Friday Five 6.01.18

This one is coming in juuuust under the wire, friends. I feel, in so many ways, like this week has completely gotten away from me. It's mostly due to my temporary hermit status I had to impose in order to finish my mom's birthday present, but it's also because life truly seems to be picking up the pace right now. My grandmother, like so many others, always hammered home the 'god closes doors and open windows' adage, although this time when the door slammed, the floodgates opened! It's an adventure, and I'm loving it, but I'm also still dancing a bit in the effort to get my feet under me. Luckily, daylight hours are getting longer, and even in the most hectic weeks, I was able to find five amazing things for you to check out this weekend. 

F.O.F. was founded in 2015 by local queer kid Lane Gibson as a response to the lack of accessible and diverse clothing available to their community.

When I heard the ad spot that Fat Owl Fashion ran during a recent My Brother, My Brother, and Me episode, I knew immediately it was a company that I needed to check out. While there are no shortage of amazing small businesses making all sorts of sassy queer apparel, there is something about the low-key pride designs featured at F.O.F., combined with their focus on inclusion for the disabled community, that really caught my eye. I've purchased several things from them just in time for Pride (HAPPY PRIDE Y'ALL) and some things, really, are perfect any time!

The Life and Times of the Literary Agent Georges Borchardt at The Paris Review

When my good friend Charlotte linked to this interview earlier this week, I don't think she knew just how directly she was targeting my wheelhouse. As a Good Book Nerd, I am always interested in a person's movement through their literary life, but I have a special soft spot for the behind-the-scenes folks like agents, editors, and PR people who work for and alongside some of the names we come to know best.

This profile not only scratched all of those itches to a "T", but had the added bonus of being an absolutely beautiful and fascinating sketch of a life lived in books among the trials of war, persecution, and the Holocaust. Fittingly, if any of those subjects are triggering to you, know that they are briefly touched on, but only briefly, and the humble yet honest answers Borchardt provides as to his path to success are well worth the read.

AAR's Top 100 Romances List: Diving Into the Data at ReaderWriterVille

A few...months (?) ago - because what is time in 2018 - the first AAR poll for the 2018 Top 100 Romances list hit Twitter and it was...not great. Authors of color, specifically black authors, were largely ignored and left off the list. When this was pointed out, readers were assured that this list was just the first step of many, and that by the time the list came out, the problem would be rectified. 

And call me cynical, but when the AAR list actually dropped this week, I was frustratingly unsuprised to see that, in fact, it hadn't really been fixed. Which is why I'm linking to this post, as opposed to the actual list - I think it's far more helpful as a reflection tool. Sunita does a fantastic job of looking at the numbers from the list through a variety of different lenses, and allows you to draw your own conclusions accordingly.

For me, the bottom line is that I just can't bring myself to trust a list about romance novels that only includes one black author, Alyssa Cole. And that's no shame to Cole, whom I adore, but if you can't at least include Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson to that still-too-small number, I find your list inherently dubious. 

"The Boy and the Bell" by Heidi Heilig at The Hanging Garden

I live my life in a perpetual state of catching up, with short fiction moreso than almost anything else! Which is why I'm only just now getting to this March story published by Heilig, and oh my sweet friends am I glad to have put these words into my eyeballs.

Normally, I am the first person to tell you that I am over the vampire narrative, and truth be told was never much here for it to begin with. That is, until you combine vampire myths with early medical history and a trans narrator, which will apparently turn my interest to eleven! Atmospheric and twisty, this story packs a punch into it's shorter length, and with a beautiful pacing and unfolding of details, Heilig has hit the highest bar of short story writing - leaving the readers desperately wanting more. 


A Change in Energy by kvikindi at AO3

This rec first popped up in the absolutely must-follow newsletter The Rec Center, but as always seems to be the case, it flitted on by until dear Jenny DM'd me to call it to my attention - and to reassure me that it's 450K length was the slow burn angst-fest that I'm always looking for in my reading life. 


Don't watch Stargate? That's fine! The author put together this incredibly hand primer, but even if you possess no desire to know about Stargate, this fic stands on it's own about a man falling in love with a man who might also be merging with a ship's AI. I'm only about 100K in, because I'm forcing myself to parcel it out, but y'all. Y'all. It is so absolutely worth every lingering minute. 

There it is, friends! I feel like I've gotten to spend the last little bit at rest in the eye of the hurricane (yes, it's fine, I too am singing the Hamilton song) and now it's back unto the breech. But as the waves keep coming, at least the summer sun is bright! Take care until next week (when who knows - maybe I'll even manage to get an actual review up!)