A story of a building in Paris that's stood since the Crusades


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750 Years in Paris is a historical graphic novel sans words as well as a stunning coffee table art book. Paris-based artist Vincent Mahé (aka Mr. Bidon) illustrates 60 snapshots of the same building in Paris, spanning from the year 1265 with cows grazing in front of its humbler beginnings to 2015 in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. With the smallest of details, from words of storefront signs to the clothing of people to the state of the building itself, Mahé is able to subtly and masterfully inject humor, horror, nostalgia, historical facts and pride into his various images.

The back of the book has a timeline to help decipher some of the historical events revolving around the images. For instance, directly quoted from the book (and images shown above):

1515 – Francis I is crowned king and enters the city in a lavish procession. 1804 – Napoleon’s enthronement and imperial troops procession. 1915 – World War 1. 2015 – 4 million in the streets defending freedom of speech.

As I began to write this review, the horror of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded before the world, making this newly-released book all the more poignant and significant.

750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahé Nobrow 2015, 120 pages, 8.4 x 13 x 0.7 inches $18 Buy a copy on Amazon

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The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People Volume 2


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The Mindfulness Coloring Book came out last January by London-based illustrator Emma Farrarons, and it immediately sold out and became a national bestseller. I think any book with the word “anti-stress” in the subtitle has an excellent shot at success, but Farrarons’ coloring book for adults is also appealing for its pleasing, just-simple-enough modern designs as well as its smaller size, which makes it less daunting than a lot of the other popular adult coloring books out there. Last month Ferrarons came out with a second volume to her book – same size, seem feel, different designs. I’ve spent a couple of family nights coloring while my daughter crafted and my husband read, and I have to say, Farraron is right about the anti-stress angle. Plus it’s been a lot of fun.

The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People Volume 2

The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People by Emma Farrarons The Experiment 2015, 112 pages, 5 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches $8 Buy a copy of Volume 2 on Amazon $7 Buy a copy of Volume 1 on Amazon Read the rest

Write reviews for Wink Books and get paid

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Calling all writers! Wink Books is looking for writers to review books. Reviewers also need to take some photos of the books they review. If you’re interested, check out our site, and then email me (carla@boingboing.net) for more information. If you have writing experience please let me know. Read the rest

The latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid is as fresh and humorous as books 1-9


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Diary keeper Greg Heffley can’t just endure middle school in peace. His helicopter mom is working on a petition to get people to stop using electronics for 48 hours. His new pet pig, who’s learned to walk on two legs, gets more house privileges than he does. And even more annoying, his Grandpa, who can’t pay his rent at Leisure Towers anymore, has moved into Greg’s bedroom, which means Greg now has to sleep on the floor of his baby brother’s room. Worst of all, Greg ends up on the school camping trip to Hardscrabble Farms, which lives up to its reputation for being the worse camp ever.

The just-released Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School is the tenth book in the series, and happily it’s just as fresh and humorous as its predecessors. In fact, I laughed so loud while sitting alone on the couch of our living room, I was worried someone would spy me and think I’d finally gone around the bend (why do I always feel this way when I’m laughing out loud by myself?). The theme is old school vs. new school, or old geezers’ ways of doing things versus progress, and whether or not you’ve read books 1-9, Old School is a fun read for any age.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney Harry N. Abrams 2015, 224 pages, 5.8 x 8.2 x 0.9 inches $8 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

Kick Litter is a 9-step program for recovering litter addicts


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Dogs get all the credit when it comes to training. Yes, they can fetch bones, sit on command, bark for food, play ball, walk on two legs, roll over, play dead, pull sleds, and probably perform about one hundred other chores and fun tricks. But can they sit on the loo while doing their business? I think not. Cats, however, can be trained to do this in as little as two weeks, as instructed in Perre DiCarlo’s nine-step Kick Litter manual.

I first met DiCarlo two months ago at Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder. He gave a Powerpoint talk on how to train your cat to use the toilet. Who knew such a peculiar topic could be absolutely mesmerizing? Perre masterfully blended loads of humor with practical how-to steps that kept even cat-haters completely engaged.

He ended up sending me a signed copy of his pamphlet-sized book, and I love it on many levels. The design is wonderfully whimsical, the toilet-training steps are clear with nice illustrations, and each page is adorably funny. As an added layer to the book, we also get a short story told in the first person, er, I mean first kitty, by Di Carlo’s cats Moxie and Cooper. We get to hear a charming account of the cats' training experiences, including the time Cooper fell into the bowl, and how Moxie, the female, was able to kick her litter addiction in only two weeks, while Cooper had a harder 2-month recovery time. Read the rest

Wild World pops with breath-taking photographs on every page


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Pick up Lonely Planet’s Wild World, flip through a few pages, and I dare you to put the book back down. It isn’t easy. From the emerald spiraled snake of Cameroon to an ancient breed of semi-wild horses in France to the bejeweled Crystal Cave of the Dead Sea in Jordan (all shown above), every page pops with a breath-taking image of our planet’s natural splendor that makes you want to see more. The index in the back of the book gives us a brief explanation of each photograph. Oversized, textured, and loaded with nearly 200 stunning photographs of nature and wildlife from every corner of the world, Wild World is the quintessential coffee table book.

Wild World by Lonely Planet 2015, 256 pages, 10.4 x 14 x 1.2 inches $29 Buy a copy on Amazon

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Weak Messages Create Bad Situations – A manifesto based on suppressed thoughts


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According to artist David Shrigley’s message on the back cover of his book, Weak Messages Create Bad Situations, “We are in a bad situation and weak messages are to blame. Lots of individuals in society today are feeble-minded. They don’t know what the hell is going on ... It’s alright. I am here to help you.”

Weak Messages is an over-sized satirical “manifesto” or collection of Shrigley’s deep dark thoughts on all the little and big things that drive our world. Divided into eight chapters (Politics and Opinions, The Arts, Bugs and Insects, The World Explained...), each page contains a child-like drawing along with a hand-written simple opinion or declaration – one-page cartoons that can seem primitively funny at first glance. But read them as a collection and you suddenly find yourself in the depths of Shrigley’s mockingly blunt subconscious where truth, horror, and nervous chuckles abound. But fear not. Shrigley assures us that “If you listen to what I say things will quickly improve.”

Weak Messages Create Bad Situations: A Manifesto by David Shrigley Canongate 2015, 384 pages, 8.2 x 11.2 x 1.1 inches $35 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

There's no way the words "I'm bored" will be uttered in a house that has Unbored on hand


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There's no way the words “I’m bored” will be uttered in a house that has the Unbored series on hand. Unbored: Adventure is the third action-inducing book by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen that inspires fun, innovation, and yes, real adventures. Split into four chapters (Adventure-ize, Adventures Close to Home, Urban Adventure, and Nature Adventure), these boredom-bashing pages show you how to make and hide a time capsule, build a kite, make a solar oven out of a pizza box, play after-dark outdoor games, “train your grownup” to let you climb a tree, learn survival science like purifying stream water with a bowl, plastic wrap and the sun, and loads more. There’s something wholesomely retro about Unbored, with its mostly outdoor projects, experiments, games, and old-fashioned fun. For more unboredness, make sure to check out the Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and Unbored: Games.

Unbored Adventure: 70 Seriously Fun Activities for Kids and Families by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen Bloomsbury USA 2015, 176 pages, 6.4 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches (paperback) $12 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Big Bear little chair – each tall and skinny page in this kids' books is as stunning as the next


The concept of Big Bear little chair is a common one: teaching kids to differentiate between large and small. We start off with “Big Bear, little chair,” move on to “Big Plant, little cocoon,” and carry on with this theme until the end, with “Big Snowstorm, little village, tiny bird,” and, “Big Bear, little bear.” What makes this simple book so compelling is the striking art by author and illustrator Lizi Boyd. The bold illustrations are dramatic yet whimsical, with a formal color scheme of black and white (and gray) that is playfully broken up with gumball red. Each tall and skinny page is as stunning as the next. Big Bear little chair makes me happy every time I open it up, and if my kids were still in their pre-school years this would definitely be a frequent read.

Big Bear little chair by Lizi Boyd Chronicle 2015, 32 pages, 6.3 x 12.3 x 0.3 inches $10 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Create 12 different action-packed comic books with The Superhero Comic Kit


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Calling this book a “kit” might be an exaggeration, but The Superhero Comic Kit does pack a lot of fun into its inviting, oversized pages. The front section has instructions on how to draw various superheroes and villains, as well as how to draw sound effects (yes, there’s a way to draw the sounds that bring superhero comics to life!). Then comes the exciting part where you get to make your own 8-page comic books out of the characters you just learned how to draw, with some prompts to help get your creative fuel pumping. Once you’ve completed one of your stories (there are 12 in total), you can pull it out of the book, fold the pages along the fold lines, and assemble your unique comic book before showing it to the world. The back of the book has two pages of stickers – sound effects and superheroes/villains – to embellish your work. This is a great gift for any creative kid who likes to draw and make up stories.

The Superhero Comic Kit by Jason Ford Laurence King Publishing 2015, 60 pages, 11.5 x 16.8 x 0.5 inches (paperback) From $14 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Grids and Guides – An ideas book for makers, engineers, and creative types of all stripes


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Grids & Guides is an ideas book as suitable for engineers and makers as it is for visual artists and other artsy types. Rather than the usual lined pages, this notebook – or self-described journal – offers eight different repeating patterns, such as a dotted point grid, a triangular isometric grid, and a diamond pattern grid. Very similar to the first Grids & Guides notebook we reviewed last summer, this latest edition is updated in several ways: 1) Red cover instead of black; 2) Mostly new patterns on the pages; and 3) New interspersed infographics pages, including a unit equivalents table, a knot tying chart, a world map, a lesson on perspective projection, and lots more. This notebook works as both a repository for new ideas as well as a springboard that inspires out-of-the-box thinking. And it makes a great gift for anybody with a creative thought at their fingertips.

Grids & Guides: A Notebook For Visual Thinkers Princeton Architectural Press 2015, 160 pages, 6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches From $13 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Dust and Grooves: fantastic photo book about vinyl record collectors


“Contrary to what conventional wisdom would have you believe…record collecting isn’t about music. Not entirely, anyway,” says music writer Jeff “Chairman” Mao in Dust & Grooves. Rather, it’s about the passion of collecting, and that’s what this captivating book is about.

Photographer Eilon Paz spent six years traveling to forty cities in twelve countries to meet the world’s most enthusiastic vinyl collectors. The result is the seductive book, Dust & Grooves, originally published as a Kickstarter project but released today in this newer edition by Ten Speed Press. The book is split into two hefty sections. The first half is the “coffee table” section of glossy, sumptuous images of collectors with their records. The second half is the magazine-style section of interviews on wonderfully textured matte pages. In both sections Paz plops us into the rooms of these collectors, giving us a voyeuristic glimpse into their vinyl-obsessed lives. What we take away is that every collection is unique and is a reflection of its avid collector’s personal story. This book isn’t for music lovers as much as it is for anyone interested in seeing what makes a passionate collector – of any kind – tick.

Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting by Eilon Paz Ten Speed Press 2015, 428 pages, 9.8 x 12.2 x 1.4 inches $34 Buy one on Amazon

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Dismantle the Pyramix one cube at a time in this three-sided strategy game


I’m loving Gamewright these days, the fun factory that churns out Sushi Go, which I reviewed last week, as well as the latest game in my house, Pyramix. The self-described “three-sided strategy game,” which takes about 15 minutes to play, starts off with 56 cubes stacked into the shape of a pyramid (okay, not a true four-sided pyramid, but what the hey). The cubes each sport a symbol of an ankh (1 pt), a crane (2 pts), an eye (3 pts), or a cobra (0 pts). The object is to take turns removing the cubes to earn the most points.

Sounds simple enough. In fact, I collected as many eyes and cranes (high point cubes) as I could during the first game I played, thinking the game a bit too simple. And then I lost by a landslide. What I hadn’t taken into account was the strategy level the game’s handful of rules create, such as: 1) you can only take a cube with two or three sides exposed, 2) you can’t take a cube that’s right against a Cobra cube, 3) although you can take a cube from the bottom of a stack (causing the rest to slide down), you can’t take the last cube standing in each stack, and 4) at the end of the game, whoever has the most ankhs in each color category takes whatever is left on the base board in that same color. The fourth rule gives the game an interesting twist, making 1-point Ankhs often more valuable than the others combined. Read the rest

Watch: Toddler and baby gorilla play peek-a-boo through glass at zoo


Every parent knows that baby humans love to play peek-a-boo. But in this adorable video taken at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, a toddler finds an enthusiastic baby gorilla to play the game with him. It started when the 2 1/2-year-old boy, Isaiah, pounded his chest at the gorilla. According to the Columbus Dispatch:

That's when he caught the attention of the young gorilla Kamoli, who was born in 2013.

With Kamoli in his enclosure and Isaiah on the other side of the glass wall, the two played for the next five minutes. They stared at each other, ran back and forth and played peek-a-boo.

After five minutes, they were both pooped, and the boy waved goodbye as the two went their separate ways.

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Cute Wonder Woman lunchbox banned from school for being too violent


Not sure if it's the scary-looking lasso or the ass-kicking red boots, but a school on Mainstreet, USA banned this dangerous Wonder Woman lunchbox from campus. Said school sent a letter to the lunchbox-toting owner's home, telling her parents that their daughter can't bring "violent images" onto campus. Sheesh. Here is the letter, brought to us by themarysue.com:

Good thing my daughter chose a solid color for her lunchbox this year!

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Sinkholes swallowing people in China this month

If you're heading to China, watch where you step. Last month it was escalators pulling people underground in China, with three separate accidents, including one that killed a mother after she managed to save her son. Now it's sinkholes, including one that swallowed five people yesterday at a bus stop. And this is just two weeks after an entire street collapsed in Dongguan China, pulling over 3,000 square feet down below street level and killing at least one person.

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Sushi Go - know which sushi to keep and which to hand off with this cute fast-moving card game


Something about the name Sushi Go had me hesitant to take the game seriously. It landed in my game closet over a year ago and remained untouched. Then last week my family wanted to play something new, so I finally ripped open the Sushi Go’s plastic wrap and broke out the super cute cards. And good thing I did!

Sushi Go is a fun, fast-moving card game that keeps you on your toes as you choose a card from your hand and then pass the rest to the player on your left (receiving a new hand from the player on your right). The goal is to score the most points by strategically collecting groups of sushi (or a piece of sushi and a spot of wasabi to dip it in) while working to block your opponents from collecting what they need. Each type of sushi has a different value, which is listed at the bottom of the card. For instance, egg nigiri is worth one point per card, while sashimi is worth ten points for every three you collect. Make sure to collect as much pudding as you can, since the person with the least amount of dessert at the end of a round will lose six points.

Although two people can play, it’s much better with three to five players. And you can play a game (which consists of three rounds) in around fifteen minutes, making it perfect for anyone on-the-go who needs a quick game fix.

Sushi Go by Gamewright Ages 7-100, 2-5 players $11 Buy a copy on Amazon

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