Reading Room: Edith Zimmerman’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.
This week, we spoke to Edith Zimmerman, of Drawing Links, a comics newsletter with short illustrated stories about her life. Edith has garnered a following for her scenes from often overlooked moments of daily life. She has said, “We are in a golden age of newsletters” and shared a reading list of favorites with her subscribers. Edith is also a writer with a long reading list of publications she subscribes to. Here she handpicks some of her current reads on Substack.
For more finds from Edith, you can browse the full list of Substack publications she subscribes to on her profile.
Hi, Edith! Can you start by telling us about your reading habits?
EZ: Hello! I subscribe to 90 Substacks, 10 of which I pay for. I also get a bunch of non-Substack newsletters. I read mostly on my phone: a little news, a lot of Slack, a ton of newsletters, some books. Many, many hours of word games. I’d say it’s all personal interest. Although, since I’ve turned my personal life into my professional one (my newsletter is about my daily life), they’re probably one and the same.
Describe your reading room, whether actual or ideal. What does it look like? How does it feel to be there?
My actual reading room is ... my side of the bed. My husband and I recently moved and had a baby, kind of at the same time, so I don’t yet have an office or desk or anything. Even if I did, I’d probably still do most of my reading from bed. (I like to lie down when I read, and I like to read on my phone so I can have the other hand free for fidgeting.) Here’s a photo:
My ideal reading room would probably be something similar—a bed or couch, no distractions—except instead of Wi-Fi, the room would have a magical air dictionary so I could still press words to see their definitions but not be distracted by the urge to constantly refresh my email.
The room would have a magical air dictionary so I could still press words to see their definitions but not be distracted by the urge to constantly refresh my email.
Do you remember the first writer or book that really captured your heart or attention?
I’m not sure if they were the first, but I really loved the John Bellairs mysteries, with the Edward Gorey illustrations. Those books were creepy but warm, and felt very private. I also loved Roald Dahl and The Baby-Sitters Club, and a children’s book called The Jolly Postman.
Edith Zimmerman’s recommended reads:
Substack I recommend to friends most often: Dearest. A monthly newsletter about antique jewelry. Gossipy, historical, funny—it’s perfect. I’ve loved every installment (“Tiny books and an even tinier golden envelope”).
Substack most likely to make me laugh: Evil Witches. A funny newsletter for moms, although I read it for years before becoming one, so maybe it’s just for everyone. For instance: “Daily timeline of parenthood favorability.”
Substack most likely to make me think: A tie! Sara Campbell’s Tiny Revolutions, which is sort of like On Being, but darker and more relatable (“What If You Believed?”). And Terrell Johnson’s The Half Marathoner, which is about running but always seems to apply to everything else too. This installment has lingered with me.
Favorite Substack for animal pictures: Wild Life, by Amy Jean Porter. Weekly creature features, with original, buyable art. (I have the second painting from the dark-eyed junco installment!) Other greats: bonobos, flying squirrels, turkey vultures.
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