Reading Room: Anne Helen Petersen’s top Substack reads
Reading Room is a new mini series with writers sharing their favorite publications to read on Substack. If you like it, let us know in the comments!
Great writers are great readers first, as the maxim goes.
In this new feature, we explore what Substack writers are reading by asking them for a tour of their reading list. Writers’ reading choices can be trail guides for other writers and readers seeking new paths to enjoy.
In this first installment, culture writer Anne Helen Petersen, of Culture Study, handpicks some of her current reads on Substack. Anne Helen has developed a vibrant reader community around her publication, which digs into the culture surrounding our everyday lives. She is also a self-described voracious reader, and regularly shares her reading diet with her subscribers through a curated links section.
For more finds from Anne Helen, you can browse the full list of Substack publications she subscribes to on her profile here.
Hi, Anne Helen! Can you start by telling us about your reading habits?
AHP: My reading habits are best explained by a bit of my history—I was a voracious fiction reader who became an academic (my Ph.D. is in media studies) and then went into journalism (I was a culture writer for BuzzFeed News for six years). So my reading is a real mix of fiction pleasure, academic texts, and, well, seemingly everything that passes me on the internet.
I read fiction for non-work things almost exclusively and nonfiction and longform journalism in my capacity as a culture writer and thinker. I think it makes me a better and more thoughtful person outside whatever blurry lines constrict my “work.” But I’m mostly reading to write and think about things that will eventually become part of my writing in some capacity. It sounds dorky and utilitarian to say that it’s all grist for the mill, but what else is reading but a means to do more thinking?
I think it makes me a better and more thoughtful person outside whatever blurry lines constrict my “work.” But I’m mostly reading to write and think about things that will eventually become part of my writing in some capacity.
Describe your reading room, whether actual or ideal. What does it look like? How does it feel to be there?
As a child, I loved nothing more than cuddling up in my bed and reading, preferably with some sort of makeshift tent situation making me feel even cozier; now I do most of my work reading on my computer, at the kitchen table, and my “pleasure” reading either in bed or sitting outside in some capacity, preferably on a beach.
Anne Helen Petersen’s recommended reads:
Substack I recommend to friends most often: So many of my close friends are currently parenting small children and also dealing with having grown up under the shadow of ’90s diet-culture bullshit, so Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith.
Substack I subscribed to most recently: Now We’re Talking with Doree Shafrir.
Substack most likely to make me cry: Always, always, Chris La Tray’s An Irritable Métis.
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