NZ bans award-winning YA novel after complaints from conservative Christian group

Ted Dawe's Into the River won the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book prize; businesses that sell, lend or gift it face fines of up to NZD10,000. Read the rest

Documentary about the rise and fall of Tower records


I loved Tower Records. Not for the records (though I bought a lot of them there), but for the tremendous book and zine section. That's where I discovered Re/Search books and a ton of great obscure periodicals. It pains me whenever I see the crappy boring businesses that now occupy the former Tower Records store locations in Los Angeles.

Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But thats not the story. All Things Must Pass is a feature documentary film examining this iconic companys explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon. Directed by Colin Hanks.

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'Flash Kids' elementary school workbooks my daughter and I can agree on

Additional repetition and practice of skills my daughter learns at school really helps to cement them. Flash Kids workbooks are fun for her, and show me she has learned whatever we're working on.

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The biblical creation story told as space opera

Lots of myths have been used as fodder for science fiction and fantasy, and some of the more interesting ones turn the gods into cosmic entities, or extensions of our own humanity. Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light, for example, imagines a group of posthuman astronauts who take on the personas of the Hindu pantheon. Then there are comics, such as Jack Kirby’s Asgard, a techno-mystical dimension, where magic and technology are indistinguishable (to butcher Asimov’s famous dictum). One story that has not garnered much favor by writers and artists is the biblical creation story. But they are missing out on a vastly strange and cosmic tale, and when combined with Kabbalistic ideas of how the world was created, you have one of the most far-out psychedelic-inflected tales that, if used right, could do wonders for a science fiction/fantasy story.

The problem is, it would take a pretty weird imagination to know what to do with it. The solution is Jesse Moynihan. Moynihan’s day job is as a writer and storyboard artist for Adventure Time, one of the greatest cartoons ever produced (sorry for the hyperbole, but it’s true). In Adventure Time, mythology and pop culture – including some brilliant shout outs to Dungeons & Dragons – are combined into something that is both whimsical and profound. After a few episodes, however, you can begin to see the self-imposed limitations. It is a kid’s show after all. In Moynihans’s own work as a comic writer and artist, his vision is let loose. Read the rest

Enchantress, book one in James Maxwell's Evermen series

James Maxwell's Enchantress is an engaging, dense fantasy that drew me right in.

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Little Robot: nearly wordless kids' comic from Zita the Spacegirl creator

Kid or adult, parent or not, you should already be reading Ben "Zita the Spacegirl" Hatke for some of the most rollicking, science-fictional kid-friendly comics between two covers, but now you've got no excuse: Little Robot, a nearly wordless graphic novel about a little girl and a fugitive robot, will fill you with terror, laughter, wonder and joy.

Great book covers as animated GIFs


Wonderful literary GIFs by Javier Jensen of Santiago, Chile.

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Indianapolis launches literacy-promoting "Big Free Libraries"

Chris writes, "Indianapolis has just launched a great new series of art installations intended to promote both art and literacy." Read the rest

Final Pratchett novel is out: The Shepherd's Crown

Well, The Shephed's Crowd (a Tiffany Aching book) is out in the UK, anyway -- (idiotically) the US release will be Sept 1. Read the rest

Judgey: Web game that lets you judge a book by its cover


Judgey is a fun site that lets you rate a book's cover, then see if your rating matches up with its Goodreads rating. Great way to remind yourself of all the bad design in the world! Read the rest

Podcast: Effective Altriusm interview with the author of "Doing Good Better"

Rick Kleffel talks to William MacAskill, the core of Effective Altruism, discussing EA and his book about it. It's much more pragmatic and entirely reasonable, not about extreme statistics and speculations." Read the rest

Illinois mayor appoints failed censor to town library board

Peter writes, "Is a public library's board of trustees any place for a would-be book censor? The town of Downers Grove, Illinois is about to find out." Read the rest

Austin Grossman's CROOKED: the awful, cthulhoid truth about Richard Nixon

Austin Grossman's first-person secret memoir of Richard Nixon sounds like a Lovecraftian gag, but Crooked is a brooding, bitter Cold War novel that gets deep into the psyche of "the funniest president that ever lived."

DJ Molles closes out The Remaining series

The Remaining: Extinction

I'm half way through DJ Molle's recently released, final book in The Remaining series, Extinction. This post-zombie America adventure captures the genre perfectly!

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Exclusive preview: Jeff Lemire's Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars

Jeff Lemire -- creator of the epic apocalyptic graphic novel Sweet Tooth and the dreamy, Twilight-Zonish Underwater Welder -- returns with a new graphic novel, Descender, with Dustin Nguyen -- we're proud to present the entire first issue below!

New volume of SF from around the world: 28 stories from 25 countries

Lavie Tidhar writes, "The Apex Book of World SF 4 is out today - this is the fourth volume of the series began in 2009, and features 28 stories from 25 countries, seven of which are translations, and it is the first volume to be edited by Mahvesh Murad - marking this also as the first genre anthology ever edited by a Pakistani woman." Read the rest

Read a cool new book on our strange, deep relations with video games

The recently-released Death by Video Game is a a great read for serious fans of games, but also for people who don't really play them—it tackles all the fun questions about violence and obsession, and offers complicated answers.

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