What’s Making Me Happy This Week, first edition

Hello from my long-neglected blog! 

Lately, I’ve been completely obsessed with NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. It’s produced by Linda Holmes, who runs the NPR pop culture blog Monkey See, and features a bunch of NPR’s other music, book, and television bloggers. Each week, they focus on one specific topic, like a single TV show or movie, and one broader topic, like unreliable narrators or nudity in film or the deaths of beloved characters. Everyone who contributes to the show is incredibly smart and entertaining, and I cannot stop listening. At the end of each episode, the whole PCHH team goes around the room and talks about what’s making them happy this week. Anything is fair game: museums, comic books, new albums, internet memes, cakes they baked, etc.

I’ve been looking for a painless way to resurrect this blog, and there’s nothing I like more than sharing things I love with the rest of the internet, so I’m going to steal their format and give it a try. Here you have it: the first edition of What’s Making Me Happy This Week!
1) Pop Culture Happy Hour. Seriously, guys. It’s so good.
2) I received the very first finished copy of For Real this week! It looks ridiculously pretty, and I am thrilled to pieces. Behold the gorgeousness!
The process of creating this book was rather fraught, so it’s especially gratifying that it has become a real, tangible object I can hold in my hands. It’s available for preorder now, and it hits shelves December 9th!
3) Last night, I saw the delightful Leigh Bardugo talking about the Grisha trilogy at Books of Wonder. Leigh is one of the most entertaining and well spoken authors I have ever heard speak, so I always seek out her events with great enthusiasm. My favorite part of the evening was when she said the key to creating well rounded, flawed characters was never to write archetypes—the hero, the love interest, the villain. Instead, she encouraged us all to just write people with competing agendas, pit them against each other, and see what happens. She also stressed that killing a character is not the worst thing you can do to her; it’s far worse to take away the one thing by which that character defines herself and then make her live without it. I found that very insightful.
4) Did you guys have spirographs when you were kids? That toy could entertain me for hours, and now, thanks to the internet, I can play with it again. Here. You’re welcome.
5) Last night, I finished reading Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s first graphic novel, Skim, and I cannot recommend their work highly enough. I loved their second book, This One Summer, even more, and I encourage you to seek it out immediately. In addition to having a beautiful story and really great art, I loved how they depicted so many different body types and never commented on anyone’s physicality at all.
6) My friend and critique partner Kayla Olson rescued this adorable kitten this week!
Since orange cats are almost always male, she assumed he was a boy and named him Rupert. When she took him to the vet, it quickly became apparent that Rupert is, in fact, a girl. But Kayla’s three-year-old son refuses to call her anything but Rupert, so that’s still her name. (She has, however, been given the middle name Marie.) I giggle to myself every time I think about furry little Rupert Marie.
What’s making you happy this week? Tweet me at @alison_cherry! (Unfortunately, I had to turn off comments on this blog due to constant spamming.)