Cover for new edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "creepy, sexualized, inappropriate garbage”

Commenters on Penguin’s Facebook page have called the cover for new edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ‘creepy,’ ‘sexualized’ and ‘inappropriate garbage.'”

In the New Yorker, Margaret Talbot says pretty much the same thing:

You can imagine what the designers were getting at. Dahl is darker and edgier than most beloved children’s authors. In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the obnoxious children suffer ignominious comeuppances—one falls into a filthy garbage chute; another blows up like a giant blueberry—and these are observed with sadistic glee by Willy Wonka and the author alike. The trouble is that the designers went for the wrong sort of darkness. One thing that Dahl’s books for children are not is sexually perverse, or indeed sexual at all. (His macabre stories for adults, which sometimes feature sexual cruelty, are another matter.) And if the Stepford daughter on the cover is meant to remind us of Veruca Salt or Violet Beauregarde, she doesn’t: those badly behaved squirts are bubbling over with rude life.

This will always be the only cover for me:

Previously: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's creepy new cover

Listomania – Over 1,200 fun facts organized by lists

I’m a sucker for trivia, and Listomania is on my top-ten list of fascinating facts books. As the title reveals, the book is loaded with fun tidbits of information (over 1,200 of them) that are organized by lists. Most items or lists are explained in a short paragraph, and every list is playfully and boldly illustrated.

My top 10 favorite examples:

  1. 8 Awful Jobs in History (sperm collector, nitpicker…)
  2. 14 Cool Things to View on Google Earth (giant pink bunny in Italy, Mount Everest…)
  3. 10 Places on Earth that are Still Unexplored (Makira Forests in Madagascar, Lake Vostok in Antarctica…)
  4. 9 Extreme Abodes (house on a volcano, airplanes converted into houses…)
  5. 14 Beauty Queen Scandals (Spain’s Miss Universe chucked her crown out of a window, Miss England punched another beauty queen…)
  6. 18 Things that Fell From the Sky (colored rain, cows…)
  7. 8 Dastardly Ponzi Schemes (Charles Ponzi, Bernie Madoff…)
  8. 7 Things Made from Insects (red dye from ground-up cochineal bugs, antibiotic herbal remedy from cockroach brains…)
  9. 14 Unexpected Odds (117:1 that you’ll fly with a drunk pilot, 6,250:1 that you’ll be struck by lightning…)
  10. 10 Best Countries to be a Geek (US, Belgium…)

Listomania: A World of Fascinating Facts in Graphic Detail

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Hello: eBoy - massive compendium of the premier isometric pixel illustrator group

eBoy is the name of a collective of four German artists who excel at drawing robots, blocky people and animals, cacophonous cityscapes, and weird weapons, machinery, and vehicles in the style of old video games.

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Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties – an illustrated, aural, and written history of Harlem’s early jazz scene

“The Roaring Twenties began with Prohibition and ended with the stock market crash. In the years between, New York experienced an unparalleled revolution in ways of life, language, and music.”

For jazz, the epicenter of the revolution was Harlem.

Created by German illustrator Robert Nippoldt with text by Hans-Jürgen Schaal, Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties is a beautifully produced over-sized, cloth-bound walk through the history of Harlem and its transformation from a peaceful village on the outskirts of New York City into “America’s black Paris.” Woven through 144 pages of ogle-worthy, award-winning design, we experience a Harlem alive with inspiration, invention, and unparalleled talent. We meet its key players through 24 extraordinary biographies of Harlem’s jazz luminaries, and learn how the limits of the early recording process shaped the sound of the first jazz records ever pressed; why Louis Armstrong had to record without tuba or percussion in 1925; and why clarinetist Prince Robinson’s legs had to be bound together before he could begin a studio session. We’re introduced to each of the twenty recordings included on an accompanying CD –including the first commercially released jazz recording ever made, 1917’s Livery Stable Blues – by way of histories and narratives connecting the dots between these pivotal pieces and their place in the annals of jazz. The book even maps historic Harlem’s nightclub, theater, and dance hall scene.

Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties celebrates time and place without ever sugarcoating the often harsh realities and egregious adversities faced by the legendary community of artists who created a uniquely American genre of music. It’s an adventure in art, words, and sound that successfully manages to blur the line between a ‘Jazz for Dummies’ treatment and a collection for the seasoned aficionado.

Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties

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Tiny Homes on the Move – nomadic houses that offer an adventurous yet simpler way of life

As a continuation of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, author Lloyd Kahn (former Shelter editor of Whole Earth Catalog) brings us Tiny Homes on the Move, which showcases 90 nomadic homes made from trailers, school buses, vans, trucks, boats, and even a tricycle. Each entry includes an essay by or about the home’s creator, who talks about why and how they converted a vehicle into a house. Each dweller has a unique story:

A corporate man in Manhattan quit his job three years ago to live a simpler life. He bought a camper van and converted it into his home, which travels between the desert and the beach where he can surf.

A struggling family with young children sold their traditional house and converted a 76-passenger school bus into a new home. “We desperately wanted off the bureaucratic treadmill and to get into a simple life.” The result is astonishing, with a colorful, clean, modern living space that looks more like a trendy pad in Manhattan than a house bus.

A woman who lost almost everything she owned in a house fire says, “It was almost like a burden lifted off my shoulders.” She decided to reinvent her life by living a minimalist lifestyle on a sailboat and exploring the world. With only 100 square feet of cabin space, she doesn’t miss a thing.

Although no two stories or homes are alike, what these people all have in common is their love of freedom and simplicity that their alternative housing offers them. Reading this book is inspiring and makes me examine ways in which I can shed some of the complexities that encumber my own lifestyle.

Tiny Homes on the Move

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Digital tools have a mind of their own: yours

Clive Thompson says that there are three principal biases that today’s digital tools introduce to human thought.

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Taking an active role in our kids' digital lives

Sarah Granger offers some important, clear and commonsense advice for protecting your kids online by teaching them to use the net wisely and welcome all it has to give — not by scaring them into furtive, disastrous Internet experimentation.

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The Getaway God: latest Sandman Slim is a hard-boiled, supernatural treasure

Richard Kadrey has returned to the world of Sandman Slim with The Getaway God, a hard-boiled, down-and-dirty supernatural end of the world novel that demonstrates that even if the world is ending, Kadrey’s capacity to spin gripping, hilarious, grisly adventures has no end in sight. Cory Doctorow reviews the latest installments in one of modern horror’s greatest series.

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The Portlandia Activity Book

Inspired by the hilarious and quirky TV show Portlandia, The Portlandia Activity Book, written by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel includes all kinds of Portland-related activities, tests and advice, such as a “Build Your Own Chore Wheel,” conversation starter cards, conversation stopper cards, fashion tips, bird stencils, silly word games, and more.

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Hollow book-safes with matching whisky flasks


The Hollow Book Company makes modified books with hidden compartments in them, complemented by matching whisky flasks, which can be custom-laser-etched or skinned with full-color vinyl adhesive.

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Confronting Lovecraft's racism


Award-winning horror writer David Nickle has been repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to have a frank and serious discussion of HP Lovecraft's undeniable racism; people want to hand-wave it as being a product of Lovecraft's times, but it is inseparable from Lovecraft's fiction.

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Glimpses: amazing audiobook of one of the all-time-great rock-n-roll novels

Cory Doctorow rates Lewis Shiner’s haunting Glimpses as one of the all-time great rock-n-roll novels, right up there with George RR Martin’s stupendous Armageddon Rag. It’s now available as an audiobook, and he’s delighted.

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Headboard made from books


Kassandra bought the books at thrift shops and nailed them in place, double-sided taping the top pages to keep them in place.

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Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat) and photographer Glen E. Friedman on the images in 'My Rules'

Photographer Glen E. Friedman has a new book out in September, 'My Rules,' which represents some 30 years and 7 pounds of gorgeous hardcore, hiphop, and skateboarding history. He got together with his old friend Ian MacKaye at Dischord House just outside of Washington D.C. to discuss some of the photographs in Glen's forthcoming book. Below, a couple of great shots of Minor Threat in the early 1980s by Glen.

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Photo: Glen E. Friedman, All Rights Reserved.


Photo: Glen E. Friedman, All Rights Reserved.

Photo: Glen E. Friedman, All Rights Reserved.


Photo: Glen E. Friedman, All Rights Reserved.

Harpercollins Humble Ebook Bundle with Gaiman, Bujold, Coelho, Williams, and more

Name your price for more than 12 DRM-free books from Harpercollins, support charity, and strike a blow for freedom!

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