Enter the Weirdness

Hiya.

I’ve been kinda quiet during the last few weeks — but not for any specific reason. We’ve taken a few short family trips (all of which have been a delight) and the Elder Teen and I are about to take one more. Also: it’s August and I find this month to be like a series of Sunday afternoons, where you know you ought to be preparing for the week ahead but just can seem to focus so, instead, just lay around pondering existence.1

Add to that the Olympics, which I absolutely adore even though I know how problematic it is for the host city,2 to say nothing for the athletes. The Olympics, however, are perfect for these lazy summer days3 because there is always some kind of sporting event to invest yourself in, if only briefly, no matter what time of day it is.

Over the last week and a half, I’ve discovered a few things:

a) Given my natural build, I *really* missed my calling in the hammer throw.

b) Of all of the Olympic events, I would be most terrible at water polo.

c) Doubles badminton looks dangerous a.f. and I really want to try it.

And, of course, I’ve been watching the heck out of all of the track events. I’ve even set several reminders for the women’s marathon, which will take place on Friday at 6 p.m. EDT.4 If you need me between that time and, like, 9 p.m., well. Try not to need me.

None of that, however, is what I want to share with you.

In case you haven’t figured it out, my tastes are eclectic and very much not for everyone.5 This caveat is important for the next bit.

Waaaaaay back in Spring 2020, someone6 mentioned that I might like Enter the Aardvark7 by Jessica Anthony. I was in the middle of a “I will buy all the books that come out right now because I know how screwed these writers are” spree and bought the ebook. I promptly forgot about it until just a few days ago when I wanted to read something that I wasn’t reading for review8 or for a project. Because Aardvark was on my ipad and seemed short, I started it.

Then I promptly had my socks blown clean off of my feet. Seriously. Anthony has so much fun with words but her prose is muscular and clean rather than airless and overly complex. The story9 runs on rails but said rails don’t take you to the destination you expect. Anthony’s work is a 197-page jewel that is cut and buffed to perfection.

I absolutely loved it. I would shove it into the hands of everyone I know; however, it is a deeply (and delightfully!) weird book that is never going to have mass appeal. But it might be the kind of book you might like, dear reader, and if it is, I highly recommend it.

Soon the Olympics and August will be done. More of my brain will be available to me. Until then, I hope you are all well and taking in the media you find most satisfying. What are you loving right now? Lemme know in a comment.

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1

This might just be me? Still. I stand by it.

2

This might also be just a me thing but I miss all of the soft features about the host city itself that we get every two years. I know we can’t force Mary Carillo out into the streets of Tokyo right now for obvious reasons but the loss is felt, if only by me. I can’t find a good example of a soft feature from her — but you really should watch her rant about badminton.

3

and frozen February days, every four years

4

My fingers are crossed for Team USA: Aliphine Tuliamuk, Molly Seidel, and Sally Kipyego. There also might be some men running later this weekend.

5

I’d argue that every single person’s tastes are eclectic. But when I try that argument, I go down this weird little rabbit hole wondering what that word means anyway and decide it’s better if I put that energy into something more productive, lest I unravel all of the English language.

6

I wish I could remember who so I could thank them.

7

Amazon link provided for the sake of convenience. Shop your heart.

8

I review SF/F for Locus. If you need a recommendation, holler. I have opinions.

9

It’s hard to sum up but a right wing congressman has a taxidermied aardvark of questionable provenance show up on his doorstep and the story flips between him and the taxidermist who made the thing back in 1800s England. It’s about love, really, but also about identity and power and perception and colonization. But not really. Look. You just have to read it.