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The Rock’s Birthday: Great Rocks & Minerals in Books & Pop Culture

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It’s hard to make rocks and minerals seem cool—despite the name, they just aren’t the "rock" stars of pop culture. In fact, they are often the province of geeks, like when Phoebe reveals to Ross in Friends that she mugged him, when he was a nerdy kid with a backpack sticker that read "Geology Rocks." Or when, even in the nerdy world of The Big Bang Theory, the least cool character is Bert, the socially awkward geologist that the other scientists make fun of.
 

However, there’s at least one rock’that is the epitome of cool—Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson! The ex-wrestler is the biggest, most popular (and least problematic) of them all. Famous as a WWE wrestler who made it to Hollywood super-stardom, the Rock may be famous for his massive stature and his action movies, but he’s increasingly popular for his wholesome social media posts, too. A total inspiration with a love of cute dogs and jaw-dropping ‘cheat’ meals, the Rock remains our favorite rock of all—we published a book about him, after all—but these others come close!

Posted by Rose Moore

Recommending Books to Our Favorite Princesses in Pop Culture

[Image by Pexels from Pixabay]

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It’s nearing the end of National Princess Week, and we’re celebrating our favorite princesses for so much more than just their gorgeous gowns and glass slippers. Princesses in pop culture may look like the Disney princesses of old, waiting for Prince Charming to show up and save them, but they are also fierce warriors and brilliant thinkers, too.

In honor of the princesses who love to read (and the everyday women who adore it too), we’ve rounded up some of the best book recommendations for our favorite princesses (and a couple of honorary princesses, too) based on their own personalities. These books may even set up our tiara-wearers for their best royal lives…

Posted by Rose Moore

What Your Favorite Lord of the Rings Book Says About You

Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

Although March 25 marked the official Tolkien Reading Day, fans know that every day is Tolkien Reading Day when you just love the Lord of the Rings, and that it's never too late to celebrate! (March 25 does have special significance, though, as it is date of the fall of Barad-dûr—and you would have to be a pretty devoted fan to know it.) 

The works that someone chooses undoubtedly speak not just to the type of reader that they are, or the adventures they prefer, but the type of person they are outside the world of Middle Earth, too. So what does your favorite Lord of the Rings book say about you?

Posted by Rose Moore

Literary Parents We Need to Forgive (Or Do We?)

Image by skalekar1992 from Pixabay

“They f**k you up, your mum and dad.  

They may not mean to, but they do…”

Philip Larkin’s "This Be The Verse" gets straight to the point. Parents, no matter how hard they try, are only human and mess up sometimes when it comes to raising children. But Larkin’s pithy poem isn’t just about laying blame, but understanding. Parents aren’t perfect, and Forgive Mom and Dad Day encourages kids to see the ones who raised them not just as parents, but as people.

So this March, which literary parents might deserve a little forgiveness? Are these moms and dads actually sympathetic people, struggling to do their best and failing despite good intentions? Or perhaps, have these book-based parents gone so fictionally far that there’s just no forgiveness possible?

Posted by Rose Moore

Our Favorite YA Fairytale Retellings

Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash

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Once upon a time, there was a magical story about a princess, a castle, a spell, and an enemy vanquished. This story was magic not just because there was magic in it, but because it never got old. No matter how many times this story was told, everyone would listen, even though they knew exactly how it would end (happily ever after). That’s what made this story magic…and that magic holds up today.

Fairy tales are some of our oldest shared stories, and even while everyone knows that Cinderella will make it to the ball, they still hold fascination. As time goes by, though, these same stories are adapted and tweaked, keeping the magic alive but bringing them up-to-date to enthrall new audiences. Here are some of our retold faves.

 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Ashely Poston’s charming YA series started with Geekerella, a nerd-culture take on Cinderella, that sees a pumpkin-food-truck worker heading to the sci-fi convention her parents launched, despite her evil stepmother’s plans. From there, the series has just expanded, with both The Princess and The Fangirl and Bookish And the Beast bringing classic fairy stories into this gloriously geeky world.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The first book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder catapults the classic fairy tale into a sci-fi future, packed with new planets, androids, cyborgs, and space ships. This series takes on multiple traditional tales (including Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel), but gives them an entirely futuristic twist, rather than the classic historic settings.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Grim

Rather than a re-telling of just one fairy tale, this collection brings together some of the biggest names in YA to re-tell many of the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Each of these short stories provides a different take on the classics, some darker, and some more modern, but all worth the read.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Princess Of The Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

While most new takes on classic fairy tales look at the best-known stories, like Cinderella, Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty, Princess of the Midnight Ball creates a trilogy out of a lesser-known story: the Twelve Dancing Princesses. The first in a trilogy, this novel doesn’t take the story into a whole new time, but does expand on it, making it far more than a simple prince/princess tale. It also provides knitting patterns—because this is a major part of the tale itself.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This retelling of the classics was so popular that it has spawned a series and a live-action movie, so most fairy tale fans will probably have heard of it…but there is a reason that this story became so huge. Rather than taking a specific tale, Ella Enchanted plays with the basic framework of classic stories instead. Ella herself lives under a "curse of obedience," and her journey to break it gives this traditional story real depth.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

This may not be a retelling in the sense that the other books on this list are, but it is something that may be even better for fans of fairy tales: a look at the real life women that may have inspired them, and a few that deserve their own Disney movies! These historical princesses ruled, fought, spied, and took on the world in their own way—with stories so much better than a prince and a castle to be discovered.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Finally, another sci-fi take—this time, on Sleeping Beauty. Often, Aurora is a far-from-favorite princess, especially as she spends much of the action asleep! (After all, that’s a key part of the story.) In this novel, though, Rosalinda’s story starts after she is woken up, and while she is woken by a kiss, it’s not to a happy ending with a prince, but to find that over six decades have passed, the world is entirely changed, and she may just be the heir to an empire…

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

What are your favorite fairy tale retellings? Tweet @quirkbooks and let us know.

Posted by Rose Moore

Kindhearted Characters We Love

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The world could always do with a little more kindness, which is what Random Acts of Kindness Day is all about. The whole week of February 14–20 is devoted to the idea of spreading a little kindess, and it doesn’t have to be big, either. Sometimes, the only thing needed is to help out a neighbor, donate a little something, give a loved one a gift, or just be kind to yourself!

In a month that is so often centered on romantic love, the idea of focusing on kindess for everyone is a wonderful balance. If you need a little extra inspiration, these characters are a fantastic choice, as they are some of the kindest in pop culture.

Posted by Rose Moore