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  • Hey, his character is the author of a book... so that counts, right?

    Once when I was a kid, my school hosted a magician. I remember very little about the magic show, except that I was seated pretty far away from the stage. During the intermission, my dad went to get some snacks and came back giggling that he was going to be part of the act. Apparently, the magician approached him while he was waiting on line and asked him if he would be willing to come up on stage and act as his assistant. My dad handed over the snacks and then headed back up to the stage and disappeared behind the curtain. He thrust our clunky yellow camera at me and told me that I must capture his stage debut.

    I sat anxiously throughout the second part of the show and was terrified when a guillotine was wheeled out on stage. My dad entered behind it. Though I was fairly certain that my dad would not be murdered in the middle of a crowded auditorium, when it came time for him to stick his head in the hole, I held the camera above my head and snapped without looking. The photos were blurry, but at least my father wasn’t decapitated in front of the entire school! He even got to keep a silk scarf that he had helped to retrieve from a hat.

    In honor of Smoke and Mirrors Day (March 29th), we’d like to highlight some of our favorite magicians, especially the one who didn’t chop my dad’s head off in front of my entire elementary school. Add your favorite magicians -- real or fictional -- to the comments!

  • It’s pretty common for today’s media to have suggested hashtags so we can join the community of fans talking about a (theoretically) shared experience.  You see them in movie trailers.  They pop-up on your screen multiple times during your favorite TV show.  And even books will often include a suggested hashtag on the back cover.

    Recently, I’ve seen a ton of posts that posit what it might look like if classic TV show XYZ had suggested hashtags.  My favorite one is for Friends.  So I started wondering what it would look like if our favorite classic works of literature had similarly suggested Twitter hashtags…  

  • (image via the awesome Blue Willow Books)

    Shopping in a bookstore is a bit like shopping at a hardware store: if you’re there for something specific, you need to know a thing or two about the item you’re looking for before attempting to find it in the aisles. If you’re there to browse, the world is your oyster.

    As a bookseller, I’ve often heard people ask for a book they saw several weeks ago, on that table near the café (you know the one!), that had a blue cover. But lots books go on display every week, on many tables, and some of those books were published two, five, ten years ago! Feeling helpless and apologetic, all I can do is point out general sections of the store where they might find blue book. So to correct future sadness, arm yourself with bookstore etiquette and prepare to fill your arms with all the books you could ever want!

    First rule of adapting a classic to the silver screen: make sure your music is top-notch.
    John Williams did it again and again with the Harry Potter score, and where would Charlie and the Chocolate Factory be without the Oompa Loompa chorus? From making our hearts race in the intro credits to The Hunger Games, to crying every time you hear “The Rains of Castamere”, there’s no doubt that music in the movies has gone on to become iconic (one word: Psycho).
    Check out some of our favorite bookish picks, and give them a listen the next time you crack open Tolstoy in a dark, silent night. 

  • Charles Darwin—traveler, naturalist, and father of evolution—would have celebrated his 205th birthday on this day, and in honor of this most momentous occasion, let’s look at the explorers who, in their respective works of literature, braved the perils and uncertainties of new worlds, either in the pursuit of knowledge, or the avoidance of the mundane.


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