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  • Bookish Events in New York City: March 9th - 13th

    It’s finally beginning to look like spring is on its way to New York City. This week offers a ton of great opportunities to make use of the extra hour of daylight.

    Cheer on debut authors like Eddie Joyce and Sarah Blake in Staten Island and Brooklyn, and then head to Manhattan to hear from NBCC finalists at The New School. Listen to brilliant women read letters at Joe’s Pub, and maybe tell your own story at The Moth.

    Best of all, you’ll be able to run around the city without needing multiple pairs of mittens.

  • Why I'd Rather Be a Fictional Pirate Than an Actual Pirate

     
     
    I am a Pirate.
     
    This is known to anyone who has ever spoken to me for more than an hour. It’s not something that can be taught, you’re just born this way. Now if you’re jealous, don’t be. I can’t bake so if you can then that’s an awesome thing you have over on me. But this isn’t a contest. This is about Pirates. And when you’re a pirate people make one very obvious assumption, “I bet you wish you could live back then and be a real pirate!” And my answer is alway, “HELL NO!” (and there’s usually a dramatic record scratch).
     
    I don’t blame you for being shocked. How could I love something that much and not wish I could see it or experience it first hand? Well, the short answer is three words long, “Penicillin, anesthesia, birth control.” What do those things have in common? Pirates didn’t have them. In fact they didn’t have a lot of things... like teeth. Most of what the public consciousness perceives as piracy comes from fictitious novels, sensationalized legends, and of course movies. No one ever walked the plank, said yar (unless they were getting run through by a cutlass) and buried treasure wasn’t buried so much as spent IMMEDIATELY in port. 
     
    But this misinformation doesn't make me angry. Sure it’s fun to drop knowledge on people about what being a pirate was really like, but in all honesty I love the romanticized figure of the pirate as much as you all do! I’m totally there with you on the whole swinging from ropes thing and dramatic jumps from high cliffs into conveniently deep water! That stuff is fun, exciting, and amazing! As a pirate I am proud of my pirate heritage and well read on the history of my people, but if you’re asking me if I’d rather sail with Black Bart or Capt. Jas Hook the answer is Hook! Hook! Give us the hook! 
     
    In honor of September 19th being International Talk Like a Pirate Day here are a couple of more ways being a fictional pirate trumps being an actual gentleman of fortune during The Golden Age of Piracy.
  • Three Fictional Places We'd Love to Visit (and Some Real-Life Alternatives)

    As I’m sure many of you lovely readers have noticed, the summer is over. For some of you this may mean a return to high school or college, or maybe starting a new internship. For others, it might just mean that it’s fifty degrees cooler and now we can finally go outside.

    But the end of summer doesn’t only bring cool fall weather, it’s also the beginning of what I like to call Travel Envy Season. Ah yes, the time of year when your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds are filled with pictures of getaways and exertions to far off lands, to either escape the cold or check out the autumn foilage. 

    Except instead of wishing I were in Vermont or Colorado, I develop an intense desire to visit Narnia or Hobbiton. This may sound shocking, but it is nearly impossible to find a plane ticket to Narnia.

    If this problem sounds familiar to you, today is your lucky day. With my summer travels all but finished, I have decided to fill the void by compiling a list of the five (mostly) fictional places I would love to visit, and their real-life counterparts. Hopefully some of these vacation destinations will end up on all of our itineraries next year!

  • Flat Is The New Thick: Flat Stanley Visits the Quirk HQ

    Recently the Quirk compound was visited by beloved children's book character Flat Stanley.

    As many of you will recall, young Stanley was rendered two-dimensional when a huge bulletin board fell on top of him. He didn't let flatness keep him down, though; in fact, he took advantage of the situation by folding himself into envelopes and mailing himself all around the world. Since then, kids in over 6.000 schools--including my nephew Sam--have participated in the Flat Stanley Project by creating their own Flat Stanleys and mailing them all over the place.

    The Stanleys are mailed back with photos and information about where they've been. So here are some of the pictures from Stanley's visit to Quirk. (Spoiler alert--Sam got an A.)

  • Sing and then Mate and then Die

    periodical cicada

    by Buzzy the Cicada

    Pssssttt…hey, you down there. Yeah, that’s right. Hi. I’m up here, in the tree. You got a minute?

  • The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel
    The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel
    By David Borgenicht , Joshua Piven

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