Believe it or Not: Candy Michael Jackson, Tarantula Art, and Robin Williams Immortalized in Toothpaste

*cue dramatic music*

The scene: It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State.
Moments before the library doors opened to the public,
I strolled up to our customer service desk.

when suddenlyI felt eyes crawling over me. Huge, glassy eyes. Upon the wall hung this dead pop star:

Michael Jackson portrait made entirely of candyYes, it’s Michael Jackson.
Any yes, he’s made entirely of candy.

For once, words fled me. I wasn’t quite sure if I should be amazed or horrified.
I’m still not sure.

My fellow staff members and I used our keen investigative skills to deduce which sweet treats made up this oh so unique piece. While the peppermint background appeared obvious and it wasn’t hard to conclude his hair and suit involved various brands of licorice, figuring out his skin tone was far trickier. After a close examination, we decided that M.J.’s skin was comprised of a mixture of chemicals most closely resembling —gummie bears. Who imagined the legend would end up as sugar and spice and everything nice instead of Botox and silicone? meanwhileWe discovered Candy Michael Jackson wasn’t the only unique artwork installed that day.

To his left hangs:

Spiderman scene painted on a tarantual. Believe it or not. #it'sreal #freakystuff #geekeryYes, that is a tarantula.
And yes, that is a Spiderman scene painted on its cephalothorax.

Did it escape from the Neverland Ranch? Honestly, this dude creeps me out. But it led me to wonder what inspires an artist to paint in miniature on a arthropod corpse? How close must you get to create such details? Do you use a magnifying glass? Force you face to hover over its hairy dead legs for hours?

Spiderman painted on tarantula spider. #geekery #wierdstuffAnd where, for the love of God, did these pieces of art come from?

things-that-make-you-go-hmm-o

later on

I noticed an oversized portrait gazing at me from across the building. Over the bowed heads of patrons busily filling out job applications and playing Candy Crush, the dearly missed master of comedy Robin Williams stared soulfully back at me. At first, I believed the melancholy portrait to be  a normal oil paninting, but we know nothing about Robin Williams was ever normal.
(And I mean this in an awesomely amazing and reverent way.)

Robin Williams portrait made of tootpaste  For this Robin Williams was painted entirely with…TOOTHPASTE.

But this work was signed! I had a clue to the mysterious origins of these pieces.
The artist is Cristiam Ramos, and he holds the World Record for the creation of the sculpture of a full size motorcycle made more than 20,000 candies. Who knew?

stay tunedNext time we will explore the world of miniatures painted on dead butterflies:
The Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and even The Last Supper.

I MUST remember to take my camera back to work.

 

 

SRP: Post-it Note SUPERHEROES

If you work in library land, this year’s SRP theme Every Hero Has a Story has you living and breathing superheroes. (For those not invested in the library world, SRP is the call sign for SUMMER READING PROGRAM: the 2 1/2 month stretch when you’re inundated with thousands of  bored kids who will trash your shelves, leave Cheez Doodle presents on the floor, and make you dedicate your life to constant children’s programing.) It’s something amazing to be a part of…especially when it’s almost finished.

SRP also means themed displays, and my coworkers stepped up to the challenge. As we slide into the final stretch of summer, I thought I’d share some super-powered sticky note displays they created. They’re bold, attention-grabbing, and pretty darn cool— fun for a library, classroom, or even a superhero themed party.

Post-it Note Superheroes! — Super fun display for your library, classroom or superhero party! #SRP2015

These guys were a hit with the library patrons. Lesson learned though: make sure you wash the walls before you start your design. Sticky notes don’t like years of dust coating the walls.

 Post-it Note Superman — Super fun display for your library, classroom or superhero party! #SRP2015  Post-it Note Captain America — Super fun display for your library, classroom or superhero party! #SRP2015  #Avengers Post-it Note Batman — Super fun display for your library, classroom or superhero party! #SRP2015   Post-it Note  Spiderman — Super fun display for your library, classroom or superhero party! #SRP2015

 

If you’d like to see a better pictures that can be used as a template, check out this superhero-themed office on Gzimodo. Thanks for the idea!

Howdy, Campers!

Since it’s July 1st, and I’m heading off to camp!

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-Banner

Actually, I’m retreating into my home office (a.k.a. writing cave) to bravely attempt to make some damn progress on book #2.   ::GULP::

For those of you who think Camp NanNoWriMo still sounds like a quaint summer camp in the Adirondacks (they all have Native American sounding names, don’t they?) here’s the official rundown:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. Participants work toward the goal of writing a 50,000-word draft during the month of November. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

Camp NaNoWriMo is a more open-ended version of our original November event. We have Camp sessions in both April and July, and we welcome word-count goals between 10,000 and 1,000,000. In addition, writers may attempt non-novel projects. Camp is a creative retreat for whatever you’re working on!”

So yay! I have my cabin assignment, and I’m “bunking” with ten other enthusiastic writers.

camp na

Did I mention I’m terrified? Yeah, I may not have to worry about scorpions in my sleeping bag or being carried off by a swarm of mosquitoes, but I have to write. Real words that flow—576 of them per day to meet my goal. That might not seem like many, but my muse has been quite bitchy lately, and she might also be suffering from a slight case of bi-polar disorder.

And I can’t get homesick. I don’t have the luxury of hiding away in the woods from real life. So what if summer is the busiest time of year in my real job? Yesterday, I ran a library program for 84 people (including 69 antsy KIDS) all by myself. Can you say managed chaos? It went very well, thank you, but work is keeping me on my toes—quite literally.

And then this month is full of holidays, birthdays, and much-needed family days at the beach or springs. Because, well, I have a real life. And a family I enjoy spending time with (although the kiddo starts middle school in August, so I don’t how how much longer he’ll tolerate spending time with me).

I know...yadda, yadda, yadda… Time to get over the lame excuses and park my butt in the chair. I must focus like a yoga guru. Or Yoda.

Time to allow myself to write a shitty first draft. No more going back over and over the same chapter because it’s just not right. Save the edits for later. Get the story down.

Time to follow the words of Nora Roberts, who just may know what the hell she’s talking about:

Nora Roberts top writing advice

Here we go, campers…now I wonder if I can count this as 455 words towards today’s goal?

 

Now Read This: The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

happy pub day 2 pch

I’m sorry, I’m late, for a very important book date!  ::drum roll please::  I’d like to introduce you to Patti Callahan Henry’s latest release THE IDEA OF LOVE.

The Book:

“As we like to say in the south, ‘Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.’”

Blake is a Nicholas Sparks-esque screenwriter lacking inspiration in the wake of his divorce. He’s desperately in search of a love story beautiful enough to translate into big screen success. Disguising himself as a travel writer, he treks down the east coast to sleepy southern Watersend in search of a love story he can borrow.  When he speaks with the young and beautiful Ella Flynn, he’s convinced he has his screenplay: Ella’s beloved husband died in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her life. It’s the perfect love story for his audiences…and it’s also a lie.

Reeling from the shock of her very much alive husband’s affair, Ella is lost. When she speaks to Blake and dismisses him as a stranger she’ll never see again, she creates the life she wants and paints herself as a successful wedding dress designer recovering from her saintly husband’s sacrificial death.

In Ella, Blake finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Blake, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides, what’s a little white lie between strangers? But one lie leads to another, and soon Blake and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

Read an excerpt of  here.

pch

The Author:

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling storyteller of eleven books, including The Stories We TellBetween the Tides, and Driftwood Summer. Patti lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama with her husband and three children, where she is crafting her next story.

Follow Patti on social media— and be part of the
virtual celebration of THE IDEA OF LOVE:
Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest

The Good Stuff:

This is a short, sweet summer read that’s perfect to toss in your beach bag for a relaxing day of escapism. I read the whole book in a single afternoon while lazing on a pool float. Since both characters are lying to each other and themselves, it took a few pages to get to discover the “real” characters and bond with them, but don’t worry, you will. And Mimi, Ella’s neighbor, will leave you wishing you had a wise, old, ex-bookselling, poundcake-pushing neighbor yourself.

If you live in the southeast, check out Patti’s book tour dates here. If I wasn’t so busy at the library, I’d drive over to the coast for one of her Florida dates this week. Having met her before, I’ll tell you she’s an absolute delight, and if you live by one of the bookstores hosting her tour, don’t miss her!  (Plus who doesn’t love a freshly signed book?)

 

The Details:

The Idea of Love
by Patti Callahan Henry
St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover / 256 pages
Pub date: June 23, 2015

 

 

150+ Life-changing Books (a list by ALA Think Tank Librarians)

Librarians love to talk about books. LOVE. You’d think we do that all day long, but for some of us, chatting with patrons about books is a rare and cherished perk of the job.

So what happens when you ask an active Facebook group of librarians about the books that have changed their lives?

ala

You get answers. A mind-blowing amount of suggestions, both fiction and nonfiction.

Some of these profound books I’ve read, others are on my never ending TBR list, and at least a dozen I’ve never even heard of and I must discover.

lifechanging books

This list’s utter lack of organization is made up for by its richness and diversity. Sorry kids, but I didn’t have time to catalog by Dewey today. This compilation was copied/pasted straight from Facebook, so please forgive duplicates.

The results (in no particular order):

Night by Elie Weisel

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Bury My Heart at Wounded Kneeby Dee Brown

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

The Stand by Stephen King

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Grace in the Wilderness by Aranka Siegel

Winnie the Pooh, The stories of Beatrix Potter, Saint Maybe, Jacob Have I Loved, Beloved, No God But God,  A Fine Balance, Wuthering Heights, Zealot, The Art of Loving, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Leaves of Grass be Walt Whitman

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Nausea by Sartre

The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky,

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The Dark Is Rising

Just Above My Head

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle

Les Miserables (Victor Hugo), Julian (Gore Vidal) The Truth About Stories (Thomas King), Archive Fever (Jacques Derrida)

Time Enough For Love by Heinlein

Jenny and the Jaws of Life by Jincy Willet

The Likeness by Tana French

Waiting by Ha Jin

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Little, Big by John Crowley

Sandman by Neil Gaiman

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Dandelion Wine and Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

From the Teeth of Angels and A Child Across the Sky by Jonathan Carroll

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

The poetry of Pablo Neruda

the entire Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp. Also Art and Fear by David Bayles, Bodies Out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression by Jana Evans Braziel, and The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori

Also Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The short stories of Jonathan Carroll

Black Boy, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Immigrant Series by Howard Fast, Love Story by Erich Segal, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar

Catcher in the Rye

Dandelion Wine & Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Cloud Atlas

The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read

A Field of Buttercups by Joseph Hyams

Little Women

Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Stone Fox

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock

The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

The Outsider, Albert Camus. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad. And a YA novel about schizophrenia called Meeting Rozzy Halfway, by Caroline Leavitt

Things Fall Apart; Siddhartha; The Stranger; Me Talk Pretty One Day

The Horsemasters by Don Stanford

Anthem by Ayn Rand

The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoyevsky)

The Diversity of Life (E. O. Wilson)

Bastard Out of Carolina

1984 and Brave New World

Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

The Sneetches. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The Outsiders. The Stand. The Handmaid’s Tale. Letters of a Woman Homesteader. A People’s History of the United States. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler

Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation by Mary Daly

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Same Kind of Different as Me

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Positive by Paige Rawls

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Front Runner

The Color Purple

The Other Man Was Me

Diving Into the Wreck

Persepolis

Maus

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

World Enough and Time: on Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwan

Peace is every step, Sherlock Holmes, Istanbul and Snow by Orhan Pamuk

Animal Farm, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451

You Can Save the Animals” by Ingrid Newkirk

Cat’s Eye by Margret Atwood, Eva Luna by Isabell Allende, everything by Tom Robbins, Bruce Chatwin and Terry Pratchett

Gifted Hands

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Last Exit to Brooklyn

The Orphan Master’s Son

Naked In The Promised Land by Lillian Faderman

Assata by Assata Shakur

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Bridges of Madison County

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

As a Man Thinketh. The Book of Mormon. Seven habits of highly effective people. Outliers. Bridge to Terrabithia.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

The Name of the Wind

House of Leaves

Follow My Leader by James Garfield

Man’s Search For Meaning–Victor Frankl

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Velveteen Rabbit

David Copperfield, the Book of Mormon, and The Book Thief.

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut

Infinite Jest

The Wealthy Barber

The Incredible Journey of Edward Tulane

Biography of a face by Lucy Grealy

Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson

Looking for Alaska- John Green

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler; Faitheist : How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, by Chris Stedman; Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl; The Birthday of the World and other stories by Ursula K. Le Guin; The Brothers Lionheart and Ronia the Robbersdaughter – both by Astrid Lindgren

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

One by Richard Bach

People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Roots

Wonder

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky

e.e. cummings and David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary.
Toni Morrison, yes to A Handmaid’s Tale, Adrienne Rich, Alice Munro…

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Thank you, ALA Think Tank members, for your amazing suggestions! 

Readers: what books changed your view of the world?

It’s real!!! Introducing Lego WORLDS — The Brickmaster’s Challenge to Minecraft

LEGO Fans and Mincrafters unite! Rejoice! Get ready to craft and create.

It’s here. LEGO meets Minecraft in a Sandbox create-you-own-world video game.

LEGO's answer to Mincraft --Introducing LEGO WORLDS, a limitless collection of procedurally generated worlds made entirely of LEGO Bricks, where players build unique environments and define their own experience.

 

Introducing LEGO WORLDS, a limitless collection of procedurally generated worlds made entirely of LEGO Bricks, where players build one-of-a-kind environments and create their own unique experience.

 

It's here!! LEGO WORLDS is the Brickmaster's Answer to Minecraft. Available for $14.99for download now (in developmental stage).

 

It’s REAL. If this rolled out on April 1st instead of June 1st, I’d think this was a bloody brilliant April Fool’s Day gimmick. Yesterday, LEGO and Warner Brothers launched the beta version of WORLDS (called the STEAM Early Access experience) for PC download. Currently priced at $14.99, it’s competitively set against the $26 Minecraft download. But will it have as much to offer young worldbuilders?

LEGO® Worlds embodies physical LEGO brick-building on a digital platform and lets players build and create unique environments one brick at a time. Entire worlds and creations are brought to life with characters and creatures that interact with each other as well as the player in unexpected ways.

Developed by TT Games, LEGO Worlds allows players to use LEGO building sets digitally so they can build and create wherever their skills and imagination roam.  The current format is single player only (so no friends can join in to help you create your masterpiece yet), but mulit-player and sharing features are in the works.  Developers promise players can modify terrain quickly and easily, roam in ready-made vehicles (including helicopters and dragons), and explore vast worlds. Oh, and there’s treasure.

 LEGO Fans and Mincrafters unite! Rejoice! Get ready to craft and create.  It's here and it's REAL. If this rolled out on April 1st instead of June 1st, I'd think this was a bloody brilliant April Fool's Day gimmick.  Yesterday, LEGO released the beta version of WORLDS (called the STEAM Early Access experience) for PC download. Currently priced at $14.99, it's competitively priced against the $26 Minecraft download. But will it have as much to offer young worldbuilders?

“LEGO Worlds embodies the physical, LEGO brick-building fun that consumers have enjoyed for decades, on a digital platform that delivers an entirely new type of experience with the beloved bricks,” said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games. “From the brick-by-brick editor, to discovering an expansive range of items, characters and creatures to populate your worlds – the creative possibilities are endless.”

The idea of product tie-ins does make me a bit nervous—the potential for “to get this special diamond brick sword, enter the product code on your new $69 LEGO set” makes my wallet wince. But might it be a slightly safer environment than Minecraft for young builders? And what will this mean for the current LEGO MINECRAFT building sets?

No matter what, I’m betting it will be a heck of a lot of fun.

Will these price items be phased out?

5 Audiobooks to Make You Laugh, Think, and Revel in Girl Power

Audiobooks are my new guilty pleasure. Since you can load them onto your phone, you can have them with you everywhere. They make traffic, housecleaning, and long lines at the grocery store a million times more bearable. And if you discover the right ones, you can challenge your beliefs, eavesdrop on secrets, slip inside another person’s life, and laugh so hard the guy in the car next to you will think you’re having a seizure.

I have little patience for bad narrators, one of the reasons I’m late to the audiobooks game. Seriously, I’ve given up on dozens of novels in less then a minute when the narrators sucked. (Over-enunciation does not make up for a complete lack of inflection.) The best way to avoid this: listen to books narrated by the author!

Total. Game-changer.

And when those authors happen to be brilliant comediennes, writers, and performers, the books will leave you circling your block because you don’t want to get out of the car before the chapter ends.

Here are five of my recent favorites:

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth— whether it’s about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or parenthood (she has two daughters of her own)—to jump-start a new conversation about feminism.

“Do you have a vagina? And do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.”

“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”

Caitlin’s crude, crass, and almost ridiculously astute. She’ll have you saying, ‘Yes, oh my God, that’s it, that’s totally it!’ and ‘Holy $#@%, I cannot believe she just said that!’ between snorts of laughter. Her dirt poor hippie upbringing inspired her British TV show Raised by Wolves and although she had a bare minimum formal education, she landed a magazine job at 16 and launched her television career before hitting 18. She’s crawled through the underground music and pub scene, partied with Lady Gaga, and been named one of Brittan’s Most Influential Women by the BBC Women’s Power Hour. Eclectic, no?

With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.

(Note: if you shy away from swearing and blunt conversations about your lady bits, this one’s not for you.)

 

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Though familiar with Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live and her hosting events with her BFF Tina Fey, I’m rather embarrassed to admit I’ve never watched Parks and Recreation. After listening to Yes Please, I must watch Parks and Recreation. And I need Amy Poehler to be my new best friend. (The sweet, funny one.)

The audiobook sounds like a dinner party. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents—Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

Also included? A one night only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience.

While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs”—Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by.

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I’ve never watched The Office either. I’ve heard it’s great. I’ve heard everyone loves Mindy Kaling, and wants her wardrobe. The title grabbed me, as I’ve often pondered this question as I sat at home living my oh-so-fabulously social life of reading books and watching HGTV. This audiobook was cute, and I’d like Mindy to be my little sister—as long as I could keep my own family (though hers does seem quite lovely).

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

 

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned’ by Lena Dunham

Once again, I’ve never watched the controversial and acclaimed HBO show Girls (are you seeing a pattern here yet?). I think I’m too old to slip into the world of single twentysomethings navigating young adulthood in NYC. But I’m not too ancient to appreciate this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays by Lena Dunham – one of the bravest writers, producers, and actresses of her generation.

“If I can take what I’ve learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. About publicly sharing your body, having to prove yourself in a meeting full of fifty-year-old men, and the health fears (tinnitus, lamp dust, infertility) that keep me up at night. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you with this book, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or having the kind of sexual encounter where you keep your sneakers on. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a registered dietician. I am not a married mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in self-actualization, sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle.”

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Stylized Headphones v2 by algotruneman

Have any other audiobooks to suggest? I need recommendations, please!!!!

5 Audiobooks to Make You Laugh, Think, and Revel in Girld Power

(Sections of these descriptions via back covers or Amazon)

Love Between the Covers (& some contest love!)

First, a bit of braggy news: my women’s fiction (with elements of romance) manuscript, THE LAST RESORT, is a finalist in the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America’s FAB FIVE contest! The Silver Quill Award winner will be announced in June.

Fab Five Finalist

::fingers crossed::

Speaking of romance, have you heard about LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS? This feature-length indie documentary film explores the little-known, surprisingly powerful world of women who write and read romance. The film covers the story of five very different authors (whose day jobs include surgeon and Shakespeare professor) as they invite us inside the vast romance community that runs a powerhouse industry on the cusp of an irreversible power shift.

During the three years the filmmakers shot the documentary, they witnessed the largest power shift in the publishing industry in the last 200 years. And it’s the romance authors who are on the front lines, pioneering new ways to survive and thrive in the rapidly shifting environment.

I don’t know about you, but I need to figure out how to see this film.


I’m also going to check out PopularRomanceProject.org. The site showcases romance novels in a broad context across time and place—with a huge archive of Love Between the Covers interview excerpts, teaching resources, and blogs by romance authors, scholars and industry insiders.

And for those of you who still live under the delusion that romances are just trashy, cheap paperbacks written for those who “can’t read a real book”, a few stats:

Total Romance Novel Sales in 2013: $1.1 billion
That’s roughly one-fifth of all adult-fiction sales.

Voracious Readers
46% of romance consumers read at least one book per week.
In comparison, the typical American reads five books a year.
Romance Readers At A Glance
Age: 30-54
Education: College-educated
Average Income: $55K
Relationship Status: 59% are coupled, 84% are women, 16% are men
*Romance readers are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner

Top 10 Fiction Genres
1. $1.09 billion, Thrillers
2.$1.08 billion, Romance
3. $811 million, General
4.$548 million, Literary
5.$442 million, Mystery & Detective
6.$377 million, Fantasy
7.$185 million, Comics & Graphic Novels
8.$156 million, Historical
9.$143 million, Contemporary Women
10.$113 million,Action & Adventure

Reading Behavior
29% of romance readers usually carry a romance novel with them.
Romance readers typically begin and finish a romance novel within 7 days.
On average romance readers read more than one book:
A Week—25.5%
Every Week—20.9%
Every 2-3 Weeks—17.8%
A Month—16.1%
Sources: Love Between the Sheets Publicity, Nielsen, Bookstats, PEW Research Center, RWA,Entertainment Weekly, Author Earnings’ July 2014 Author Earnings Report, Harlequin

 

Library Day: Graphic Novel Display

Okay. I realize this is a terrible photo of my YA graphic novel display. But I had to snap it with my phone between customers, and my fellow staff members look at me like I’m standing there in a Wonder Woman cosplay costume when they catch me photographing my own “creations”.

Fun YA library display higlighting Graphic Novels. Would work for adult and J, too!

 

In real library life (florescent lights and all) it looks pretty cool and vibrant. The comic bubbles came straight from Picmonkey.com. If you aren’t utilizing Picmonkey yet, stop reading now and go over there and explore. Now. I mean it. You can make super easy display signs like the one below in a jiffy. And it’s FREE.

 

graphic novels display

This display would work well in the adult or juvenile graphic novel areas as well. I have a tougher time trying to promote YA, so there it went. Every day I have to refill the shelves, so someone is noticing and checking out. I’m working on a way to tie in in with our Summer Reading Program display—fun things ahead!

 

Now Read This: The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase ( + giveaway!)

CHASE_OneThatGotAway_blogtour
I’m delighted to introduce you to debut author Bethany Chase and her sparkling novel The One That Got Away. The story is a perfect blend of love, laughter, and heartache, and should be on your shelf right now. You can pre-order the book on Amazon now (releases 3/31/15) or scroll down for a chance to WIN one of ten copies!

About THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY:

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.

Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer—and former flame—Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn. Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices—and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life—and in love.

Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.

But if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out these swoon-worthy blurbs from some of the hottest authors in Women’s Fiction:

“A warm, witty, and wise novel, The One That Got Away announces the arrival of a great new voice in fiction.”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The One and Only

“The One That Got Away is juicy, steamy, witty, and real. Bethany Chase kept me laughing out loud as I quickly turned the pages. With a love story perfectly balanced between sexy and sweet, and settings so vivid and hip they feel like a literary Pinterest board, Chase will have you swooning.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of After I Do

 “Love can be complicated, and in The One That Got Away, Bethany Chase captures every nuanced beat of a conflicted heart. An authentic and warm voice infuses this story of humor, heartbreak, and home. While Sarina finds her way, we as readers might also find a way back to our own unique lives.”—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of And Then I Found You

“Don’t let this one get away: Chase’s debut is fun, romantic, steamy, and populated with heartfelt characters—not-to-miss delicious escapism!”—L. Alison Heller, author of The Never Never Sisters

 

Bethany Chase

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. When she’s not writing or designing, you can usually find her in a karaoke bar. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. This is her first novel.


Follow Bethany on:  Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

 

Q&A with Bethany Chase

• What got you interested in writing?
• I’ve never not been! My love for words has been one of the most consistent characteristics of my personality for my whole life, though it’s taken many different forms. (Poet, journal-­‐writer, email-­‐writer, blogger, novelist.)

• Tell us about the first book you didn’t finish.
• It was a historical romance I started writing when I was fifteen years old and heavily in the thrall of the film version of The Last of the Mohicans, with Daniel Day Lewis. (Which means, specifically, I was in the thrall of Daniel Day Lewis.) So heavily enthralled was I that my novel consisted of a first-­‐person account of a well-­‐bred colonial English lady who for unclear reasons found herself trailing her muddy skirts through the Adirondack forest, accompanied by a ruggedly handsome and ambiguously Native American trapper wearing buckskin. Shockingly, I didn’t complete it.

• Did you ever keep a journal?
• Is there a writer on earth who didn’t? I had kind of abandoned journaling by the time I graduated college, as by that point I had moved on to burdening all of my nearest and dearest with my woes over 2,000-­‐word emails rather than pouring it all out into a journal. But the high school journals are EPIC. Basically, you would have thought I was the first person in the history of humanity to have emotions and be attracted to people who didn’t like me back.

• Did you always want to be a writer?
• Nope. In fact for most of my life I avoided the idea, because I assumed it would be too hard and I’d never make enough money. I’ll let you guess which of those two assumptions has proven to be true.

• What were your favorite books growing up?
• The Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series were HUGE for me. I mean, they were books about smart, dreamy, romantic, highly verbal girls who wrote, loved beauty in all its forms, hovered at the fringes of social popularity and also really liked being alone. Emily and Anne were and always will be my spirit sisters. Also, I think my many rereads of James Herriot’s marvelous All Creatures Great and Small books legitimately helped form my sense of humor. Between Herriot and all of the Monty Python I watched growing up, I think I wound up with a fairly British sense of humor for an American.

• Who are your favorite authors now?
• Chuck Wendig, Guy Gavriel Kay and Philip Pullman for fantasy; Mary Kubica for suspense; Emily Giffin, Taylor Jenkins Reid and Joshilyn Jackson for women’s fiction; Cara McKenna and Julie James for romance.

• Do you have “one that got away?”
• I did. He was my high school boyfriend. I tracked him down seven years after the fact, like, legitimately slightly stalker-­‐style, and we actually started dating again, and you know what? We weren’t right for each other. At all. It was all very romantic and fraught as long as one of us was pining for the other one, but actually just together, with no angst? It didn’t go anywhere. We are now both very happily married to other people.

• Your bio says you are married—tell us about your love story.
• True story: when we first started dating, we had such strong physical chemistry that I assumed that meant there wasn’t going to be any more to it. My friends would say, “How’s Allen?” And I should shrug and say, “He’s hot.” This led to him being known amongst my circle for the first couple of months as Hot Allen. As far as Sex-­‐and-­‐the-­‐City-­‐style nicknames for guys go, I think he came away in a pretty strong position with that one. But then he just kept growing on me, until a few months into it I realized, holy shit I’m in love with this guy.

• What’s your idea of romance?
• No flowers, no candles, no gestures, will ever be as genuinely romantic as those random little moments that happen when you least expect them and you just get this flash of piercing sweetness and you think, yep, this is it. For me, personally, it often involves humor, or awkwardness, or both. The questionnaire on the dating site where I met my husband asked, “What’s your favorite movie sex scene?” And my answer was, the one in that 90’s Liv Tyler movie Stealing Beauty, where she’s with the guy and it’s all kissing and dreamy music and then he goes to take her underwear off and it gets stuck on her ankle and she laughs—that is THE BEST. Those little beautifully imperfect moments. And also just those moments of kindness and support; like how Anne of Green Gables doesn’t marry the wealthy guy who pulls out all the stops on the glitz and glam—she marries the guy who gave up his local teaching position, at tremendous personal inconvenience, in favor of the farther-­‐away one so that Anne could live at home with her family. That is romance.

• What does home mean to you?
• The place you belong. I think for most of us the specifics of that place change, but the definition never really does.

• How did you come up with your characters’ name?
• Well, Eamon has been my favorite name for a guy ever since the first time I fell in love, at four
years old, with my neighbor Eamon McCormick (a nice Russian boy, obviously). And despite
the fact that I am usually a strident purist about name spelling, I’ve always thought the unusual
spelling “Sarina” had something especially graceful about it. Everyone else was pretty
arbitrary. I tend to just go, “okay, think of a name!” and the first one I think of sticks.

• What do you love about the cover for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY?
• EVERYTHING. Seriously, I hit the cover jackpot. I love the colors, the bird, the graceful lettering, and the way the lettering moves rhythmically back and forth across the page. I could give you a full art-­‐history-­‐style image analysis of how wonderful this cover is in every way.

• What are you reading right now?
• I just started Liza Palmer’s Girl Before a Mirror and am really enjoying it. She’s such a funny yet
thoughtful writer.

• Who’s your favorite book couple?
• Anne and Gilbert. Obviously. In all seriousness, in terms of their mutual love, caring and respect for one another I think they are a model partnership for young girls to read about. Clearly it worked for me.

 

Y’all need a copy of this book. Click on the link below for a chance to WIN one of ten copies of THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. Contest runs 3/23 and ends 4/16.

a Rafflecopter giveaway