‘Victory for dirt’

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, has always been my hero, now more than ever since she led the charge against the The Clean Reader, an app which enabled customers to “read books, not profanity”. A filter could be applied to ebooks purchased from its online store, which exchanged words that were judged to be offensive with alternatives.

Joanne HarrisJoanne Harris. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod
Explaining in The Guardian why she felt the filter was “censorship, not by the state, but by a religious minority”, Harris said it “misunderstand[s] the nature of fiction writing” and gives a “toxic message” to young people.

The app is being pulled and Harris claimed that it is a “small victory for the world of dirt”.

Harris, of course, isn’t the only author who objected. Among the many others is someone whose bio reads: “Chris Farnell is an author whose work has been described as containing “plenty of ripe profanity”. His anthology, Dirty Work, is sadly not available through Clean Reader, but you should feel free to go through it removing all the swearing and replacing all his characters with wombles.”

He has come up with other apps he thinks should be made available, including Dirty Reader, which will go through any book replacing “heck” with “hell”, etc. and Naked Reader, which will essentially replace any mention of clothes with the words “bare flesh” and “skin”.

I like him already.

While the protests ended with the app apparently being pulled. someone else connected with it is talking about “updates” so that implies a continued zombie existence.

Dan Meadows commented on the site where The Clean Reader was originally put up that he finds “the attitude many writers have shown here to be very off-putting. I wouldn’t use it, I’d make a case for not using it to anyone who does but I’m not going to tell someone who paid for the book how they’re allowed to read it. They bought it, they own it as far as I’m concerned. If they choose to use a glorified find/replace text, knock yourself out. Getting into dangerous territory here claiming the right to determine what people do with the things they’ve bought after they’ve bought them. Where does that stop, exactly? Throwing up both middle fingers with a big old “F#&$ you!” to folks with concerns over profanity is pretty egregiously arrogant and disrespectful too.

It’s disrespectful to insist on the integrity of one’s own work? In the face of pure primness and ideological bias?

I’m writing for readers whom I assume to be mature enough to choose what they want to read. They may not choose to read my books, but that’s their choice. I am not going to write goshdarned vanilla pablum because someone cannot handle a swear word in context.

Please note, it starts here. From here on, it gets worse. What if someone does not wish to read a book with a gay character because it conflicts with their ideology? What then? Is there an app that can EXCISE AN ENTIRE CHARACTER, a whole plotline, which a reader might find unsavoury?

Isn’t it just easier to find other reading material, people? Stuff that won’t offend your delicate sensibilities? Here’s a novel idea – DON’T READ THE STUFF YOU DON’T LIKE.

My response to Dan Meadows was this:

As an author with more than a dozen books out there… here’s the thing. There’s silent contract out there between the Writer and the Reader. The Writer writes the story that the Writer writes, and that is the thing that the Writer puts into the contract. The Reader has several options at their end of the contract. They choose to buy the book, or they do not.

If they do not, this is where it ends and the silent contract is voided – the Reader does not choose to take up their side of it. The reasons for this may include the use of profanity in the book which the Reader does not wish to see or interact with. That’s fine. That’s the reader’s choice. If the Reader has particular requirements of their books (like for instance no swear words) it is UP TO THE READER to find books which match those criteria. Nobody is forcing any Reader ANYWHERE to pick up a book they find offensive in any way.

If they buy the book, they have three options. They can read the book and like it, in which case the contract is fulfilled from both ends and everything is just great. They can read the book and go, meh, I’ve read better – in which case the contract is fulfilled because the Writer provided a story, the Reader wasn’t particularly enthralled by the story, and there was simply a mismatch of tastes and intent. Or they can read (or not finish, as it were, that’s option 3A) the book because they virulently hate it, and in this case (assuming they have a valid reason for hating it) they’re perfectly free to go out and tell everyone what a terrible horrible book this is.

THERE IS NO OPTION 4. You don’t, as a Reader, get to rewrite an existing book according to your sensibilities, beliefs, or ideology. Your choices are to like the thing, to not like the thing and yell about about it to like-minded friends, or NOT TO READ IT. As written, that story is the product of someone ELSE’s imagination, dedication, and hard work. If that person felt that a swear word was necessary, it probably was. You are under no obligation to read that word, or the book it appears in. But your choice here is simply to put the damned book down and walk away. You don’t get a do-over. Period.

What do you all think?

Alma Alexander      

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My books         Email me   

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The novel is dead – again

On Vox, Kelsey McKinney remembers the 30 times the novel has been declared dead since 1902

Read the whole story HERE

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Since I have written many coming-of-age stories –from the Worldweavers and The Were Chronicles books to the Syai Empire Tales and The Hidden Queen — I was recently asked in an interview what the lure was for me.

Life is change,” I answered, and …”There is a particular age when change can be monumental, can place you between heartbreaking choices, can alter you or your circumstances in a fundamental way, so as to leave you in an entirely different space, both inside your own head and in the world around you. The story then becomes how you have evolved to fit those changes.

“That is the crux of the coming-of-age story, this evolution, and watching human beings change fascinates me. There are just so many possible individual responses to any given stimulus, so many alternate futures waiting, that it’s a breathless thing to wait and see which road a particular character will choose to take and how that choice will affect everyone else around them.”  (Read my interview HERE)

Camille DeAngelis, the author of Bones & All, a coming-of-age novel about a girl who’s also a cannibal, picked for Publishers Weekly:

The 10 Best Coming-of-Age Books You’ve Never Read

Her remarks are similar to mine. “…when we see fictional people growing into themselves to meet the seemingly-impossible challenges thrust upon them, , we feel better prepared to handle our own. This process is particularly critical during adolescence…”

Her choices include:
Prim ImproperPrim Improper by Deirdre SullivanThis Irish coming-of-age trilogy is alternately hilarious and poignant. When Primrose O’Leary’s mother dies in a bike accident involving a drunk driver, she has to move in with her dad Fintan—the quintessential Celtic fat cat—who’s been pretty much an absentee father up to this point. Written in diary format, the Prim Improper books are witty and tender without ever straying into sentimentality, emphasizing the value of compromise and of looking for the good in people who aren’t remotely like you—especially when you’re stuck with them because they’re family.

 

 

Read the whole article HERE

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EpicReads has selected:

The 18 Most Beautiful YA Endpapers in the World

Cracking the spine of a hardcover book and discovering beautiful endpapers is a lot like opening the door to a literary surprise party. At first, you’re taken aback. A stunning cover immediately followed by equally stunning endpapers? Yes, let it sink in, because book designers know, sometimes you deserve to be spoiled.Angel endpaperThe Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare – photo posted by Brenda Franklin (@beefranklin613)

See other breathtaking YA endpapers HERE

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Listen to what the English of Shakespeare, Beowulf, and King Arthur actually sounded like in these videosbeowulfThe English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible may seem flowery, but it’s basically just an older version of what we speak now, James Harbeck explains in The Week. In fact, it’s what linguists call Early Modern English. But it’s not what you hear in the movies, more like a mix of Irish and pirate. Watch the video and hear Ben Crystal perform a sonnet in the pronunciation of Shakespeare’s time.

Old English is not understandable at all to modern English speakers; you’d have an easier time learning Dutch or Danish. The most famous bit of literature from the Old English period is Beowulf. Listen to Benjamin Bagby, who sounds like he grew up then, read from it.

Read the whole story HERE

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I don’t know who this woman is but I want to be her… these are my totem beasts, and my whole spirit just cried out watching that video. They are BEAUTIFUL.White Wolf PactThe Mysterious Connection Between Wolves and Women (Video)

All strong women who believe the Spirit heals.. who believe in spirituality, myth and medicine of the soul, should read this amazing work. It is a truly profound spiritual testimony to the Wild Wolf Woman within! ~ Selkywolf…

White Wolf Pact instructs us that healthy woman is much like a wolf – strong life force, life-giving, territorily aware, intuitive and loyal. Yet separation from her wildish nature causes a woman to become meager, anxious, and fearful….Without us, Wild Woman dies. Without Wild Woman, we die. Para Vida, for true life, both must live. © Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

Buzzfeed offers 33 tongue-in-cheeks reasons You Should Never Read A BookLost vistasAll those magnificent vistas lost forever while you are home reading

See all the “reasons” HERE

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Quote of the Day

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”  ~ James Baldwin

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Alma Alexander     My books      Email me

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Perfect short stories?

At io9 Charlie Jane Anders, has picked:
18 Perfect Short Stories that pack more punch than most novels

One example of hers is:
Bradbury Soft Rains“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray BradburyThis story is in a special league in the knife-twisting sweepstakes. Like a lot of stories in the years following World War II, it’s concerned with the threat of nuclear annihilation, but also with how our technology might outlive us. The whole thing is one big gut-punch.

I wholly agree with the Bradbury. And the Asimov; it is one of his best stories, ever. And of course, the Le Guin. I haven’t read some of the others, but maybe it’s just my sensibilities in that some of the more recent examples on this list – although technically brilliant and beautifully rendered – have left little permanent mark on me. They just lacked the HEART of some of that older classic stuff.

There is at least one Arthur C. Clarke story I would have added to the list. The Star offers an emotional punch to the gut that is unforgettable.

Agree with her list? Disagree? What would you add?

Read the whole story HERE

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I read only 34 out of the 57 books on this list. I should be ashamed of myself. I am less well read than a cartoon sitcom character. I hang my head in shame.

Daria Morgendorffer’s Reading List
DariaMTV’S much-loved animated sitcom Daria centered on a smart, disaffected teenager with a caustic wit. The show was filled with literary references.

Here are 57 books that Daria read or that were mentioned during the episodes. As DariaWiki puts it, “If it’s old, morbid, or esoteric, Daria will read the hell out of it.”

Read the whole story HERE
See how many YOU read HERE

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Top 10 castles in fiction
Howl's Moving CastleThe ‘extraordinary and bracingly complicated’ Howl’s Moving Castle.

From classic scary Gothic settings to warm and dreamy refuges, fiction is full of castles. Jessamy Taylor picks the most memorable

There are many things you can do with a good castle. Hide in it. Feast in it. Break into it. Break out of it. Plot in it. Live your whole life in it. Fiction is full of castles: on hillsides, in forests, in towns, on clifftops. Castles dreaming in the distance, or castles looming over your head. Castles made of stone, of wood, of ice; with passageways tunnelling deep into the ground, or spiralling high with turrets and stairways. Castles safe and warm, or frightening and oppressive; busy and functional, or lonely and ruined. They’re everywhere.

Read the whole story HERE

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The top 10 knights in literature
KnightsIllustration by Michael Foreman from the book Arthur, High King of Britain by Michael Morpurgo (Egmont). Photograph: Publisher

Author and historian Thomas Asbridge picks his favorite medieval adventurers.

Whether it be a gallant, armour-clad noble racing to the rescue of an imperilled damsel, or a blood-soaked warrior engaged in a savage massacre, the image of the knight in action is inimitably linked to our popular conception of the medieval world. Knights stood at the forefront of European history for centuries, serving as conquerors and keepers of the peace in a barbarous era fraught with conflict and immortalised as heroes in epic myths and romanticized tales.

Read the whole story HERE

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Cats and books, what’s not to love?

8 Great Novels Starring Cats
Cats & booksPhoto: Shutterstock

“When I’m not busy working at my day job and writing for Catster,” JaneA Kelley says, “I love to read. I especially love to read about cats, and even a quick glance at my bookshelf or my Kindle library proves that. The stories below are ones I found entertaining, engaging, and fun to read (even during the sad parts).
Silent MiaowThe Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico: This delightful and at times sad memoir is actually a manual for stray cats and homeless kittens on how to convince people that they need a cat in their lives. Written by an older cat who has succeeded in this task, he instructs his feline readers in the art of manipulation, sweet talking, and generally looking cute, and extols the virtues of living with people in a warm, loving home. The Silent Miaow was written in 1964, predating the Internet and its obsession with cats by decades, and includes 200 photos by photographer Susan Szasz.

Read the whole story HERE

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Giraffes are…
giraffes_are.Google’s autocomplete, which attempts to guess what you’re searching for by looking at the most common searches, can take you to dark, sometimes hilarious places. Looking at autocomplete results also happens to be a great pastime, which is probably why some geniuses decided to create the game Google Feud.

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT
Books quizJordan Matter / Via pinterest.com

I got 66 out of 80. How about you?

Take the quiz HERE
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Stephen King: I’m rich, tax me

In an expletive-filled condemnation of America’s tax system, the bestselling novelist, who donates $4m a year to charity, says wealthy Americans have a ‘moral imperative’ to pay higher taxes”

Read the whole story HERE

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200 years of immigration to the US

“It’s easy now to assume that Mexico has always been among the main sources of immigration to America,” Dara Lind writes at VOX. “but as this wonderful chart by Natalia Bronshtein shows, that’s not even close to true.”
200 years of immigrationRead the whole story HERE

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Quote of the Day  

Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves… read to live.” ~ Gustave Flaubert

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Alma Alexander      My books      Email me   

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Meadows or Dragons?

On Fantasy Mountain, or, My Dreams are Doozies.

This time it’s a voice-over, reading matter-of-factly from something that sounds an awful lot like an essay, or a script, with my dream-eye providing some amazing visual illustrations. The text part of the whole thing – and yes, I woke up remembering it almost verbatim – is as follows:

You begin to climb the foothills and very soon, not very far up Fantasy Mountain, the road diverges. The one that goes off to the right is on the pleasant side of the mountain.
alpine-meadow_It twists and turns through flower-strewn alpine meadows, the views that fall off to the side are fabulous and amazing, rich countryside riding off to the horizon as far as the eye can reach. The road passes through villages with pretty houses which have window-boxes planted with scarlet geraniums, and carved wooden edges to their roofs like in high Bavarian villages; there are inns with colourful signs swinging before them, and plump smiling women sweeping stone front steps with rustic brooms, and there’s a smell of good food and fine drink coming from the inviting and open front door. There are children with cute goats in tow.

There are large good natured blundering dogs which come along to drool on you in ecstasy when you pet them, and somnolent cats sunning themselves on window ledges. Somewhere there are photos of this cupcake village on a winter evening, covered with snow, lights twinkling in the silent darkness of the high country like some eternal Christmas. It’s all pretty, and pleasant, and the people are kind and good and polite, and everyone smiles until their faces ache.

The left-hand road, twists off into the grey and the dark.
Stark landscape© Jim Patterson Photography

The views are just as breathtaking – but they are precious and few and far between and not for everybody because they are merely glimpsed now and then through veils of mist or walls of fog. There’s usually snow on the ground even in high summer. There are inhospitable crags.

The dogs are more than half wolves, and they are not pettable – they are far more likely to stand their ground and snarl at you and stare at you out of yellow eyes while you sidle past them on the far side of the street. Everything is narrow and brooding and sharp and dark. There isn’t enough light for flowers. There isn’t even enough light to grow the necessary wheat which will make bread, and so what bread there is mean, hard and black, and doled out with a stingy hand.

The FEW children look pinched and hungry. The wind howls and screams and weeps endlessly while whipping around echoing mountaintops; there are other, more fell, noises in there somewhere, carried by the wind but not of it, which you can hear if you listen for them, and they turn the blood in your veins into ice.

And yes, there are dragons.

Sigh.

Guess which side of the mountain I usually end up on…?

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Disney clones womenDisney womenImages by Disney/GIF via Cartoon Brew

Disney has a bizarre tendency to animate female characters with minor variations of the same doe-eyed, button nosed template, Isis Madrid writes at Good.

Tumblr User, Every Flavored Bean, made the troubling discovery, Madrid wrote, that for some reason Disney/Pixar refuses to animate women in any way that is realistic, unique, interesting, or *gasp* unpretty:

“Apparently every Disney woman is a clone/direct descendant of some primordial creature with huge round cheeks and a disturbingly small nose, because there is no other explanation (yes there is(it’s lazy sexism)) for the incredible lack of diversity among these female faces.”

Read the whole story HERE

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Nine Tips for Finishing That Novel
by Hanya Yanagihara at PowellsBooks.Blog

“My second novel …will be published in March. Because my first book…came out in August of 2013, people have been asking me…why did the first book take 16 years to write, and the second only 18 months?

The answer is: I don’t know…but not knowing is not going to stop me from sharing the following nine rules for anyone working on their manuscript, wondering if, and when, and how, they too might be published.

1) You don’t need an MFA to write a novel.
2) Publishing is not a foot race….

Read the whole story HERE

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If the Sun were replaced with other stars…Kepler 35Halcyon Maps shows us how the sunset could look like to a human observer if our Sun was replaced by some of the other stars in our galaxy such as Barnard’s Star, Gliese 581, Tau Ceti, Kepler-23, Alpha Centauri A, Procyon, Sirius, Pollux, Arcturus and Aldebaran.

I say don’t forget your sunglasses when you go visit any of Aldebaran’s worlds.

But Halcyon Maps cautions that it is just a concept, as liquid water and the Earth as we know it could not exist in the vicinity of the most stars in this graphic.

See the other stars HERE

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Literary Posters for Book Lovers and Minimalists Alike

QUOTE Herman MelvilleIf there’s one thing bibliophiles can’t get enough of, Elizabeth Vogt tells us at Electric Literature, it’s literary posters.

And Obvious State’s minimalist offerings, she says, make the case for covering an entire wall with them. Drawing inspiration from such beloved authors as Hemingway, Salinger, and Dostoevsky, the posters feature simplistic yet metaphoric black and white designs that reflect the literary quote displayed across the page.

 

 

See the others HERE

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10 Unusual Library Collections Around the World

Imagine walking into the home of a recently deceased resident after getting a mysterious phone call about a massive collection of maps, Alison Nastasi writes at Flavorwire.

That’s what happened to Glen Creason, the map librarian at Los Angeles Central Library. He walked out of the home with boxes of historical maps and coveted city guides that instantly doubled the library’s collection.

eyeballsDuke University’s History of Medicine Collections features anatomical manikins, surgical saws, and other spine-tingling instruments you hope to never see in your doctor’s office. Students and researchers are free to study the institution’s collection of prosthetic glass eyeballs.

Read the full story HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

The most important political problem in the modern world is the position of women. I think all of the other oppressions, whether it be homophobia, whether it be racism, or what have you, are all modeled on the oppression of women.” ~ Samuel R. Delany

Story/video HERE

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Quote of the Day
QUOTE Words you speak~~~~~

Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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They read WHERE?

Good place to readWashington Square North, Nov. 2, 2013.

At Slate, David Rosenberg offers proof that New Yorkers will read absolutely anywhere by examing the work of photographer Lawrence Schwartzwald, who started a prolific series of people reading.

All of the images were taken spontaneously, apart from some of the celebrities he has seen reading.

See all the photos HERE

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I’ll be giving a reading in Seattle this Thursday evening and I’d love to see you there if you are within driving distance…

or have your own a private jet, of course.

WHO:      Alma Alexander (me)
WHEN:   Thursday, March 19, 7 p,m.
WHERE:  University Book Store, U District, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle
WHAT:     Reading and book signing

Random“There are werewolf stories and there are high school stories. Then there’s Alma Alexander’s new YA fantasy series The Were Chronicles. Set in a world of changelings as diverse as the many different creatures they can turn into. Strict regulation, isolation, and discrimination keep Weres always one notch below the normals they share the world with. And when Jazz—a teenage Random whose form is not completely fixed every Turn—uncovers startling secrets about her sister’s death, what begins is a complex and gripping story about family, culture, race and rebellion that will stay with you long after you turn its last page. Join us for a reading and signing, Alexander will share her brave new work, and maybe even spill a few secrets about what we can look forward to next!”

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How Genre Fiction Became More Important Than Literary Fiction

The book war is over, Stephen Marche writes in Esquire, the aliens, dragons, and detectives won.
literary vs genreThe forms of genre—science fiction, fantasy, the hardboiled detective story, the murder mystery, horror, vampire, and werewolf stories—have become the natural homes for the most serious literary questions, he writes.

Only idiots or snobs ever really thought less of ‘genre books’ of course. There are stupid books and there are smart books. There are well-written books and badly written books. There are fun books and boring books. All of these distinctions are vastly more important than the distinction between the literary and the non-literary.

Time has a tendency to demolish old snobberies. Once upon a time, Conan Doyle was embarrassed by the Sherlock Holmes stories; he wanted to be remembered for his serious historical novels.

Read the whole article HERE

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Doctor Who takes the Bechdel Test

Blogger Sarah Barrett watched all 117 episodes of modern-day Doctor Who and analyzed how many passed the Bechdel Test which asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

Turns out that 96 pass the Bechdel Test, giving Doctor Who an overall pass rate of… 80%! That strikes me as not bad, but not outstanding either, for a show that has so many female main characters. I give you a B+, Doctor Who. I know you can do better.
Doctor Who Bechdel Test Infographic

See the story and full infographic HERE

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Extraordinary photos from NASA

NASA continues to blow our minds, Answers.com says, with photos of the vast unknown corners of space. From far away galaxies to our familiar Man in the Moon, these photos will show you things that are hard to fathom as realistic.
Whirlpool galaxyWhirlpool Galaxy: A spiral galaxy like our Milky Way, but is located about 30 million light-years from Earth. The photo combines X-ray wavelengths (purple), with ultraviolet (blue), visible light (green) and infrared light (red). A spectacular image to leave us astounded.

See all the photos HERE

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Author says Colonizing Mars Won’t Be As Easy As He Thought
MarsKim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy filled us all with hope that we could terraform Mars in the 21st century, Charlie Jane Anders writes at io9. But in the face of what we’ve learned about Mars in the past 20 years, the author no longer thinks it’ll be that easy.

Robinson explains that his ideas about terraforming Mars, back in the 1990s, were based on three assumptions that have been called into question or disproved:

See the rest of the story HERE

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Huge ocean confirmed underneath solar system’s largest moon
GanymedeGanymede’s magnetic field

The solar system’s largest moon, Ganymede, in orbit around Jupiter, harbors an underground ocean containing more water than all the oceans on Earth, Eric Hand reports in Science.

Ganymede now joins Jupiter’s Europa and two moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, as moons with subsurface oceans—and good places to look for life.

Read the article HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

If there’s one thing that every human on this earth has in common, it is that, at some point, we will have to deal with death, Elisabeth Donnelly writes at Flavorwire. She offers  25 books that look straight into the face of death and reveal something new about what it’s like to be alive, saddled with that knowledge that someday, we and our loved ones will die.

See all the books HERE

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Vertical Forest: An Urban Treehouse That Protect Residents from Air and Noise Pollution
Tree HouseApartment building in Turin, Italy – © Beppe Giardino

Read the story HERE

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Quote of the Day  

Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves… read to live.” ~ Gustave Flaubert

~~~~~
Alma Alexander      My books      Email me   

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Don’t touch my books!

At MindBodyGreen, Lisa Westmoreland has offered us 10 Ways To Declutter Your Home (And Life!)

She lost me at #4 where says that if you don’t read a book right away, get rid of it, if you have read it, get rid of it because yoiu won’t reread it…and spend your time with the one book you’re excited about right now.

“ONE” book? Block your ears while I scream.

Look, don’t get me wrong – clutter free is good if you can get it – but BOOKS AREN’T CLUTTER.

Books are life. Together, my husband and I have an estimated 5,000 plus. They are in the library, they are in the spare non-bedroom, they are in the living room piled on the coffee table, besides Deck’s chair, on the piano…Well, actually, there are books in every room of the house.Checking out my booksLiving in a “clutter free” home devoid of books? Well – shoot me now. I would rather you did that than make me give away every single book that might not meet “current needs”.

Yes, some of them I read years ago and never re-read – but I look at them and they bring back a moment in which they were a joy to me.

Yes, some of them I have bought and haven’t read YET – and so what? Who is to police the use of my time, and the timeline in which I read my books? Right now, each of my my unread books are a Schrodinger book – not yet read and/or beloved still brand new and in the wrapper with all the anticipation still to come… or possibly never to be read, in which case it serves its own purpose as a marker of my state of mind, my attitudes, my beliefs, the things I suround myself with.

Books are a world, they’re MY world, and while I just did give a box of books I had no further use for to the second-hand store, it was because those particular books were ready to leave this house, not because I was “decluttering”.

It would break my heart to get rid of books for no reason other than they “take up space”, or “gather dust”. it’s precious dust. it’s word-dust. It whispers to me even when the book is not open to my eyes..

Clutter is as clutter does. Don’t touch my books.

That said, much of her approach to decluttering makes sense.

Read the whole article HERE

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I’ll be giving a reading in Seattle this Thursday evening.  

If you are within driving distance, I’d love to see you there

WHO:       Alma Alexander (me)
WHEN:    Thursday, March 19, 7 p,m.
WHERE:  University Book Store, U District, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle
WHAT:     Reading and book signing

Random“There are werewolf stories and there are high school stories. Then there’s Alma Alexander’s new YA fantasy series The Were Chronicles. Set in a world of changelings as diverse as the many different creatures they can turn into. Strict regulation, isolation, and discrimination keep Weres always one notch below the normals they share the world with. And when Jazz—a teenage Random whose form is not completely fixed every Turn—uncovers startling secrets about her sister’s death, what begins is a complex and gripping story about family, culture, race and rebellion that will stay with you long after you turn its last page. Join us for a reading and signing, Alexander will share her brave new work, and maybe even spill a few secrets about what we can look forward to next!”

~~~~~
Quote of the day

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Alma Alexander       My books       Email me

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Terry in quotes

Terry PrachettTerry Pratchett on an archive picture. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe/Eamonn McCabe

As the literary world mourns the death of Discworld creator Terry Pratchett, The Guardian has selected some of his most inspiring and memorable quotes. Including:

“Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can.”

More Terry Pratchett quotes HERE

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He said WHAT?
Writers' insultsFamous Writer Insults

Shari Stauch puts together what writers REALLY think of their brethren.

For example:
Faulkner HemingwaySee them all HERE

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Literary Instagrams worth a look

I haven’t tried Instagram yet, but at HuffPost Claire Fallon has written a story that has me thinking about it. While tweeting has become important among the literati, Instagram’s more visual platform hasn’t caught on to the same degree.

Twitter encourages writers to use words more conscientiously, engage in conversations with other authors, and hop on to bookish hashtags; Instagram asks us to think aesthetically, Fallon notes. “We book nerds love a good visual as much as anyone, especially if that image includes our favorite things: books.”

Author and artist Miranda July greeted fans with a provocative twist on a book announcement pic: her new novel posed between bare, spreadeagled legs.  “The birth of my Instagram account,” she dryly captioned her first photo on the site. After just this one post, July already has over 6,000 followers.
Book Birthhttps://instagram.com/mirandajuly/

And, of course:

Cats Only Book Club
catbookclub
Cats+books=yes. Yes forever.
Cats and booksOther bookish Instagram sites HERE

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I got 71. Wow. I spend a lot of time reading.

How about you?

NPR’s Top 100 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Books

More than 5,000 of you nominated. More than 60,000 of you voted. And now the results are in, NPR says. The winners of NPR’s Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy survey are an intriguing mix of classic and contemporary titles. There are no young adult or horror books on this list, but those genres will come another time.

The Top 100 HERE

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What Am I Looking At?!
IllusionCanadian artist Rob Gonsalves is a genius when it comes to optical illusions. His surreal paintings seem ordinary enough at first, but move your eyes across the frame and suddenly the scene is something completely different.

In Gonsalves’ paintings, up is down, down is sideways…

More illusions HERE

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11 Essential Reads for Women’s History Month

We are all familiar with Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Doris Lessing, Simone de Beauvoir, and the contributions they made to feminist literature, Off the Shelf says. But great literature concerning feminist themes is not confined to these classics.

Many of our most exciting contemporary literary writers are expanding and complicating our understanding of what it means to be a woman today. Encompassing the thrill, rage, devastation, and range of the female experience, these essential voices should not be ignored. I’d argue that my own The Secrets of Jin-shei fits that, though it wasn’t among the 11 they chose.

One remarkable book that was picked was:
AmericanahAmericanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This powerful story of race and gender is centered on Ifemelu, a brilliant and self-assured young woman who departs military-ruled Nigeria for an American university where, for the first time, she is forced to grapple with her identity as a black woman. Ifemelu faces difficult choices and challenges, suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, and eventually achieves success as the writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. Fearless and gripping, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world.

 

See the others HERE

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Author Katharine Norbury includes one of the funniest books ever written, one I hectored my husband into reading, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, in her list of:

The top 10 books about rivers
GilgameshCuneiform tablet with Gilgamesh Flood Epic. Babylonian, c17th century BC. Photograph: Universal Images Group/Getty Images

She also includes The Epic of Gilgamesh: The oldest story ever told, or at any rate, ever written down, was inscribed onto 11 clay tablets around 1800 BC and rediscovered in Mesopotamia in 1853 AD. In 1998, the opening lines turned up in a vault in the British Museum. Rivers run through it, as they do through all the great origin myths.

Her other fascinating choices HERE

I never wrote a novel about rivers, but I did produce an anthology filled with stories by some wonderful writers.

[My anthology, River, HERE]

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THIS ‘n THAT

Maine bed & breakfast owner will sell her inn to anyone for just 200 words

Offer your words HERE

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10 words we’ve forgotten how to pronounce

Pronounce THIS

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Quote of the Day

Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” ~ Terry Prachett

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Alma Alexander     My books     Email me

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