Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

Art I Loved This Week.

Love is in the air (or maybe that’s just global warming), and in celebration here are some art pieces I discovered recently and who made me love them. I didn’t wanna do it. I didn’t wanna do it. They made me want them.

Now that that’s out of my system. I don’t know who created this first piece, but I love how it’s made just by using the books themselves, nothing extra–red spines out to spell the word, the “background” pages out. A very clever take on a familiar design.

More book-love art: below is David Kracov‘s Book of Love. The description from Facebook:

“Inspired by David’s love and passion for reading and poetry, the pages of Book Of Love transform from the prose of the likes of Browning, Frost, Shelley, and Byron, into a colorful burst of hearts. Book Of Love is a hand-made, one-of-a-kind, steel sculpture, and David writes different prose and poems in every sculpture, so each and every Book Of Love is truly unique. Romantic and tragic, short lived and everlasting, every love has a story.” Via.

Photographer and videographer Ben Franke catches the energy of parkour in his new photographic series, Parkour Motion, using flour and lighting. Click Franke’s name to see more images, and click the image below to embiggen. Via. (Not really related, but I enjoyed this article on why Americans became obsessed with ninjas—I certainly was obsessed when I was younger, and even now I can’t deny my fondness for them).

Photo by Ben Franke

Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t tell you how happy I was discovering the picture below (which I traced back from Super Punch to the Facebook page of Onlythat, which sells Russian Modern art) of

The Izbushka (house, hut) of Baba Yaga. Built by Vasily Kozin, near St. Petersburg, Russia. Baba Yaga is a hag or witch in Slavic folklore.

She flies around on a giant mortar, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children, and lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs. In most Slavic tales, she is portrayed as an antagonist; however, some characters in other mythological stories have been known to seek her out for her wisdom, and she has been known on rare occasions to offer guidance to lost souls. She often fulfills the function of donor; that is, her role is in supplying the hero (sometimes unwillingly) with something necessary to further his quest.

According to Russian folklore, Baba Yaga dwells in a “cabin on chicken legs… with no windows and no doors”. Baba Yaga herself usually uses the chimney to fly in and out on her mortar. The door sometimes appears at the other side of the hut; to see it, a hero should say “Hut, O hut, turn your back to the woods, your front to me” and thus force the cabin to turn around and reveal the door.

I would live in a house like this, I would.

The Izbushka of Baba Yaga, built by Vasily Kozin

I also loved this image by Joel Robison and how it works on many levels. Via.

The Reading Spot.

Give unto your ocular orbs this fine frenzy of wordstuffs:

Midwinterblood (excerpt) by Marcus Sedgwick at (Alex Brown reviews Midwinterblood, too)

Experience by Ephiny Gale at Daily Science Fiction

The Daylight War (excerpt) by Peter V. Brett at

The Mouth, Open by Helen Marshall at Weird Fiction Review. My friend Adam Mills also interviewed Marshall at WFR. My two favorite bits from her responses are “Poetry is making something happen to you. Fiction is making it happen to someone else.” and “Art should move us. Art should scare us. Art should go too far.”

Blood and Bone (excerpt) by Ian Cameron Esslemont at

Love’s Footsteps by Cat Rambo at Daily Science Fiction

Homeland (excerpt) by Cory Doctorow at

Photo by Carey Farrell

Flax-golden tales: Love Will Be There in the Morning by Erin Morgenstern

When We Wake (excerpt) by Karen Healey at

White as Snow, Red as Blood by Melissa Mead at Daily Science Fiction

Last Train to Jubilee Bay by Kali Wallace at

As If All Questions Have Answers by David Barber at Daily Science Fiction

Trafalgar (excerpt) by Angelica Gorodischer at

Substitutes by Colin P. Davies at Daily Science Fiction

Paintwork by Tim Maughan at

I love Jess Wellington’s photo of her two-year-old listening to Neil Gaiman‘s Chu’s Day (which really is a delight). Via.

My friends Erin Underwood and Hannah Strom-Martin have out this week their second book edited together: Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction. Give it a look, won’t you? In other of-interest-to-reader news, my friend Will Ludwigsen has listed events for his upcoming book tour for In Search Of and Other Stories, including a visit on March 13th to Presbyterian College, where I work. Check to see when he’ll be near you!

Check out “Brother and Sister,” a lovely collage poem by Terri Windling (clicking on the image below or the prior link will take you to Windling’s tumblr, where you can read a larger version):

Brother and Sister by Terri Windling

The Book Nook.

I love the title to Evan Roskos‘s debut novel!

Booklovers who are also catlovers will like the CatCase, which “combines a bookcase and a cat tree in one.” What will they think of next? Click through to the Bookshelf blog to see a couple more pictures.

Bookshelf Porn got me twice last week, first with this delicious reading nook

and again with these images of the Library Lounge at the B2 Boutique Hotel in Zurich: “The library features over 30,000 books that the hotel acquired from a former bookseller and is open for business during your stay.” Click the picture below to enlarge it, and click through to see a second image with the chandeliers lit up.

The Library Lounge at B2 Boutique Hotel Zurich – photo by cjayneh

The Ninth Art.

I loved last week’s Wondermark series, What Happens Alone. Part 1 is below, but do check out Parts 2, 3, and 4.

I thought Why Aren’t There More Black Writers in the Comics Industry? over at The Beat was fascinating. And I learned that Kareem Abdul Jabbar is a historian who has written books, which pleases me but did not surprise me. I might be surprised if he was a Brony, but still pleased. Also, The Beat linked to a Salon article, If Tolkien Were Black: African-American Writers Are Taking on a Literary Genre Dominated by Medieval England, which interviewed N.K. Jemisin and David Anthony Durham (the latter was one of my MFA professors). Another really good article. Go read both!

Artist Will Sliney profiles Misty Knight of The Fearless Defenders. One of the most interesting parts to me was Sliney’s response to how he distinguishes Misty Knight from Valkyrie: “People go on in comics about the fault of characters having the same faces. I want to take this a step further and rarely have Val and Misty in the same pose. I want the reader to be able to pick them apart from their body language alone.”

Amanda Conner’s variant cover for issue #2 of X-Men (via):

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe REDUXE Edition had several great recreations last week, including Quicksilver by Jarrett Williams, the Dread Dormammu by Tait Howard, and Sif by Scott Faulkner; but the one I liked best was Williams’ reinterpretation of Spider-Man. I like the simplicity of the black costume on a white background, and how the legs of the spider emblem spread onto his arms and into the background (click to embiggen).

Tim Callahan’s Magic & Good Madness: A Neil Gaiman Reread continues with The Sandman: Season of Mists, the fourth collected volume in the series, which was also the first collected volume of the series I ever bought. My friend Mark made me read some of the individual issues of this arc when I was visiting him (I’d been out of buying comics for a few years at that point, so I’d heard of Sandman but knew nothing about it), and I got hooked hard and deep. For that reason, Season of Mists is still my favorite arc of the series and the one I recommend as a starting point.

Where the Wonder Woman Are, by Tansy Rayner Roberts, returns with a 35th installment featuring Big Barda.

I recently rediscovered Emily Horne and Joey Comeau’s A Softer World photocomic, and I liked this one a lot:

It was actually Kate Beaton who led to my rediscovery of A Softer World, and she also has a new webcomic out that just made me so happy. Look at the teaser image below if you want to know why!

Viewers’ Paradise.

Cameron Cook posted the link to this video on Facebook, and it cracked me up so much I had to share it. Here’s the set-up: “After winning best supporting actress at the SAG Awards, Golden Globes and Critics Choice, Anne Hathaway reminds the Academy, one last time, why she must (and will) win at the 85th Academy Awards.” Emma Fitzpatrick kills it as Hathaway.

My friend The Film Doctor broke down the hard-boiled fairy tale with 9 notes on Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946).

Cool Unicorn, Bruv is a cute short by LBi UK. Via.

Someone’s in the Kitchen….

Darla at Bakingdom has a recipe for butterbeer. Get on that, Caroline and Jonte. (She also has several other Harry Potter recipes, like double double chocolate cauldron cakes, tiny treacle tarts, and cockroach clusters).

The Horns of Elfland.

My friend Aimee Payne sent me this link to “Proserpina” by Martha Wainwright; Aimee tells me Kate McGarrigle, Wainwright’s mother, wrote this song, which “was the last song she wrote before dying of cancer.” I am seriously in love with this song and the magnificently understated video, directed by Matthu Placek.

Listening to “Proserpina” for the first time brought to mind, inexplicably now that I’m trying to articulate the connection, Ruth MacKenzie’s “Aino’s Complaint” from her album Kalevala: Dream of the Salmon Maiden. So here’s that song:

The Writing Desk.

Edna St. Vincent Millay reads and writes

If you’re looking for a research gig, you might consider that io9 is hiring two culture-contributing researchers and one science editorial fellow. Applications are due by February 18th!

5 Questions of Victorian Etiquette, answered by Gail Carriger.

My friend Paul Kirsch on how he almost ended up editor in chief of an imaginary company.

Zachary Jernigan gets to know Ben Burgis, the author, in 7 questions, and Zack himself gets interviewed at SF Signal. LitReactor has 10 questions for Aimee Bender. Ten questions, too, for Marie Brennan in the Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe.

Elizabeth Spann Craig on Goodreads for writers.

Cathy Day on writers without websites. Related: Blogging: An Extension of Craft.

Rachelle Gardner on being the gatekeeper of your mind (I might have the problem she describes).

This is Not a Checklist: How to Write a Story by Stephen Graham Jones.

Chuck Wendig shares 25 thoughts on book piracy.

Tansy Rayner Roberts on Burnout and Recovery: When Publishing Hurts Writers.

Neil Gaiman’s writing twelve stories (based on the months) with prompts from readers via Twitter. I think it sounds like an exciting project (there’s supposed to be a calendar for charity at the end), though the more cynical (more cynical than me? it’s possible) might think it’s just an extended commercial for BlackBerry. Click through the link above to see the very fine short video about the project (the deadline for which has passed, alas). Amanda, this project did make me wish I tweeted.

A Month of Letters.

I subscribe to the Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day” email (and you can, too!), and I thought it appropriate to share Amy Lowell’s “The Letter,” which came on February 9th. What perfect imagery! The first two lines of the second stanza are perhaps my favorite—“chafing my heart against / The want of you”—but the whole piece is love.

The Letter
Amy Lowell

Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper
Like draggled fly’s legs,
What can you tell of the flaring moon
Through the oak leaves?
Or of my uncertain window and the bare floor
Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them
Of blossoming hawthorns,
And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness
Beneath my hand.

I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.

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