Aug 25, 2015
And here we are in the last week of August already! I was listening to an episode of the TED Radio Hour today on my morning walk that was focused on time (here’s the episode: “Shifting Time”), and in part of the episode they discuss how time seems to pass so slowly when you’re a child, but as you get older, time seems to pass much faster. They explain that it’s not that we experience time differently as we age; it’s that we experience the memory of the time that has passed, and as we accumulate more memories, it leads to a kind of perceived acceleration. There’s more history to pack into a moment when you’re 40 than when you’re 4.
Anyway, here we are in the last week of August 2015. I spent last week on vacation, when my perception of time did seem to slow down — at least a tiny bit — because I went largely offline for seven days. Without those social media distractions, all I had to do was eat, sleep, read, and relax. It was really good.
I want to tell you about two books that I read last week. I’ve been saving Euphoria by Lily King to read since last year. It’s a historical novel about anthropologists in 1930s Papua New Guinea, inspired by Margaret Mead’s life. As a former anthropology grad student I found it fascinating and believable, and as a writer I found it beautiful, complex, and skillfully written. It inspired me to be less afraid of breaking the rules when writing myself.
Euphoria also features queer main characters who are written as completely normal — and I’d expect nothing less of the visionary anthropologists who are the main characters. I honestly didn’t even notice that the main characters were queer until well into the novel; the details and hints had been there all along, but it was so smoothly integrated, so normal, that it felt normal. It was so well done.
I also had the pleasure of reading Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash, a young adult graphic memoir coming from Candlewick Press on Sept 8 (find it here). It’s about a girl at a Christian summer camp falling for a camp counselor, an older girl. I was so captivated by the story and the illustrations. It had just the right combination of humor, honesty, and the rush of first love. Honor Girl is not so much a coming-out story as a coming-to-realization story, and it rang very true to me even though I’ve never been to a Christian summer camp. I highly recommend it.
While I was on vacation, Bustle shared the news about the lineup for the YA feminist anthology, Feminism for the Real World, edited by librarian-turned-Book-Riot-blogger Kelly Jensen, and I’m thrilled that I’m part of this project alongside such a great group of writers and artists. The book is coming in spring 2017 from Algonquin Young Readers, and I’ll have more to say about it as that date approaches. (It seems a long way away, but by the time it arrives, the months will have seemed to pass in a heartbeat. See TED Radio Hour mentioned in first paragraph!)
As summer draws to a close, I’m looking forward to fall. I haven’t had a true autumn in 15 years, and I plan to do all sorts of New Englandy fall things this year. I’m also looking forward to sharing more news about my upcoming (adult) fantasy project, which will be published by a startup called Serial Box that is trying some exciting new things. You can read more about Serial Box at io9. I promise more actual news with actual information very soon.
Meanwhile I’ll leave you with this picture, which is where I spent most of last week. I miss it already!