8 min read

Stone Soup Digest 06.10.22 & Fave Reads of May

Sunflowers, frogs, so many books

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.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve been harvesting from the garden and amending the garden beds to prepare them for new planting. Pumpkins, green beans, raspberries, artichokes, kale, arugula, potatoes, melon – all of it’s going in over the course of the next couple of weeks, and hopefully I’ll be able to keep everything going through the summer and the coming weeks of book launch excitement. I have high hopes for the pumpkins, based on nothing but optimism.

The last Stone Soup Digest included some links for ways you can help people who need it. Here are those links again, in case you missed them last time:

The League of United Latin American Citizens are collecting funds for victims of the shooting in Uvalde and their families.

Here is a collection of verified fundraisers to defray funeral expenses for victims of the shooting in Uvalde.

Here is information on how to help victims of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine

The National Black Justice Coalition is America’s leading national civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of queer Black people, including people living with HIV/AIDS, through coalition building, federal policy change, research, and education.

Indigenous Women Rising is committed to honoring Native & Indigenous People’s inherent right to equitable and culturally safe health options through accessible health education, resources, and advocacy.

The AAPI Equity Alliance is dedicated to improving the lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through civic engagement, capacity building, and policy advocacy.

TENT is striving to further gender-diverse equality in Texas through social, legislative, and corporate education.

Here is a resource to guide you to verified ways to support abortion access.

Here is how to contact your senators. The American system of electoral politics is both rigged and deeply fundamentally flawed, but it’s the one we have. Don’t let your representatives know a moment’s peace.

As you’re probably aware, queer and trans children are still under attack across the United States; Ukraine is fighting against a Russian invasion; AAPI communities continue facing discrimination and violence. If you’re struggling to figure out how to help, here are a couple of roundups that include more detailed links to where you can direct your funds and efforts.

Do what you can. Give what you can. Care for yourself and the people around you. Believe that the world can be better than it is now. Never give up.

Did you know you can eat every part of a sunflower

Some surprise sunflowers have come up in my yard! They were mystery plants until suddenly they sprouted about a thousand blooms, and now I have a ton of sunflowers. I would be happy to enjoy them just as startling beautiful growing things near me, but I was delighted to learn that you can eat every single part of the plant! I’m already planning to use the flower petals in a salad to delight some lunch guests tomorrow, and I can’t wait to find out what the rest of the plant tastes like as I figure out how to prepare it.

Cal Lane’s sculptures

The art of Cal Lane is hypnotizing, delicate, and powerful.

The Baby-Sitters Club Wasn’t Enough for Netflix Anymore by Kathryn VanArendonk

This interview with Rachel Shukert offers some insights into the way our media and culture fails to value stories for young girls the same way it values stories for young boys:

I think female audiences are trained to not take their own stories as seriously. Stuff men were obsessed with when they were 9 is treated like Hamlet. How many Spider-Man movies are there? How many Star Wars? They tell it over and over again from different perspectives. That’s all fine, obviously. But what if someone treated something for girls that seriously? Even with a fraction of the money.

Frogs riding water buffalo

This is a tumblr post about the relationship between water buffalo and frogs in Northern Turkey. The short version is: flies are attracted to the water buffalo, and frogs are attracted to the flies, and the result is that every water buffalo serves as a condominium for frogs.

I just like it.

Visit a Neighbor: The Third Place, Max Gladstone

No one does it like Max Gladstone. The Third Place is an excellent newsletter to subscribe to if you enjoy the experience of sitting down to drinks or coffee with a brilliant person and having the most fascinating conversation of your life. Max’s newsletter is like that, but in your inbox. One of my favorite subscriptions, and that’s saying something.

Sign up here!

I’m Reading

Big Bad by Lily Anderson

Step into this alternate reality, where chaos reigns supreme. The Mayor’s sun-shade has created permanent darkness over Sunnydale, fully opening the Hellmouth once and for all. Now the newly christened Demondale has become a safe haven for vampires, beasts, and all types of ruffians. It's never been better to be bad.

Aspiring supervillains (and super nerds) Jonathan and Andrew attempt to hold their own in a town full of monsters, while eleven-hundred-year-old vengeance demon Anya is just looking for something to give her life purpose again, spending her days working at an evil juice bar. But soon word gets out that there’s a new Big Bad on the scene, one more powerful and more destructive than anyone who has come before. She, of course, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And she’s hell-bent on rooting out all of this reality's evil by any means necessary.

Now Jonathan, Andrew, and Anya must recruit a team of Demondale’s most notorious villains―including Angelus, Spike, Drusilla, and even Ripper the malevolent magic shop owner―in order to save their world. But it’ll be no easy feat to put their pride and differences aside and stop the worst thing that has ever come to town: good.

Hide by Kiersten White

The challenge: Spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don't get caught.

The prize: enough money to change everything.

Even though everyone is desperate to win--to seize a dream future or escape a haunting past--Mack is sure she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she's an expert at that.

It's the reason she's alive and her family isn't.

But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes that this competition is even more sinister than she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.

Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide but nowhere to run.

Add Hide 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 Hide 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.

These Prisoning Hills by Christopher Rowe

In a long-ago war, the all-powerful A.I. ruler of the Voluntary State of Tennessee – Athena Parthenus, Queen of Reason – invaded and decimated the American Southeast. Possessing the ability to infect and corrupt the surrounding environment with nanotechnology, she transformed flora, fauna, and the very ground itself into bio-mechanical weapons of war.

Marcia, a former captain from Kentucky, experienced first-hand the terrifying, mind-twisting capabilities of Athena's creatures. Now back in the Commonwealth, her retirement is cut short by the arrival of federal troops in her tiny, isolated town. One of Athena's most powerful weapons may still be buried nearby. And they need Marcia's help to find it.

Add These Prisoning Hills 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. You can also request These Prisoning Hills 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.

My Favorite Reads of May

Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.

Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she's pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.

Flowers for the Sea brings a bold, visceral horror to the page that I found deeply satisfying. Grounding bodily torment in lyrical prose, Rocklyn tells a story of betrayal and fury and triumph. I read this in one sitting and my only regret is that I can’t experience it for the first time again. Intense, vital, corporeal.

I’m The Girl by Courtney Summers

When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley's older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley's killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty--but who is guiltiest.

Courtney Summers is one of my favorite authors working today. Her work is always extremely grounded. Her fiction confronts the world, refusing to look away from the things so many of us gloss over as we make our way through the world. I’m the Girl digs in to the ugliest, most painful parts of a culture that tells young women their value comes from their allure. Brutal, visceral, immediate.

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.