Magpie Monday

All that was bright and shiny in my eye last week (with another installment to come on Wednesday, and two art MMs on Tuesday and Thursday, so with Video Friday it’s a full week of mayhem here…)


I must confess that the exclamation point above is exaggeration on my part, as is the “welcome,” because summer is my least favorite of the four seasons. I am a winter prince, an autumn fellow, sometimes a spring gent, but rarely am I moved by summer (other than fireflies; I do like fireflies). Still, the season is upon us, so there you go. I take comfort, though, in the solstice that has just passed, the longest day of the year, as now each day forward will wind down the world closer to winter.

Flaming June by Frederic Leighton


Check out the new stamp from Ireland—a 224-word short story! Via Julie Poitras Santos on the Friends of Stonecoast Facebook page.

Fill up your empty, hungry eye sockets with these tasty tidbits:

From Lightspeed: Paranormal Romance by Christopher Barzak (you can also read an author spotlight on him).

From The Stranger by Anna Banks; Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes;  A Midsummer Night’s Scream (excerpt) by R.L. Stine.

Flax-golden tales: Seagull by Erin Morgenstern.

From Penduline: two poems by Lissa Kiernan.

From Daily Science Fiction: Jumping Into the Sky by Samantha Murray; Curing Day by Dustin Adams; City of Chrysanthemum by Ken Liu; Dark, Beautiful Force by Jessica May Lin; I’ll Leave the Light On by Patricia Russo.

Reading novels makes us better thinkers (well, duh): “New research says reading literary fiction helps people embrace ambiguous ideas and avoid snap judgments.” Thanks to Suzanne Strempek Shea for posting the link on Facebook!


Addiction: Cathy Day on how she quit smoking on 6/23/06 (I’ve never smoked, but I thought this post was fascinating as I think her suggestions can help with any number of addictions).

Anatomy: Virtual dissection table is fascinating, useful, and just a little creepy.

Astronomy: All these worlds are yours… (the Fermi paradox and the Drake equation).

Biology: 7 animals that are better color-changers than chameleons.

Chemistry: Why does everything taste bad after you brush your teeth?

Mathematics: Is math real? I enjoyed this video, especially for the line “rigorous aesthetics.” Darn straight. Via.

Oneirology: 5 actual facts about the science of dreams.


A street in Portsmouth, birthplace of Neil Gaiman, will be renamed The Ocean at the End of the Lane in honor of Gaiman’s most recent novel. That’s pretty cool. Also, I finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane last Friday night and loved it. Do read it!

Check out these awesome bookish chairs, like this one from the TV series Revenge:

Photo via The Hairpin.

Wouldn’t this tab bookcase make shelving books so much easier?

A bookcase with four sliding tabs (vertical panels) which allows the user to organize books in various ways. By repositioning tabs, zones for different types of books can be created. At the same time, it will naturally create various looks depending on the placement you choose.

Wow! Liu Wei‘s book sculpture of an abandoned city is amazing! Via.

Liu Wei

The Sandwich Book by Pawel Piotrowski just cracks me up! So clever. Via.

Sanwich Book by Pawel Piotrowski


You’ll enjoy this tour of Gladstone’s Library in Wales, envisioned by William Gladstone as “a ‘residential’ library, where patrons could stay overnight, take their meals, and get immersed in the collection and their own projects.” And rooms are only $75 a night! Definitely on my list of destinations.

The Mafra National Palace library in Portugal has really spectacular architecture.

The Mafra National Palace library in Mafra, Portugal (via)


Curious, Creepy, and Cute: A Tour of Neil Gaiman’s International Book Covers. I like a lot of these covers (and I have a few of these editions in my collection). Below is a teaser, the Brazilian cover forNeverwhere (click to enlarge):

Look at this lovely Folio Society edition for Jack London’s Call of the Wild, showcased at Awesome Book Covers. Folio Society does produce some beautiful covers.

Call of the Wild by Jack London | Folio Society edition


Love these Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities designs—practical and stylish!

At his blog, Kevin Sharkey posted about

a new collaboration between interior designer (and personal friend of mine) Bunny Williams and New York custom picture framing institution J. Pocker. The two have joined forces to create a unique  line of curated art collections available for purchase. They are currently featuring three vignettes which include several framed artworks that can either be purchased individually or as a group for use in a gallery-style display.

I don’t know if I’d want these particular pieces, but I love the accompanying images of the vignettes showing the layout and measurements for the gallery walls, like this one (click to enlarge):

Courtesy of The Goblin Market, a wonderful sculpture by Snail Scott that I’d love for my own  house. TGM also linked to this article about Scott.

sculpture by Snail Scott


Jane Yolen on constantly re-inventing herself as a writer (food for thought for those writers who don’t want to branch out).

Want to know how to make your own book trailer? Alison McMahan and Mary Burns gave a presentation on that subject to the Historical Novel Society’s 2013 Conference, but Alison put up lots of information and examples on her website. Check it out!

Kate Bernheimer introduces the June 2013 issue of Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics with The Fairy Way of Reading (and Writing): An Introduction. It’s a great read for those of you interested in fairy tales, but Bernheimer also discusses Roald Dahl and Raymond Carver, so the poetics she describes aren’t limited to writers of the fantastic.

mental_floss on 12 old words that survived by getting fossilized in idioms.

Annalee Newitz on 11 rules of good writing that Iain M. Banks left as his legacy (obviously, some very good ideas about writing, well worth reading). The Guardian has a final interview with Banks here.

10 tips for aspiring journalists from Michael Hastings.

You versus a blank sheet of paper: Neil Gaiman on books and writing.

Should you blog your novel? Rachelle Gardner answers.

Alice Munro

Sad news: Alice Munro says she’s “probably not going to write anymore.” Ack!

Aifric Campbell on how investment banking prepares you to be a writer.

The 7 Cardinal Virtues of Successful Writers are sometimes a bit awkwardly worded, but good virtues for writers nonetheless.


Love this photo of a sunlight-rimmed fox by Klaus and Christiane Echle (via):

Klaus and Christiane Echle

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