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  • Charms by Melissa Oesch

    One of my favorite things about wearable mini-books is that I get to use leather journals as jewelry without being a pretentious twit about it.

    That was the habit when I was 18 and a freshman English major: using such things as self-adornment, as an insecure suburban teen trying desperately to look intellectual and literary is wont to do. I leaned toward unadorned leather journals in which I earnestly wrote bad prose and worse poetry in a very public manner. Why, yes, I believe there were kreteks involved.  

    Even though I’ve given up the poetry (you’re welcome) and have switched to writing bad prose on a laptop, I still have a soft spot for the accoutrements of the newly minted English major which is indulged by these Etsy shops. Check them out.

    These mini-book necklaces by Philadelphia’s Margaux and Walter Kent at Peg and Awl are a callback to those more fanciful days.

    The Kents hand make each piece using reclaimed leathers from sources such as vintage sofas and antique doctors’ bags.

  • There are a multitude of reasons why we, as human beings, should be grateful to the trees. Oftentimes, we drive past them in a hurry to get where we are going, not taking a moment to pause and consider what it is that they give us. Trees provide us with oxygen, food and even the paper that the books we love are printed on.

    With Arbor Day (April 27th) in mind, I've listed my top five green-friendly characters in comic books. Whether they are strictly friendly to plants and hostile to others, or comprised entirely OF plants, these are the most eco-conscious (whether they mean to be or not) characters in comics.

    Swamp Thing (Swamp Thing, Pictured Above): Poor Alec Holland is just a mild mannered scientist, attempting to help the world grow some new vegetation. After a bomb explodes in his lab, Holland finds himself flaming and covered in his own formula. He shambles toward the Louisiana swamp only to fall into the water, dead.

    Moments later, a walking plant creature that thinks itself to be Holland emerges from the swamp. With a plethora of plant based powers, Swamp Thing becomes the swamp’s protector.

    Black Tom Cassidy (The X-Men): Thomas “Black Tom” Cassidy is the proverbial bad apple. Cousin of Banshee, Black Tom has the power to focus energy through a wooden shillelagh. This ability allows him to create concussive blasts to knock his enemies for a loop.

    Over time, Tom’s powers continue to evolve, allowing him to become a half plant, half human creature, thus making him nearly impossible to destroy.

    Mervyn “Merv” Pumpkinhead (The Sandman): In a world filled with gods and monsters, heroes and villains, Merv is just your every day Joe, that is, of course, forgetting the fact that he has a pumpkin for a head.

    The always put-upon Merv works as the janitor of the Dreaming. In a place where almost anything is possible, Merv functions well as a grounding voice. With a cigarette hanging out of the jagged gash in his pumpkin head, Merv is always ready with a sarcastic remark.

    {C}

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  • First, thank you!

    When we launched Quirk Books ten years ago, we had one goal: to publish titles we were passionate about. We weren't aiming for New York Times best sellers (though we've now published four of them) or trying to create new publishing genres (though we've seen countless imitators of our mash-ups and "irreference" handbooks.)

    So, thank you for sharing our passions, interests, and dreams. Thank you for helping us spread great ideas and tell terrific stories. Thank you for making our first ten years so fun, so successful, and so rewarding.

    This fall, we'll be celebrating our tenth anniversary with plenty of contests, promotions, and giveaways. Keep an eye on this page for details on how to join the fun.

    Retailers: Please contact your Random House sales representative to discuss your participation in Quirk's 10th Anniversary Retail Promotion.

    BEA Prize Patrol: In honor of Quirk Book's 10th Anniversary, our prize patrol will be walking the show floor and randomly giving away prizes to attendees carrying the Quirk Books tote bag. Grab a Quirk Books tote bag at booth #3848 and you could be the next winner.

  • April is National Poetry Month, and some of you are probably already celebrating by quoting Emily Dickenson or John Keats. No? Just me then.

    For everyone who thinks poetry has to be about high-minded intellectual pursuits or daffodils in spring, we are going to feature a more relaxed form of prose. For the next three weeks, we’re going to share a poem from Broetry by Brian McGackin, who tackles important, real-world topics like beer, frozen pizza, and Bruce Willis.

    It was difficult to select just a few poems to share, but it seemed logical to start with one that featured the formation of the universe. This poem contains all those very important poetry themes: the indifference of God, the history of the printed word, and the Police Academy sequels. Enjoy, and happy National Broetry Month.

  • Samuel Beckett was born on April 13, 1906 outside of Dublin. Sam Beckett was born August 8, 1953 in Indiana, eight months after the world premiere of Samuel Beckett’s acclaimed stage play Waiting for Godot in Paris, France. Samuel Beckett died on December 22, 1989 -- just 9 months after Sam Beckett made his first appearance in the series premiere episode of the NBC time travel drama Quantum Leap.

    Coincidence? Well, okay. Maybe. But still. Bear with me here.

  • Photo via Office Fridges, not actually our fridge

    In honor of Workplace Conflict Awareness Month, we're posting excerpts from Caroline Tiger's How To Behave: A Guide to Modern Manners. In How To Behave, Caroline dedicates an entire chapter to office etiquette. It's my hope that these bits of wisdom, posted every Wednesday this month, will help you to alleviate the conflict in your workplace.

    Last week, we featured Photocopier Etiquette, and hopefully it helped you avoid an Office Space-esque mental breakdown. Today, we're featuring something near and dear to everyone at Quirk... dealing with the overripe communal refrigerator. A point of serious tension in any office (especially ours!), the communal fridge can be a nightmare if it isn't taken care of.

    Tiger's suggestion? Be the office hero and clean it for everyone. That'll eliminate any tension and resolve the conflict before it even happens.

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