In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do.
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The one clear thing I can say about Wednesday, the worst and most amazing day of my life, is this: it started out beautifully. I woke up with the summer dawn, when the sky goes indigo-gray, and the air’s empty coolness begins to fill with a tacky, enveloping warmth. I could hear Saskia and Maharaj purring to each other at the far end of my compound. I’d had to listen to their cooing and screeching sex noises all night, but it didn’t bother me. I didn’t know why yet, but I realized: I was over it. Saskia could sleep with every tiger in the world but me, and I wouldn’t mind.
I stretched and smacked my mouth and licked my lips, tasting the familiar odors of the day. Already, I somehow sensed that this morning would be different from all the other mornings of my life. On the far side of the wall, hippos mucked and splashed, and off in the distance the monkeys and birds who had been up since predawn darkness started their morning chorus in earnest, their caws and kee-kees and caroo-caroo-caroos echoing out over the breadth of our little kingdom. These were the same sounds I heard morning after morning, but this morning, it was all more beautiful than ever; yes, this morning was different. It took me a little while to puzzle out the reason, but once I did, it was unmistakable:
I was in love.
Editor Paul Reyes
Excerpt from I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran
Underlying these outrage-bait money articles is another dismal generational reality that fuels our culture’s delusions about work and wealth. The oldest millennials are now in their late thirties; the oldest members of Generation Z are twenty-three. These are young people who have grown up under such intense capitalist acceleration, such a swift erosion of the public safety net, that even those who have inherited wealth or remain on an I.V. drip of it will be able to genuinely feel that they are “hustling.” People my age—even if they are lucky enough to receive chunks of family money that allow them to build up investments, or to put a down payment on an apartment in a major city—are still tied to a world in which work is increasingly unstable and incredibly demanding, a world in which basic expenses like health care grow more expensive every year. It is disturbing to see the vocabulary of survival becoming plausibly accessible to the rich. It’s easy to imagine Refinery29’s Money Diarist, decades into the future, reminiscing about her early twenties, when she had a shitty internship and a weekly coffee budget, telling her kids about the years when she was broke.
Editorial Intern Aviva Majerczyk
Excerpt from “Refinery29, Kylie Jenner, and the Denial Underlying Millennial Financial Resentment,” New Yorker, by Jia Tolentino