Sunday Reading: The World of Jia Tolentino
There doesn’t appear to be any topic that Jia Tolentino can’t write about lucidly and perceptively. One week, she’s exploring the flawed nature of the gig economy and its inversion of the American dream; another week, she’s delving into the narrow world of incels and exposing their misogynist machinations. Tolentino, who has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2016, offers intricate portraits of shifting cultural norms and fluctuating individual roles. Her sentences ripple and coil, revealing a keen intelligence beneath the surface. At their core, her pieces speak to us because they raise profound questions about the assumptions we often make about one another. Her first book, “Trick Mirror,” an anthology of nine original essays, was released in August, and quickly flew onto the Times best-seller list.
This weekend, we’re bringing you a selection of Tolentino’s pieces from The New Yorker. In “Is There a Smarter Way to Think About Sexual Assault on Campus?,” she examines a new initiative by a group of researchers at Columbia University to develop innovative methods to combat sexual assault on campus. An engrossing personal history of her experiences with faith and drugs while living in Texas unfolds in “Losing Religion and Finding Ecstasy in Houston.” In a Comment from 2017, she writes about the revolutionary nature of the #MeToo movement and its insistence that we value women’s stories about abuse. In “Why Marlon James Decided to Write an African ‘Game of Thrones,’ ” she visits the novelist and discusses the story behind his novel “Black Leopard, Red Wolf.” In “The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul,” Tolentino delves into the world of Juuling and chronicles its addictive nature. Finally, she explores the authoritarian ethos behind the British children’s show “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.” We hope that these pieces capture some of what makes her work so uncommonly rewarding.
“Is There a Smarter Way to Think About Sexual Assault on Campus?”
A team of researchers at Columbia believes that small changes to college life could make campuses safer.
“Losing Religion and Finding Ecstasy in Houston”
Christianity formed my deepest instincts, and I have been walking away from it for half my life.
“Why Marlon James Decided to Write an African ‘Game of Thrones’ ”
The Booker Prize-winning novelist on fantasy, reality, and a religious crisis that has never ended.
“Harvey Weinstein and the Impunity of Powerful Men”
For women speaking up about their experiences with harassment and assault, being heard is one kind of power, and being free is another.
“The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul”
Teens have taken a technology that was supposed to help grownups stop smoking and invented a new kind of bad habit, molded in their own image.
“The Authoritarian Soul of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends’ ”
Wilbert Awdry, who created the character, disliked change, venerated order, and craved the administration of punishment.
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