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  • Oh God. The asteroid is hurtling towards earth. We're all going to die.

  • It’s summer, so if you’re lucky, you’re probably going on vacation. While this should be a time to relax, travel can involve all sorts of little stresses and snags, making summer vacation not much of a vacation at all.

    Luckily, The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel has thought of everything. Here are a few of the best tips for trip this summer:

    Bathroom Emergencies: If you need a bathroom in a hurry, head for the nearest large hotel. Most hotels have bathrooms on or near the lobby that are usually clean and well-kept.

    Freshening up: Department stores are great places to freshen up or reapply makeup. Just head for the sample counters and you’ll find an array of lipstick, makeup, and perfume at your disposal.

    Taxis: When getting out of a taxi, make sure you leave the door open while you are getting your bags out of the trunk; that way the taxi can’t drive off before you get your bags out.

    Luggage Markings: Give each piece of your luggage a unique look—tie a bandana to a handle or purchase a colored luggage tag. Bags often look alike, and even though you may be able to tell one bag from another, not everyone else is as smart as you are.

    Avoid Wrinkles: Use plastic dry-cleaning bags between fine garments to keep them from wrinkling. Pack smaller items in zip-lock bags to keep them wrinkle-free.

    Create Space: If you run out of space, zip your suitcase and drop it a few times on the floor. This will compress items a bit and free up space.

    Avoid Equipment-Specific Bags: If you are taking valuable electronic equipment with you (such as cameras, video recorders, or laptops), consider packing them in a diaper or baby bag instead of the fancy, easily identifiable cases designed for them. A diaper bag is much less likely to be stolen and has a lot of extra pockets for storage.

    False Wallet: Prepare a “mugger’s wallet” that contains a small amount of money along with a photo ID (not your driver’s license or passport) and additional, but replaceable, cards, for bulk. Use this wallet for your daily small expenses, but be prepared to surrender it in an emergency. Carry the wallet in your front pocket, and place a rubber band around it. You will feel any attempt to remove it.

  • Our celebration of National Candy Month continues!

    So far we've shared recipes for Rock Candy and Tuxedo Strawberries. Next up is a classic piece of candy. So simple. So delicious. So chewy. Gumdrops.

  • In Ben H. Winters' latest novel, The Last Policeman, we're introduced to Hank Palace, a detective still working the beat in a pre-apocolpytic world.

    The first title in a trilogy, the book raises a lot of questions, challenging the reader to wonder what they would do in Hank's precarious situation.  Some people have chosen to share their answers with us on The Last Policeman's website. You should too!

    Speaking of questions and answers, we sat down and chatted with Ben about his experience writing the book. Read on to learn about his process, his research, and what he would do if the world was ending in six months. Enjoy!

  • Photo by Jason Ilagan

    To commemorate Orwell’s big 109, you may find yourself determined to shoot a rampaging elephant. Or challenge Big Brother with your thoughtcrimes. Or even brush up on your doublethink. But at the end of your day, you can celebrate Orwell and the proletariat spirit with this drink in featured in 1984.

    Much as Orwell favored the economy of words in his Politics of the English Language, this drink rejects the bells and whistles of bourgeois cocktails, incorporating nothing but the essentials. Bottoms up!

  • I never thought so much would happen to that quirky little novel I was working on a few years back.

    I mean Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, of course.

    I had high hopes for my first novel, which maxxed out at more than a few thousand people buying it, not racking up too many scathing reviews, and being afforded the opportunity to write another one. But a funny thing happened on the way to the remainders bin, and the superlatives Miss Peregrine has racked up since it was published just over a year ago seem so absurdly overblown when compared to my modest expectations that I'm almost embarrassed to list them. (Almost.)

    The book debuted on the bestseller list, hit number one a few times, and has yet to be dislodged, 53 weeks and counting later. 20th Century Fox optioned the film rights and Tim Burton -- Tim effing Burton -- said he wants to direct it. I didn't get so many scathing reviews after all, and even several nice ones, in papers that aren't published in my hometown, which my relatives still clip out and mail to me when they appear. I've toured the country doing readings.

    Best, most astoundingly of all, are the emails and letters I get from readers. I'm knee-deep in writing the sequel to the book right now, and it seems like whenever I have a tough day of it (they happen now and then) I get a sweet, encouraging email from someone I've never met, saying how much they liked the book and that they can't wait for the next one, and all my enthusiasm comes rushing back.

    So thanks, everyone, for helping to make this one of the most unexpected and amazing years of my life. You've made me a happy mutant.

    Now -- back to the keyboard! Whip noise!


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