If you think writer's workshops are only for amateurs, think again. Since 2008, YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton have posted more than 250 works of short fiction on their collaborative website, Merry Sisters of Fate. Like their respective novels, the flash fiction and short stories on Merry Fates deal with the paranormal, the weird, and the strangely beautiful.
Thirty stories from the Merry Fates project are now available in The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories. The stories are great on their own, but what makes the book really special are the introductions and handwritten notes and critiques from the trio. They provide insight into the creative process - how three acclaimed writers construct story arcs, build worlds, and create believable characters. This is an inspiring read for anyone interested in writing fiction!
Try NON-Fiction – it can be a real trip! Here are some of my recent favs from the realm of the real…
Pretty much anything by Jon Ronson is a lot of fun to read and if you can listen to him read it himself – even better! He is a British journalist, and he tackles some weird topics with rare wit.
The Psychopath Test – Go deep into the madness industry and see just how crazy it is. Ronson explores how we define madness, how we treat the mentally ill and how most of top CEOs are probably psychopaths.
The Men Who Stare at Goats – you might have seen the movie, but the book is pretty funny! Yes. The United States military tried to create a secret unit of highly trained psychics who could kill with their minds… or something like that. It’s true! Weird, but true!
Mary Roach writes books about stuff you want to know about but didn’t know you wanted to know about. Like what you would need to take on a trip to Mars, and how how much of our society we owe to dead bodies / cadavers.
Spook – This book talks about the science of the afterlife; chronicles the research regarding the human soul, reincarnation and whether electromagnetic fields can make the human brain see ghosts? How much does the human soul weigh? Let’s see…
Stiff - From being crash test dummies to being something someone would like to snack on, this book looks at all the ways that society uses human corpses. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes funny, this gives you something to think about.
Michael Pollan is the guru of the organics movement, thanks to his entertaining and informative books on botany. Yes. I said, “Botany.” These books will make you think twice about your food and just how cunning apples really are.
The Botany of Desire - This book is about apples (surprisingly devious!), tulips (which single-handedly destroyed the Dutch economy!) and marijuana (which has mutated into a monster of its former self!). Funny and bizarre, this book makes you reconsider your house plant (and what it might be thinking about you!).
The Omnivore’s Dilemma – If you love eating McDonald’s French fries… don’t read this book. This book goes on a journey through the American food universe and what Pollan finds is not always fun to know, but it’s important… and might just keep you from mutating into some sort of deranged man-bear-pig type creature. Just sayin’…
Gobi takes Perry on the weirdest, most dangerous, and most exhilarating night of his life when she transforms from an introverted, anti-social Lithuanian exchange student into a trained assassin.
I'm so excited the new Catching Fire movie trailer has been released:
April fools! Catch the much better version on which this one is based on YouTube. This video was brought to you with the help of a glue gun, burnt fingers, my husband who is much more tech savy than me and my 5 year old son who helped me film the fight scenes.
The world is a big, awesome, crazy place full of amazing weirdness! If you keep your eyes open for it, you can spot it all around. Some of my favorite weirdness comes in the guise of… SCIENCE!
Here are a couple of my favorite ‘science’ books that put a new spin on things. They might make you reconsider how you view the universe.
The Dancing Wu Li Masters : An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav: This book introduced me to particle physics but not in a boring, academic way. The voice is conversational, the science is real, and the possibilities that exist in and around us are mind blowing! You will never look at the world the same way again.
The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto: Water holds memory and, according to the studies of Dr. Masaru Emoto, intention as well. Dr. Emoto exposed water to words and then froze the water into snowflakes which he would film. He noticed that positive words like ‘love,’ and ‘truth,’ would cause the water to transform into beautiful, perfect snowflakes. Negative words like, ‘hate’ or ‘pollution’ caused the water to transform into distorted, ugly snowflakes. This happened whether you spoke to the water or just put a sign close by the water with the word written on it. Crazy! But sooooo neat!
Look for FICTION CLINE
I'm late to this party, but I still want to blab to everyone I know about this book! Ready Player One by Ernest Cline came out in 2011 and is set in the not too distant future. A future that is so bleak with fuel, job and food shortages, that most people on earth would rather plug into a virtual reality known as the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) than deal with reality. In the OASIS you can do anything you want, be anything you want, explore any and every universe ever created -- Star Wars, Arrakis, Star Trek, Tolkien... it's all there.
Our hero, Wade Watts was a young teen when the creator of the OASIS died and set in motion a crazy scavenger hunt for an 'Easter egg' hidden somewhere in the virtual world that is worth a fortune. Five years later no one has even come close to solving the puzzle until Wade finds the first of the three keys needed to find the Easter egg...
This book is filled with trivia about pop culture from the 1980's, gamer references galore, fast action and really likeable characters. I was really bummed when it ended, but I am hopeful that the rumors of an upcoming movie adaption are true. Then I will be able to lose myself in the game all over again!
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak has a release date of January 17th, 2014. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson have been cast and Brian Percival is the director. When the official trailer is available, we will share it. For now enjoy these homemade movie trailers.
Have you seen a Little Free Library? American Profile (which comes in the Denver Post) recently did a great article about them. Little free libraries are popping up all over the country. People build and decorate little boxes and then stock them with books. You can take a book, return it whenever you want, or replace it with a different book. And they're all different designs, too. Check the article for more pictures, or do a Google image search. I saw one in Denver the other day I was so excited that I had to take this picture!
Richard Feynman is a rare person who had both a sense of humor and also was an amazing scientist. He was instrumental in such events as inventing the atom bomb and also discovering the cause of the Challenger spaceship explosion. Feynman was a key scientist in the study of quantum physics, which explains the behavior of miniscule particles. While at Cornell University Feynman worked on an explanation for how particles interact with each other. He calculated all the possible ways a particle could move between two points, this is the path integral. He then created a graph that would calculate a particles path integral in both space and time showing how the particle moves. This graphic is appropriately called a Feynman Diagram.
Some interesting personal information about Feynman: He was rejected from the World War II draft for mental reasons. Apparently, he was too literal in the interview. He performed in the student production of South Pacific at Caltech. He was an expert safe cracker.
Two Words: STAN LEE
Yes! That’s right fearless fans, Stan Lee will be at Denver Comic Con May 31st – June 2, 2013. If you didn’t get a chance to go to the inaugural DCC last year, definitely make an effort to go this year.
There are great booths to visit, artists to chat with, and panels to sit in on to learn all the ins and outs of your favorite graphic novels and comics. And of course you don’t want to miss the cosplay, cuz it’s so much fun! (Remember! If your costume has a ‘gun’ – you need to have an orange tip attached…just sayin’.)
Other featured guests for the three day event include: George Takei, Greg Guler, Felicia Day, George Perez, Wil Wheaton, Jeffrey Brown . . . Tickets for Teens range from $12 for a one day Friday pass to $30 for a three day pass.
The Stan Lee Silver and Gold Add On packages will be available later at a mysterious price to be determined later. So get your tickets now, and then check the website compulsively until they post the Stan Lee info!
If you go, and you’re in costume, make sure you post a pix on our Facebook page! Hope to see you!