The Door

A book rec

Edith Zimmerman

Hi, I’m Edith, and this is a newsletter with comics and links. If you’ve been enjoying it, pease consider becoming a paid subscriber! Paying subscribers ($40 a year or $5 a month) support the work, join the community, and receive subscriber-only installments. I’d love to know what you think; please feel free to reply to this email!


  • The Door, by Magda Szabó (1987), translated by Len Rix in 2005. [NYRB] [Goodreads] (Here’s a New Yorker review, from 2016.)

  • My review: Really good. Sad.


  • “When I was 12 or 13, on my third round of intensive orthodontics, I went to see a surgeon about my jaw.” I enjoyed this essay on beauty (and novels) from Jennifer Schaffer, for The Baffler. “Is liberation found in knowing what you need and finding a way to get it, or in disposing of the need altogether?”

  • “It’s a contemplative garment and meant to be impractical … Because you can’t move quickly, it calls forth a sort of gravitas by imposing a sense of gravity on the wearer.” A description of the Cistercian monk’s cloak, in Vestoj. (“It’s 65 percent polyester and 35 percent viscose rayon, and very tough. My best cowl and my newest [I have three in total], is 17 years old.”)

  • I have been enjoying Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo’s monthly shopping column for The Strategist. (RIP Of a Kind.) There’s a good backlog too.

  • Ten Mistakes New Herb Gardeners Make,” via Laura Olin. I didn’t know most of these, such as 4, 5, and 6. 

  • “If you’re sick of who you are, you might be equally sick of where you’ve been living for the past few months. But be glad you’re not holed up in sleepy Grotto, Iowa, which embodies the three rules of small-town thriller life: 1. Placid communities are actually claustrophobic hotbeds of murderous intrigue. 2. Your neighbors are creepy sex pests. 3. All the law-enforcement officials are totally compromised by conflicts of interest.” I loved the NYT Summer Thrillers recommendations, by Sarah Lyall. (“As the book turns the screws, it becomes almost physically difficult to read.”)

  • Not new, but I loved this, too: “Top 100 Hydraulic Press Moments,” a montage of things getting crushed. The fruits and vegetables were my favorites [YouTube/Hydraulic Press Channel] (Thanks, Megan.)  

  • “He wears a helmet made of a ferret-like animal looking backward and apparently vomiting blood, or maybe he just has two faces, front and back.” Cabinet Magazine on the 16th-century painting “Hell” (via The Browser). “No one knows who painted this depiction of hell, or who asked for it to be made, or even what purpose it served. We only know that it was done in about 1515 in Lisbon.”

  • “UGGHHH! Now I have to go to the store...” An Instagram comic about why to buy Black, from weirdhelga

  • “The life-changing magic of folding everything really fucking nice.” Artist Jamaica Dyer’s pandemic comics. Beautiful and peaceful, despite the quote I chose, and the part about teeth. (Catch her story “The Balcony,” about Manet’s painting and Berthe Morisot, on Spiralbound, in case you missed it…)

  • I’ll be the millionth to recommend Dave Chappelle’s new special, free on YouTube: “8:46.”