presents to myself

I wrote a lot this past month — for BuzzFeed, in book edits, just not in this newsletter, which I hate, because this newsletter works as a sort of release valve for the stream of consciousness I’m forced to filter for my other writing. Like a lot of people, I feel unsettled during this so-called dead week, when it’s never clear how much you should be working, whether you should feel shame or glee about it. But it’s increasingly clear that my unsettledness has less to do with the actual structures of work and more to do with my increased antipathy towards ambient-always working. I want to work or not work, not have this melty liminal space that seeps into everything.

But I love new planners, and our New Year’s tradition of a massive Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew, and reflecting, generally, on the year — especially all of the truly excellent writing and thinking I read/consumed. You can see my favorite books below, but I’ve also collected a mishmash of favorites from the internet and quasi-categorized them below. As I wrote last year, with all the arbitrary energy around a new year, it feels important to spend time to allow the old, in all its sorrow and glory, to catch up with us.

Uncategorizable Favs:

Media criticism, broadly defined:

On Daily Life:

Profiles That’ve Stayed With Me:

Just Trust Me Again:

And some things I wrote this month:

I read 49 books this year. I set out with a goal of reading, well, a lot more. The aim was somewhere around 52, but really what I wanted was a return to that feeling of near-constant grounding in some book, any fiction book, amidst everything else. I read dozens more for work, and for my own book, but I don’t think of them — or the reading process — in the same way. These 49 books were read on planes, on beaches, on long Sunday afternoons, in hotels after a long day reporting, at night to take my mind elsewhere. They were presents to myself, and what you see above are a few of my favorites.

I’d love to hear what you also loved — and, as always, your suggestions for future reads and potential “Just Trust Mes.” Simply reply to this email — or find me at annehelenpetersen@gmail.com. You can follow me on Twitter here, and on Instagram here. And if you want to give someone a New Year’s present, or think they’d like this sort of thing in their inbox once a week-ish, just forward it their way. (You can subscribe here).