Now more than ever, we need to listen — to ourselves, and to those whose experiences stray from our own. A great way to listen? Read. Read so hard this year. If braving the headlines and social media is a struggle, here are six newsletters to diversify your reading list. They go straight to your inbox, no wading through toxic spaces necessary.
Up until last year, I was naive to the wonders of the 21st century email newsletter. "Newsletter," to me, sounded like the neon, type-heavy printouts you grabbed after Mass but never actually read. In recent years, though, newsletters have blossomed into culture critiques, laden with GIFs and links. Like, a digital, interactive research paper - if you are a nerd like me and think that sounds amazing. Otherwise they are something else that sounds equally cool.
So why have newsletters emerged as a favorite low-key content delivery system? Well, for one, their structure inherently fights against trolls. In utilizing subscriber-only platforms like TinyLetter (no, you don't need to pay, but you do need to provide an email address), newsletter creators sift out the anonymous vigilantes who love to harass, uh, anyone, it seems. Additionally, they are unfettered by character limits, and can link to their hearts' content. Interested? Subscribe. Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe.
1. Well-Read Black Girl
Created by Glory Edim, Well-Read Black Girl is a book club and digital community that celebrates "the phenomenal Black women on our bookshelves–past, present, & the 'beautyful' ones not yet born." The bi-monthly newsletter is an amalgamation of book club information, short-form pieces by contemporary Black women, and upcoming literary events.
2. Eye Level
Eye Level is super new — like, literally, a week old. But if the first issue is any indication, this newsletter really will be "a love letter to all things literary." Founded by Uli Beutter Cohen and Caroline Donofrio, this monthly bright spot in your inbox features interviews with artists, writers, activists, and creatives from all walks of life - reminding us that literary culture lurks beneath so many corners of our society.
3. BuzzFeed Books
Delivered on Sundays and Wednesdays, the BuzzFeed Books newsletter is overflowing with book recommendations, book reviews, writer profiles, literary-hued lifestyle pieces, and Harry Potter — lots of Harry Potter (duh).
4. Another Round
The newsletter companion to the podcast Another Round with Heben and Tracy, this weekly gem spotlights what hosts Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are reading, watching, looking at and listening to. In honoring the work done by non-white folks and female-identifying humans, Heben and Tracy carve out a space
Uptalk, a "weekly email about awesome shit created and written by women," is the brainchild of Leila Cohan-Miccio, an LA-based writer. If you need long-form articles to add to your reading list, check out all her fascinating pieces positioned at the intersection of feminism and pop culture.
6. Little Infinite
If you're a hardcore poetry babe (or you aspire to be), the Little Infinite newsletter is your jam. Run by Stephen Sparks, owner of Point Reyes Books, in collaboration with Ingram Content Group, of this quarterly vertical is aimed towards booksellers and librarians - so you know it's going to be real in-depth and spotlight some delightfully weird works.