Some of these tattoos inspired by books are really wonderful. Take this one from A Clockwork Orange:
Or this beauty based on Mutiny on the Bounty:
I can never get a tattoo for various reasons, but I tell ya, some of these could almost have inspired me to try if I could. Check out the rest of them at BuzzFeed, and don’t forget to scroll through the comments and see some others. Add yours there, if you’ve got one. Or here. for that matter!
(And don’t forget that BuzzFeed has done other great posts about book-related things. Like the Grafitti That’s Literate.)
It’s not easy breaking out of a religion that you’ve been taught from birth is the only truth in the world. It’s even harder when you’re isolated from the rest of the world and depend on one man alone—the husband of all fifty women in the community and the father of all the children. When your mother grabs you and flees during a crisis that looks like it’s part-Waco and part-Jonestown, you’re going to suffer the mother of all identity crises.
Amaranth and her two daughters, Amity and Sorrow, fetch up on a dustbowl of a farm, depending for help on a poor farmer named Bradley. The girls struggle to retain their customs—fully cover their hair and bodies even in hot weather, don’t enter a field or any building where a man lives, and don’t talk to any male—even while their mother must break those rules to help keep them alive. The girls are pulled in two directions. Amity can’t help but be curious about this new world, and she, too, begins breaking rules as she starts to explore. But Sorrow, yearning for the honored position she held in the cult community and yearning for the father who promised that the world was about to end, despises both her mother and sister and plots to find a way—any way—to subvert them and find a way back to him.
In the book, Amity and Sorrow, Peggy Riley paints a devastatingly accurate picture of the culture shock and internal struggles faced by the woman and especially the two girls, torn from their close and sheltered family. Riley shows the small steps Amity has to take as she begins learning the customs of the world and the power of free choice. But Riley also demonstrates that for some people born into a cult, escape is truly impossible. We begin to suspect that Sorrow, in her yearning for the end of the world and her preoccupation with her father as God, may never really be saved.
This is not a story with a lot of overt action. The action is more psychological: Amaranth must understand the mistakes she made and the undercurrents she ignored in her extended family, which led to her current situation. Bradley must work through his sorrow over his ex-wife, so he can open his heart again. Amity undergoes gradual, eye-opening explorations and blossoming. And Sorrow…her resentment turns into slow, zealous madness and may destroy all of them.
The gradual psychological action may not be action enough for some readers. When the climax comes and each character must decide his or her own fate, it’s shocking and disturbing and arrives and passes relatively quickly. Yet Peggy Riley has created a personal and moving snapshot of both the appeal of a cult and the sadness and difficulty of trying to break out of it. Fortunately, for most characters and the readers alike, there are enough glimmers of light left to promise hope.
My friend in New York, Michael Castellano, is a wonderful photographer. He also has a wonderful cat named Buddy. (I would bet that the two facts are related in some profound, subliminal way.) I’ve known Michael online for years, but have only managed to visit New York and meet him in person once. And while I was there, I met the famous and adored Buddy too.
He is definitely a great cat. And something that has added to the love that we, his fans, have always borne him is the incredible photos Michael has posted of Buddy over the years.
Now, I’m happy to say, some of those beautiful photos have been collected and published in a gorgeous book. This book, Buddy the Cat, is now available through Blurb.com. Browse through it for a bit, and enjoy how Michael has captured so many of Buddy’s moods, from profound thought to silly squirming on the floor. Michael captures every nuance of color in Buddy’s eyes and the soft flow of his lovely fur.
(Sorry if you see the image below twice. Blurb.com won’t let me alter the code, so twice it is. In the first one, you can go through all the pages of the book, and the second one takes you to the Blurb.com page — where you can do exactly the same. *sigh*)
Very popular Scottish author Iain Banks has announced that he has been diagnosed with advanced gall bladder cancer and that he has no more than a few months more to live. The Guardian published the news this morning: Iain Banks diagnosed with gall bladder cancer.
Employing his trademark deadpan humour to reveal the news, the Scottish author wrote in a statement posted on his website that he was “officially very poorly”, that he was expected to live for several months and that his latest novel, The Quarry, was likely to be his last.
According to the Guardian, Banks has married his partner Adele, and the couple is having a honeymoon and visiting friends and places that are special to them. The article mentioned that Banks announced the news on his website, but when I tried to go to the website itself, I got a “Not Found” message. I wonder if the site has been taken cown completely.
This is extremely sad news to his many fans from both in the literary fiction and science fiction genres. There is one more novel to come — The Quarry — but Banks may not even live to see it published despite the publisher trying to move the book’s publication date up by four months.
The Wikipedia article on Banks mentions the author’s atheist views and quotes something he said on a BBC 4 program less than a year ago, regarding death:
Firmly restating his atheism, Banks spoke of his belief that death is an important ‘part of the totality of life’, to be treated realistically, not feared.
How unfortunate and sad that so soon afterward, Banks is being called upon to live out his beliefs on the matter. This is devastating news to all who have read and enjoyed and cared about him.
So Amazon has bought the book-lovers’ cataloguing and social site, Goodreads. I’ve been digesting this news since it was announced at the end of last week. My first reaction was very negative, and I had already pretty much decided that I would delete my Goodreads account and concentrate only on LibraryThing, where I also have been cataloguing my books over the years (and doing occasional reviews through their “Early Reviewer” program).
Two ideas have come to the fore as to why I’m dumping Goodreads:
I intensely dislike monopolies or companies that try to become monopolies.
There are several Internet companies trying to become monopolies: Facebook, Google, and Amazon are some of the biggies. I do deal with all of them, but I do what I can not to become owned by them. And there are the meatspace/Internet combos too: Apple and Microsoft. And I think Yahoo is making a last-ditch effort to play with the big boys too. I already loathed it when the great photo site, Flickr, sold out to Yahoo, and I think that I was justified. I hate to think of what moves they’re going to make as they try to jump on the “We own our users’ lives” bandwagon.
Part of my point is that in my own dealings, I don’t concentrate my whole life in any one place, and I do whatever I can to try to prevent any of those companies from taking over my whole life. For instance, I don’t register at sites which won’t let me register with an email address but insist I link to my Facebook account. Buh-bye — you guys just don’t get my business. I also may have consolidated several Google accounts in one place — but I still maintain two other accounts with all their own versions of G+, Picasa, YouTube, blah blah blah. I am not going to do absolutely everything in one place and have everything associated with one name all the time.
But apart from all that — I will not pile up a bunch of unpaid labour so that a monster-sized corporation can make even bigger piles of bucks off of my work. I do not post book reviews and that sort of thing to help mega-corp make piles of money. They may like to be the recipients of that sort of charity, but I refuse to be the donor. I post book (and other) reviews for my own entertainment and also because they might help someone else make up his/her own mind. (And when I want to post a review on Amazon, I do so. If I haven’t posted a review there, they don’t get to steal it from somewhere else and use it.) And LibraryThing respects people’s privacy a lot more and does not concentrate primarily on using other people’s work to enrich itself. (This article, Culture Shock: when Goodreads and LibraryThing collide, discusses some of the differences between LibraryThing and Goodreads, and I think it explains why I’ve always subconsciously tended to lean more toward LT from the beginning.)
I also like cataloguing my books for insurance purposes. I already know of a few people who had their personal book lists catalogued on LibraryThing and had those lists accepted for replacement purposes by insurance companies.
I won’t “go gently into that good night” where corporations simply assume we human beings are property that they can buy or sell — or for that matter, that we are money wallets that they can simply advertise at so they can make billions siphoning money out of our pockets and into theirs, while we can barely afford to buy a new book now and then. (And if you think the game is already lost, and we can’t fight the big corporations, and the only choice we have left is to decide whose property we are — you need to read some history books.)
So no, Goodreads. I’m slowly deleting my books from your site (after I check that they’re already properly recorded at LibraryThing). Soon, all Amazon will have of me there is…nothing. An empty account. Enjoy the riches.
I blush to confess that I haven’t read about a third of the books that these grafitti examples come from. But of the ones I know, I have some favourites. Like this 2001 example relating to The Lord of the Rings, photographed by Gary L. Quay:
Or the one below, photographed by Mark LaFlaur, that uses a red wheelbarrow as a platform for the poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow,” by Photographed by William Carlos Williams:
And then of course there is the grafitti that’s got a much more explicit political purpose, like this one from Tyler at VisualDisobedience:
Whatever else you think of grafitti, at least some of the artists are very literate.
This is the question–”Which book would you save?–currently being asked by the Toronto Public Library for this year’s Keep Toronto Reading festival. (It takes place during the month of April, and among other things, involves participants all reading one chosen book, which this year is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.)
This question is akin to the “If you were on a deserted island, what book would you take?” question. So even if you’re not from Toronto, it’s still an interesting thing to contemplate. And it’s a question I always have trouble with, because I couldn’t imagine taking just one book. I’d need at least six. My answer would always be, “It would have to be Dorothy Dunnett’s complete Lymond Chronicles, because that’s really a complete story told in six volumes.” If I couldn’t take all six, I suppose I’d have to make do with the sixth book, and just remember the first five.
But I digress.
One thing you can see on the library website is various people answering that question: which book they’d save from the burning library. In fact, one can make one’s own video in answer to the question and post it to YouTube, sending the link to the library, and can possibly win a reproduction of an image from the library’s archives. (I would love that!)
Here is author Lemony Snicket’s video answer:
I imagine I’d feel much the same as he would. And here is Matt Galloway, the host of the CBC MetroMorning radio program I wake up to every day:
So…if your library were on fire, what single book would you save?
Time to toot my own horn again. My novel, Helix, is available on Smashwords for USD $2.49. But this happens to be Read an E-Book Week, and the novel will be available for free all week!
All you need to do is go to the Helix page, click to download, and enter the code RW100. And that’s it!
Here’s the extended summary of what you’ll read:
If we suppress the impulses that inspire religious terrorism, do we also eliminate the spiritual impulses that lead to transcendent acts? Do they stem from the same source in the human soul, intertwining like the helix of our DNA, condemning us to an endless, deadly either/or choice?
Helix puts those questions to Peter Stewart, after the apparent suicide of his twin brother Jon. A century after the world was shaken by global religious wars, a United Nations government has brought peace by taking the teaching of religion out of the hands of families and spiritual institutions, controlling the doctrines taught in school, and not allowing children to declare or practise a religious preference until age 18. But Peter senses that the new peace stems from a deadness of spirit that has infected society, and he finds no inner resources to help him grapple with his twin’s death. Only when he discovers a “religious underground,” fighting to bring freedom of religious choice back to the world, does his own spirit seem to revive. But behind this movement looms the prospect of reintroducing the freedom to attack others in the name of one’s own spiritual beliefs. Peter’s exploration of censored history and his struggle with this either/or problem interweave with his ambivalence about the dangerous project of the religious underground throughout the novel.
Take advantage of this chance to save $2.49 and read Helix for free! Then tell your friends.
Now, this is a very nice idea if you want to watch your Sherlock and see it as a cartoon too. Illustrations done from screenshots of the “A Scandal in Belgravia” episode. For example:
Illustration, “A Scandal in Belgravia”
Angela Taratuta of the Just a Geeky Artist Tumblr blog decided to take some screenshots of that Sherlock episode and do her own illustrations of some of them. She’s got enough now that if you know the story, you can follow it fairly well by going through the slideshow of the illustrations.
So you can see these as something of a comic book or perhaps, as Tor.com called the collection, “a Disney-style Storybook.” Though judging by some of the drawings–the one above, for example–I think “Disney” might not quite be the correct venue. But the illustrations are definitely very good.