five things on friday

I have been remiss in doing these wrap-up posts all summer! The cause is a strange combination of either being too busy to post or just not having much going on. More of the former, honestly; August just zoomed on by and then was over and I was left crying all, “But, Mom, I don’t want to go to school.” Even though I was totally that kid who got all giddy right before school started, although this was in part because I love shopping and a new school year obviously meant that I had to buy cute clothes and school supplies. (I still remember the outfit I wore on my first day of high school. I bought the exact outfit that was on a mannequin at Nordstrom’s, and it involved plaid pants because it was the 90s. Incidentally, all the hipster girls in Brooklyn are dressing now the way I did then—lots of ugly floral dresses paired with clunky boots—and it is freaking me out.) (Also, I still get excited about school supplies. Who has two thumbs and bought special pens just for book signings? This girl.)

Anyway! I have news and also thoughts on things, so here are 5 items of interest, in no particular order:

1. If you missed the Twitter announcement, The Stars that Tremble is now available for pre-order! The book is out 9/30.

2. I’m skipping town this weekend. Well, I’m taking my mom to Philly as a birthday present. My immediate family has lived on the East Coast for thirty years—and for a while, we lived in the part of Jersey that is spitting distance from Philly—and somehow my mother, a history buff, has never been. So we’re gonna go be nerds together. My brother and his wife are joining us later in the weekend, and it will basically be a history nerd convention. (True story: My brother finished a masters in history earlier this year and now does historical tours of New York City.)

3. My roommate went to Europe last week and I tried to curb my intense jealousy by watching all 15 hours of the Simon Schama History of Britain documentary. Now I really want to go to the UK. The documentary is really good if you like history documentaries; Schama has a dry sense of humor that I enjoyed and I learned a lot of new things. But even in 15 hours, there was a lot of stuff that got skipped or glossed over. And it was still a poor substitute for actually going to Europe. (At least my roommate brought me back a box of chocolates from Buckingham Palace. They’re very fancy.)

I also watched a PBS American Experience episode about the Stonewall riots that is worth your time. It’s available streaming. (I watched it on Amazon Prime video.)

4. I’m reading mostly nonfiction lately, too. Maybe I really do miss school! Right now, I’m reading a book about NYC in the bad old days of the 1960s. It’s giving me lots of story ideas, but I’m nervous about writing about a period of time that people still living remember but about which I have no first-hand knowledge. I’d hate to get something egregiously wrong. I’m also about halfway through a book on prostitution in New York in the 19th Century. So much sin in the Big Apple!

I’ve got a lot of train riding on the schedule for this weekend, so lots of reading time. I packed 2 books and my iPad, which should be sufficient. (I have a weird phobia about being stuck somewhere with nothing to read.)

5. Some of my GRL swag got delivered this week. So far, I have bookmarks, pin-back buttons, and a big sign for my signing table. I’m trying to come up with an awesome one-of-a-kind, everybody-will-want swag item, but I’m not thinking up anything (or at least, I haven’t come up with anything that won’t blow my budget). Swag is so hard. I don’t want to spend money on something that will swiftly end up in the trash. What will people actually keep?