Antler August: I got that summertime sadness.

August is almost always my least favorite month of the year. It’s always too hot and nothing gets done. Everyone skips town and work grinds to a halt. This August was not much different, and my summertime sadness has been in full effect. 

Here are some things that I’ve read that helped alleviate it. 

Charlie Jane Anders, one of the great science fiction voices of our time has a new one written with the clever, brilliant voice of a woman turning 100 and analyzing her dreams. This is so spirited and whimsical that I giggled out loud while reading it, and I bet you will, too. 

“How to Spend Your Free Time” by Charles Payseur starts off so sharp that I’d almost call it snarky, before tripping into a deep crevasse of feeling from which there is no easy escape. I’ve been living my life in an absurdist hell lately, unable to credit the reality of this timeline trying to make some jokes at the expense of the most upsetting shit I’ve ever seen. Apparently, Payseur has, too. And it capable of turning it into poetry. I raise my glass to this guy. And to pretty much everything Fireside publishes. 

I’m a sucker for good food writing, and Helen Rosner put up a great essay at Guernica this month. It wrestles with the chimera of deep-fried shit and highbrow tastes that lives in each of us, as well as the complicated relationship between food, comfort, and identity. I have to warn you, reading this essay will set loose in you an inescapable craving for chicken tenders. “Why do you think every chef says his favorite food is roast chicken, or oysters, or a steak?” I know why. 

This Strange Horizons story by S.R. Mandel got my attention on a bingo card basis. It was teased with the notion that women authors are never enshrined (correct). It mentioned Murasaki Shikibu in its beginning (I stan forever) and the prose was at once clear and illuminating. The story that follows is, too, though it’ll wring your heart like a laundromat job that keeps a genius from her full potential. It did mine. 

In books: I read and loved “Because Internet” by linguist Gretchen McCulloch, for its frank and fascinating explanations of the way the internet has changed our use of language rapidly and irreversibly. I couldn’t put it down, and it made me laugh out loud at FACTS. How do you beat that? If you’ve been curious at all about why sometimes we LOL and sometime we lol and sometimes we *L* you need this book.

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