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.

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