Jia Tolentino (c) Elena Mudd
Jia Tolentino (c) Elena Mudd

Those who would most enjoy Internet darling Jia Tolentino’s first collection of essays, the raved-over Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, may be the most unlikely to find time to consume it: the social-media-obsessed millennials with shattered attention spans whose culture is so adroitly described in the book. To the idea that they’re all digital-first narcissistic illiterates, Trick offers a paper-and-ink middle finger.  


Tolentino was born to parents from the Philippines and raised in Houston, where she graduated from Second Baptist School. She attended UVA, hopscotched to the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan, then to grad school, eventually landing a post as a staff writer at the The New Yorker — all before age 30.

She’s been described as both the “Joan Didion of her generation” and “Susan Sontag reincarnated.” And the praise is deserved. Take “Ecstasy,” the most Houston-centric piece in the book. In it, she describes the unlikely alchemy of mega-church Christianity, adolescence, MDMA, and Houston’s hip-hop scene — with much of the action taking place in the Second Baptist parking lot.

The opening essay, “The I in the Internet,” provides a reflection on how the web was uniquely experienced by Tolentino’s generation. Others address the complexities of contemporary feminism; her time in Charlottesville and the town’s struggles with purported racism and rape culture; and being invited to 46 weddings over nine years — resulting in the death of her desire to get married. 

Lots of people read Tolentino’s exemplary work online — she has 90,000 Twitter followers — but it’s better as a book. (Even if you’ll have to pay the equivalent of two months of Netflix.) $27, at Brazos Bookstore

Art+Culture
Top Attorney Lauren Varnado Says Networking Is Key: ‘Relationships Are Everything’
How did you get to where you are today? It takes a village. I was fortunate enough to have great mentors and individuals who instilled confidence in me. I think that when you face a challenge or an obstacle, you are able to overcome and make things happen. You can continue moving forward, more resilient over time.
Keep ReadingShow less

The Freedom Over Texas display can be viewed from a number of Houston restaurants (photo courtesy of Visit Houston)

IF YOU DON’T have a view of the many fireworks displays around town on July 4, these spots are celebrating Independence Day with dinner, brunch, live music, deals, drinks and a seat to Houston’s spectacularly lit-up sky show.

Keep ReadingShow less
Art + Entertainment

Untitled III

“IT LANDED RIGHT in it,” says Houston artist and scientist Suzette Mouchaty.

Keep ReadingShow less