What Literary It Girl Honor Levy Watched & Listened To While Writing My First Book

And what she looked at (lots and lots of screenshots).

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If Honor Levy’s life flashes before her eyes when she dies, there’s a good chance it’s going to be entirely screenshots — a fitting end considering that her short-story collection traverses a life lived on the internet.

My First Book, out now, has already received reviews that paint Levy as a Dimes Square literary It Girl. “I think I'm an older Gen Z person, so I think real Gen Z people will think this is very outdated,” Levy tells NYLON from her bedroom in Los Angeles. “What things meant for a certain moment in time is what I'm interested in … I'm thankful the book's even getting marketing, but of course, at the same time, I'm uncomfortable with any ‘labels.’ It's cringe, but you have to be proud to be cringe.”

Ahead of the book’s release, NYLON caught up with Levy to discuss her mood board for My First Book, which includes everything from AI image generators to the 2005 film Pretty Persuasion.

Nightcore Music

Nightcore is a whole genre that speeds up music. I think things sound better when they're faster. Any time I hear a new song, I find the nightcore version. I used to love nightcore Simon & Garfunkel. There's some great nightcore Joanna Newsom. I love that the songs always have an anime picture. I listened to a lot of nightcore music while editing the book. Nightcore increases the pitch and the speed. I think with my writing, I hope that the pitch is high and it feels fast.

The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is an amazing website. If I died, I would want my life savings to be donated to the nonprofit. The Internet Archive has an incredible section called the Software Archive and this incredible section called Emulation Station, where it has online emulators of almost any game you can remember from your past, like KidPix and the original Oregon Trail. One of my favorite new finds on the Internet Archive is their malware archive of old internet viruses: the Malware Museum, back when even viruses on the internet were art. I love all the people who dedicate their time to archiving stuff, because so much is lost. They say the Library of Alexandria burns every day online.

AI Image Generators

I used to spend a lot of time on Midjourney, and I have a mood board Instagram. I love the blend feature on Midjourney. I used to spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I don't really know what the point of archiving all those images was, so now the thing I've been doing is finding my favorite four images from my old Pinterest boards and then blending them on Midjourney to make my own image of them. I guess it’s an archival project, which sounds so serious.


My friend Olivia Sperling had a great tweet about how she's just clocked in for another day at the screenshot factory. I love going through all my old screenshots and then putting them together on Midjourney Blend to make new things. I don't know what the point of taking all these screenshots is because I’m embarrassed to share things, but at the same time, I'm constantly losing old photos on hard drives and from my iCloud crashing. I wish I had put it on Instagram because of the Instagram Archive feature. I feel cheesy saying it out loud, but I feel like when I die, if my life flashes before my eyes, it's just going to be screenshots of things.

Pretty Persuasion (2005)

Pretty Persuasion has this cool, evil Less Than Zero vibe, but also so much heart. It's such a 2005 movie, but it feels very relevant today. It's a movie I recommend to a lot of people. It's something I gatekept for a long time, but then I'm like, “What's the freaking point?” This movie is what people think 13 is.

Unicode Symbols & Kaomojis

I love language. Sometimes I type something with Kaomojis, and I'm like, “Oh my gosh, I've just summoned an ancient Sumerian demon.” All the different Unicode symbols and keyboards have ancient Sumerian and hieroglyphs, and you can just make combinations and faces with them. I love the idea that these are little sentences or little words. I think it's a new type of language.

Rabbit Holes

I love KnowYourMeme and websites that are sort of online encyclopedias. I also love old web things like Geocities and Neocities. I saw a tweet that said, “What happened to all the websites?” Now, everything is aggregated on social media. But everything has to be on separate websites. I wish StumbleUpon would come back because, while I think going down a rabbit hole yourself is the best way, having programs or software that encourage the rabbitization [is useful]. A lot of the stories in my book are filled with proper nouns, and I love Googling a proper noun and seeing where that brings you. I meant rabbit holes in the internet sense, but I think also rabbit holes in your own life. When you start to recognize patterns and see how everything is really connected, then you're down the rabbit hole. The best thing in life is to be curious.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.