6 min read

Stone Soup Digest 09.02.22 & My Fave Reads of August

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 can’t believe it’s already September! It’s hot as hell where I am, but the early morning air has a kiss of Autumn in it. I am watching my apple trees grow heavy and my pumpkins grow orange and I know in my heart that the heat will give way soon.

Let’s dive in!

Tell the Turning by Tara K. Shepersky & Lucy Bellwood

Tell the Turning is a collection of poems written by Tara Shepersky and illustrated by Lucy Bellwood. The book follows Tara’s wanderings through California and the Pacific Northwest, bringing visions of change, wildness, grief, and renewal to life in words and pictures. Perfect for solitary types, enthusiastic bird-noticers, and anyone who could use a gentle break. If you subscribe to this newsletter, trust me when I say you will like this collection.

All Our Yesterdays by Hilary B. Bisenieks

Hilary B. Bisenieks just released their first game, All Our Yesterdays, a solo journaling game about traveling back in time so that someone doesn’t have to die alone. Through the game’s four acts, you will chronicle your trip back in time and explore how your decision to travel back affects you and others.

All Our Yesterdays is available now for pay-what-you-want on Itch! Go check it out!

Cover reveal for The Red Scholar's Wake by Aliette de Bodard

Meg Elison on Parasocial Relationships

The truth is: the relationship we have with writers and creators is complicated. It’s often intimate without being reciprocal, and that is almost impossible for us meat-creatures to understand. Art is deeply personal; everything we put down is in some fashion a self-portrait. People who read our work feel like they’ve seen us from every angle, felt that image touch them.

This piece from the ever-brilliant Meg Elison explores the people we fall in love with who we've never met and who don't know we exist. It's incredibly powerful and deeply important.

I’m Reading: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked "the Battle-Axe" anyway. Even if her body doesn't move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season.

On her way to a speaking engagement, bestselling novelist Eli Grey gets into a cab and accepts a drink from the driver, trusting that everything is fine. She wakes up chained in the stranger's basement. With no close family or friends expecting her to check in, Eli knows she needs to save herself. She soon realizes that her abduction wasn't random, and though she thinks she might recognize her captor, she can't figure out what he wants. Her only clues are that he's very familiar with her books and deeply invested in the fantastical world she creates. What follows is a test of wills as Eli pits herself against a man who believes she owes him everything--and is determined to take it from her.

Add Number One Fan 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 Number One Fan 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 August

And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts

Upon its first publication twenty years ago, And The Band Played on was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of investigative reporting. An international bestseller, a nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and made into a critically acclaimed movie, Shilts' expose revealed why AIDS was allowed to spread unchecked during the early 80's while the most trusted institutions ignored or denied the threat. One of the few true modern classics, it changed and framed how AIDS was discussed in the following years. Now republished in a special 20th Anniversary edition, And the Band Played On remains one of the essential books of our time.

This book offers incredible insight into queer history and culture through the lens of one of the great tragedies to strike out communities. Reading this made me feel a sense of scale I’ve never had access to before, and it’s helped me to reframe the way I think about conflict between queer people. Essential, electrifying, clarifying.

The Sugar Thief by Nancy Mauro

YouTuber Sabine Rose is a star about to go supernova. Her baking channel, Sweet Rush, attracts millions, her production team agonizingly crafts her every (appropriate) moment, and her agent has positioned her one good meeting away from landing a Netflix series. But her rise to superstardom still needs a final push, and she has the perfect idea to get herself there: a well-documented visit home to her family's small-town bakery. But when Sabine and her chronically underappreciated producer, Wanda, arrive in the small northern town Sabine hasn't seen in a decade, the planned reunion with her family is quickly lost in chaos (and social media opportunity). The Rose family's master baker--Sabine's father--has just died. With her family spiralling into tragedy and farce, Sabine finds her fame growing exponentially, but also teetering on collapse, thanks to dark secrets unleashed by her father's death. Self-medicating one glass--and one handful of pharmaceuticals--at a time, can she possibly get her act together and drag her fledgling celebrity into the big leagues? Will ever-loyal Wanda, sensing betrayal, kick her boss while she's down? And will the source of the family's fortune, a famous pastry inspired by a carefully guarded old-world secret, fall into the wrong hands? Or will it provide the salvation Sabine so badly needs?

I listened to this one as an audiobook and it was just so much fun. The characters are complex and nuanced, the familial tensions are both familiar and fresh, the plot twists and reveals hit just right. Charming, incisive, inviting.

That’s it for this week! If you’re a paying subscriber, come by the Stone Soup Supper Club [link] for our weekly chat! I can’t wait to find out how you’re doing.