Kids explain how banned and challenged books helped them and even saved their lives

Banned Books Week has come and gone but we can be sure of one thing: the coming year will be marked by challenges to the same kinds of books that were controversial this year, and in years past.

Rebecca Solnit's open letter to Trump: You should really visit New York some time

Rebecca Solnit (previously), one of my favorite writers, has published an open letter to Donald Trump, "New York City Is a Book Conservatives Should Read," which celebrates the city's teeming, messy, multicultural vigor -- something she delves into deeply with Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, a book about the "innumerable unbound experiences of New York City [with] twenty-six imaginative maps and informative essays" (just ordered mine). Read the rest

Lin-Manuel Miranda made a Hamilton mixtape

...and it drops on Dec 2, with a $14.49 pre-order option: featuring tracks that didn't make the stage play, as well as Busta Rhymes' remix of "My Shot" and other guest appearances from Queen Latifah, Ben Folds, Kelly Clarkson, Jimmy Fallon, Ashanti, Wiz Khalifa, Chance the Rapper, Usher... I ordered this so hard it broke my mouse. (via Kottke) Read the rest

I signed 2,800 copies of Walkaway, my next novel, and you can pre-order now!

It took most of a week to sign all 2,800 "tip-in" sheets that are being bound into a special, limited-edition version of Walkaway, my first novel for adults since 2009, but it was worth it! You can pre-order one from the good fellows at Barnes and Noble (hey, indie booksellers: there's some left over for you -- talk to your Macmillan rep!) Read the rest

Kickstarting Reflectacles: super-reflective glasses-frames that look amazing

Scott Urban's new Reflectacles glasses are Ray Ban-style frames that are embedded with the kind of retroreflective cat-eye materials used for highway markers, making them reflective at 500 yards at night, and nearly that visible by day. He's kickstarting them at an astoundingly cheap $85/pair, in seven colors.

Teasmade: the classic British bedside tea-brewing alarm-clock, now available in the USA

A decade ago, I made note of the fact that the iconic UK Teasmade alarm-clocks (which automatically brew a cup of tea using an improbable, Wallace-and-Grommity/Heath Robinson set of mechanical actions) were to be reissued, and today I come to find that they now exist and can be purchased in a model that runs on US electrical current. Read the rest

Draw like an artist: go from "I can't draw" to "handmade art for sale"

Boing Boing-beloved artist Chris Locke (previously) writes, "World-famous artist and middle-school art teacher Christopher Locke has published a new drawing tutorial book, packed with lessons from his own classroom. Whether you're a 10-year-old aspiring artist, or an octogenarian with an art degree, you'll find exercises and activities that will help you build your skill and refine the way you see the world." Read the rest

Amazing new UK covers for William Gibson's Sprawl books

Gollancz have announced a gorgeous set of new editions of William Gibson's seminal Sprawl books, which began with 1984's Hugo, Nebula and Philip K Dick award-winning novel Neuromancer, designed by Daniel Brown (previously), using software that created fractals based on 1970s apartment buildings. Read the rest

Kickstarting awesomely nerdy pie-guides

All through 2016, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) has sent us a stream howtos for of amazing, artistic pies -- an HR Giger pie, a James Bond pie, and a Predator pie. Now she's kickstarting a set of pie templates to help you make perfect pop-culture pastry in your own kitchen. Read the rest

Everfair: a diverse, ambitious steampunk novel of Fabian socialists and American Black Zionists in Belgian Congo

Though Everfair is Nisi Shawl's debut novel, it's also been a hotly anticipated book for years, as Shawl is the co-author of Writing the Other, a seminal book about diversity in prose; and is a much-respected critic and teacher. The book was worth the wait.

Steel Star Trek salt and pepper shakers

The stainless steel shakers are designed to have a lot of heft (the Enterprise is 7oz empty, the Bird of Prey is 5 oz): they're $60 from Thinkgeek. Read the rest

Caped Wonder Woman onesie

Though the Dawn of Justice movie was a disappointment, the $45 Wonder Woman Dawn of Justice onesie (with cape!) (and gold foil tiara on the hood!) is not a bad consolation prize (and the cape zips off). Read the rest

Stormtrooper decanter

The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 -- it's based on Andrew Ainsworth's original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like "aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?" (via Bonnie Burton) Read the rest

Fidget toys to disperse your nervous energy

I dote on fidget gadgets -- soothing gizmos intended to give your hands something to keep busy with, like modern worry-beads -- and while you can't buy Chris Bathgate's amazing machined sliders, and the Fidget Cube Kickstarter just closed, there's still Thinkgeek's new Jumbo Noah Fidget Toy, which looks like a lot of fun and "features two interlocking rings that are also connected together with five links on each ring. The center link is larger and has a colored rubber band that rolls back and forth like a treadmill." Read the rest

Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy

Today sees the publication of Bonnie Burton's (previously) long-awaited new book, Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy. Read the rest

The Blot: correspondence between Jonathan Lethem and Laurence A. Rickels about Philip K Dick

A Gambler's Anatomy is the latest novel from Copyfighting certified genius Jonathan Lethem (previously) -- a book about an international backgammon hustler who believes he is psychic -- and who sports a huge tumor growing from his face. Read the rest

Kickstarting a monthly open hardware maker-box for kids that funds a kids' makerspace

Noah Swartz writes, "Parts and Crafts, a youth and community makerspace in Somerville, MA, is kickstarting a series of Creative Commons/Open Hardware licensed educational kits and projects for kids. The project is called 'Monthly Make-It' and it's a maker-kit subscription service where you sign up to get a box of cool DIY buildable projects sent to your house every month." Read the rest

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