Friday, November 03, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Never-Ending Cold Edition

Last week, I was congratulating myself for taking it easy so that I only had a mild version of the cold my husband gave me. Turns out, I just had the preview... the cold hit me harder this week. I still don't feel terrible, but the cold got in my lungs, which has meant a lot of coughing, particularly between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. for some reason. So much fun.

So, no rollerblading for me today. Today was the first day all week I didn't have to get up and get ready to be somewhere before 9, so I gave myself a lazy start to the day, and took a 45 minute nap after I got the kids off to school and another 30 minute rest period in the early afternoon. I don't regret the rest time at all, but my to do list is looking pretty sad right now. Oh well, maybe I can make it up in our "extra" hour this weekend.

Anyhow, let's have some links.

In self-promotion links:

Both Sides of My Skin, a collection of short stories about pregnancy and motherhood, by Elizabeth Trach, is now available for pre-order. These are some of the most real feeling stories about the early days of motherhood that I have ever read, and I am thrilled with how the book has turned out. I can't wait to get it out in the world! Release day is December 6. Pre-order links are all available on the book's webpage.

The Burning, J.P. Seewald's novella about family and resilience in the Pennsylvania coal country, is also still available for pre-order. It comes out next Wednesday!

In other Annorlunda Books news, I have just finished setting up a new newsletter that I'm also really excited about. Inbox Stories will bring a short story to your inbox every month. The newsletter will also have a recommendation of another short story from me, and a recommendation from someone else in the "Inbox Stories community"- I'll start that out with recommendations from authors I've published, but I've also set up a form so readers can recommend stories, too. 

There will be two editions of the newsletter: the free edition will have the recommendations and any other related content (knowing me, I'll probably include a quote most months... I do love quotes from stories). It will also include the first part of the story. The paid edition will have everything that is in the free edition plus links to the full story as a webpage and an ebook (mobi and epub). The paid edition is just $5/year, so I think that is a pretty good deal. The stories will be a mix of public domain stories and short writing Annorlunda Books has published. If the newsletter does well, I may start acquiring short stories specifically for it, too.

The newsletter will go out on or near the 3rd Monday of the month, and I plan to start this month, with a newsletter on Nov. 20. I hope some of you will sign up, either for the paid newsletter or the free edition. If you do sign up, let me know if you run into any issues in the sign up process. Setting up a newsletter with a paid edition required me to add a bunch of new things to my site and I could only test so much. If you find a problem, email me at wandsci at gmail dot com or the info at annorlundaenterprises dot com email address associated with the newsletter.

You might be wondering how this connects with Tungsten Hippo. Well... I'll be stopping regular posts there over the next month or so. The short writing world has changed since I started it, and I'm finding that the constraints I set on what I'd post there are limiting what I read. I haven't decided when, exactly, to stop posting there. I'll post about it over there when I do. The site will stay up, though, and I may post to it from time to time.

OK, that's a lot of self-promotion! And now let's get on to the links you are probably here to read:

First something fun: I have really been enjoying the Make America Read newsletter. (Full disclosure: Annorlunda Books partnered with it last month to give away copies of one of my taster flights.)

Rebecca Traister took the twitter thread I mentioned last week about how so much of our national narrative is shaped by predatory men, and wrote a very good article. You should read it.

David Roberts wrote a very good piece about the problem with how right-wing media has divorced some people from facts. He frames it as "What if Mueller proves his case and it doesn't matter?" but I think the same problem shows up in a lot of areas, like climate change.

Do you remember the Iowa teenager who supposedly wrecked his state's insurance market? Jonathan Cohn tracked him and his family down and the story is more complex than the soundbite. (Also, how awful is it that the insurance rep gave enough information about the case that the family was able to recognize themselves?)

Speaking of healthcare... this Dylan Scott projection of what the ACA will be in 2020 seems pretty realistic to me. We are stuck in a horrible place where the Republicans do not want to make the changes necessary to make the ACA a stable and good system, but neither do they have a new system of their own to put in place. I feel like we're going backwards on this issue, and that makes me sad. 

Now we're on to taxes, and if I find a good explainer of the Republican plan, I'll include it next week. So far, the best thing I've found is in an email from an accounting firm that somehow got me on their mailing list, and it doesn't have a web version I can link to. Here's the Vox explainer, but it is still a lot to read through and understand. I am pretty sure my taxes will be going up, since I'm in a high tax state and the state income tax deduction will go away. I also think we may get bumped to a higher bracket in the new system with fewer brackets. However, I could be wrong, since we have occasionally needed to file with the alternative minimum tax in past years, and that is going away. I wouldn't actually mind paying more taxes to help out people who are doing less well than we are, but it is a little annoying to pay more taxes so that people can inherit multi-million dollar estates tax free. This one feels like a less serious threat to my family's well-being than the healthcare changes, though, so I don't find myself obsessing about figuring out the details.   

Here's more about the cub scout kicked out of his troop after asking a state representative some pointed questions about gun control. As someone who was really interested in and informed on political issues at his age, I am sad to see people implying these weren't his own questions. (Spoiler: he has landed in a new troop and is happy there and they are happy to have him.)

This story about coal miners deciding not to retrain to other fields because they think Trump is going to bring more coal jobs back makes me sad. I can understand the decision- if you really believe Trump is going to do what he says, then it makes sense to hold out for a local coal job than to retrain for a job that might require you to move or would pay less. But, I don't think Trump can do what he says, and even if he could, I don't think he would because he doesn't really know how to get anything done. So I think these people are going to get screwed.

In podcasts... I found this week's Ezra Klein Show really interesting. Ezra Klein talks to political scientist James Wallner about his argument that politics needs more conflict, not less. Wallner has also worked as a congressional aid to some very conservative senators (e.g., Jeff Sessions), so his observations about what is broken in the Republican caucus in the Senate right now are really interesting. Here's a direct link to the podcast episode on a different site.  (Podcasters! Make it easier to link to your current episode on your main site, please- the two latest episodes aren't even up on the Vox site!)

I haven't had a chance to read the article embedded in this tweet yet, but remember how I mentioned that someone had compared our era to the era right after the printing press was invented?


Halloween bunny!

And now, I'm off to try to cross one more thing off my to do list before it is time to go get my kids. Happy weekend, everyone!

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