Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

I’m really rather obsessed with shelves, particularly for books, of course, but I like a nice-looking shelf no matter what. Oscar Nuñez designed some shelves inspired by comics speech balloons, available (for a not-so-funny price) from Groopti. Below is the larger of the two shelves:


♦ io9 put together a list of 10 totally psychotic fairy tales Hollywood should film next. I was glad to see that they included “The Juniper Tree” and two variants of the Handless Maiden tale, some of my favorites (yes, I like the weird stuff). Speaking of weird, io9 also had a fascinating piece about the Victorian practice of binding a book with your own dead skin, and I learned a new term: anthropodermic bibliopegy!

♦ Theodora Goss had a really interesting post wondering what happened to modernism. Definitely worth a read, but here’s my favorite part:

This [modernism, via an excerpt from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man] is a way of writing that leaves spaces, quite a lot of spaces, for you to fill in. It’s a writing with gaps. And so it allows you to breathe, to put in something of your own, to participate. In fact, you have to. You can’t read it lazily. (I would argue that you can read Harry Potter lazily. At least, I have.)

The issue for me is, I don’t want to write in the tradition of [George] Eliot. I don’t even particularly like Eliot. I want to write fantasy, but not like that. Luckily, I have Jorge Luis Borges and Milan Kundera to show me different ways.

(Twice in my life, I’ve dated men who told me they were in love with me, but did not like Borges. And I’ve thought, how is that possible? Because if you don’t like Borges, there are some things about me you will never understand. Some of my stories wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Borges.)

I too have wondered similar things. Is it possible to be in a truly intimate relationship with someone who doesn’t understand you, at least the most fundamental levels of you, through that which you love? I have things I love and things I love, but if someone can’t at least appreciate what I love, then how could I myself ever be loved?

♦ I don’t know if I’ll ever read Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker, but I love the book trailer:


♦ Ran across this remarkable photo this week: Alibi 2 (1971) by Shomei Tomatsu:


♦ For you writers:

Chuck Wendig posted a list of 25 things you should know about story structure.

At The Millions, Alan Levinovitz recounts a brief history of blurbs. Watch yourselves!

Janice Hardy offered up her top-10 self-editing tips at The Other Side of the Story. Familiar ground if you’ve been writing a while, but it’s good to be reminded about some things.

At AuthorCulture, Johne Cook posted a list of indispensable writing resources, which you might find of interest. Via.

♦ For you readers:

Over at Salon, Laura Miller has an interesting essay on why stories don’t need morals or messages. Even though half of my job is to help students unpack meaning from literary texts (the other half is helping them write texts), I am opposed to this idea of fiction that it must inherently teach us something, that some moral message must be encoded within its words. That said, I find a lot of meaning in what I read but still tend to think of art as amoral—in and of itself, art is neither good nor bad; meaning is constructed not by the artist but by the reader/viewer. Go figure.

Damien G. Walter posted the 7 literary sci-fi and fantasy novels you must read. Maybe one of these days I’ll read The Road.

Book Riot asks the question, Should you be reading? and answers it with a flowchart. Will the answer surprise you? (Click to embiggen)

♦ I’ve been enjoying this mash-up of the themes to Downton Abbey and The X-Files.


♦ A little Zelda, CBC? This animation was made by Joel Furtado in the style of The Wind Waker.

A Month of Letters challenge update: I have been on top of this challenge so far, dropping something in the post every viable day of February (birthday cards, postcards, and today a t-shirt). If you’d like me to send you something in the post this month, let me know here or on Facebook!

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