Zoe Darazsdi is a writer, dog mom, podcast host, and funny bitch. She hails from the horrendous swamplands of Northeast PA, where she learned to defy cultural norms and squash deer ticks. Currently, she applies the first of those skills for Weird Kids Wanted, the podcast she co-founded with her friend and roommate, Miyuki Okamura.
Miyuki Okamura is a speculative fiction writer and pop music scholar. She is the owner of a cat who has more white privilege than she does. She is excited to co-host this podcast and maybe start a cult.
Weird Kids Wanted, is a literary and social criticism podcast for alternative individuals who are tired of their cultural experiences being curated by normies for normies. Their podcast and blog disrupt the status quo of commercialized shit lit and provide a community for weird kids to flourish. Part bitchy book gossip, part poignant social criticism, part anti-capitalist bookseller reviews, they are reviving reading for everyone who the mainstream publishing industry- and the world- has left out.
1.) What is your favorite horror novel or story?
Miyuki’s favorite is Among the Missing by Dan Chaon, which is technically a short story collection and not a novel. Zoe’s is Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Both books are eerie and evocative of that most primal feeling of being unsettled.
2.) What do you look for when reviewing a book?
Zoe: When I review a book, I look for something that is both extremely well-written and in conversation with the world around it. I love writers who are brave with language and subject matter, who are not afraid to be odd, irreverent, and deeply original.
Miyuki: Similarly, I look for something that I feel needs to be contributed to literature, whether I agree with it or not. If I don’t agree, however, it’s more like a warning than a review.
3.) What do you wish you could see in a book that you never see?
Zoe: I wish I could see more books that respectfully represent our community–the alt kids, goths, and general weirdos of the world. It is difficult to find three-dimensional characters like that, who are not just archetypes or side-kicks.
Miyuki: I can see this changing as conversations around LGBT+ communities progress, but gosh I’d love to see more asexuals in literature. Generally, I think it’s time we see more LBGT+ identities represented in literature. How are people supposed to know who they are if they don’t see examples of themselves?
4.) Do you prefer character-driven novels? Or plot-driven novels?
Zoe: I prefer character-driven novels. When I am connected to what a character wants and feels, reading about them just walking down the street can be riveting.
Miyuki: I also prefer character-driven novels. People will always be more interesting than situations, in my opinion.