Monthly Archives: January 2015

You Just Know Daisy Buchanan Would Text While Driving

Eleventh Stack

If you’re someone who reads a lot—and I’m guessing you are since you’re reading this blog—the first book of the year you read can really set the tone for the rest of the year.  At least that’s what I came to learn in the early days of 2015; the first book I read this year was Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg.

I spent more time picking out a filter than I did reading that day.

Ortberg reimagines books as text message conversations between the characters and sometimes with authors as well.  An excerpt can be found here. She injects every iteration with humor while still managing to convey the gist of the plots. Her texts from Hamlet make him come across as a petulant teenager instead of a man in his thirties. The Lorax doesn’t only speak for the…

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The Children’s Book


The Children's BookThere are many reasons why it took me such an age to finish A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book. The baby, the house move, the bits of work I’ve got on the go (incidentally here is the other piece of journalism I mentioned) … and one must take into account the book’s considerable size of over 600 pages.

But, truth be told, I’m afraid that it took so long because I didn’t especially enjoy it.

Usually I am all for giving up on a book that I’m not enjoying. Life’s too short and there are too many books to squander my precious reading hours on something for which, for whatever reason, I’m not in the mood. It’s not that I won’t ever get around to reading the book in question, more that the current moment might not be the right time to have a go. Perhaps this is never…

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Free e-books

Cristian Mihai

dream_cityWell, the title says it all, I suppose. Dream City, a novel about one painter’s last months of life, a painter whose only dream is to create the masterpiece that will make it impossible for the world to forget him, is available as a free download.

You can find it on hereAlso, those of you that are based in the UK can download the book here.

Remember, the first short story I ever self-published back in 2012, is also being offered as a free download on Amazon. You can find it here or here.

This offer is available this week only, but that’s not the end of it. This week I plan on announcing a lot of cool offers, new releases, and stuff like that. Writer things.

But for now, enjoy these two free downloads. And do tell everyone about this offer. And post reviews…

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Golden Globes 2015 Fashion Recap

M&J Blog

Last night the starts were shining bright at the 2015 Golden Globes! We think all of the attendees were winners, especially when it comes to looking glamorous, but even we had our favorites!4613616181Lupita Nyong’o looked like a midsummer night’s dream in a fantastic violet dress.

salma-hayek-pinault-dolgen-globes-2015Salma Hayek Pinault blew us away with a white gown and frosty accessories.

jessica-chastain-golden-globes-2015Jessica Chastain sparkled in a bronze metallic dress.

allison-williams-golden-globes-2015 (1) Allison Williams looked dramatic in a beautiful red tiered dress.

katherine-heigl-golden-globes-2015Katherine Heigl maintained a stunning silhouette in a dark navy dress!

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Spotify’s bet for short-term growth pays off


Spotify now has 60 million active users, and 15 million of those are actually paying users, according to a post on Spotify’s blog. The announcement comes just two months after the company revealed it had 12.5 million paying users, which means it grew around 17 percent in just two months.

That’s impressive, but also no accident: [company]Spotify[/company] launched a deeply subsidized promotion in early December, offering consumers three months of music for just $1. That price obviously helped to convince a lot of people to sign up — but as I noted back then, it was also designed to boost Spotify’s numbers in another way.

Spotify usually lets consumers try its paid service for free for a month. The downside of that approach is that the company can’t account for trial users as paying customers until the second month, when credit cards actually get charged. And had the company decided to…

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Salt-Crust and Blue

photography speaks to the heart

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Photo taken by contributor Jan Smitowicz, a 29-year-old prison survivor and vegan who suffers from depression and anxiety, both of which are exacerbated by severe and constant pain in both knees caused by nerve damage. Jan is a fiction and narrative nonfiction writer, interested in producing work with dark humor and progressive social justice ideals. Jan’s debut novel is titled Orange Rain. He’s currently hard at work editing his memoir, Rebel Hell: Disabled Vegan Goes to Prison, which he expects to publish in the first half of 2015. Jan’s mother has depression, and his closest aunt suffers from bipolar disorder.

About this photo: “This photo was taken along the shore of Mono Lake, an ancient inland sea nearly three times as salty as the ocean. My girlfriend and I took a trip there to celebrate the paperback publication—by ethical-minded, independent Treból Press—of my novel Orange Rain. We rented a kayak and camped on one of…

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When it comes to social media, teens are not all created equal


I wrote a post recently based on something that 19-year-old Andrew Watts published on Medium, about the way he uses various social media networks. It was a fascinating look at how different services — from SnapChat and Instagram to Facebook and Twitter — appeal or don’t appeal to Andrew and his friends. But as sociologist and teen expert danah boyd rightly points out in a follow-up post at Medium, it’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from what one teenager like Andrew does with social media.

This is something that boyd (who chooses to spell her name without using capital letters) is in a position to know better than just about anyone, because she has spent more than a decade studying the way that teenagers use social media, and has written a number of fascinating papers as well as a book devoted to what they do and don’t do.

In her…

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