Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This Week's Books

After seeing the movie this past weekend (post coming soon), I was very excited to see this come into my library…

Snowpiercer is the enthralling and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic graphic novel that inspired the critically acclaimed movie starring Chris Evans (Captain America, Fantastic Four). Originally published in French, this marks the first time that Snowpiercer will be available in English.

In a harsh, uncompromisingly cold future where Earth has succumbed to treacherously low temperatures, the last remaining members of humanity travel on a train while the outside world remains encased in ice.

The surviving community are not without a social hierarchy; those that travel at the front of the train live in relative luxury whilst those unfortunate enough to be at the rear remain clustered like cattle in claustrophobic darkness. Yet, things are about to change aboard the train as passengers become disgruntled…

This book put the double whammy on me - a simple, but lovely cover and then - BOOM - an intriguing story.

“An amazing feat of imagination.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Invisible Beasts is a strange and beautiful meditation on love and seeing, a hybrid of fantasy and field guide, novel and essay, treatise and fable. With one hand it offers a sad commentary on environmental degradation, while with the other it presents a bright, whimsical, and funny exploration of what it means to be human. It’s wonderfully written, crazily imagined, and absolutely original.” —ANTHONY DOERR, author of All the Light We Cannot See and The Shell Collector

Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages — an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica — illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.

If you've been keeping up with the Amazon/Hachette debacle, this is the book that Stephen Colbert told everyone to go buy.

"In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities." —-Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

I'm trying hard not to discount this book: it's in the Mystery genre, and that's what tends to happen with me and Mysteries - I see the genre sticker and go, "Meh." (Also, the third book in the trilogy just came out too.)

Set three months before the deadly asteroid 2011GV1 is due to hit Earth, this Last Policeman sequel chronicles the further adventures of Hank Palace. The Concord Police Department is now operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, and Hank is out of a job — until he’s hired by a business tycoon to help find the man’s estranged son. Hank’s search leads him to a visibly collapsing East Coast landscape where anti-immigrant militia patrol the shores, fending off droves of people fleeing the “impact zone” of the asteroid.

And it isn’t long before Hank’s missing-person case turns into a murder investigation. But the Last Policeman sequel asks questions well beyond “whodunit.” What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

To see more is to find oblivion…

Screenwriter Tommy Pic fell hard from Hollywood success and landed in a psychiatric ward, blacked out from booze and unmedicated manic depression. This is not the first time he's come to in restraints, surrounded by friends and family who aren't there.

This time, though, he also awakes to a message from his agent. The first act of his latest screenplay is their ticket back to the red carpets.

If only Tommy could remember writing it. Trying to recapture the hallucinations that crafted his masterpiece, he chases his kidnapped childhood love, a witch from the magic shop downstairs, and the Komodo dragon he tried to cut out of his gut one Christmas Eve. The path to professional redemption may be more dangerous than the fall.

…This is what makes you die.

All I really know about this book is that it's a "GROUNDBREAKING THRILLER"…and there's a blurb from Joss Whedon on the cover…

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

I tried to read Baricco's Silk. I should probably try again.

After celebrated author Jasper Gwyn suddenly and publicly announces that he will never write another book, he embarks on a strange new career path as a “copyist,” holding thirty-day sittings in a meticulously appointed room and producing, at the end, brief but profoundly rich portraits in prose. The surprising, beautiful, and even frightening results are received with rapture by their subjects — among them Gwyn’s devoted assistant, Rebecca; a beautiful fabric importer; a landscape painter; Gwyn’s own literary agent; two wealthy newlyweds; a tailor to the Queen; and a very dangerous nineteen-year-old.

Then Gwyn disappears, leaving behind only a short note to his assistant—and the portraits. As Rebecca studies his words, she realizes that the mystery is larger than the simple fact of Gwyn’s whereabouts, and she begins to unravel a lifetime’s worth of clues left by a man who saw so much but said so little, a man whose solitude masked a heart as hungry as hers.

With the recent discovery of Richard III's remains, a newly-revised edition of the celebrated biography of England's most notorious king.

With the victory of Henry Tudor, the usurping dynasty made an effort to besmirch the last Plantagenet’s reputation, and some historians claim that Richard’s "black legend" is nothing more than political propaganda. Yet such an interpretation, as Desmond Seward shows in this powerfully-argued book, suggests a refusal to face the facts of history. Even in the king’s lifetime there were rumors about his involvement in the murders of Henry VI and of his nephews, the "Princes in the Tower," while his reign was considered by many to be a nightmare, not least for the king himself. The real Richard III was both a chilling and compelling monarch, a peculiarly grim young English precursor of Machiavelli’s Prince. Sweeping aside sentimental fantasy, this is a colorful, authoritative biography that offers a definitive picture of both the age and the man.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just Finished: Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

He loved the dress cause it reminded him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair.

Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom's dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress.

But the children in Morris's class don't understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn't welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don't wear dresses.

One day when Morris feels all alone, and sick from the taunts of his classmates, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris reads about elephants, and puts together a puzzle, and dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo.

Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw, and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.

With warm, dreamy illustrations Isabelle Malenfant perfectly captures Morris's vulnerability and the vibrancy of his imagination. This is a sweetly told story about the courage and creativity it takes to be different.

Nadine Gordimer: Wise Words About Bettering A Troubled World

Nadine Gordimer, the Nobel Prize winning author who fought against apartheid in her home of South Africa, died this week at the age of 90.

NPR offers a sampling of quotes from her and her writing that I think, after yesterday's tragedy in the Ukraine and the on-going horribleness in Israel, are much needed.

"People give one another things that can't be gift wrapped."

"A child understands fear, and the hurt and hate it brings."

"Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter."

"The country of the tourist pamphlet always is another country, an embarrassing abstraction of the desirable that, thank God, does not exist on this planet, where there are always ants and bad smells and empty Coca-Cola bottles to keep the grubby finger-print of reality upon the beautiful."

"There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice."

"Truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is."

Via NPR

Giovanni's Room Has Found a Buyer

Image via Unpacking the Bookstore

The country’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia, Pa., has found a buyer.

Owner and cofounder Ed Hermance told PW that he is in the midst of working out an agreement with the same potential buyer that he had alluded to in an e-mail blast to customers two months ago, a local LGBT organization. Hermance declined to give the buyer’s name until the papers are signed.

The story of how Giovanni’s Room, which has been closed since mid-May, came to be sold involves almost as many plot twists as the James Baldwin novel for which it is named. Last fall, Hermance had announced that if a buyer didn’t come forward he would close the store in January. Then he was persuaded to keep it open through the spring. If all goes as planned, the new buyer will take over the lease on August 1 and the store will be up and running well before the fall season gets into full swing.

Although the bookstore will continue to operate under the Giovanni’s Room name, the new owner plans some changes. Probably the biggest one, according to Hermance, is the addition of significantly more used LGBT titles. The new owner also will introduce new sidelines, including fine furniture in one of the store’s five rooms. Giovanni’s Room will continue to rely on volunteer staff, including Hermance.

Via Publishers Weekly

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Elaine Stritch Dead at 89

More via the New York Times

Also, the L.A. Times

Just Finished: Kristin Newman's What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

With such a title, I had high hopes of this book, and I was not disappointed. Very funny, while also very moving, it is a mark of a good storyteller when you see so much of yourself in someone else's story. And with my impending trip to Greece, I took quite a bit of what Ms. Newman wrote to heart: specifically not overplanning a trip, doing the thing that is meant to be done in the place that you are, and if at all possible, I will have a vacation romance...even if it's only in my head.

I'd definitely say this is a good "beach" read, but given that I don't live near a beach, and I do most of my reading in bed, it's good for that too. By all means, if you get the chance to read this, do so.

Vacation romances are so sweet because they're finite. Every moment together is one of your last. They're the one bite of dessert you're allowed on your big diet, the fifteen-minute nap stolen by an exhausted new parent. The world is a thing that exists only to tear the two of your apart, which brings you very close together. And the fact that you found each other at all, on this huge planet, in this Bedouin cave or that boat in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, feels like a miracle.

But regular relationships are going to end, too…even if it's when you're a hundred years old. Furthermore, life is going to end. (I'm tempted to say, "Life is going to end, man," because my reference to mortality makes me feel ridiculous. But it is, man.) And if you can somehow remember that all of life, and every relationship, is going to end, man, every moment becomes sweet. Every kiss could be your last, even thirty years into a marriage, even if you marry a much younger spouse who is supposed to outlive you, even if you Settle for Mr. Good Enough who you're sure will never leave you, even if you want for Mr. Movie Moment. It's all as fleeting as a once-in-a-lifetime weekend on an exotic island. The challenge is to hold on to that.

One of the more meaningful, deeper, and heavier moments from What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman.

Image via The Other Kristin Newman

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Return of the Week in Books

It is with great aplomb that I bring you...THE RETURN OF...

No worries...I haven't suddenly turned into a tween MySpace user, so that's probably the only time I'll use a sparkle gif...though I can't make any promises.

And, now. Without further ado. (In a mock whisper: start with the above cover.)

From celebrated storyteller Josh Weil comes an epic tragedy of brotherly love, a sui generis novel swathed in all the magic of Russian folklore and set against the dystopian backdrop of an all too real alternate present.

Twin brothers Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood. Living on their uncle’s farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in collective fields, their nights spellbound by their uncle’s mythic tales. Years later, the two men labor side by side at the Oranzheria, a sea of glass — the largest greenhouse in the world — that sprawls over acres of cropland. Lit by space mirrors orbiting above, it ensnares the denizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight and constant productivity, leaving the twins with only work in common — stalwart Yarik married with children, oppressed by the burden of responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother and rooster, wistfully planning the brothers’ return to their uncle’s land.

But an encounter with the Oranzerhia’s billionaire owner changes their lives forever. Dima drifts into a laborless life of bare subsistence while Yarik begins a headspinning ascent from promotion to promotion until both men become poster boys for opposing ideologies, pawns at the center of conspiracies and deceptions that threaten to destroy not only the lives of those they love but the very love that has bonded the brothers since birth. This is a breathtakingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set amid a bold vision of an alternative present-day Russia.

In this superb fantasy trilogy kickoff, Abercrombie (the First Law trilogy) regales readers with the tale of a young man who is thrust onto the throne by unexpected betrayal. Yarvi, the king’s second son, is not destined for the Black Chair or kingship of Gettland: he has a withered left hand, and is bound to become a minister. But everything changes when his brother and father are murdered. Yarvi is clever and knowledgeable, thanks to the years he spent studying for the ministry, but none of that will amount to much unless he can survive the sheer cruelty of being raised to the crown, nearly murdered, and traded into slavery in the span of days. The one thing he knows is that he plans to live long enough to take revenge on his father’s killer—when he finds out who it was. Abercrombie’s stellar prose style and clever plot twists will be sure to please both adult and teen readers. Publishers Weekly

As a newly appointed junior manager within the Laundry — the clandestine organization responsible for protecting Britain against supernatural threats — Bob Howard is expected to show some initiative to help the agency battle the forces of darkness. But shining a light on things best left in the shadows is the last thing Bob wants to do — especially when those shadows hide an occult parasite spreading a deadly virus.

Traders employed by a merchant bank in London are showing signs of infection — an array of unusual symptoms such as superstrength and - speed, an uncanny talent for mind control, an extreme allergic reaction to sunlight, and an unquenchable thirst for blood. While his department is tangled up in bureaucratic red tape (and Buffy reruns), debating how to stop the rash of vampirism, Bob digs deeper into the bank’s history — only to uncover a bloodcurdling conspiracy between men and monsters…

A startling debut about the extraordinary end of a marriage and its very strange aftermath.

Meet Lizzie Prain. She is an ordinary housewife and lives with her lovely dog and her husband, who is a bit of a difficult fellow, in a quiet cottage in British country side. She's a wonderful cook. She enjoys her garden. And, occasionally, she makes cakes for the village parties.

No one has seen Lizzie's husband, Jacob, for a few days. That's because last Monday and Lizzie snapped and cracked him on the head with her garden shovel. No one quite misses Jacob though, and Lizzie surely didn't kill him on purpose. And now that she has the chance to live beyond his shadow, she won't neglect her good fortune. Over the course of the following month, with a body to get rid of and few fail-proof options at hand, Lizzie will channel her most practical instincts and do what she does best: she'll cook Jacob, and she'll eat him. But when Lizzie inadvertently befriends an isolated misfit, she will be tested: Will Lizzie turn to this new person for solace and abandon her desperate plan or will her new friend be an unwitting accessory to her crime?

Dark, unexpectedly funny, and achingly human, Season to Taste is a deliciously subversive treat. In Lizzie Prain, Natalie Young has created one of the most remarkable and surprising heroines in fiction.

In the first volume of The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle, we learned what lurks beneath our beds. What's more, we learned that little girls are not helpless, and that princesses are not always what they seem.

In this second installment of the Princess's adventures, we learn a little more about the Princess's family. We learn how dark it is in the Deep Below...

And we learn what happens when the Princess gets a little brother.

The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below is a dark twist on the classic children's picture book.

Perfect for geek children and adults who love dark faerie tales, international bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss has described the Princess's adventures as, 'Calvin and Hobbes meets Coraline, with a healthy dose of Edward Gorey mixed in.'

In the tradition of Who Owns the Future? and The Second Machine Age, an MIT Media Lab scientist imagines how everyday objects can intuit our needs and improve our lives.

We are now standing at the precipice of the next transformative development: the Internet of Things. Soon, connected technology will be embedded in hundreds of everyday objects we already use: our cars, wallets, watches, umbrellas, even our trash cans. These objects will respond to our needs, come to know us, and learn to think on our behalf. David Rose calls these devices — which are just beginning to creep into the marketplace — Enchanted Objects.

Some believe the future will look like more of the same — more smartphones, tablets, screens embedded in every conceivable surface. Rose has a different vision: technology that atomizes, combining itself with the objects that make up the very fabric of daily living. Such technology will be woven into the background of our environment, enhancing human relationships and channeling desires for omniscience, long life, and creative expression. The enchanted objects of fairy tales and science fiction will enter real life. Groundbreaking, timely, and provocative, Enchanted Objects is a blueprint for a better future, where efficient solutions come hand in hand with technology that delights our senses. It is essential reading for designers, technologists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who wishes to understand the future and stay relevant in the Internet of Things.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.

In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.

Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.

The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.

Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.

A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans — a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been — and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum — is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.

For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, Dollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.

By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbaby is a novel readers will take to their hearts.

From the celebrated author of The Bird Sisters, a gorgeously rendered and emotionally charged novel that spans generations, telling the story of two siblings, raised apart, attempting to share a life.

It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

Monday, July 14, 2014

RIP, Nadine Gordimer

Image via VENITISM

Not many people here know or probably even care who Nadine Gordimer is...well...was. I was introduced to her my Freshman or Sophomore year in college, and being an idealist by nature, I met in her shorts stories and novels someone that I thought could not only change the world but could show me how to do so as well.

I was saddened by her passing. The world is a little quieter today.

Through Ms. Gordimer’s work, international readers learned the human effects of the “color bar” and the punishing laws that systematically sealed off each avenue of contact among races. Her books are rich with terror: The fear of the security forces pounding on the door in the middle of the night is real, and freedom is impossible. Even the political prisoner released from jail is immediately rearrested after experiencing the briefest illusion of returning to the world.

Critics have described the whole of her work as constituting a social history as told through finely drawn portraits of the characters who peopled it.

Ms. Gordimer told little about her own life, preferring to explore the intricacies of the mind and heart in those of her characters. “It is the significance of detail wherein the truth lies,” she once said.

But some critics saw in her fiction a theme of personal as well as political liberation, reflecting her struggles growing up under the possessive, controlling watch of a mother trapped in an unhappy marriage.

Via the New York Times

Elite Daily: Why Readers, Scientifically, Are the Best People to Fall in Love With

Image via In and Out of Place

Ever finished a book? I mean, truly finished one? Cover to cover. Closed the spine with that slow awakening that comes with reentering consciousness?

You take a breath, deep from the bottom of your lungs and sit there. Book in both hands, your head staring down at the cover, back page or wall in front of you.

You’re grateful, thoughtful, pensive. You feel like a piece of you was just gained and lost. You’ve just experienced something deep, something intimate. (Maybe, erotic?) You just had an intense and somewhat transient metamorphosis.

Like falling in love with a stranger you will never see again, you ache with the yearning and sadness of an ended affair, but at the same time, feel satisfied. Full from the experience, the connection, the richness that comes after digesting another soul. You feel fed, if only for a little while.

This type of reading, according to TIME magazine’s Annie Murphy Paul, is called “deep reading,” a practice that is soon to be extinct now that people are skimming more and reading less.

Readers, like voicemail leavers and card writers, are now a dying breed, their numbers decreasing with every GIF list and online tabloid.

The worst part about this looming extinction is that readers are proven to be nicer and smarter than the average human, and maybe the only people worth falling in love with on this shallow hell on earth.

Via Elite Daily

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Via NPR: Nancy Andreasen on the sources of creativity

"Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill."

— Nancy Andreasen looks at the sources of creativity in The Atlantic.

The quote is from NPR

Already, BuzzFeed has given me everything that I need for today

This image via someone's flickr account but the point is...he has a hairy chest!

Thank you to the BuzzFeed article Dear Men, Never Shave Your Chests - and I'm currently correcting some grammar here because as men is plural, they have plural chests. Not. Just. One. - but thank you nonetheless because now I see the importance of Instagram.

Or at least the importance of Instagram "channel" - do we call them channels? - of hairychestperfection2!

Go, rub your hand through the glory and perfection!

And, thank you.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Via The Millions: Sad, Strange Brilliance

Image via The Australian

Tove Jansson, who created Moomin, understood that secrecy and strangeness are endemic to childhood. She was born in Helsinki, the daughter of Swedish-speaking parents, a sculptor father and an illustrator mother. In the recently re-published Sculptor’s Daughter, a charmingly oddball collection of childhood memories, Jansson describes idyllic summers spent on an island in the Gulf of Finland while her parents made art and entertained a ragtag string of companions — a geologist; a woman who tried to decoratively re-tile their front steps, rendering them unusable; a monkey named Poppolino. The child Tove roamed around the island by herself, always independent, apparently never lonely. At one point, she took to following the geologist as he worked, unnerving his girlfriend, who turned around and yelled at the child to go home. Tove didn’t care, and kept following until she and the girlfriend had an argument: “I went a little closer and humiliated her by saying the most terrible thing of all: amateur! You’re an amateur! You’re not a real artist!”

To be a real artist was to Jansson the most important, the only, thing. As an adult, after art school, she drew political cartoons for a number of places, most notably the satirical, anti-fascist magazine Garm. In these cartoons, she sometimes drew little trolls in the margins or by her signature, creatures that evolved into a series of children’s characters called Moomins. The Moomintroll family featured first in a series of books, then in a comic strip that ran in newspapers; both were wildly popular. The books became bestsellers in Finland and the U.K., bringing Jansson — who spent much of her life living on a remote island with her companion the artist Tuulikki Pietilä — an income that didn’t deter her from continuing to work feverishly.

The Moomins remain especially popular in Finland, where it is a matter of national identity (some Finnair planes have Moomin characters painted on them) and in Japan (my brother just bought me some Moomin T-shirts at Uniqlo). In North America, though still popular, the Moomin books never attained quite the same reach. I’m sure that I was the only kid in my neighbourhood reading the books, and I still come across many people who’ve never heard of them at all.

Jansson would be 100 years old this year, and a flood of publications is coming forth to commemorate the anniversary. In addition to Sculptor’s Daughter, there is a breathlessly appreciative, slightly jumbled biography by Boel Westin. The Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly has been issuing the comic strip versions of Moomin in beautiful new editions, and New York Review Books has been republishing her acute, surprising, adult fiction. Jansson was far from forgotten, but the breadth of her achievement is now clearer than it has ever been before.

Via The Millions

Thursday Breakfast

Via The Furry Librarian - click over for a fully fortifying meal.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hello, My Peeps

How is everyone?

A friend posted that he thought it was time I posted in something here at Salmagundi. And I realized that I really missed it. Also I realized that with very little effort, I read enough daily that I could post stuff everyday. Like the previous article about a man's reading list in prison.

So, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I will be making some changes. I've deleted a few blogs that haven't posted in a bit, and obviously I've deleted the "Naughty" section of links. I will still try to post some pretty here. I gotta lure you in somehow or another, don't I?

I'll also be looking at the links that I've kept here to see if I still raise my flag to them.

The Internets change so quickly.

Via The New Yorker: A Prisoner's Reading List

Image via Books of Orange is the New Black

“Reading in prison allowed me to follow my interests,” Genis said; some were essentially anthropological tangents inspired by friendships. After he began making pesto (“It involved a microwave”) with a former Franciscan monk who was a convicted child molester, Genis embarked on “The Little Flowers of St. Francis” and “Lolita.” A former member of the Black Liberation Army inspired him to pick up “Soul on Ice,” titles by Donald Goines and Frantz Fanon, and a history of the Rastafari movement. Conversations with the rabbi led to Martin Buber, Josephus, Spinoza, a book by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, countless pamphlets from Chabad, and even “A Guide for the Perplexed,” a twelfth-century epistolary work by Maimonides (Genis: “Completely interminable”). Somewhat improbably, a gay friend insisted that he update his reading on homosexuality (“Basically, it had been Chesterton and ‘Brideshead Revisited’”) with memoirs by David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs as well as James Hamilton-Paterson’s “Cooking with Fernet Branca.” “People around me could see what I was reading, and I got a lot of questions about that one,” Genis said.

Excerpt from The New Yorker

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jinkx Monsoon and Yma Sumac's Malambo No. 1

I like the question in this video's About section: can a drag queen's persona be made visible without makeup?

So me and a friend are watching Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race. Re-watching for him. We just finished Season 6 - which is actually my first season that I've ever seen - and I love drag - good drag, not as the parlance goes, booger drag.

I'm loving it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Emeli Sande's Maybe

Mr. Bennett treated the matter differently. "So, Lizzy," said he one day, "your sister is crossed in love, I find. I congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then. It is something to think of, and it gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are officers enough in Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably. - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Buzzfeed: How to Get Back to Narnia

I write as someone who was left behind, as anyone who has read and loved a magical book is, marooned in the world we tried so hard to escape. We are Narnians bereft of Narnia, witches without wands, children who have grown old. I do not mourn for my lost childhood: let me be clear. Adulthood is another, maybe equally profound, form of escape, and one I relish. Still, I’ve been thinking about this very particular form of reading—desperate, wishful, life-sustaining—that I for a long time had put aside.

Read the rest: Buzzfeed