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Uploaded:2015-10-06
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In which John answers real questions from real nerdfighters, speaks both German and Spanish, discusses his ongoing social media hiatus, recommends some books, remembers Henning Mankell, and reveals whether he would rather be a goat or a sheep.



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Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday! It's Question Tuesday, the day that I answer real questions from real Nerdfighters. Let's get right to it!

I'll be meeting my boyfriend's mother at Christmas and she only speaks German. How do I make this less awkward?
Well you should learn a little German. I'm sure there's some German Nerdfighters in comments who can help you. But I can start, here's a good sentence: "Das Schicksal ist ein mieser Verräter." Here's another one "Ihr Sohn ist ein guter Küsser."

Can you say anything in Spanish?
Can I? Of course! "Me llamo Juan Verde. Soy un nerd."

Favorite video game?
Original Super Mario Kart.

Hey John, how are you today? Also, do you have any book recommendations?
I'm good. I'm a little bit annoyed about the overall quality of political discourse in the United States. But yes! I do have book recommendations. I'm just re-reading Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain which is so good! Also, I just read Toni Morrison's new novel, and I know it's not her best book or anything, but I still thought it was great!

Do you have any unpopular opinions about classic literature?
I kind of stand with W. H. Auden on this one. "Some books are undeservedly forgotten, none are undeservedly remembered."

Is there anything you aren't terrified of that you should be?
No. I don't want to brag, but I sort of specialize in being terrified.

Do you think everyone should consider taking a hiatus from social media like you have?
I don't know, but I can say I haven't missed social media as much as I thought I would. It had become a really unhealthy place for me in a lot of ways. For the last, like, 8 years I've been surrounded by a community online that is incredibly generous and kind to me, and to my work. And criticism has almost always been really thoughtful and respectful. But there's been this small, but persistent amount of really vicious and hateful stuff directed at me that I just had found tremendously hurtful, and it hasn't been good for my mental health, and... yeah. And while there are definitely things that I miss about my old internet life, I find it much easier to write and do other work without all of that stuff floating around in my head.

Speaking of writing:

What's your new book about?
I can't say because I don't know which parts of what I'm writing is going to actually end up in a book, but I did put a clue for you in this video! But you won't be able to decode the clue until after you read the story, so it's kind of useless I'm sorry.

Did you ever read Henning Mankell?
Yes, of course, Mankell was a great Swedish crime novelist who sadly died yesterday. I always admired him, not just for his stories but also because he made a lot of money and gave almost all of it away. He once wrote, "I still have a photo on my wall of the greatest idol I will ever have, myself at age 8. Because that's when the forces of the imagination have the same value as the real world, when they're an instrument of survival. When my mother disappeared, and I imagined a mother, that was me at my best."

What's your signature dish?
You know, there's that, like, small plate that's for desserts and there's that big plate that's for dinner, and then there's that medium sized plate that's sort of all-purpose? I am a huge fan of this medium plate, my signature dish.

Would you be interested in becoming the next manager of Liverpool Football Club?
Oh yeah, I already sent them a resumé. My qualifications include having taken AFC Wimbledon from League 2 to the Champions League in FIFA 14, and having an inside track on one of the world's best youth players, Henry Green.

Is there an animal you'd like to see in the wild?
I'm pretty into tuatara lately.

How prepared do you feel for your drag race against Maggie Stiefvater on Friday?
Well I actually have a friend who's a professional racecar driver, so I consulted with her on this topic and she said, "John, you really, you need to be prepared to lose." And so, in that sense, I guess that I'm very prepared.

Would you rather be a sheep or a goat?
Definitely a sheep. I've always wanted to be a sheep, because then when people are like "Hey, where'd you get that sweater?" I could be like "Oh, I knit it myself, using my own hair."

What's the most impressive word you use in casual conversation?
I use the word eschatological a lot, because there's no shorter word that means the exact same thing and kind of my default emotional state is eschatological anxiety.

What's your best advice for traveling with children?
When possible, don't.

What's the greenest green you've ever seen, John Green?
This forest in Brazil when it was raining, and everything was impossibly green, but everything in a slightly different shade; it was really, it was like home For Greens.

If you could travel anywhere you wanted and live there for a year, where would it be?
Honestly, if I could stay anywhere on Earth for a year right now, it would be this house.

Hey, who's your style icon?
I think you mean Styles icon.

If you could be stuck in the world of any TV show or movie, what would it be?
Star Trek: The Next Generation. Please let that happen! Please let that happen! Please let me open my eyes and be hanging out with Wesley Crusher. 3, 2, 1! DANGIT!

Hank, I suspect when it comes to that last question, you and I are in agreement. I will see you on Friday! Both at NerdCon and on YouTube.