published print

I’ve decided to tell you guys a story about piracy.

I didn’t think I had much to add to the piracy commentary I made yesterday, but after seeing some of the replies to it, I decided it’s time for this story.

Here are a few things we should get clear before I go on:

1) This is a U.S. centered discussion. Not because I value my non U.S. readers any less, but because I am published with a U.S. publisher first, who then sells my rights elsewhere. This means that the fate of my books, good or bad, is largely decided on U.S. turf, through U.S. sales to readers and libraries.

2) This is not a conversation about whether or not artists deserve to get money for art, or whether or not you think I in particular, as a flawed human, deserve money. It is only about how piracy affects a book’s fate at the publishing house. 

3) It is also not a conversation about book prices, or publishing costs, or what is a fair price for art, though it is worthwhile to remember that every copy of a blockbuster sold means that the publishing house can publish new and niche voices. Publishing can’t afford to publish the new and midlist voices without the James Pattersons selling well. 

It is only about two statements that I saw go by: 

1) piracy doesn’t hurt publishing. 

2) someone who pirates the book was never going to buy it anyway, so it’s not a lost sale.

Now, with those statements in mind, here’s the story.

It’s the story of a novel called The Raven King, the fourth installment in a planned four book series. All three of its predecessors hit the bestseller list. Book three, however, faltered in strange ways. The print copies sold just as well as before, landing it on the list, but the e-copies dropped precipitously. 

Now, series are a strange and dangerous thing in publishing. They’re usually games of diminishing returns, for logical reasons: folks buy the first book, like it, maybe buy the second, lose interest. The number of folks who try the first will always be more than the number of folks who make it to the third or fourth. Sometimes this change in numbers is so extreme that publishers cancel the rest of the series, which you may have experienced as a reader — beginning a series only to have the release date of the next book get pushed off and pushed off again before it merely dies quietly in a corner somewhere by the flies.

So I expected to see a sales drop in book three, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, but as my readers are historically evenly split across the formats, I expected it to see the cut balanced across both formats. This was absolutely not true. Where were all the e-readers going? Articles online had headlines like PEOPLE NO LONGER ENJOY READING EBOOKS IT SEEMS.


There was another new phenomenon with Blue Lily, Lily Blue, too — one that started before it was published. Like many novels, it was available to early reviewers and booksellers in advanced form (ARCs: advanced reader copies). Traditionally these have been cheaply printed paperback versions of the book. Recently, e-ARCs have become common, available on locked sites from publishers. 

BLLB’s e-arc escaped the site, made it to the internet, and began circulating busily among fans long before the book had even hit shelves. Piracy is a thing authors have been told to live with, it’s not hurting you, it’s like the mites in your pillow, and so I didn’t think too hard about it until I got that royalty statement with BLLB’s e-sales cut in half. 

Strange, I thought. Particularly as it seemed on the internet and at my booming real-life book tours that interest in the Raven Cycle in general was growing, not shrinking. Meanwhile, floating about in the forums and on Tumblr as a creator, it was not difficult to see fans sharing the pdfs of the books back and forth. For awhile, I paid for a service that went through piracy sites and took down illegal pdfs, but it was pointless. There were too many. And as long as even one was left up, that was all that was needed for sharing. 

I asked my publisher to make sure there were no e-ARCs available of book four, the Raven King, explaining that I felt piracy was a real issue with this series in a way it hadn’t been for any of my others. They replied with the old adage that piracy didn’t really do anything, but yes, they’d make sure there was no e-ARCs if that made me happy. 

Then they told me that they were cutting the print run of The Raven King to less than half of the print run for Blue Lily, Lily Blue. No hard feelings, understand, they told me, it’s just that the sales for Blue Lily didn’t justify printing any more copies. The series was in decline, they were so proud of me, it had 19 starred reviews from pro journals and was the most starred YA series ever written, but that just didn’t equal sales. They still loved me.

This, my friends, is a real world consequence.

This is also where people usually step in and say, but that’s not piracy’s fault. You just said series naturally declined, and you just were a victim of bad marketing or bad covers or readers just actually don’t like you that much.

Hold that thought. 

I was intent on proving that piracy had affected the Raven Cycle, and so I began to work with one of my brothers on a plan. It was impossible to take down every illegal pdf; I’d already seen that. So we were going to do the opposite. We created a pdf of the Raven King. It was the same length as the real book, but it was just the first four chapters over and over again. At the end, my brother wrote a small note about the ways piracy hurt your favorite books. I knew we wouldn’t be able to hold the fort for long — real versions would slowly get passed around by hand through forum messaging — but I told my brother: I want to hold the fort for one week. Enough to prove that a point. Enough to show everyone that this is no longer 2004. This is the smart phone generation, and a pirated book sometimes is a lost sale.

Then, on midnight of my book release, my brother put it up everywhere on every pirate site. He uploaded dozens and dozens and dozens of these pdfs of The Raven King. You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one of his pdfs. We sailed those epub seas with our own flag shredding the sky.

The effects were instant. The forums and sites exploded with bewildered activity. Fans asked if anyone had managed to find a link to a legit pdf. Dozens of posts appeared saying that since they hadn’t been able to find a pdf, they’d been forced to hit up Amazon and buy the book.

And we sold out of the first printing in two days.

Two days.

I was on tour for it, and the bookstores I went to didn’t have enough copies to sell to people coming, because online orders had emptied the warehouse. My publisher scrambled to print more, and then print more again. Print sales and e-sales became once more evenly matched.

Then the pdfs hit the forums and e-sales sagged and it was business as usual, but it didn’t matter: I’d proven the point. Piracy has consequences.

That’s the end of the story, but there’s an epilogue. I’m now writing three more books set in that world, books that I’m absolutely delighted to be able to write. They’re an absolute blast. My publisher bought this trilogy because the numbers on the previous series supported them buying more books in that world. But the numbers almost didn’t. Because even as I knew I had more readers than ever, on paper, the Raven Cycle was petering out. 

The Ronan trilogy nearly didn’t exist because of piracy. And already I can see in the tags how Tumblr users are talking about how they intend to pirate book one of the new trilogy for any number of reasons, because I am terrible or because they would ‘rather die than pay for a book’. As an author, I can’t stop that. But pirating book one means that publishing cancels book two. This ain’t 2004 anymore. A pirated copy isn’t ‘good advertising’ or ‘great word of mouth’ or ‘not really a lost sale.’

That’s my long piracy story. 

gallusrostromegalus  asked:

Legit Question you might be able to shed some light on: How the FUCK did 50 shades get published? rapeyness and thematic issues aside, it reads like something that wouldn't get past quality control, let alone something they'd build a goddamn campagin around. What happened?

Contrary to popular belief, Fifty Shades of Grey was not just picked up off of fanfic net or wherever the fuck she hosted that Twilight rip off, resulting in insta fame and riches. It was in fact a self published novel through a print on demand indie press, before being acquired by a “reputable” publisher back in 2012.

The erotica gods flipped a coin that year it seems, Crucifix Nail Nipples or Fifty Shades. What a choice.

Like I said, James was self publishing through a small print on demand company in Australia at the time, where it was largely unsuccessful and would have stayed that way if it hadn’t started to circulate through the word of mouth of a few well known book bloggers, some trashing it for the pile of shit that it was, and others who presumably have no idea what safe kink is, claiming it as revolutionary

Which in turn lead to it being a sort of “oooh mommy porn on the rise, harmless fun or sinister decline in societal morals” think piece on local media, which in turn made more people interested in it, leading to legitimate publishers sitting up and going “but we want some of that money” and cutting James a deal and throwing a legitimate budget behind it, because presumably some people just want to watch the world burn.

To add insult to injury, the resulting success of Fifty Shades also caused Ann Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series to be reprinted, much to the dismay of anyone who had the misfortune to read it the first time.

Seriously. Don’t do it. It’s really not worth feeling like you need to remove your eyeballs and scour them with steel wool until the itching in your soul stops. I’m not trying to be funny here. That series is Not Okay. I draw the line at very few things, but Anne Rice and Sleeping Beauty went so far over that line it’s just a dot in the horizon. Love yourselves and read something else.

So yea. The short answer is: chance and luck. Oh she persevered with her fanbase to be sure, and that counts for something. But a lot of it was also luck, and being used as a rallying cry for white suburban mom’s everywhere to sassily inform everyone who didn’t even care, not to tell them what to enjoy and how sexual desire in women is healthy tyvm. Even if the book is a total odds with actual feminism, female empowerment, or anything remotely linked to healthy sex and resulted in a rise in sex related injuries everywhere. 

Seriously, if I find out any of you are using zip ties in your kink for anything other than equipment storage, I will personally emerge from the void with safety cutters and a long talk about safe, sane consensual kink, so help me gods.

The more that Wattpad wants me to believe that the cancellation of Belfast was due to Liam’s mental state, the more I’m inclined to believe that it had nothing at all to do with Liam.

Harajuku Subculture Magazine KERA To Cease Print Publication After 19 Years

The monthly Japanese fashion magazine KERA - launched in 1998 with the concept of “the most real Harajuku Street Magazine” - will publish their final print issue on April 15, 2017. After that date, the magazine will shift to digital only. Also, publication of KERA!’s famous “Gothic & Lolita Bible” will be suspended on May 24th.

Starting on May 16th, 2017, “KERA” will begin publishing content through a “comprehensive website” that includes a digital magazine and social media. They will also continue to run the popular KERA SHOP ecommerce website and collaborate with other shops and fashion brands around Japan.
imagine CEO namjoon.

Originally posted by cuteguk

  • what’s there to say? we already know he’s a great leader.
  • heir to the country’s largest publishing/printing firm.
  • also the greenest publishing/printing company in the country, like top five in the world, all thanks to namjoon’s initiatives.
  • he takes the whole inheriting business thing very seriously, determined to deserve the company and to be the best boss ever.
  • graduates early from a prestiged business school abroad and shares the responsibilities at the company to give his ageing father a break.
  • he’s so !!!! invested !!! in the health and happiness of his employees !!!!
  • wins All The Awards, for his green initiatives, planting trees, and making jobs, and protecting the environment ect, but also for having the happiest employees in the country.
  • he’s always arranging conferences and seminars for his employees to educate and encourage health/happiness/safety/equal opportunity/respect/ect in the workplace.
  • he works so hard to make sure everyone even down to the lowest branches are insured and that there are daycares and mom’s get the paid leave they need and deserve and that everyone gets and equal and fair wage.
  • bless him.
  • unfortunately all this work on top of his official workload means he doesn’t have much time to look after himself.
  • but in his mind he’s suffering is worth the safety and health of so many others he doesn’t even mind tho he’s kinda sad.
  • so, you work in the HR department.
  • and the head of the department fucks off on maternity leave and by some miracle ???? you get a hasty promotion.
  • no, you’re not really the head of HR but your function is pretty much the same and you don’t mind because the pay is goOD.
  • part of your responsibilities as head is to keep namjoon briefed on the general mood and concern of the people in his branch, i.e the large building full of people he feels directly responsible for.
  • he even has a whole suggestion box system, so once a week you just have to go through the notes people leave you and present a list to namjoon with a few possible solutions etc.
  • piece of cake.
  • except he’s hot as all hell.
  • i mean, it’s not a problem, far from it, he’s just very distracting.
  • but your meetings with him are the highlight of your work week so you do a really good job or at least you try, and also wear something nice.
  • and you think he’s just kinda clumsy and awkward.
  • but actually he finds you really distracting as well.
  • and your meetings are A Mess for the first month or so, until you get into the swing of things and get your shit together.
  • and the complaints he gets are never a big deal because everyone is happy and has nothing to complain about like ???
  • his secretary complaining that him playing smooth jazz all day in his office is getting kinda annoying and please would he play some classical or maybe bossa nova for a change.
  • or that his wacky ties and other questionable fashion choices are giving them a headache.
  • or jeon jungkook complaining about someone’s coffee breath again.
  • an anonymous submission says jimin is apparently??? too??? cute???
  • jung hoseok won’t stop moonwalking to the photocopier while humming thriller and it’s not even october and michael jackson doesn’t even moonwalk to thriller ugh ???????
  • yoongi keeps falling asleep at his desk and forgetting to go home at the end of the day.
  • harmless stuff like that. 
  • (namjoon stays late so he starts driving yoongi home because that’s just the kind of Great boss he is.)
  • and most of the time you two spend these meeting gossiping about drama between the departments and rolling on the floor laughing.
  • and you’re so in awe that someone can be so wonderful and selfless, making use of his privilege to protect people less fortune than him.
  • and your meeting are usually after lunch, so you come back from lunch to find him buried in paperwork and you begin to wonder, who takes care of him?
  • you ask if he had lunch and he’s like lol of course not have you met me
  • and you suggest postponing the meeting because there’s nothing urgent going on and you can take care of “kim taehyung keeps sneaking his dog into the office” on your own.
  • but he’s like “nO!!! please, our meetings are the only break i get, they keep me sane, they’re kinda the highlight of my week.”
  • and you sputter like ????? “im,,,what??? me ?? too?”
  • from that day on he starts taking you out for lunch every week and that way your meetings get twice as long.
  • and eventually you have to ask him, since nothing is going on in the office, “what about you, namjoon? how are you doing?”
  • and he thinks for a moment and he’s like “you know what, i feel kinda shitty actually.”
  • so you let him vent all his sadness and weird existential thoughts and angst for a few weeks and eventually suggest maybe he takes responsibility for his own health and happiness and maybe a good step would be to see a therapist?
  • and he does because he values your opinion and honestly it’s the only selfish thing he’s done in years and it makes him feel 1000001x better to have his concerns and ideas affirmed and listened to by a professional. therapy is cool, kids.
  • and one day shy joonie hands you a little poem he wrote you on a post-it, describing all the little detail he’s observed about him that makes his heart race and his head go all slow and foggy.
  • because he really,,,,,,,,,,,,, really likes you, and hopes this isn’t weird or anything if you don’t feel the same way that’s cool but he’s felt this way for a while and you’re the best thing that’s happened to him since this company and he just thought you deserved to know and he’s sorry.
  • and you have to like glue yourself to that dining chair so you don’t climb that dang table and throw yourself at him because namjoon is the most wonderful man on earth you treasure him and you want to keep him safe and happy because he deserves as much kindness as he’s prepared to give and he has nothing to be sorry for and you love him.
  • and he loves you too.
  • anyway, nsfw under the cut.

Keep reading
This woman’s name appears on the Declaration of Independence. So why don’t we know her story?
Mary K. Goddard printed one of the most famous copies of our founding document. To do it, she had to face down the Twitter trolls of 1776.

The Declaration of Independence printed with the names of the signers. Mary Katharine Goddard’s name is at the bottom. 

“Look closely at one of those printed copies of the Declaration of Independence.

See it? The woman’s name at the bottom?

It’s right there. Mary Katharine Goddard.

If you’ve never noticed it or heard of her, you aren’t alone. She’s a Founding Mother, of sorts, yet few folks know about her. And some of America’s earliest bureaucrats did their best to shut her down. Same old, same old.

Goddard was fearless her entire career as one of America’s first female publishers, printing scoops from Revolutionary War battles from Concord to Bunker Hill and continuing to publish after her offices were twice raided and her life was repeatedly threatened by haters.

Yup, she faced down the Twitter trolls of 1776.”

Read the full piece here


Only a couple, but this is my most recent shoot with my lovely girlfriend @ughh-idek modeling for me, this was meant to be a throwback to my very first fashion shoot of the same style, this one is meant to show my evolved understanding of photography and fashion in one.

8 Tips to Start Learning a Language

I’m sure someone has already written something on Tumblr (or anywhere else, for that matter) about this topic, but I also wanted to contribute my opinion to the discussion.

Here’s something I hear often: I want to learn [insert name of language], but I don’t know where to start!

That’s actually a good question: how do you even begin learning a language? There is so much to consider: vocabulary, grammar, special expressions, tone, culture, not to mention the four skills—speaking, reading, writing and listening. 

Yes, learning a language isn’t easy. However, it doesn’t mean that it should be boring or downright impossible. Plus, learning a language is one of the most rewarding cultural experiences: once you can understand and communicate in a language, you immediately become part of the people who use that language. They are no longer strangers to you, and you are no longer a stranger to them. How cool is that?

So here is my philosophy of language learning and some tips for those who wish to pursue a new language. Enjoy!

Tip #1: Understand Why You Are Learning This Language

Determine your goals first. Do you want to make new friends who speak that language? Do you need to pass a test to work/study/live in a particular country? Do you just want to impress your friends when reading phrases in that language? Are you about to travel somewhere on your vacation? 
Once you know what your goal is, you will know your priorities, too. If you just want to be able to order from a menu, you don’t need to buy a 400-page grammar guide. On the other hand, if you want to live somewhere longer than 3 months, you probably need more than just a grammar guide. So before you do anything, ask first: what is my goal? Why am I learning this language?

The rest of the tips are for serious learners whose goal is proficiency or fluency in a language.

Tip #2: Determine Your Strength

Are you naturally good at imitating accents? Then start by getting used to the sound of language through listening and repeating. Do you love reading? Then start with the alphabet and reading patterns. Are you a grammar nazi? Grab that grammar guide and dig right in! Are you good at memorizing? Find an app for learning new vocabulary and begin memorizing.
Whatever you’re good at, don’t be afraid to start there. Exploit your strengths!

Tip #3: Do Everything at the Same Time

Okay, this may sound weird at first, so let me explain. In language learning, the four main skills are interconnected: reading, writing, listening and speaking do NOT function separately. So, it’s important to start developing all of these skills as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve perfected reading before moving on to speaking, and so on. That being said, you have to determine your own schedule for when to practice what. For example, Monday can be your grammar learning and practice day; Tuesday can be your speaking and listening day; Wednesday can be your writing practice day, etc. It’s up to you to choose when to do what. My tip for you: DON’T do more than two skills at a time. More than two at once is too confusing, even if you’re good at multi-tasking. Take your time: consistency and diligence will pay off.

Tip #4: But Start with Reading

Yes, you should write, listen, read and speak at the same time as early as possible, but in my opinion, reading should come first. Here is why I think so: if you know nothing about a language, the fastest and the most effective way to immerse yourself in that language is to learn the alphabet and the reading system. Reading allows you to: 
a) explore written and printed content at all levels
b) make native-speaking friends online and communicate with them via texting
c) practice reading aloud, developing speaking skills and proper pronunciation
d) start copying words and phrases, developing writing skills
e) learn new vocabulary words

Tip #5: Make a Native-Speaking Friend ASAP

Nothing motivates you in language learning like a good, funny, crazy friend! Finding a native-speaking (and I emphasize native-speaking, not a more advanced learner) friend is much easier than you might think. If there is a community of native speakers in your area, get out of your comfort zone and join them at community events or language classes, if they’re available. But I honestly like online language learning partners better because you can make friends more easily and start learning faster. I’d suggest these platforms/websites:

  • HelloTalk

Of course, always be careful with meeting people online; but otherwise, this is a great way to make native-speaking friends. Oh, here’s another tip: try to find friends whose level of your own native language is very low—that way, you’ll be forced to use the language you’re learning, which is definitely a plus. Finally, be ready for lots of mistakes and corrections. Pride isn’t a thing in language learning, so forget it. The more willing you are to accept correction and learn from your mistakes, the faster you’ll get to that level when you won’t need too much correction.

Tip #6: Accept the Fact that This Will Take Time

Language learning takes time. Building a foundation will take anywhere between 2-6 months. Mastering a language can take years. So don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’re too slow: in a few months, you’ll look back and realize how far you’ve come. Again, consistency and diligence are key to language learning success!!

Tip #7: Don’t Spend Too Much Money

Here’s the beauty—and reality—of contemporary language learning: you can find everything you need without spending much at all. Why? Because most tools—grammar guides, listening exercises, sample readings by levels, language partnering platforms, etc.—are available online for free. So before you cash out, explore the web. 
This doesn’t mean that you should completely ditch the textbook. Some publishers offer printed resources that are extremely helpful: things like dictionaries, workbooks, flashcards, illustrated guides, etc. can be lifesavers. Just my advice would be to explore free online options before heading over to the bookstore or Amazon for more costly options.

Tip #8: Always Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing This

When you’re on the 200th page of a workbook, or when your native-speaking friend can’t explain a grammar rule, or when you’ve written out a word too many times to count but still can’t remember it in conversation… it’s easy to get discouraged. You’ll want to give up. You’ll think, “Why did I even get myself into this mess?” At those times, remind yourself of the reason why you began learning this language in the first place. Why are you doing this? What’s your goal? Has this experience been changing you? If yes, how? Those questions will help rekindle that fire and keep you going. And seriously, this applies to everything in life, not just language learning. So don’t give up just because you’ve reached a slump! We’ve all been there, and it’s about how you get out of it!

And of course, remember that no experience is a waste. The fact that you’ve started, that you tried, that you did your best, that you met new people (whether they stayed or not)—all this now makes up part of who you are and what you’ve been through. It’s worth it.

littlekit  asked:

Hey there! I’m an aspiring dope lady seeking fiction written by dope ladies, so it seems natural to ask you, a dope lady who writes: what are some of your favorites, old or new?

Oh boy

Old favourites

  • The Blazing World - Margaret Cavendish. Look. I’ll level with you here. This is weird. There are parts of this which are like wading through lexical porridge. The plot is literally a self insert fanfic where the author travels to a parallel universe in which everything is made of jewels and the residents are talking animals who love her for her astonishing intelligence. The reason I’m recommending this is that it was written in 1666, and Margaret Cavendish was kind of a badass. Is she one of the greatest writers of all time? No. Is she one of the most dedicated and passionate writers in the Western canon? Absolutely. Not only is this book a pretty decent starting point for the sci fi genre as we recognise it today, it also includes the ever accurate line ‘Conquerors seldom enjoy their conquest, for they being feared more than loved, most commonly come to an untimely end.’ (Her grammar was… not great.) So, y’know. She did know what she was talking about. Read it. Let the spirit of Margaret flow through you as you challenge the patriarchy and do all the shit you’ve been told is unladylike.
  • If Not, Winter - Sappho, tr. Anne Carson. Sappho is the poet. Anne Carson is the translator. And by ‘the’, I mean that they are each singularly the best. No other ancient poet I’ve read has captured what it means to love like Sappho did. No translator has managed to toe the line between authenticity and poetry like Anne Carson does. The poetry in this collection is raw, in the least pretentious sense of the word. Some of the poems are only fragments, two or three words, but the fact that they still resonate says something about the strength of them. Top quote: ‘someone will remember us / I say / even in another time’.
  • The Tale of Genji - Murasaki Shikibu. Right, so, this book is absolutely gigantic, and I have not read it all. My edition is 1,224 pages. I could build a house out of copies of this book and be pretty warm in winter. However, I’m recommending it here because it’s a book that was written in 11th century Japan, and which has been enormously influential in shaping the novel and how we read books even today. We often think of novels as being a very Western innovation, sometimes even a Western invention, but that’s not the case at all. People throughout history and across myriad cultures have put their thoughts down on paper and constructed a plot. Shikibu’s novel is part psychological drama, part court romance, part social commentary - all things we still read today. It’s a big read, but it holds up almost unnervingly well. Top quote: ‘Real things in the darkness seem no realer than dreams’. You could read that in a modern work of literary fiction and you wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Shikibu knew the human condition.
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Harriet Jacobs. So, this is a very hard read, and honestly it is not for everyone. It’s an autobiography published in 1861 and written by a woman who had been a slave but managed to escape. I think that one of the key things that leads me to recommend this particular book is the fact that it directly addressed white women and asked them to think about what slavery meant and how inhumane it was. White women are fairly often exonerated as innocent bystanders who would have abolished slavery if only they’d had the political sway to do so, and this book reminds us that they were equally culpable, benefitting just as much from slavery as white men did. Even the publication history of the book is testament to the lack of power that people like Jacobs had; even though ostensibly free, her book was used as a tool of propaganda by white abolitionists when her publishers refused to print her book unless she could get a preface written by one. Jacobs refused, and her book was later printed by another company. It shows the white saviour complex very well, I feel. Top quote: ‘There are wrongs which even the grave does not bury.’
  • Passing - Nella Larsen. A bit of an overlooked one, this, because Larsen wasn’t recognised particularly in her lifetime and it’s only now that her novels are being retrospectively placed into the literary canon. This book is a novel about two African American women and is set in New York in the 1920s. Both women are able to pass as white, but each makes a different choice about doing so; one lives her life as a black woman and claims a white identity only when it offers her protection, and the other rejects her black identity and passes for white entirely. Added to that is a whole foreboding sense of jealousy and resentment between the two women and their different circumstances. It’s a complicated book and it deals with themes that are difficult to unpack, but it’s still hugely resonant. Top quote: ‘I feel like the oldest person in the world with the longest stretch of life before me.’
  • When Love is Blind – Mary Burchell. Is this a great work of literature? No. Is it a Mills & Boon book about a woman who runs a man over with her car, causes him to go blind, and then falls in love with his piano playing? Yes. Is Mary Burchell one of the most badass women of all time? Also yes. Mary Burchell is a penname for Ida Cook, who I wrote about in more detail here, but to summarise her ridiculous, wonderful story – Ida Cook was an opera fanatic who wrote romance novels to fund her covert mission to smuggle Jewish refugees’ belongings out of Germany and reunite them with the refugees who had fled persecution and needed to prove their financial means in order to establish their lives in Britain. Her books are ridiculous. She was ridiculous. You must read her books. Top quote: ‘This is the moment of truth between us.’

New favourites

  • Girl Hearts Girl - Lucy Sutcliffe. This book is goshdang dope as all heck because it’s a memoir geared towards young people who are struggling with their sexuality and who haven’t come to terms with a queer / LGBT+ identity yet. Lucy never talks down to her readers and it doesn’t come off as some kind of morality tale; rather it’s like being spoken to by an old pal or a mentor figure. I honestly wish I’d had books like this as a young person. It validates all the concerns that young people have and also helps to ease them. Top quote: ‘Us LGBT folk are courageous. By coming out, we are saying that we’re ready to face any negative consequences that come our way. It’s an act of defiance, an act of pride, and it’s something that should be applauded, not silenced.’
  • The Colour Purple - Alice Walker. Not sure there’s much I can say about this one that hasn’t already been said by people far better versed than me 400 times already, but this one is a must read. It just is. No other novel I’ve read compares to it in terms of character development, use of the epistolary form, and its handling of genuinely disturbing themes. Walker uses language like few people can, representing characters with different degrees of literacy but never making the book a slog. I’m a fairly committed atheist, but this book introduced me to ways of thinking about spirituality and religion that have influenced how I think about theology. I won’t go into the plot here because I honestly think it’s better to go into this one knowing as little as possible. Top quote: ‘Have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show.’
  • The Icarus Girl - Helen Oyeyemi. So, Oyeyemi does this thing where she writes a stunning, flawless book, and then absolutely goofs up the ending. I need to get that out there immediately because it’s a very real issue with all the books I’ve read by her, and it means that this recommendation comes with a necessary warning. You won’t get the payoff from any of her books that the build-up promises. However, I still think that this one deserves all the recommendations I can give it. Oyeyemi wrote it when she was still at high school, and you honestly wouldn’t know it to read it. The plot focuses on a young girl, Jessamy, who goes to Nigeria with her mother to reconnect with her heritage. Whilst there, she meets a strange girl around her age, and their bizarre, eerie relationship is at the core of the book. Oyeyemi does foreboding and creepy like no-one else, and one scene in particular gave me actual nightmares. It’s incredible that she wrote this so young, because it’s phenomenally well written. Top quote: ‘Could it be that simple? I scream because I have no twin.’
  • Sorry to Disrupt the Peace – Patty Yumi Cottrell. Probably my favourite book. I’ve never read a book with a better narrative voice. The plot follows Helen Moran, a pretty delusional character, whose adopted brother commits suicide, and she becomes obsessed with determining the cause. It’s one of those books that will make you burst out with unexpected laughter one minute (the phrase ‘monster shit’ got me good) and then 10 minutes later you’ll find yourself welling up. It’s a goddamn journey, this one. Moran is one of those characters who sticks with you. Top quote: ‘My point is, how is anyone supposed to live with anything?
  • But You Did Not Come Back – Marceline Loridan-Ivens. Another one that I have to recommend with a warning, because this is, in parts, incredibly distressing. Loridan-Ivens is a Jewish Holocaust survivor whose father was murdered in Auschwitz, where she was also sent. This book is written as a letter to her father, telling him the things she would have told him had he survived, and asking questions about what happened to him that will never be answered. It also serves as a treatment of loss in general, as she also writes about the death of her husband and how his loss brought back her grief for her father. The writing here is just beautiful. It’s a short read, but it lingers. Every sentence stays in you. Loridan-Ivens is admirable because she survived and then went on to lead the kind of life that few people manage, and create a work that I think epitomises the human cost of hatred better than most. Top quote: ‘I had so little time to save enough of you within me.’
  • Hunger – Roxane Gay. I had a hard time getting into Roxane Gay. The first thing I read by her was Difficult Women, which I found repetitive and disappointing. This book, though? This book changed me. I want to read it every day and never again. It’s a memoir of sorts, focusing on Gay’s relationship with food and her body, and the traumatic incident that shaped how she responded to her own physicality. It is harrowing and difficult, but it’s a truly vital book. It’s also one of the most beautiful I’ve ever read. The language here is just beyond anything else that exists. Top quote: ‘This is the body I made.
  • Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher. I can’t make a list of dope women authors and not include Carrie Fisher. It’s actually against the law. If you’re going to read any of her work – which you should – I recommend this one. It’s better than her novels, which I found a bit patchy and shallow. This is one of her memoirs, and it mostly covers the difficulties that come with having parents who are great at being celebrities and pretty piss poor at being anything else. Fisher could turn a phrase like nobody’s business, and there are enough aphorisms in here to rival Oscar Wilde. The only issue I have with her memoirs is that they are all pretty similar; I’ve read them all, and if you’re going to, you should space them out. This is my personal favourite. Top quote: ‘I wanted to be less, so I took more.’
  • We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie has had some bad press lately for a few quotes about the universality, or lack thereof, of female experience, and I’m not going to go into that here; it’s not my place to talk about it, as a white cis woman. That said, I think it’s important not to silence her. She is one of the few black female voices who’s been allowed to use the platform she’s earnt, and I think it does her a great disservice to silence her. This book is very short; it’s more of an essay than a book, but that doesn’t mean it packs any less of a punch. The key theme is how issues of toxic masculinity are detrimental to men and women alike, and there’s some interesting stuff in here about gender politics in Nigeria that I was completely unaware of. Adichie has a way of writing that makes you want to act, and I think this one should be required reading. Top quote: ‘Culture does not make people. People make culture.’
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Becky Chambers. A space     opera! With multiple characters of colour! And multiple queer characters! How! Is! This! Real! Fanaticism aside, I absolutely adored this. I would  read thousands of pages in this universe. There’s a sequel already out and a third in the works, and I can’t wait to read them. This was a special book, the kind that makes you believe that we’re already in space and that everything written is true. It has a unique authenticity to it and I think it speaks about what it means to be human in really exciting ways. If you’re not usually a sci fi fan, read this anyway. It’s just great. It really is. Top quote: ‘The people we remember are the ones who decided how our maps should be drawn. Nobody remembers who built the roads.’ 
  • I Was Told to Come Alone – Souad Mekhennet. Mekhennet is a journalist who managed to gain unprecedented access to figures in the world of Islamic extremism, and this book is a non-fiction account of her attempts to understand how a religion that she knew well could be used in ways that she couldn’t explain. Honestly, she’s kind of a superhero. The risks she took to understand can’t be overstated. Her life was constantly in danger. The resulting book doesn’t just explain how religious doctrine can be twisted for terrible uses, but also how perpetual alienation and othering of minorities is liable to create a greater divide, and how that divide can lead to extreme thinking. The perspective that Mekhennet is able to offer, both as a woman with a Muslim background and as someone who was able to have face to face conversations with people involved in extremism, is eye-opening. Top quote: ‘As I’d seen over and again, people who see themselves as victims sometimes don’t notice when they become oppressors.’

That’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but I think it’s a good starting point! Any other recommendations, people?

Rare Pairs on Ice Ships!

(Art by @saniika​)

Your mods have been hard at work these last few weeks, and we’d like to introduce ourselves!

@ashiiblack and @phaytesworld are the main organizers and will manage contributors and the printing/publishing/ordering

@icicle33 is our social media coordinator and zine consultant

@xmadamrosex, @saniika and @animefanimefic will assist with the technical aspects of the zine, as well as graphic design

After 175 votes, the results are in!

Here are the lists of ships that will be included in the zine (in alphabetical order):

  • Chris/Phichit
  • Chris/Viktor
  • Chris/Viktor/Yuuri
  • Chris/Yuuri
  • Emil/Michele
  • Georgi/JJ
  • Georgi/Michele
  • Guang-Hong/Leo
  • JJ/Otabek
  • JJ/Otabek/Yuri
  • JJ/Seung Gil
  • JJ/Yuri
  • Lilia/Minako
  • Lilia/Yakov
  • Mila/Sara
  • Phichit/Seung Gil
  • Phichit/Yuuri
  • Viktor/Viktor
  • Viktor/Yuri
  • Yuri/Yuuri

Guest Artists/Writers will be announced December 5!

Applications for writers/artists will open on December 10!

Stay tuned for more updates!

*please note a previous version of this post said JJ/Yuuri - the correct ship is JJ/Yuri*


HOLY PRINTERS: The printed object


Holy printers is a visual study of the printer machine and the action of printing but also a visual response to the question: IS PRINT DEAD? Proposing the functional object as a symbol of the culture it’s involved and how it’s being glitched out of it.

Holy printers is separated in two projects: one is printed and the other one digital in order to create a dialogue between the computer and the printer. This is the tangible part of the project.

watch the digital part here: holy printers: the audiovisual

Printed in riso green and black