Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ This week’s book news: Steve Almond at posted an interesting article about how independent bookstores are battling Amazon by becoming publishers. I’m a big fan of small presses, and I think this is definitely a positive trend. Found via a Facebook post by Hub City.

In other book-related news, and via Theodora Goss on Facebook, I read 25 Reasons Real Books Are Here to Stay, which was a fun read. Personally, I think there’s probably enough market to bear both physical books and electronic books, although the publishing industry will need to change to accommodate the new technology. (And, no, I’m not converting to an e-reader anytime soon, don’t you worry.)

The following link isn’t really about books, but The King of Elfland’s Second Cousin posted a review of Tzvetan Todorov’s The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre in which he also posted a picture of his remodeled Library Annex (also his dining room), and that picture made me happy. Where did he get those great bookcases, I wonder? Incidentally, the review of Todorov is also quite good.

Eduardo Rolero's Surreal 3D Street Art Illusions

♦ My friend Andy sent me the link to the 10 Most Awe-Inspiring Projects of 2011, which I quite enjoyed. Longtime readers of this blog will even notice that a couple of Magpie Monday items made it onto the list. At left is one of my favorites from that list (minus, of course, the ones I posted about previously). Click to see it full-size, ’cause it’s pretty awesome.

♦ My friend Marnie Dresser posted a great blog entry titled “Getting Off on Not Putting Off (Procrastination, Part 2).” I’ve always been a procrastinator about grading, but Marnie’s inspired me to get more on the ball. Or at least try.

♦ Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have a new comic book, Fatale, that just started last week. Based on the 5-page preview over at Warren Ellis’s site—and the premise of horror noir—I’m sold. Check it out!

♦ io9 has an amazingly comprehensive list of 70 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies to Watch Out for in 2012. I hadn’t even heard of some of these. Will any of these grab me enough to make me go to an actual theater to watch them? Tune in to find out….

While we’re talking about film: for multiple reasons, I think Cameron will want to know What’s the Deal with David Lynch’s Unproduced Science Fiction Screenplay Ronnie Rocket.

♦ In The New York Times Magazine, Tara Parker-Pope’s “The Fat Trap” is both fascinating and a little depressing, considering, as some of you know, I’ve been working on losing weight so my high blood pressure doesn’t kill me sooner rather than later (since May I’ve lost about 35 pounds, give or take).

For you writers out there, I have a couple of links you might find enlightening, fun, or useful. First up, Chuck Wendig posted 25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing (Right F*cking Now), which is a great list to incorporate into your New Year resolutions (if you do that kind of thing). Here are the five things on that list I definitely need to stop doing:

  1. Stop Waiting
  2. Stop Deprioritizing Your Wordsmithy
  3. Stop Playing It Safe
  4. Stop Listening to What Won’t Sell
  5. Stop Being Afraid

My MFA friend Kevin St. Jarre posted Some Writing Stuff: some good advice for writers to think about.

If you ever wondered about the answer to Lewis Carroll’s riddle, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” wonder no more: io9 has the answer.

Yesterday was Charles Addams’s birthday (that link has a bunch of his classic New Yorker cartoons), and because of that someone on Facebook mentioned a quote by Morticia in the 1965 episode of The Addams Family, “Morticia, The Writer,” which rang true for me: “All work and no play gets books done.” I also then went to Hulu to watch that episode, which you should, too. Good Addams fun!

Relatedly, at GigaOM, Michael Wolf tells us Why 2012 Will Be The Year of the Artist-Entrepreneur:

While 2011 was a big year for political unrest, another uprising was afoot in the world of content creators and artists. Everywhere you look, artists are taking more control over their own economic well being, in large part because the Internet has enabled them to do so. You see it in all forms of content, from books, to video to music.

The Beat has a response to Wolf’s article, which also discusses the idea of the artist-entrepreneur in the comic world. (Louis CK fans, take note: he’s mentioned in both articles.) Given my belief in artisan capitalism, I can get behind this kind of movement.

♦ In addition to being an artist I really enjoy (check out his Union of Superlative Heroes and Order of Nefarious Villain trading cards to see why), Chet Phillips features a lot of great artists on his website, as you may have noted from past Magpie Mondays. This past week he featured several artists that captured my eye, particularly Sol Sallee, Anton Semenov, and Markus Reugels (click the thumbnails below to see larger images).

Sol Sallee

Anton Semenov

Markus Reugels

Two music videos for you this week. The first is just kind of quirky, but it made me smile: Jack Barrowman singing a mash-up of the Spider-Man and Wonder Woman television shows. I don’t know what to think of the dancers, but it’s fun. Via.

The second is “In My Mind” by Amanda Palmer, which is really addictive. Plus, she knows how to rock a uke. Via.

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