I’m Vanessa, the associate editor of book
riot. And today I want to talk about — I feel like I sound like a broken record. I
say that every time. “Today I’m gonna talk about..” I promise I will find something new Ahora I’m going to talk about some of
the authors that I think you should go give a follow on social media,
specifically on Twitter. And the reason behind that being that I think, I’m sure
all of you are likely feeling or have felt at one point or another, that social
media while it can be a really impactful and useful tool for interaction and
connection and spreading of good ideas, it can also be a freaking cesspool.
I am trying really hard in 2020, not a goal that I didn’t set you know
explicitly but have definitely in the back of my mind now started to try to do,
to change the way I interact with social media for it to be more honest and
joy-giving for lack of a better you know term. I just, I’m choosing not to get
bogged down by all the terrible aspects of it, and instead explore the stuff that
I like and always did and the reasons why I got on these platforms to begin
with. So authors I’m going to talk about today are ones that I’ve been following,
some for years, some only you know in the recent couple of months. But all of them
are ones who make me think and make me feel, which is you know all great. They’re
all intelligent just so talented voices that I think you should all incorporate
into our reading life first and foremost. But they also just make me cackle out
loud and that is a thing I want more of in my life and that’s why I’m going to
choose to kind of focus on that light-hearted aspect of their craft today. Real quick note before I dive in. I’m
gonna do a really like super, super simple bio on each of the authors I
talk about today. And then just want to quickly state for the record
that it is obviously impossible and would be an incredible injustice to
imply that all of these people’s wit and humor and talent and the complexities of
their personalities could ever be whittled down to a screen grab of a
tweet. That’s clearly far from the case. I think you should absolutely you know go
out of your own way to go and check out each of these people’s timelines amd
see what I mean. I’m just gonna give an example here or there that I have either
saved on my phone or that it’s just brought me recent joy because it gave me
an actual lol. So first is Saeed Jones. He can be found on Twitter @theferocity.
Saeed Jones is a poet. He is the author of the poetry
collection prelude to Bruges and most recently the author of the beautiful
memoir that I have yet to finish because I just needed a break, how we fight for
our lives. He was the executive editor of culture at BuzzFeed when he was based in
New York. I do not remember if he continues to hold those positions. I know
he recently relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. Saeed is just so witty. Both in his
kind of you gif reactions to the stuff that people try to lobby at him on
social media, his commentary on books and politics and life. The thing that most
recently made me laugh, or not most recently cause this was actually several months ago,
but is that he changed his author photo to this one right here. And he himself
basically said like you know this is a really useful author photo because I can
literally, you know, wordlessly use this as a response to people’s effery or just
when they’re acting out of pocket. And there was a while if you go deep into
the feed I think in December of last year, maybe even early this year, where
anytime someone came at him with a sideways comment or he saw somebody
acting you know well on the internet, he would jsut reply with that author photo.
It made me cackle. He’s just so witty, so, so witty. And then hits you with this you
know beautiful insight on poetry and books and the literary world in general.
It’s a very, very talented poet. And again, the only reason I took a break from
that memoir is because it just like kind of hit me in the feels. It is absolutely
wonderful and beautiful. So you should definitely go check it out. But yeah, if
you feel like getting some laughs or a really healthy dose of sarcasm and some
gif usage, I highly recommend that you follow Saeed Jones.
Next is Hanif Abdurraqib who is on Twitter @NifMuhammad. He is a
amazing poet, essayist, culture critic. I really enjoy his commentary
on music and on sports, like so so much. I met him at winter Institute a
couple of years ago when he was doing a reading from his book go ahead in the
rain notes to A Tribe Called Quest. And as a hip hop head. He also has another
fantastic essay collection called they can’t kill us til they kill us and a
poetry collection called the crown ain’t worth much that you should definitely check out. Hanif keeps me in stitches and has
kept me in stitches since I started following him shortly after at winter Institute. You know swine flu 2019. I did not give
him swine flu so that’s good. But he is just so down to earth in person but on the
Internet is just sheer comedy and he’s again incredibly smart. I love the way he
engages with social media with respect to everything from politics and poetry
to definite sports head. So he talks a lot about sports both in ways that are
actual commentary on the game itself from the play but that are also just
funny observations in general. That’s my favorite kind of like culture and sport
critique combo. It is hard to pick some of my favorite tweets from because I
have so many of them saved on my phone because they just made me laugh so hard
that I felt like sharing them with a friend. One where he talks about Little
Mermaid for sure being the Disney movie with the most bangers. Or one where he’s
talks about diners drive-ins and dives and how Guy Fieri appoints you know
whoever it is that’s cooking is having this made-up role in the mythical
expanse that is flavortown, I think was his exact wording. He just, his
casual observations on like everyday stuff give me such like actual tear
crying sometimes. And again, intermixed with commentary on sports and
music and especially you know hip hop and other that I find really
insightful and enjoyable to observe. So yeah, if you just kind of need somebody
to uplift you, make you think and make you take screenshots of tweets that you
want to share with your friends, he’s absolutely worth the follow. And
that again it’s Hanif Abdurraqib. One of my other favorite follows is Lilliam Rivera
who is the middle grade and YA author of books like the education of Margot Sanchez, dealing in dreams, which has that girl
gang and I called Las Mal Criadas. Love that so much. She has another middle grade
release coming out called Goldy Vance, the hotel whodunit which sounds so
wonderful. A book of hers that I am all the like if anybody’s watching and
there’s an arc out there, please send it to me, is her upcoming YA reimagining
of the Orpheus and Euridice myth. I just cannot wait. I think it’s called never
look back. She’s just so insanely talented. She is a Puerto Rican-american
and her name is Lilliam Riviera. So it looks like Lilian Rivera but it is not.
There’s an M at the end. Liiliam. Lilliam for you know if it helps without the
accent. She is not only insanely funny but she shares stuff like you know every
day mom life stuff, the struggles of being a writer and loving what you do
but also like hating it because it’s hard. That’s a thing. She is very, very
proud of her roots. She also suffers no fools. And so she’s just out here and I
love her not only for the funny things that she says but also because, again,
she’s just not here for the BS and will let you know if that’s the case. Again, so
hard to pick one tweet but she put one out around Valentine’s Day that said
something like roses are red, violets are, Callate, buy my book. That’s just
her in a tweet. Again, not that you could ever reduce someone to one tweet but it
is very like, I’m proud of being a writer. Here’s some poetry sort of. Just shut up
and buy my book. I love everything about her energy. I got to meet her at a cool
author in San Diego right before I left to move to Portland and she is just
wonderful. She is effervescent and funny and confident and also down-to-earth.
Like she was just amazing. I’ve been following her ever since I met her
on social media. I’m clearly not like following her around the country hiding in bushes. Lilliam if you’re watching, totally not
doing that. But yeah, I just found her so engaging and wonderful in person that I
gave her a follow and it is feel like I’m watching a friend of mine enjoying
every day. I just enjoy her presence. Funnily enough the next author I want to
talk about is another one that I met at that same event where I met Lilliam and that
is Kristin Arnett. She is the author of the best-selling debut mostly dead
things, which if you don’t know about, I’m just gonna say the words grief, taxidermy.
Oh and maybe dark humor. Do with that what you will.
Kristin Arnett is fantastic and definitely has you know and in the bank
of F’s there are to give, it’s just there are none left. I love her so much. She’s
some really dark humor which I really appreciate. And her random commentary
on Twitter about everything from like, hey, the the kid this morning who was hula
hooping with a cheeseburger. Like I see you. Stuff like that that makes me laugh.
The tweet that made me really laugh a while ago when I first saw it was one
where she said I think it’s a joke like “what does a shark bring to a party? A
charcuterie board.” With a follow up tweet in that same thread it’s like the
moment I knew, I heard the joke in my head I knew I was gonna share it was
like yes. I just love that she was you know watching herself in real time to be like,
I’m a dork. She’s irreverent. I love irreverent people. I aspire to be
somebody who cares less about what other people think and that she seems to have
it down pat. She’s also got two more books coming out, a novel called Samson
and a short story collection called with foxes. With foxes promises to be a
collection of her unique brand new dark humor and Samson is a novel about grief,
motherhood, toxic masculinity all in a queer household that I definitely wanna
get my hands on. But again, excellent Twitter follow. She makes me laugh on
you know daily if not more frequent basis. Again it seems so silly to distill
all of that humor and ingenuity to just you know a set of screenshots but it’s
just a little sample, hopefully flavor of a much larger body of work that makes
the social media a more fun place to be in the bookish world. Thanks for watching
and I’ll see y’all next week.