Letters to Summer

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Letter 73

Letters to Summer is a newsletter written by two best friends living on opposite sides of the country. Every other Friday, we share the things we're reading, watching, listening to, and enjoying. We hope you like it.

On reading

My mom likes to tell people that I taught myself how to read as a kid. I don’t really know what that means, or remember, but I know that I always loved reading books when I was younger. I read all the time—including when I wasn’t supposed to, like late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, or in class when I was supposed to be paying attention to the teacher. As an adult, I don’t read novels as much. There’s too much else to do, and I find it a lot harder to convince myself to spend time with a new book. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still love reading—I’m just reading other things. I’ve gotten better at accepting the fact that reading fanfiction counts as reading. Reading manga counts as reading. Reading someone’s newsletter counts as reading. Reading magazine articles counts as reading. Reading for five minutes a day because that’s all I can convince myself to squeeze in is still reading! It still counts! It’s better than nothing at all, and it brings me joy! So while I’m not the same kind of reader I was as a kid, I don’t want to say that I’m not as “good” at reading or that I don’t enjoy it as much now—because I still am, and I still do.


I am a lot of things—a gamer, allegedly a writer, an editor, a former theater kid, a former choir kid, and very good at watching lots and lots of television. First and foremost, though, I like to identify as a reader—from how I approach my writing, my editing, my general hobbies, reading comes first. Reading is harder to do, a lot of the time, than staring mindlessly at my timeline while a TV show plays in the background, but it really is the most satisfying activity when I can get into it. There are a lot of times I come out of a book thinking god I just love reading, which like, yes, we get it, I’m a nerd! I’m trying to remind myself it’s still reading if there’s no ISBN attached. I love reading my friends’ unpublished manuscripts, I love reading fanfiction, I love reading the discourse article of the week (truly, honestly). I feel most alive when I’m on a reading kick. A perfect afternoon is one where I have no headache, the light is just right, I have two new poetry collections to dig into, and many many hours to do nothing but that.


We recommend

🍽️ Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

I had some super-ripe bananas and wasn’t excited by the prospect of making banana bread, so I did a little searching and found…banana cookies! These are SO delicious, the inside is wonderful and when warm just MOLTEN and good??? They can easily be vegan if you want and use no eggs. I suggest pressing them down a little bit before baking. The amount of banana is very forgiving. The raw dough is also very good, but I have recently learned you’re not supposed to eat raw flour….so!


💡 Peachtober

Peachtober is an October art prompt list created by Sha’an d’Anthes, and I think it’s so cute! Every October there are a bunch of art prompts that float around, but this is my favorite this year. I haven’t made art every day, because I just don’t have the energy for that, but I’ve really enjoyed seeing art undert the #peachtober2021 tag on Instagram and Twitter—and on the official Peachtober account.


📖 Gumbo Ya Ya

Aurielle Marie’s debut poetry collection is actually my #1 book of the year. I might have said that about many books released in 2021, but holy shit dude! I mean it this time. Every single poem carries this ridiculously compelling rush of momentum—I read it slow and savored every little detail. No moment was out of place. Every word served the next. From the cover to the interior design, this book is also an art object, oh my god! What a spectacular package to complement the incredible work within. Highly highly highly recommend!


🔗 Butterberry Cafe

Giuseppe of Butterberry Cafe has been one of my favorite artists this past year. They make adorable pixel art badges and emotes (I got some to use on Twitch and I love them) that are available in their shop, and they share all of their art on Twitter. Seeing new pixel art from them always makes me so happy.