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  • Forget flash cards for a minute--learning words can actually be funSee, the great thing about the English language is just how flexible, fanciful, adaptable, and extendable it is. Individual words evolve with use, kind of like Pokémon. The entirety of vocabulary gets bigger when it needs to, kind of like a Pokémon deck with an expansion pack. And when writers can’t quite capture the correct word in the wild, they concoct one with syllables from other, older words…kind of like how Pokémon scientists built Mewtwo.

    Seriously, and video-game metaphors aside, new words (or neologisms, for those without an Orwellian avoidance of all things non Anglo-Saxon) are a whole bunch of fun (kind of like…never mind). Here’s a few choice coinages from literature and beyond to embiggen your vocabulary.

  • While watching the Oscars, even other writers take a bathroom break when the winners for Best Screenplay give their speeches. You don’t watch the Oscars to see unfamiliar faces thank their spouses and children and mothers and God, it’s all about the celebrities. But what’s interesting, is just how important writers - and books - are to the Academy.

    Over the past eighty-four Academy Awards, forty-eight Best Picture winners were films adapted from books (or short stories). That’s more than half (about 57%). This leads me to believe the Academy has a thing for the adaptation.
     
    I can’t really blame them. 

  • As a writer, it’s always interesting to see how Hollywood portrays our kind.  I still haven’t seen a movie that shows a writer in her pajamas at three in the afternoon with a sink full of dirty dishes, but there’s hope. 

    Where do all of these fictional writers get such excellent outfits?

    Unforgivable (now playing - limited release) This film, originally released in Belgium last summer, tells the story of a crime writer who moves to an island in Venice.  In a cinematic meet-cute, the writer falls in love with his real estate agent and agrees to purchase this writing oasis on one condition: that she also moves in.  

    The romance takes a dark turn when the author hires someone to follow his new wife, but doesn’t he look great in that flannel? 

    Lila, Lila (now playing - limited release) Released in Germany in 2009, this romantic comedy focuses on an unassuming waiter named David who falls for Marie -- who claims to fall for writers.  David is defeated, until he purchases a secondhand end-table at a flea market and finds a manuscript hidden in its drawer.  Passing off the novel as his own, David woos Marie and the two fall in love.  But complications arise when Marie secretly submits the manuscript to a publisher and David unknowingly becomes a best-selling author.  

    Could someone please tell me where these people are who fall for writers?  And grab me one of those excellent suit jackets while you’re at it. 

  • Amazingly, today is the first of three Friday the 13ths to happen in the next 13 weeks!

    Mythology and spirituality aside, this date immediately brings me to the movies. And, I'm not talking about the recent retreads or even the last few movies in the original series. We're talking the early days when a boy drowned in Crystal Lake because his counselors weren't paying attention. We're talking Mrs. Vorhees and her hockey-masked son seeking revenge. We're talking guts and gore in the wilderness. Ah... good times.

    So, in honor of this momentous 13 week stretch, let's consider what Jason might be listening to while on his murder spree--assuming he had an iPod underneath that hockey mask...

     

  • Quirk is honored to be amongst the nominees in Melville House's annual Moby Awards, an awards ceremony that honors the best (and worst) in book trailers. Our Night of the Living Trekkies trailer, directed by Justin Lutsky of Epic Image Entertainment, has been nominated for Best Small House, and we couldn't be happier... or in better company! 

    The other Best Small House nominees include At the Tea Party (Laura Flanders), The Instructions (Adam Levin) The Orange Eats Creeps (Grace Krilanovich), and Tree of Codes from the always amazing Jonathan Safran Foer.

    Visit their site and flip through all the other nominees and categories. And if you happen to be in Brooklyn tomorrow night, go to the event!

  • When Melissa brought this video to my attention the other day... there might have been tears from all the laughter. Despite Andy Samberg and his crew's extreme disapproval in the video, there is no denying that Bolton's hook was, indeed, as "big and sexy" as he promised. I found myself whistling it on the way to work, out at lunch, while writing pitch emails, etc. I just can't get away from it. Hell, I can't get enough of it. So, like any good blogger, I went to the Internet to get even more.

    Warning: Kinda NSFW, Put On Headphones

    And behold, Tumblr had exploded with animated Michael Bolton .gifs, showing the legendary musician at his comedic best.

    To celebrate the video the entire Quirk office has come to love, I've posted my top ten animated .gifs from all wakes of the Tumblrsphere. If you think you can make one that's better, email me (eric@quirkbooks.com) your .gifs! I'll repost my three favorites and send the creators a copy of the Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook... which I seriously need to get into Bolton's hands. There has to be a way.

    "Rollin' up..." via KatieB1013

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