6 min read

Guest Host Sarah Kuhn

Stone Soup Digest 1.16.2024
Guest Host Sarah Kuhn
Photography by CapozKnows

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.

Hello Digest readers! This week, the brilliant Sarah Kuhn is taking over Stone Soup to bring you the best of the internet. I’ve been a fan of Kuhn’s work since I first encountered Heroine Complex, which remains one of the smartest, funniest works of superhero fiction I’ve ever read. Take it away, Sarah!

Sarah Kuhn is the author of the popular Heroine Complex novels—a series starring Asian American superheroines. The first book is a Locus bestseller, an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee, and one of the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog’s Best Books of 2016. She also penned the beloved YA rom-coms I Love You So Mochi and From Little Tokyo, With Love, and a variety of short fiction and comics, including the DC Comics graphic novels Shadow of the Batgirl and Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story, the Star Wars audiobook original Doctor Aphra, and the recent Archie Comics one-shot Darkling. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections and nominees for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and the Golden Poppy Award. They have also been featured on Best of… and Most Anticipated lists in People Magazine, Book Riot, Amazon, the AV Club, Nerdist, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, and more. Additionally, she was a finalist for both the CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) New Writers Award and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. A third generation Japanese American, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and an overflowing closet of vintage treasures.

Welcome To The Yeohaissance

I am on record as an old school Michelle Yeoh obsessive—so much so that I made her a key inspirational force for the superheroine protagonists of my Heroine Complex series. When the first book debuted in 2016, some readers asked if I made her up since the idea of an Asian movie star was apparently inconceivable. Thankfully, no one asks me that question now. We have so many opportunities to bask in Michelle’s gloriousness! The latest is the Netflix series The Brothers Sun, which is jam-packed with action and comedy and fraught family dynamics—a perfectly fresh watch for the New Year. There’s even a fight sequence involving inflatable dinosaur costumes, which is exactly the kind of thing I’m into. This series is also important because it features my wonderful friend Jenny Yang as a badass assassin named Xing! Jenny has always been cool, but this somehow made her even cooler. Check out her newsletter for more about how cool she is. 

Yu & Me (And All The Other Book Lovers)

One of my favorite author events I’ve ever done happened last year at the lovely New York City bookstore Yu & Me Books. The space was warm and lively and inviting, the stock highlighted a vibrant diversity of Asian American and underrepresented voices, and the familial vibe brought to mind a true community gathering place. I fell in big love with the whole staff—founder/owner Lucy Yu is a force of nature and her enthusiasm and passion turn every event into a joyous celebration of books and art and creativity. The store suffered a devastating fire last year and had to close—but thanks to a groundswell of community support and Lucy and Co.’s hard work, they are set to re-open soon-ish. Check out the article above for Lucy’s story—I appreciate her getting into just how hard it is to open a bookstore and how lovingly various communities have embraced the shop—and maybe consider ordering your New Year’s reading from Yu & Me. 

How Do You Measure A Year?

Resolutions are hard. I think most of us vaguely vow to be more productive and virtuous people, maintain that for like a week, and then revert back to chaos gremlin mode. Or maybe that’s just me. In any case, one of my writer friends recently sent me a link to YearCompass, a free workbook type of thing that asks you a series of questions about the past year and then gets into dreaming about the one before you. It’s meant to uncover patterns and help you work toward goals in a more sustainable way. Have I actually done anything beyond download the workbook? Well…no. But there’s always next week. Or next year.

Rest, Relax, And…Cookie

I know it seems counterproductive to suggest going on a gigantic online discussion board like Reddit in order to relax, but you have got to check out the What Is My Cookie Cutter? subreddit. It’s exactly what it sounds like: people share their mystery cutters and helpful posters assist in figuring out what it’s supposed to be. It’s like a brainteaser, art exercise, and Rorschach blot test all in one.

Burning Question

This is the kind of highly specific deep-dive entertainment journalism I appreciate: a piece entitled I Don’t Think You Understand How Big Jack Reacher Actually Is. This reporter really put in the work. They broke out a calculator. They analyzed text across multiple books. They evaluated the difference in size between various types of grocery store chickens. All of this so we could have the answers we deserve!

I’m Reading: How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

Helen Zhang hasn’t seen Grant Shepard once in the thirteen years since the tragic accident that bound their lives together forever.

Now a bestselling author, Helen pours everything into her career. She’s even scored a coveted spot in the writers’ room of the TV adaptation of her popular young adult novels, and if she can hide her imposter syndrome and overcome her writer’s block, surely the rest of her life will fall into place too. LA is the fresh start she needs. After all, no one knows her there. Except…

Grant has done everything in his power to move on from the past, including building a life across the country. And while the panic attacks have never quite gone away, he’s well liked around town as a screenwriter. He knows he shouldn’t have taken the job on Helen’s show, but it will open doors to developing his own projects that he just can’t pass up.

Grant’s exactly as Helen remembers him—charming, funny, popular, and lovable in ways that she’s never been. And Helen’s exactly as Grant remembers too—brilliant, beautiful, closed off. But working together is messy, and electrifying, and Helen’s parents, who have never forgiven Grant, have no idea he’s in the picture at all.

When secrets come to light, they must reckon with the fact that theirs was never meant to be any kind of love story. And yet… the key to making peace with their past—and themselves—might just lie in holding on to each other in the present.

Barnes & Noble | Bad River Website | Local Library | Find an Indie Bookstore

Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore who just wrote the world’s first comprehensive encyclopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Ones on her adventures…and also from her fellow scholar and former rival Wendell Bambleby. 

Because Bambleby is more than infuriatingly charming. He’s an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother and in search of a door back to his realm. And despite Emily’s feelings for Bambleby, she’s not ready to accept his proposal of marriage: Loving one of the Fair Folk comes with secrets and dangers. 

She also has a new project to focus on: a map of the realms of faerie. While she is preparing her research, Bambleby lands her in trouble yet again, when assassins sent by his mother invade Cambridge. Now Bambleby and Emily are on another adventure, this time to the picturesque Austrian Alps, where Emily believes they may find the door to Bambleby’s realm and the key to freeing him from his family’s dark plans.

But with new relationships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors and of her own heart.

Barnes & Noble | Bad River Website | Local Library | Find an Indie Bookstore

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