Why is this interesting? - The Monday Media Diet with Edith Zimmerman

On drawing, must-read newsletters, and qigong

Edith Zimmerman (EZ) has been a writer I’ve enjoyed for a long time. She draws/writes an excellent newsletter called Drawing Links and contributed an amazing Sea Silk Edition for WITI back in January (plus lots of her other comics featured in our emails). We are very happy to have a peek into her reading and consumption habits today. - Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a writer, and last December I quit my job to start a personal comics newsletter called Drawing Links. It’s mostly stories about my life, with links to other things. I also illustrate the recovery newsletter The Small Bow, which AJ Daulerio, formerly of Gawker, started in 2018.  

From 2010-2013 I ran The Hairpin (RIP), and from 2018-2019 I worked at The Cut. I’ve been running a small comics site on Medium called Spiralbound since 2017, although it may be on its last legs. (We were Medium-funded for a while.)  

The three biggest stories I’ve done online are probably the stock-photo compilation Women Laughing Alone With Salad (2011), a drunken Chris Evans profile for GQ (2011), and a goofy Imgur comic about menstrual cups (2015).  

Describe your media diet. 

I’m really into newsletters. I started mine in part because people seem to be having a lot of fun making newsletters. My favorites are The Browser ($5 a month, links to cool stories), Money Stuff by Matt Levine (finance news told in a funny way), Nonzero (on meditation and politics), Logan Sachon’s Got Distracted (short, funny essays about her life), Jillian Anthony’s Cruel Summer Book Club (not a book club, more about heartbreak, jokes, and personal growth), and Ian Leslie’s Ruffian (links to cool stories — his and others’ — told in his pleasant British voice). And many more.  

I skim stuff on Feedly: Arts & Letters Daily, MetaFilter, Marginal Revolution’s daily assorted links, The Outline, The Point, The Conversation, The Morning News, Cup of Jo, Kottke, Slate Star Codex, Vox, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic. I’m a knitter, and my favorite yarn blogs are Mason Dixon Knitting, Yards of Happiness, and Kate Davies Designs. I also love Andrea Mowry on Instagram. 

My favorite podcasts are Reply All and EconTalk

On Patreon, I pay for comics from Gabrielle Bell, Julia Wertz, Sarah Glidden, and Rita Sapunor. I love them. 

And I leave Twitter open throughout the day, but I don’t have a method there. 

A big part of my media diet has been following the links that people share in the Why Is This Interesting Slack room (an invitation to which comes with contributing). It’s been an invaluable source of information, community, and camaraderie for me, especially now.  

What’s the last great book you read?

Tyll, by Daniel Kehlmann. It’s a novel about a German jester living in the 17th century. I feel like I’m my own version of the main character, telling my tale wherever I go: Have you heard? Have you heard? Have you heard about Tyll

What are you reading now?

I checked out a digital copy of Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from the Brooklyn Public Library last week, and it’s lovely. (Side note to say: The BPL has amazing digital content right now, including virtual storytime for kids, multiple times a day.) I also recently started the first book of the sci-fi series Hyperion Cantos, per fellow WITI contributor Chris P’s recommendation. I love it, too. I’m excited to meet the Shrike. 

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

I get print copies of The New Yorker and the Buddhist quarterly Tricycle. I like to read Tricycle while I eat (which is probably not very mindful), and I like to read The New Yorker on the subway, but maybe I will figure something else out now.   

What should everyone be reading that they’re not?

Monica McLaughlin’s antique jewelry newsletter, Dearest. It feels like a distillation of human existence: humor, pain, strangeness, attention to detail, cruelty, effort, and beauty, all told in a fun, light way, with striking images. 

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

Maybe Lectionary, which features different Bible passages daily. I want to read the Bible, and a friend recommended Lectionary as a way to start. I haven’t actually looked at it in weeks, though.  

Plane or train?

Train. 

What is one place everyone should visit? 

Maine’s Acadia National Park. Or Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery (which is currently still open to visitors). 

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

I tried qigong for the first time last week, via YouTube — qigong is a traditional Chinese practice of movement, posture, gentle stretching, and breathing — and I currently have … well, okay, only a few qigong-related tabs open, but they’re really neat.  

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Edith (EZ)


Why is this interesting? is a daily email from Noah Brier & Colin Nagy (and friends!) about interesting things. If you’ve enjoyed this edition, please consider forwarding it to a friend. If you’re reading it for the first time, consider subscribing (it’s free!).