5 min read

Stone Soup Digest 03.11.22

a poem, a painting, an enormous kitten

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.

Yesterday, I did a twitter thread that’s gotten some attention! Check it out if you haven’t already.

In other news, this week I got something very exciting in the mail: a new lamp! It looks like a cactus. Even more exciting than that, if you can believe it, are the Advance Reader Copies of JUST LIKE HOME that showed up on my doorstep.

Aren’t they gorgeous! Don’t forget to add to your TBR and pre-order your copy today!

A Poem (and a Painting) About the Suffering That Hides in Plain Sight by Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert has written an examination of W.H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Pieter Bruegel’s “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus.” This is an excellent close reading of a poem — I have an especial weakness for close readings of poems — and it’s also a fascinating dive into a painting that is both timely and timelessly powerful. Reading this made me want to know more about the world I inhabit, made me want to be a better writer, made me want to be a better reader. I can’t recommend it enough.

Sharp Features by Spookdoodles

This wintery horror comic from Spookdoodles starts out cute and ends up haunting. I especially love the beat in this comic that creates a turn: the moment when, as a reader, I realized that I was not quite looking at the thing I thought I was looking at.

The Suit by Scott Base, Bad Space Comics

Holy shit. Scott Base is new to me and I can tell from this comic that I have a ton of catching up to do. This spectacular horror comic is just the start; check out Base’s Instagram for more.

Cover Reveal for Uncommon Charm

Emily Bergslien and Kat Weaver have a novella coming out from Neon Hemlock in May of this year!

In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren’t beholden to their families’ unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu that slides far too easily into surrealist metaphor, and, worst of all, serious adult conversation.

You can check out the gorgeous cover and read an excerpt from the novella here.

I’m Reading: The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope

Clara Johnson talks to spirits, a gift that saved her during her darkest moments in a Washington D. C. jail. Now a curse that's left her indebted to the cunning spirit world. So, when the Empress, the powerful spirit who holds her debt, offers her an opportunity to gain her freedom, a desperate Clara seizes the chance. The task: steal a magical ring from the wealthiest woman in the District.

Clara can't pull off this daring heist alone. She'll need help from an unlikely team, from a jazz musician capable of hypnotizing with a melody to an aging vaudeville actor who can change his face, to pull off the impossible. But as they encounter increasingly difficult obstacles, a dangerous spirit interferes at every turn. Conflict in the spirit world is leaking into the human one and along D.C'.s legendary Black Broadway, a mystery unfolds — one that not only has repercussions for Clara but all of the city's residents.

Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda's lover and the group's heart.

Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart.

Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US.

When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts.

Zelda's getting the band back together--plus Sal's young cousin June, who has a knack none of them have ever seen before.

As relationships rekindle, the friends begin to believe they can find Sal and heal all the worlds. It's not going to be easy, but they've faced worse before.

But things have changed, out there in the alts. And in everyone's hearts.

Add Last Exit 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 Last Exit 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.

Kitten Update

Bert weighs almost ten pounds! I am giving an inexact number because of how I weigh the cats at home, which involves excavating the bathroom scale I had to purchase when a medication was trying to kill me, standing on it, then catching a kitten and returning to the scale to math up the difference. It’s very scientific. Bert hates this process because, while he is open to being carried around, said carrying usually involves being transported to (a) snacks, (b) adventures, or (c) snacks and adventures.

Unlike her brother, Calamity has heeded my explicit instruction to “be a baby kitten forever and ever,” and weighs in at around eight pounds. Calamity loves the weigh-in because it involves being held, which activates one of her biggest purrs. She also enjoys being able to look down on her brother, which is the best vantage point from which to plan his demise.

As you’re probably aware, trans children are under attack across the United States; Ukraine is fighting against a Russian invasion; AAPI communities are facing discrimination and violence. If you’re struggling to figure out how to help, here are some places to start.

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.