The escape room is a trendy new activity whose popularity has soared recently. A group is trapped in a room and has to solve puzzles and/or complete tasks in order to find their way out. Usually there’s a time limit, so the stakes are pretty high.
Flawless segue: Sort of reminds you of that time Harry, Ron and Hermione had to navigate their way through all those challenges to get to the Sorcerer’s Stone, right? Well, if you happen to live in Michigan, you can find your way out of a new Harry Potter-themed escape room this summer.
As Bustle reports, Escape Room Novi in Novi, Michigan has announced that it will introduce a Hogwarts-esque escape room in August. They’re calling the experience “The School of Magic,” and I don’t know about you guys, but this Ravenclaw is dying for a chance to puzzle-solve my way out of a Hogwarts-themed room.
The announcement on Escape Room Novi’s Facebook page doesn’t provide any specifics on what visitors can expect from “The School of Magic,” but I imagine casting spells and charms will be crucial to escaping. And if obscure Harry Potter trivia is involved, even better.
If you like and share the Facebook post, you’ll be entered to win 10 passes to this magical experience (and you’ll basically have to give one to me, because I just told you about it).
Hopefully, more escape room locations will follow suit and offer a magical option, because it’s clear by now that Harry Potter fans will spend money on almost anything that allows us to feel like Hogwarts students.
Note: It was difficult to get through this entire thing without making an Alohomora joke. Thank you for your support.
A long time ago, in a theater far away… some of us saw Star Wars for the very first time.
May 25th marked the 40th anniversary of the release of Episode IV: A New Hope (although it was only called Star Warsat the time) and the beginning of a culture-sweeping phenomenon. One example of how this series has swept the globe and taken our imaginations captive is the number of books that it was inspired. You can find guide books, fact books, comic books, young adult novels, picture books, children’s board books, and just about any other type of literature you can imagine. These publications have been a fantastic way for the franchise to reach audiences of all ages and genders, and I’m not sure if the books create more interest in the movies, or vice versa. But, really, it doesn’t matter. It’s best if we just read and watch them all!
1977 was a bit before my time, but my dad made sure to introduce me to the original classics at a very young age. And I was hooked from the beginning. I’m just as antsy to read all of these books as you will be!
Especially curated to celebrate this milestone anniversary, this anthology contains 40 different stories that celebrate 40 years of Star Wars. Each of the stories is told from the point of view of a background character, including X-wing pilots, storm troopers, Sand Troopers, etc. There were a whopping 28 authors that contributed to this phenomenal text, but none will be receiving any kind of monetary compensation. Instead, all proceeds are going to a charitable organization called First Book, which provides books and learning materials to needy and/or deserving homes, libraries, and schools.
Each glorious hardcover book in this set retells the story of each film, plus a special introduction to The Force Awakens. Some titles include Star Wars: Heroes for a New Hope, Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens, and there’s even an entire volume dedicated to cover art. The gorgeous reprints in The Marvel Covers include some of the most incredible cover art you’ve ever seen from Marvel, all created by the brand’s most accomplished artists. The only other thing to say about this collection is that it will look so good on your shelf, it will raise your street cred exponentially.
Ian Doescher is a genius. This collection of books is exactly what you think it is: the Star Wars stories as told by the Bard himself. They’re written in iambic pentameter for crying out loud! Even the artwork is Shakespeare-esque, including depictions of Luke holding a storm trooper helmet in Hamlet-type fashion, BB8 wearing a befeathered cap, and adorable Ewoks holding flags to signify the beginning of certain Acts. Some titles available include The Clone Army Attacketh, The Empire Striketh Back, and The Jedi Doth Return. There are several in the series, but we should probably all start with Verily, a New Hope, don’t you think?
These stories take place five years after The Return of the Jedi. New characters are introduced, including the Grand Admiral Thrawn who uses an army of clones to take over the Empire, raiding a secret cache of weapons left by the Emperor while he’s at it. Han and Leia have twins, Jacen and Jaina, who are “destined to become powerful Jedi.” These are available in both hardcover book and comic format, but the original comic books have the most appeal. These are the types of stories best told through pictures.
And just for fun, pick up this little volume of entertainment. Ever wonder what a giant space slug would weigh? How many legs a kryat has? Or how long a sarlaac takes to digest its meals? It’s organized by planets, listing which creatures are native to which homes, and it includes beasts featured in the films, television series, and novels too. It covers everything! With detailed sketches of each majestic – and sometimes disgusting – being, you’ll have no trouble visualizing which intergalactic pet you’d like to adopt.
How will you celebrate this momentous anniversary? Books? Cake? Movies? All of the above? I like it.
You settle down after a long day as you look for your book of choice. There’s the classics, horror, romance – well, basically whatever your friends recommended. Although those books are loved and adored for their own reasons, there exists another world of book genres that are noticed less by the public eye. Either because of its rarity or stereotypes, these categories are dismissed under most of our noses, lurking in the dusty confines of your local bookstore and library. Here is a list of some of the most underrated genres and categories that readers should be aware of.
1. Short Stories
Sometimes people fall under the misconception that short stories lack depth and content because of its lower page count. The thought of short stories can also seem unappealing to those that want to immerse themselves in a book, cringing at the thought of finishing before you even feel involved. However, short stories can actually be tremendously rich with content, giving the reader quick but rewarding satisfaction when they finish. Whether you are short on time or hungry for a good plot, short stories may be the way to go! Good authors to start with would be Alice Munro or Edgar Allan Poe.
2. Experimental Fiction
What is experimental fiction? Carefully termed by what it isn’t, experimental fiction is a genre that defies all other genres you are familiar with. It thrusts you into a realm of uncertainty, urging you to think on completely different levels and read in different ways. For example, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes is a snipped up version (literally) of Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles and its contents are everything you wouldn’t expect from a book.
3. Children’s Literature
Some readers reel at the idea of reading books that are for younger audiences, grimacing at the “shallow” themes and subjects. Despite its simplicity, many kid’s books showcase important lessons. They also act as a good way of rediscovering childhood memories and finding ways to relate to the little ones! For example, The Little Prince and Where the Wild Things Are never lose their charm no matter how old you are.
4. Science Fiction
The media has often given the Science Fiction genre an unappealing look: geeks in thick glasses, delusional recluses and billions of UFOs. However, if we consider the genre with a more encompassing perspective, we can see its a menagerie of philosophical ideas, futuristic innovations and even warnings for society. George Orwell’s 1984 and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein further prove how intriguing this genre is.
5. Graphic Novels
People tend to think that graphic novels are not as “good” as original novels because of their emphasis on illustration and dialogue rather than narration. Some parents even restrict their children from reading too many graphic novels, urging them to read something with more “literary merit.” However, graphic novels are wonderful quick reads and almost always have quality dialogue; many are also reflections of real-life issues and highlight important themes such as Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Goražde and Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
There are many books out in the world; just because a book isn’t noticed doesn’t necessarily guarantee poorness. Rather, it’s best to keep an open mind when looking through your local bookstores and libraries. Find potential within the folds of every book. Who knows what surprise you’ll run into!
One of the most well-known and bestselling authors of his generation, Stephen King is a household name in the literary realm of horror writing. Having published more than 98 works, consisting of short stories, novels, and nonfiction, a list of book quotes from his writing would take a generous amount of time to read. Instead, here are 8 of the most popular quotes from the author.
1. “A good novelist does not lead his characters, he follows them. A good novelist does not create events, he watches them happen and then writes down what he sees. A good novelist realizes he is a secretary, not God.”
Near the Grand Husseini Mosque, on a street that was once the Amman River, there is a bookshop like no other. Hamzeh AlMaaytah (36) runs a 24-hour “emergency room for the mind.” He is dedicated to supplying a place where anyone can come any hour of the day and find books. The shop’s name is Mahall al-Maa, and its owner is described as eccentric. Hamzeh is a man who will leap instead of walk, who is known for poetic pronouncements, and often speaks in Fusha, a literary form of Arabic. He is also known for replying to texts with pictures of handwritten responses.
Mahall al-Maa is open 24 hours a day, and as such, Hamzeh often sleeps in the shop to keep it that way. There is a mattress tucked away behind a screen in the back of his shop. Occasionally he is relieved by two Syrian brothers who are ex-employees. The bookshop has 2000 in stock, with 10,000 stored in a warehouse. To make books even more accessible, all prices are negotiable, and Hamzeh has a robust loan and exchange system. Ahmed Murad (19) a boy living in the nearby orphanage, uses the bookstore exchange program to improve his spelling and grammar. He often visits late at night and discusses literature with Hamzeh.
However, you won’t find just any book in Mahall al-Maa. Hamzah carefully curates and censors his collection to remove ideas of violence or hatred. He believes that the education in local schools and orphanage are too radicle, and refuses to sell books that might make other bookstores popular. This includes conspiracies, magic, genealogies, and anti-Semitism. Jordan is a place where Mein Kampf can be found on a shelf next to a biography of the Dalai Lama.
The bookshop was originally founded in the 1890’s by Hamzeh’s great-grandfather Salman in Jerusalem. In 1921 it transferred to Salman’s son Khalil, who bought libraries from departing British officers. In 1947, after Khalil died, his son Mamduh transferred the bookstore to Amman. It was Mamduh, Hamzeh’s father, who began the tradition of keeping the shop open 24 hours. Hamzeh described his father as a “Doctor for the soul.” He was a well-read man who was able to recommend a book to anyone after just a brief conversation. After Mamduh’s death, Hamzeh’s oldest brother took over the shop for a time.
Mahall al-Maa was part of the family businesses until Hamzeh made it independent in 2016. However, since then, due to some bad investments and poor health, the shop has been in decline. Dedicated customers have started a fundraising campaign for $15,000 to help keep the shop open. At the time of writing this, the campaign has been completely funded and then some. A total of $17,982 was raised for Mahall al-Maa, 118% of the initial goal.
When asked what his favorite book is, Hamzeh replied, “A favorite book! No! That is extremism! To say one book is the best, better than any other…no. I could never do it.”
A bookstore that will surely leave its mark on the world.
A Western Slope school district official in Mesa County, CO has ordered librarians to stop circulating the popular Young Adult book Thirteen Reasons Whyby Jay Asher, which recently inspired a Netflix series, after seven students committed suicide.
The book and TV series is about a high school girl who takes her own life, leaving behind a series of thirteen audio cassette tapes that explain all of the events that led to her untimely demise. The show in particular has generated a lot of buzz for its popularity among teens, especially on social media. It has also received its fair share of both positive acclaim, for having the courage to tackle such a sensitive subject, and negative criticism for the possibility that the show “may be perceived as glorifying and romanticizing suicide.” This is especially a concern in the final episode of the first season, where a graphic depiction of the suicide in question has prompted schools across the country to send letters to parents and guardians with tips on how to prevent suicide.
“It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things,”said Leigh Grasso, the curriculum director for the 22,000-student Mesa County Valley School District, who made the decision to pull the book.
This irked many librarians, who called the order censorship, and highlighted the debate about the delicate balancing act of freedom of speech with concerns about students. About three hours after the order, school librarians and counselors determined that the book did not include the graphic scenes depicted in the Netflix series, and the twenty copies available in the district were returned to circulation.
“I think we were just being cautious until we had the opportunity to look at the book and see how closely related to the movie it was,” Grasso told the Associated Press, adding it did not amount to censorship because there was not an outright ban. Grasso also admitted that she has not read the book herself and it is not known if the seven students who committed suicide were inspired by the book or the series.
In Douglas County, Colorado, south of Denver, the school district sent out a newsletter when the series was released, urging parents to discuss the issue with their kids, and highlighting resources available for students, reports CBS Denver. Meanwhile, Netflix has announced the series will return for a second season, though it will likely follow the first season’s suit and come with many warnings, as per the requests of many mental health experts.
James LaRue, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association, said he understands why Grasso wanted to review the book, but “instead of just reacting to a moment, you get people together and make a sensible decision.” Despite the myriad of concerns that have been raised about both the book and Netflix series, what’s most important to keep in mind is the health and well-being of children and teenagers. It’s necessary to not stifle any discussion about tough topics, but to instead provide all of the necessary resources to allow young adults to feel comfortable to openly discuss what’s troubling them.
That’s how Julian and Emma, the star-crossed lovers of Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices trilogy, are meant to feel. Philia, the love of friendship, companionship, and affection, but not eros, the love defined by passion and longing and lust.
And that’s also exactly how I feel about Lord of Shadows, the newest installment in the trilogy: I hold great affection for it, both because of its goodness and because of all the hours I’ve ever spent happily curled up with a Cassandra Clare book in my hand. But I do not love it, not passionately, not desperately, and certainly not unconditionally.
Lady Midnight was so raw and glorious and real, maybe it’s just challenging for the sequel to measure up. Maybe it’s the slightly disjointed narration–I loved getting to know the other characters better, but when a book is told from nearly ten different points of view, it’s difficult to feel equally invested in each and every one of those characters. It’s also difficult to feel as though you’re reading a cohesive story.
Clare is clearly in love with this strange, beautiful world she has created over the years. She describes her characters as though they’re her intimate companions, not just fictional creations. She leaves Easter eggs scattered throughout the book and when you encounter them, it feels like you’re watching her wave to old friends. She paints scenes of remarkable heartbreak and tenderness, scenes that seem specifically designed to inspire breathtaking new works of art from her adoring fans.
But after finishing Lord of Shadows, I have to wonder if Clare’s love of this world has also blinded her to certain artistic truths. Specifically, the fact that she might be slipping into one of the most common, most tragic traps for any prolific author: derivative writing.
While reading Lord of Shadows, I constantly felt as though Clare was recycling elements from other novels–both her own and others’. I heard echoes of Maia and Jordan’s fraught relationship, was sharply reminded of Sebastian Morgenstern’s catastrophic resurrection, saw parallel’s to Jace Herondale’s conviction that he would poison the thing he most cares for just by loving it, and even had a flashback to the scene with the Mirror of Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. Don’t get me wrong, Clare didn’t plagiarize anything. Each time I started to feel this way, she would introduce some sort of twist to make it different and new. However, I can’t help but feel that an artist of Clare’s talent and imagination shouldn’t need to borrow anything at all from other books. And certainly not borrow this much.
Now, on to more clearly definable things than Clare’s artistic talent.
The positives: There are several big, and I mean BIG, shockers in this book. I won’t spoil anything, but prepare to both grin like a fool and wipe hot tears away from your cheeks. There is also a lot of love, unsurprisingly, for the LGBT community. I’m guessing that Twitter and Tumblr will soon be afire with all sorts of new #ishipit quotes.
The negatives: Where the HECK is Isabelle Lightwood?? We see, or at least hear about, all the other major characters from the Mortal Instruments series, and even quite a few from the Infernal Devices. Jace and Clary are back in all their dazzling glory, Alec and Magnus are breaking everyone’s hearts with their perfection and adorableness, Simon gets a few nods despite never actually making an entrance, Tessa and Jem aren’t there (*sigh of disappointment*) but are still a big part of the driving force behind the plot. But all Izzy, the whip-wielding goddess of sass and style, gets is a perfunctory reference scribbled in at the very last possible second? Not cool.
Despite my mixed feelings regarding this novel, I’m still a huge fan of Clare’s work and will eagerly await the third and final book in the trilogy. It’s just that, depending on how that installment turns out, I might decide not to read the other prequel and sequel series that she has planned.
It is that time of year again when the sun is shining its brilliant rays into our windows, the sandy beach is calling our name, and, of course, billionaire Bill Gates shares his book suggestions for the summer. And what do you know? We’ve got them right here for you.
Synopsis: A 19-year old boy is devastatingly injured in an accident, and his heart is ultimately given to a woman in dire need of a healthy heart. Said to be a rich story full of deep loss and second chances.
Gates’ thoughts: “What de Kerangal has done here in this exploration of grief is closer to poetry than anything else.”
Synopsis: On a planet replete with war, poverty, and a stunning lack of moral fiber, Professor Harari at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, continues the discussion on what our world’s next phase of hardship will endure.
Gates’ thoughts: While it’s certainly an inviting book that encourages more questions than answers, Gates did admit that he didn’t “agree with everything Harari has to say.”
Synopsis: Former 39th President of the U.S. Jimmy Carter chronicles the first ninety years of his life including his humble upbringing in Georgia, as well as his opinions on the United States’ general progress and current challenges.
Gates’ thoughts: “The book will help you understand how growing up in rural Georgia in a house without running water, electricity, or insulation shaped—for better and for worse—[Carter’s] time in the White House.”
Are you planning to add any of Bill’s book suggestions to your summer reading list?
This time of year, everyone’s talking about summer reading. I’m sure most of you already have a full TBR list that’s only getting fuller, but if you’re looking for some light reading to take to the beach or on your road trip (if you’re one of those weird people who can actually read in the car), then these quick reads are easy additions to your summer reading list.
Judy Blume may be best known for her charming young adult books, but she’s also written a trove of books for adults. Summer Sistersis about Vix and Caitlin, who met in the summer of 1977. The novel explores their friendship’s complicated past.
When Chess announces that she is ending her engagement and cancelling her lavishly planned wedding, her mother, Birdie, invites her youngest daughter and her sister India on a no-distraction, peaceful vacation with Chess to cheer her up. But the vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful.
Two married couples try to mend their romantic grievances with a Caribbean vacation, but the vacation turns out to be more hectic than real life. When the couples cross paths, however, they’re finally confronted with their issues.
If you’re not looking for the typical cheer summer read, then Anderson has got you covered. In the late summer of 1793, fever takes over the city of Philadelphia. While Mattie has dreams of making her family’s small business a huge success, the fever strikes nearly everyone in the city, threatening to destroy everything and everyone.
Where do you plan to relax with your light summer reading?
In 1995, BBC released a TV show version of Pride and Prejudice, the beloved regency romance originally written by Jane Austen.The British TV network has a wonderful habit of breathing life into classics (read: Sherlock), and it held true even back then. The show was immediately a smash hit, critically and commercially successful and winning awards left and right. Heck, this show was what launched Colin Firth into stardom, and if that in itself isn’t a gift to mankind I don’t know what is.
Regardless of indispensable stars and Emmy awards, the show did take place over two decades ago. People will never stop re-watching it, of course, but it definitely is becoming more and more in the past each day. But it’s become relevant in the past couple of weeks. The reason? The manor where the show took place is on sale!
Yep. You can buy the house where the Bennet family “lived,” for all intents and purposes. This lovely setting is all yours if you want it. That is, if you have $11.6 million to blow. Considering that Colin Firth and other iconic actors have shot scenes in this mansion, and the small fact that it’s an old fashioned mansion in the first place, it’s not completely unheard of to make the price so high. However, most of us peasants will have to settle for dreaming about living in such a place.
Dreaming. I have to keep telling myself that over and over again.
The property has 156 acres (!!!) to its name and a river running through it. The manor itself is 9,600 square feet, complete with six reception rooms, seven main bedrooms, six bathrooms, and an annex (which is basically another building attached to the main manor.) I mean, seriously. Is that lavish enough?
We’ll see what well-doer can afford, maintain, and hopefully tweet about this place to the adoring masses.
Confession: I desperately want to arrange my books by color, but I can’t bring myself to undo my current system. Sure, it would look nice, but how would I find anything? And would I still keep the read books separate from the not-yet-read books? What even is color, you know? It’s a real rabbit hole.
But that’s my cross to bear, and for those brave enough to rainbow-sort their bookshelves, the process just became a little easier: Puffin Books has collaborated with Pantone to provide some colorful new versions of classic books.
The covers are modeled after Pantone color swatches, and the colors correspond to the stories themselves. The Wizard of Oz cover, for example, is yellow-brick-road yellow. According to the Penguin Random House website:
“Puffin + Pantone is a series of classic novels paired with their perfect Pantone color match. Each cover is made to resemble the globally recognized color chip that’s defined Pantone as the standard in color communication all over the world. Puffin + Pantone is a collection of literature as diverse and boundless as the color spectrum itself.”
These books are just begging to be Instagrammed. Hopefully the partnership will continue, and eventually we’ll have a whole library’s worth of colorful classics to choose from. Then I would for sure rearrange my books. Probably.
Either a nice cup of your favorite tea or choice of beverage nicely accompanies a relaxing reading time. I was graciously offered a few samples of teas from Andy Hayes, owner and founder of an all-natural company by the name of PlumDeluxe Teas.
Let’s jump right in! Here are the teas I had the pleasure of enjoying:
Easy To Be Green Tea (Coming Soon)
Perfect tea if you’re looking for something sweet that’ll keep you up for a while, but not all night long. As much as we love late-night reading, when you want to go to sleep, you want to go to sleep, and the easy to be green tea is a soothing companion for your book of choice. This one hasn’t been brought out yet, though stay tuned!
Cuddletime Herbal Tea
This was my mama’s favorite. She describes it as being very soothing, the chamomile being rich in taste with a tidbit of cinnamon, and strong without being overwhelming. Read more about it here.
Close-up picture of the ingredients:
Vista Blend Herbal Tea
For the fruity fans, the Vista Blend tea would be right up your alley. Other family members loved this one (sweet tooths run in the family) mainly because of the relaxing blend of lavender and apricot flavoring. Check out more info on this one here.
Reading Nook Blend Black Tea
Alas, a tea after a book lover’s own heart. The Reading Nook tea (cute name!), also includes lavender and chamomile though additionally adds a touch of rose petals for pretty purposes. Lovely! Read about further details here.
How beautiful is this tea?
Tea fanatics, Plum Deluxe Teas will be one of your new tea-riffic (ha) obsessions, I assure you. If you do order some teas from them, we’d love to know how you liked them!
You can order and check out all things Plum Deluxe on their website.
I feel the need to vent. I’m almost three quarters through a book and the author has just introduced a totally new character; turns out, this guy is the villain — ugh! Got me thinking about other things that really irritate me in books. So, for what it’s worth, here are 10 things that give me the you-know-whats:
Let’s start at the beginning: most prologues are backstory, and backstory should be incorporated, sparingly, into the main story. I don’t mind epilogues because if I’ve made it to the end, I’ve invested in the story and probably want to know.
2. Starting In The Wrong Place
There’s a saying: “Arrive late and go home early.” Alas, not all writers have heard it. I got really irritated with a book where two secondary characters and a minor character took up the whole first chapter. The main character, and the actual story, didn’t show up until chapter 2. Please don’t make me wait that long, I might not stick around.
3. Lazy Endings
Lazy endings feel like the author has decided to wrap it up but doesn’t quite know how or where to end the story. For example, I read an historical novel which had an intriguing almost-love story at its heart. There was a subplot where two secondary characters eloped. At the end, we discovered – through an unlikely coincidence – the fate of the secondary characters but not the fate of the heroine’s would-be lover. Very unsatisfying, left me feeling cheated.
4. Unbelievable plot devices
Nothing screams ‘plot device’ like a character acting out of character, or a coincidence that is, well, too much of a coincidence. Frankly, it’s jarring.
5. Just Plain Wrong
Writers, please get your facts straight. I recently read a book where the hero’s knife and sword wounds miraculously self-healed – the genre was paranormal so I went with it until it was revealed that the only thing that could bring the hero down was iron. Swords and knives are made of steel, steel is made of iron. Duh.
And then there was that book that made me think the author had a fetish for human waste. Several action scenes were set in a particularly down-at-heel part of town. With each new scene in this area, there’d be another description of open sewers, vomit and body odor. Yeah, thanks, got it the first time.
7. The Weather
Not so much the weather as going on and on and on about the weather. It really irritates me when the writer, from the comfort of their 21st century, airconditioned point of view, overemphasizes the weather conditions. Yes, life in the west of Ireland, circa 1825, would have been no fun without heating and waterproof clothing. However, if characters and their ancestors had lived there for generations, you’d expect some degree of acclimatization.
8. Historical Inaccuracy
There’s no excuse for historical inaccuracy in the age of the internet. I’m sorry there just isn’t. It’s never been easier to cross reference sources. End of story.
9. Head Hopping
You know what I mean: we are inside one character’s head, hearing their thoughts, and a few lines later, we are in the head of another character. It can be confusing and difficult to follow when there are two different points of view in play in a paragraph or scene.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Last year I re-read Katherine by Anya Seton, one of my favorite books, first read when I was around 12 years-old. Seton head hops all over the place in the early chapters and, strangely, it works to build a sense of the world Katherine enters after leaving her sheltered life at the convent.
10. Testimonials And Acknowledgements
Anything not directly related to the story should come at the end. Testimonials, aka pages and pages of “what people are saying about….” are annoying. Ditto the writer acknowledging the person who kept them supplied with coffee during the writing. To any authors out there: if you must thank every woman and her dog, please do it at the back of the book.
Thanks for putting up with my rant, must say, I feel a little better. And now, back to reading.
A typical fairy tale follows a dashing prince who rescues a damsel in distress from her wicked stepmother or from a very tall tower. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girlsare not these fairy tales. Within the book, you’ll find stories of real, inspiring women that didn’t need a prince charming to save them. The stories feature a wide variety of role models with careers ranging from fashion to astronomy. Among these women are Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, Yoko Ono, Simone Biles, Mary Kom, Jane Goodall, and Lakshmi Bai.
The book is written by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, who are known for the popular video If Cinderella were a Guy, which swaps the genders from the classic fairy tale. In the video, Cinderfella is often beat up by his stepbrothers and goes to the royal ball with assistance from his fairy godfather. At the ball, he meets the princess and loses his glass loafer at the stroke of midnight, which leads to the princess tracking him down and of course, the glass loafer fits. The authors are also successful entrepreneurs that started the business Timbuktu, which “build[s] imaginative brand experiences that blur the line between the digital and physical world using emerging technologies.”
“As it’s a children’s narrative we also wanted to choose some people who may have had a difficult childhood experience – so they could be an inspiration,” said Favilli on the different women chosen for the book.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girlsbecame a reality after Favilli and Cavallo decided that girls deserved to know that they can do anything. Each story is stylized after a fairy tale and includes illustrations by female artists from around the world. The book made crowdfunding history after receiving support from 25,000 backers from 71 countries.
Despite the title, the stories are aimed at both girls and boys, and was chosen specifically because the authors “believe that focusing on one gender does not exclude the other (Hindustan Times).” They went on to share: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they grew up in a world where boys didn’t find something demeaning just because it reads ‘for girls’ in the title (Hindustan Times)?”
They hope that by showing women in leading roles and prominent positions they can inspire boys and girls, and go against the 70% of male protagonists that dominant children’s books. Cavallo shares: “We wanted to feature women from as many countries as possible, because children’s media productions lack diversity not just in terms of gender, but also in terms of race, sexual orientation, and religious background. Our stories show examples of real women who achieved extraordinary results in every field imaginable. They are a tremendous source of inspiration because they encourage young girls to explore, learn and dream without limits (Hindustan Times).”
The story of Yusra Mardini stood out most to Favilli, a woman who swam across the Aegean sea from the war torn Demascus to the Greek island of Lesbos. Along with this story, children will read from the experiences of Jane Goodall who spent years earning the trust of chimpanzees which lead to groundbreaking studies on their behavior. While this is aimed at children, anyone can enjoy the stories that Rebel Girlsoffers. They hope that from these stories, children will see that there’s more than one way to be a woman.
Summertime is officially on its way. The weather is warming, the trees are filling in with greenery, and school bells everywhere are ringing their final goodbyes for the year. Bookbags and uniforms are abandoned for beach totes and swimwear as kids embrace the sun with reckless abandon.
Unfortunately, during these months, the dreaded words, “I’m bored!” will at some point in time, become a daily mantra. It is my custom to promptly hit the library and introduce my kiddos to the fiction world that I embraced and loved as a child. Not only will they have something to do, but it will keep their minds from atrophying over the break, and perhaps give them a leg up on the coming school year.
I’ve put together a list of 10 books that I (and many others) loved as a child and hopefully, yours will too.
This enchanting story about a childhood friendship, imagination, and loss is a classic story that has moved generations to tears. As with any children’s book-turned-movie, I promise a movie night after they’ve read the book!
The fantastical world of Narnia has been entertaining millions of children for decades. C.S. Lewis spins a masterful tale of love and redemption in a magical world full of mythical creatures living beyond the wardrobe.
The freckled, red-headed, spunky orphan from Green Gables not only won the hearts of her fictional compatriots but those of children young and old around the world. Bonus: a new Netflix series, Anne with an E is a great visual companion after they finish each book.
Recently a box office hit starring Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, The Giver is a Newberry medal recipient. The story follows a young boy, Jonas, who learns the secrets of his society aren’t quite as utopian as he once believed.
This was by far one of my favorite books as a teen. Another tear jerker and a Judy Blume great, this is a story of heartbreak, learning to let go, and moving past pain. Hopefully, it will become your child’s next favorite, too.
While the list above includes many of my favorites, it’s hardly a complete list. I know that there are many other great stories that could be added to it. Which books have you read? Which would you add? Share this article with friends and compare lists. Who’s the bigger book nerd?
It’s finally come. A true, remarkable work that embodies the truth of who our 45th President, Donald J. Trump, really is. Scrivener’s short book manages to capture the power and depth of his words from speeches and interviews throughout the years, leading up to the third and final presidential debate against Hillary Clinton.
A great gift for any and everyone. Especially those friends and family members that voted for him. They’ll especially love it.
I think Democrats will truly love it, too.
Thank you, Irma. You knew what America needed and you have blessed us with it in book form. Thank you.
You can purchase a copy of Trump’s famous words, here.
If I were to enter an alternate universe and actually have the chance to MEET LADY GAGA (*screams internally*), the inner book nerd in me would probably win out no more than five minutes into our conversation. And there are a few books in particular that I would make a point of bringing up, books that remind me of Lady Gaga’s kick-ass attitude, her artistic flair and personal style, and her dedication to self-empowerment and LGBTQ issues.
“People will always talk, so lets give them sumthin to talk about” (Lady Gaga).
The intrepid journals in this story definitely give people something to talk about–thrill-seeker Ash North, her girlfriend Audrey, her husband-for-green-card-purposes-only Ben, and their gender-fluid friend Mat work together to fight off zombies, uncover conspiracies, and cover the presidential campaign trail for Democratic candidate Susan Kilburn.
“When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time” (Lady Gaga).
Is it just me, or would Lady Gaga and Lord Byron be total BFFs if they lived in the same time period? From their mutual flamboyance to their trailblazing perspectives on creativity, these two artists just seem to go hand in hand.
“I want women — and men — to feel empowered by a deeper and more psychotic part of themselves. The part they’re always trying desperately to hide. I want that to become something that they cherish” (Lady Gaga).
This book is all about those “psychotic” parts–the deliciously, insanely, wonderfully, scarily dark parts of ourselves that, once we choose to embrace them, make us stronger than we ever could have imagined.
“I want the deepest, darkest, sickest parts of you that you are afraid to share with anyone because I love you that much” (Lady Gaga).
Eleanor and Park each have their own secrets, their own darknesses and insecurities, but with the help of 80s music, comic books, and a truckload of determination, they learn to share their dark secrets and accept the love that the other offers.
“And now, I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time” (Lady Gaga).
Stunning, vibrant, and surprisingly tender, In the Land of Invisible Women is the story of what happened when Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, accepted a position in Saudi Arabia. She believed she would find adventure and excitement, but what she actually finds is the strength to recreate herself in a land where women are considered to be invisible.
As bookworms, we have either have a LOT of books, or we have a small collection that means a lot. Either way, it’s nice to get them organized. Whether you keep them all on display or have some stored in boxes, it’s helpful to have an inventory of them. Not all bookworms are librarians, though, so there are apps to make this kind of methodical organizing a task that can be done at home! Find 6 of the best apps for organizing your personal library below.
Whether your library is small, medium, or large, Libib can work for you. The app has scanning abilities, to make cataloging quick. You can import or export your libraries, so if you’re swapping apps or need to back up your valuable inventory, Libib is perfect for that. Libib libraries can also be made public so you can share your bookshelves to the world!
Like Libib, Delicious Library allows you to catalog a large collection. It also gives you tailor made recommendations based on your collection and items that you rate from other libraries. Another really cool feature is the charts, which, among other things, shows you the value of your collection. Neat!
This is an app for the more casual collector. If you have a large collection, I wouldn’t recommend this app as there doesn’t seem to be a known limit for the amount of books LibraryThing can store. However, if you have a small collection, then this simple app will work great for you! If you’re using LibraryThing, check out Tiny Cat, which is also made for small libraries and can be linked to your LibraryThing account.
This app stands out among the others in that your digital book collection is actually displayed on shelves! The app was developed by one man, and is now an open source project, so if coding is your thing you can really personalize this app and tailor-make it to fit your collections.
Book Crawler is the app for aesthetic lovers. Across reviews, users comment that this app has the most pleasing interface, so if that’s something that’s important to you and you’re a Mac or IOS user, then this app could be your perfect personal library match.
A personal library app list would hardly be complete without the classic Goodreads. The app is highly rated, easy to use, and full of all the best features, like barcode scanning. Plus, Goodreads is the largest social network for bookworms!
How do you organize your personal library? What’s your favorite method or app?
Ten year old Carl Sheckel is one special kid; to date, he’s collected around 3,000 comic books and donated them to those serving in our military! Born out of a suggestion left by a reader of his comic book review site, Carl began with 300 of his own books and started a donation campaign that took off mostly through comic book shows. He then made arrangements with the Department of Veteran Affairs to deliver them to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, where they have been sent all over the world to soldiers overseas and here at home.
When asked why he took on this vast, generous task, Carl said, “I wanted to give (military personnel) something to remind them of home. It’s really sad when you have to go away and miss your friends and family a lot. I wanted to give them something they would enjoy.” And since Carl is such a fan of comic books, he saw it as a good way to share that joy with people who desperately need encouragement.
Carl has also been awarded for his generosity; he and his father were surprised with a VIP tour of the base from its leaders where they were able to try on military gear, sit inside some of the planes, and spend time with high-ranking officials as guests of honor. He called it “the best day of my life!”
Recipients have been encouraged to post and send back pictures of themselves with the comic books they received so that Carl (and the rest of us) can see the fruits of his hard work.
It seems that great works are often hated before they are loved; great movies like The Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life were initially panned by critics. Even Michelangelo’s famous work The Last Judgment was dismissed as being too tawdry to be placed in a church. The same goes for great works of literature as well; so many of our beloved “greats” were initially viewed as complete bombs in their day. Here are a few:
Golding had a difficult time even getting the book published because of what was seen as “excessive violence,” and initial sales were so dismal that it went out of print almost immediately. It was reprinted decades later and somehow made it into the classroom, where we all remember reading it (and cringing).
Publisher’s Weekly called it “a pointless and confusing story,” and the Journal of Nursery Education implored adults not to leave it out where children could read it…a far cry from the beloved children’s classic it is today.
Critics called it a “catastrophe” and said that it was “unfit for general circulation” upon its release, yet it’s become one of the cornerstones of literary education and has inspired movies like Jaws.
Seen as depressing and as promoting communism, Steinbeck’s novel was both banned and burned in its early days.
What this should encourage you to do, then, is seek out those books which receive such bad reviews (exercising some discretion, of course, since sometimes the critics get it right) and read them–they may end up as required reading for your grandchildren some day!
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