it to anything else except series that I've already seen or ratchet tv. But reading Tovey's article shed light on a new perspective.. one that I can deeply resonate with. I think being in quarantine and literally getting bored and exhausted when scrolling SM timelines that books have been the perfect escape. Plus I have a lot of time on my hands these days.

    She also uses a tactic that has really helped me stay focused on reading instead of picking up my phone: listening to music. There are two awesome Spotify playlists that contain instrumental beats that are clutch.

    $13,186 during the first year eh? I can believe that -- especially since I have a high deductible plan so OB services are literally like a car note and the baby isn't even here yet. But I can definitely acknowledge how I've reached a level of priveledge-ness to even be able to afford that. But it's a very expensive lesson that I've learned.

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    1. neeed the link to that playlist! what i loved about regular ol' radio was that all the songs were curated for me. now, but the time i find something good to listen to, my window has closed.

      and we have a high deductible plan too, and ouch... when that bill came? i was shook.

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    2. here's a few:

      Lo Fis : https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWWQRwui0ExPn?si=qS5Znwl_TjCWR41Iz9NjEQ
      Jazz : https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX0SM0LYsmbMT?si=odoKQ_uRQCeIQw5C--g7Rw
      Lush Lo-Fi : https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DXc8kgYqQLMfH?si=efUjpQ4iRHmcZxHn4e8PSQ

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    3. thanks boo thang! 😘

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  2. I always knew children were expensive but shessh but I get it more and more talking to mothers and when they talk about health insurance and how their deductible differs from others and such.

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    1. there's no standard, and it's so confusing. some women pay $50, some pay $500, some pay $0. it's ridiculous that during one of the most difficult and often confusing times in our lives, we're burdened with how to work out the hospital bill. 😞

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  3. I've been struggling to get back into the groove of regular reading (with books, at least) since I graduated from college. I'm definitely going to read that Guardian article because I want answers for this struggle lol. Oh, and that report on the cost of raising children - A MUST-READ. I always find at least one good article to bookmark and read later; I love this series! :-)

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    1. thank you! i've found reading on a tablet has been helping me lately. i'm so used to staring at a screen that it's an easier transition to go from my phone to an ipad. maybe give it a try!

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  4. I decided this month I must use my time better and read. I pay for a subscription to the New York Times that also has some great reads, I have almost 10 books that I've recently purchased that I haven't started, and one that I think I need at this point in my life. I'll be reading that article by Josephine as soon as I publish this comment. I giggle, a huge part of the demise in my last relationship were about the cost of children, we went through a very painful month long debate about when we should plan and his demand that he needs to wage $10k a month before having children (not together) and we played with the numbers/timeline... $13,000+ isn't a lie but some of us are fortunate to be able to have multiple. I think it's all about the lifestyle you choose to live.

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  5. Gah, it's open enrollment for insurance policies right now for my job and I've been trying to figure out which plans have the best coverage, i.e. least out of pocket expense when it comes to OB and hospital/maternity ward services. But even doing the research has been difficult and concrete info on numbers is not readily available online. I've had to reach out by phone to get my various questions answered which has been a tedious (but worth it) process. Purposeful babymaking has been delayed this year because of the 'rona but I figure it's better to be prepared in case something does happen unexpectedly.

    And, kind of backwards, but I've found reading to be easier lately when the t.v. is on and Charles is watching a show I'm not really interested in - it's the perfect background sound. I've been into cheesy paranormal romance books lately, during commercials, Charles will always ask, "soooo did they have sex yet?" lol

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    1. LOL!!!! i just pictured that whole scene in my head, and it feels too real. i like reading when the tv is on as well. the background noise is soothing. and by paranormal romance do you mean stuff like twilight? 👀

      oh, and don’t even get me started on open enrollment. they make it cryptic on purpose! this year i’m calling and getting all 20+ page documents so i can read through EVERYTHING.

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