You should buy the Hamilton cast recording: A links round-up

If you haven’t yet listened to the Hamilton cast recording, you are not living your best life. It’s out today for digital download, and you should buy it. As of this posting, you can also stream it on NPR First Listen.

Did you miss my linguistics nerdery? Great news: Here’s an article about how language shapes our brains.

Jenny Zhang on being a writer of color and the Best American Poetry mess.

If you like Return of the Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism.

Remembering to use a trans person’s preferred pronouns is no harder than remembering to use a woman’s married name: An appeal for good manners.

A high fantasy novel without incestuous subtext.

Awesome Person Sofia Samatar interviews Awesome Person Sarah McCarry about monster girls.

I heave enormous sighs every time I read about the Stonewall movie: Learning about Stonewall was my way into intersectional feminism, way back in high school, and I want there to be an awesome movie about it. But want must be my master. Here’s the wonderful Meredith Talusan on trans erasure.

Also: Stonewall is apparently terrible. A real stinker.

I gazed blankly at the news that Ta-Nehisi Coates is going to write a run on Black Panther for Marvel, for like twenty seconds. It sounds like the kind of joke somebody would make to illustrate why Marvel is so much better than DC. BUT IT IS REAL.

Strunk and White, grammar cops.

The Night Sister, Jennifer McMahon

Note: I received The Night Sister from the publisher, Doubleday, for review consideration.


I mean, let’s be cool about it, but: Haunted. Motel.

Sisters Piper and Margot have done their best to forget the childhood summer they spent exploring their friend Amy’s home, the Tower Motel (now closed and in disrepair). But when Amy is accused of a horrific crime, their memories of that time come pouring back, and they must grapple with what they uncovered at the Tower Motel as teenagers.

Night Sister

The Night Sister unfolds in three separate timelines: the present, as Piper and Margot try to discover what would make Amy commit the crime she’s believed to have committed; 1989, as Piper, Margot, and Amy explore abandoned parts of the tower motel and discover what was left behind by Amy’s aunt Sylvie when she went away to be a Hollywood star; and 1955, as Amy’s mother, Rose, begins to suspect something terrible about her sister Sylvie.

In the storylines of the past, McMahon weaves together the girls’ coming of age with their dawning realization that they have become involved in something terrible, which is perfect. The present-era storyline can sometimes feel that it’s spinning its wheels while the (more compelling) flashbacks work their creepy magic on the reader’s brain. And creepy it damn well is.

McMahon smartly anticipates the problem of the suspense of her horror novel dissipating when the reader finds out What Is Going On, and she rapidly shifts all of that suspense from the 1950s and 1980s into the lives of Piper and Margot (Margot is, incidentally, pregnant). So the 2013 storyline gets its moment in the sun as well, even if you feel pretty certain that McMahon’s not going to (probably?) (right?) kill Margot and/or her unborn child in the service of being creepy.

As usual, the blogosphere was right when y’all urged me to read Jennifer McMahon, which you did as far back as Dismantled in 2009. There is no excuse for my continued delay, except that none of her previous books featured a haunted house, and I really love haunted houses.

And now, dear readers, a question for you: If you suspected you were sharing a bedroom with someone who was secretly a monster, would you go ahead and blow town and hitch a ride to NYC? I WOULD.