Stone Soup Digest 10.21.22

Personal Canons, Longest Rest, Garnishes

Welcome to the Stone Soup Weekly Digest! This is where I share what I'm up to and some of my favorite things from around the internet. Subscribe to Stone Soup to get this in your inbox every week.


I’m currently in the home stretch on a novel — just a few chapters to go! — which means my brain is a sizzling mound of torments. Anyway, for the next couple of months, I’m going to be featuring highlights from the Stone Soup archives! I won’t be coy about it: these are teasers for a big (very big) (you wouldn’t believe the spreadsheets I’ve got about this thing) 2023 project I’ll be announcing later this year. But also, separate from that, it’s just nice to revisit old gems! Let’s start with one of my personal favorites…

From the Archive: Personal Canons

In 2020, I celebrated the works that shaped us with a series of guest features called Personal Canons — reflections on the books and authors that made us into the readers and writers we are today. Check out the introduction to the series here.

…the genre fiction community is returning to the well-worn question of What We Must Read — what works are necessary to the cognitive and social development of a genre fiction writer or reader. There are several works which are typically dusted off for this parade of crucial canon. There are several authors whose names are reliably invoked as though they will, someday, personally rise from the grave to nod sagely and say you’re right, that is how spaceships would probably look, you did a good job.

Many people feel that it’s important for everyone to revere the works of these authors. They argue that the people they name are the inventors of genre fiction as we know it, that we must respect our forebears and consume their work in order to understand ourselves. They can be relied upon to gird their loins and ride hard into battle to defend the legacies of men who they fear might someday fade into obscurity, if left vulnerable to criticism and dismissal. [...] The most recent wave of debate over the necessity of The Universal Canon has pulled a new and fascinating thread out of the conversation: the Personal Canon.

Visit the Stone Soup Archives


Tales from the Trunk: Episode 44

Hilary B. Bisenieks hosts Tales from the Trunk, a podcast that explores “the stories that didn’t make it.” It’s one of the best SFF podcasts running today. In the latest episode, Hilary welcomes Héctor González for a fantastic interview, including two of Héctor’s stories. In a lovely bit of synchronicity, they also talk about Personal Canons, for which Héctor wrote this stunning essay about Michael Ende’s Momo.

Out Today: When I Was Lost

The Longest Rest launches on Indiegogo

Cover Reveal for Matt Wallace’s Savage Crowns


Visit a Neighbor: Eat the Garnish by Rachel Yang

Yang’s newsletter about garnishes serves up a deep dive into the history of one of the most overlooked portions of any meal.

Check out the most recent installment of Eat the Garnish here, and subscribe here!


I’m Reading: Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova

Grieving mother Magos cuts out a piece of her deceased eleven-year-old son Santiago’s lung. Acting on fierce maternal instinct and the dubious logic of an old folktale, she nurtures the lung until it gains sentience, growing into the carnivorous little Monstrilio she keeps hidden within the walls of her family’s decaying Mexico City estate. Eventually, Monstrilio begins to resemble the Santiago he once was, but his innate impulses—though curbed by his biological and chosen family’s communal care—threaten to destroy this fragile second chance at life.

A thought-provoking meditation on grief, acceptance, and the monstrous sides of love and loyalty, Gerardo Sámano Córdova blends bold imagination and evocative prose with deep emotional rigor. Told in four acts that span the globe from Brooklyn to Berlin, Monstrilio offers, with uncanny clarity, a cathartic and precise portrait of being human.


Lavender House, 1952: the family seat of recently deceased matriarch Irene Lamontaine, head of the famous Lamontaine soap empire. Irene’s recipes for her signature scents are a well guarded secret―but it's not the only one behind these gates. This estate offers a unique freedom, where none of the residents or staff hide who they are. But to keep their secret, they've needed to keep others out. And now they're worried they're keeping a murderer in.

Irene’s widow hires Evander Mills to uncover the truth behind her mysterious death. Andy, recently fired from the San Francisco police after being caught in a raid on a gay bar, is happy to accept―his calendar is wide open. And his secret is the kind of secret the Lamontaines understand.

Andy had never imagined a world like Lavender House. He's seduced by the safety and freedom found behind its gates, where a queer family lives honestly and openly. But that honesty doesn't extend to everything, and he quickly finds himself a pawn in a family game of old money, subterfuge, and jealousy―and Irene’s death is only the beginning.

When your existence is a crime, everything you do is criminal, and the gates of Lavender House can’t lock out the real world forever. Running a soap empire can be a dirty business.

Add Lavender House to your tbr here. Order it from your local independent bookseller, or order it via Bookshop.org to support independent booksellers throughout the US and the UK. For international shipping, you can try Barnes & Noble. If you prefer audiobooks, here’s a Libro.fm link. You can also request Lavender House from your local library — here’s how to get in touch with them. And if you need to order from the Bad River Website, here’s a link that will leverage your order for good.


If you’re a paying subscriber, come by the Stone Soup Supper Club for our weekly chat! I can’t wait to find out how you’re doing.

—Gailey

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