Link Love: 01.13.13

I found this on Tumblr ages ago. If anyone knows the original source let me know.

  • We all know I love books, right? And what book lover doesn't love her bookstores? Book Riot put together a great list of bookstores in the movies.
  • Speaking of books: Some of the most popular conspiracy theories about literature.
  • Gorgeous, swirly beach art. Just one more thing England has that I'm jealous of.
  • Really fascinating piece on Mark Landis. He's an art forger, super talented, but never once asked for money for his paintings.
  • Need to get a better sleep schedule going? Check out this sleep calculator to start tapping into your natural sleep cycles more.
  • I'm a sucker for human anatomy art, it's the weirdo in me, but these statues are majorly neat.
  • I love jellyfish!
  • Color photos of real life Rosie the Riveters.
  • I have a feeling we might have to visit here someday if the Mister ever finds out this exists.
  • This guy's 12 rules is so mind-blowing for the amount of self-control. It will really get you thinking about the way you manage your own life.
  • Photo series of soldiers before, during, and after combat.



Great Discworld art by nicolsche

I've been discussing my book preferences a lot more lately. Between people asking for recommendations, spending some time wandering Barnes & Noble with my aunt, and starting my new job as a bookseller it seems to be the conversational topic du jour. And trust me when I say that there is nothing like discussing your literary taste with your new bookstore-owning boss to make you want to justify everything you like to read. The truth is I like to read most genres of fiction; even romance may not be all that frequent, but it has been know to appear on my shelves. One genre, though, always has me feeling like an uncouth barbarian in a room full of Victorian matrons: Sci-Fi /Fantasy. 

Science Fiction and Fantasy are two fairly distinct genres that often end up lumped together for the very reason that I love them. To overly simplify the issue, these genres are filled with imaginative factors (from worlds to characters to premises) that do not exist in reality. Whether it's a modern day setting with vampires, werewolves and ghosts traipsing about or a spaceship shaped like tennis shoe soaring to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe these are the books that will truly grab you and take you out of the everyday and transport you beyond the known.

So why do they make me feel so self-conscious about my love? The genres are typically associated with speckly gits* or spotty mouth-breathers with limited social skills whose Saturday nights are spent in someone's basement playing D&D**. You don't typically see a lot of erudite scholars and Times reviewers going on and on about the newest Patricia Briggs novel. I think it's an unfair stereotype. I have read fluffy, fun, not-too-deep sci-fi and fantasy books and I have read ground-shaking novels in these categories; the same can be said for all fiction categories. I feel like sci-fi/fantasy is the country music of the book world. A lot of people actually really like to indulge but few like to openly admit it. 

Well this is me changing that. I love sci-fi books. I have read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy more times than I can remember. I'm currently enjoying a wonderful book called Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw. I also love fantasy. I've read Tolkien's works so many times the books are starting to fall apart; same for my Potter series. I've also really enjoyed several young adult novels about the fairies and ghosts and the whole slew of otherworldly characters over the years. A good book for me is a book I enjoy reading; likewise for you. Read what you want and never feel like you have to justify your books taste, especially not to yourself. 

Long live imagination!

*Please someone get this reference.
**Some of my best friends are these people, I have nothing against this particular "type" of individual.


Book List


I've been seeing tons of direct and not so direct requests everywhere on my plethora* of social media accounts recently for book recommendations. Now I know that the majority of the askers do not actually share my taste in literature but I have personally discovered great new literary loves in several ways over the years, so I will be giving my personal recommendations today; this is not a reading list designed to coddle the masses. I've already outlined my favorite series, and I must remedy the fact the I neglected to include Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series at the time, so I will be focusing more on stand alone novels this go round. Let the top** 20 recommendations commence:

  1. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  2. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
  3. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
  4. The Colour of Magic & The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (These two are the beginning of the Discworld series, but the rest of the books almost all stand alone.)
  5. Black Swan Rising by Lee Carol (This is also the start of a series, but I was not as enamored with the sequel.)
  6. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
  7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  8. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (Also the first in a series, the sequel is not due out until this year.)
  9. One Hundred Percent Lunar Boy by Stephen Tunney
  10. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
  11. Eating the Cheshire Cat by Helen Ellis
  12. The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss
  13. In the Woods by Tana French
  14. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (I recommend the No Fear versions for all Shakespeare reading.)
  15. From Russian With Love by Ian Fleming (Clearly part of the James Bond canon, but the books all stand alone.)
  16. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  17. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  18. Having Our Say by Sarah L. Delany & A. Elizabeth Delany
  19. Confessions of a Teen Sleuth by Chelsea Cain
  20. Jar City by Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason (This is actually the third book in a series, but I found it stood alone just fine and I haven't managed to read the prequels or sequels yet.)
Have you read any on the list? What should I read next?

*Fun Fact: This was my first favorite "big word". I am certain that I wedged it into inappropriate sentences far too often in middle school.

**More likely the first 20 that pop into my head. I've read so much I often forget titles but never plots!