this week's must read

When it comes to winter reading, critic Parul Sehgal looks for one simple thing – vindication of her desire to loaf, laze and retreat from the world, “the assurances, in short, of The Wind in the Willows, whose edicts are sane and just:

No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.’”

How’s that for hibernation reading?

Image: Paul Bransom’s illustration from a 1913 edition of The Wind in the Willows shows Otter traveling through the snowy woods. (Wikisource)

I am so in love with this you have absolutely NO idea how happy this stupid drawing makes me right now. I have been grinning the entire time! This will probably be the only thing I post for the next few days; I know I’m not going to do anything tomorrow because it’s truck day and then I need to start finalizing my costume. But ugh, these nerds are killing me rn! Based on my text post here Let’s all also appreciate Pouty!Atem lol

Stupid Tumblr ate my post… multiple times. Maybe if I try it without the picture? 😑

Tonight was meeting one (of two) of gym friends book club! It was an absolute blast!! We’re meeting again next week because five of the ten of us couldn’t meet this week and the book we read is so crazy that it MUST be discussed. (The Vegetarian by Han Kang)

I’ve said it before many times, but I seriously don’t know how I get to be this fortunate. I am surrounded by amazing people–at work, at the gym, at home, online–I have such a fantastically diverse, loving, supportive, snarkily funny group of people in my little world. I NEVER want to take that for granted.

5 Must-Read Alternate History Books

Guys! We’re only THREE weeks away from the release of Blood For Blood, Ryan Graudin’s amazing, heart-pumping sequel to Wolf By Wolf

If you haven’t heard, we have a super awesome pre-order perk for you. Pre-order Blood for Blood and submit your receipt to receive Storm After Storm—a Wolf by Wolf digital short story in Adele Wolfe’s point of view. This story is EXCLUSIVE to fans through this offer so don’t miss out! Get all the details here and brace yourself for when you get your hands on Blood for Blood on November 1st. 

But just in case you can’t wait that long, check out our list of the coolest and craziest alternate history books out there. They’re set in our universe… but with a twist. 

1. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

What do you get when you mix Victorian England with paranormal steampunk?  The first book in the Finishing School series!  Sophronia doesn’t know what to expect when she enrolls in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, but she soon realizes that she’ll be learning not only how to dance and dress but also how to be the perfect spy.  Throw in robots and werewolves and you get a version of the nineteenth century that’s a little different from what you learned in history class.

2. Fallout by Todd Strasser

In 1962, everyone feared nuclear war with the Soviet Union was right around the corner.  And what if, in another world… those fears came true? When the atomic bomb drops, Scott’s family rushes into the underground shelter Scott’s dad built in their backyard. But their neighbors force their way inside too.  With tensions rising and food supplies dwindling, Scott isn’t sure they’ll make it out alive.  And if they do, he can’t help but wonder what’s waiting for them on the outside.  This is a thrilling and terrifying look into the not-so-distant past.

3. Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

It’s 1888 in a world where the Revolutionary War never happened, and the colonies are fighting for their freedom under very different circumstances. They have technology, engineered in secret.  The British have their magic.  When Verity lands a job as a governess to a wealthy family in New York, she quickly falls for one of the rebels and is pulled into the fray.  She may have the power to change the tide of the war—but at what cost?

4. The Diviners by Libba Bray

The 1920s come roaring to life in the first book in The Diviners series, where mysticism and the occult are real.  Evie O’Neill has always kept her magical abilities a secret, but when the police find a dead girl branded with a cryptic symbol, she realizes her gift could help catch the killer.  As she’s pulled into the underbelly of New York City, she’ll need new allies and all of the supernatural power she can muster to face the darkness that has awakened in this re-imagined Jazz Age.

5. Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Okay, so maybe this is cheating. But if you haven’t read Wolf By Wolf yet, what are you waiting for?!  It’s out in paperback now!  Let’s set the stage: It’s 1956 and the Germans and Japanese have defeated the Allies in World War II.  To commemorate their victory, Hitler hosts an annual cross continental motorcycle race. For Yael, a former death camp prisoner, it’s the one way she can get close to the man who destroyed her people… and kill him.  A survivor of human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must impersonate last year’s winner, Adele Wolfe.  But can Yael bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

So, which of these reads will you be picking up? 

Share your favorite with us on Twitter and/or tell us about another favorite alternate history book that should be on our radar!

Today’s Must Read

NPR Books has a new series in the works called “This Week’s Must Read.” It launches the first week of November – but until then, here’s a taste of what’s coming.

One year ago this week, winds began battering the coastline of New Jersey, an early herald of Superstorm Sandy’s landfall. It would become the second-costliest storm on record in the U.S. And while 12 months leaves little time to cope with such tragedy – and still fewer books that address it – we can glimpse at Sandy’s human toll by looking a few years past it, to the storm recorded as the costliest in U.S. history: Hurricane Katrina.

In Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, a South Mississippi family stands in the gathering shadow of a massive hurricane. For all its locomotive bulk and bluster, though, the storm at first earns as much attention as a light drizzle. To a family struggling with poverty, and to a young girl pregnant at 14, there are more pressing matters to worry about than an oncoming storm – until the book’s harrowing final act, that is. This National Book Award winner is the kind of book that keeps your hands busy: one to keep your face covered, and the other to furiously flip pages.

I’m STILL currently reading Carry On. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I’ve been “reading” this for weeks (I didn’t pick up a book at all during my 2 week Winter Break). I’m also reading Dorothy Must Die as an eBook and The Sorcerer’s Stone though so I’m giving myself a pass for being extremely slow.

QOTD: What are you currently reading? What are your reading goals for the year?


Chubby puppy werewolf Rin and chubby mummy Sou return! ( ´∀`)ノ~ ♡ 

Sosuke likes taking his afternoon naps while Rin is “distracted.” This pup unfortunately drops everything he’s chewing on and dashes to try and sleep with Sosuke. He wins every time~ (-ω-   ) 

Look nightcloak-chan-san! I continued it! I dedicate this to you! (*ノωノ) ♡

THIRD EYE PICKS OF THE WEEK: DARTH MAUL #2 – We are super stoked about the new DARTH MAUL series that recently kicked off, and this week’s issue #2 is a MUST-READ!
A Jedi Padawan has been captured by sinister forces… and Darth Maul is determined to find her?!
This early tale of the galaxy’s deadliest Zabrak continues! Get the full scoop on Maul’s beginnings in this killer new series!
Need issue #1? We’ve got plenty in stock to get you on board and reading!

E aí, galera? Essa é a minha interpretação de Kianumaka-Manã, uma deusa que eu descobri nessas ultimas semanas. Preciso dizer que quando eu li “deusa onça” eu fiquei muito ansiosa pra desenhá-la! Ela é uma guerreira de espírito livre que carrega consigo a força das onças pintadas, e ela também abençoa as batalhas dos índios. Espero que gostem dela!


Hey guys! This is my vision of Kianumaka-Manã, a goddess I discovered a few weeks ago. I must say that when I read “panther goddess” I got relly anxious to draw! She is a warrior, a free spirt that carries the strenght of the panthers inside of her, and she blessed the battles. Hope you like her!
'Desperate environmentalism' won't save the environment
When I started teaching environmental law and policy, I thought I would work with the next generation of extraordinary environmentalists. I don't.
By Los Angeles Times

A must read power piece in this week’s LA Times. 

“When I started teaching environmental law and policy, I thought I would work with the next generation of extraordinary environmentalists. I don’t.

My students are extraordinary, but many see themselves as “corporate social responsibility consultants,” “ecosystem service managers,” “sustainability leaders,” “industrial efficiency experts,” maybe “clean energy entrepreneurs” — not environmentalists. They avoid that label because they associate it with stalled progress on the issues they care about. But this reinvention is a losing strategy.

Without a long view, traditional environmentalism can look like a failure.-  

It is hard to blame anyone for shying away from the environmental movement. Many of my students were infants at the time of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, the last time there was national legislative success on an environmental issue. Without a long view, traditional environmentalism can look like a failure. But dormancy does not equal failure.

The kind of stewardship championed by David Brower, Paul Ehrlich, E.O. Wilson, Morris and Stewart Udall, Edmund Muskie and Richard Nixon reflected their awe at the grandeur, interconnectedness and unpredictability of the ecosystems and wild landscapes. That perspective was transformative. It ushered in the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, to name just a few successes.

This suite of laws produced real results and is still working, still protecting natural systems and the people who rely on them. After all, we have the hopeful and heroic thinkers who gave us the Clean Air Act to thank for the 2015 Clean Power Plan, the only tool the United States has to enforce national climate change action.

But from climate change denial to corporate malfeasance, resistance to enforceable environmental protection is rampant. Seeking any conceivable path forward, many young leaders are exchanging their sympathy for the victims of environmental damage for the concerns of the regulated community. They turn away from enforceability-based approaches and promote more conservative techniques that they hope will impress and persuade reticent and cynical policymakers and power brokers.

If this is environmentalism at all, it is “desperate environmentalism,” characterized not by awe, enthusiasm and enjoyment of nature but by appeasement. It relies on utilitarian efficiencies, cost-benefit analyses, private sector indulgences and anthropocentric divvying of natural resources. It champions voluntary commitments, tweaks to corporate supply chains, protection not of the last great places on Earth but of those places that yield profit or services. From market-friendly cap-and-trade to profit-driven corporate social responsibility, desperate environmentalists angle for the least-bad of the worst options rather than the robust and enforceable safeguards that once defined the movement.

So, why are you an environmentalist? Via LA Times

Poet Jynne Martin – who, as you may remember, recently served as Antarctica’s writer in residence – gives us this week’s must read:

If, like many East Coasters, you had a miserable commute today through the blinding snow of Blizzard Hercules, just remember that it could be worse. … You could’ve been one of the members of Robert Falcon Scott’s fatal expedition to the South Pole in 1910.

If you think you can imagine how miserable it must’ve been to be a mild-mannered British chap, dressed in reindeer skins that were frozen solid, 10,000 miles from home, eating little besides stale biscuits, and trying to be first to reach the South Pole, well, actually you can’t. At least not without reading Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s masterpiece, The Worst Journey in the World.

… What makes Cherry’s story much more endearing than the usual ego-driven adventure narrative is that instead of breathless bragging, we get understated British humor: Early on, he tells us “The minus thirties and forties are not very cold, as we were to understand cold afterwards, but quite cold enough to start with.”

Photo: Members of Robert Falcon Scott expedition’s at the South Pole pose for the camera: Robert F. Scott, Lawrence Oates, Henry R. Bowers, Edward A. Wilson, and Edgar Evans. (Library of Congress)

The World Cup starts this week! To get in the futbol spirit, author Dave Zirin recommends Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow, which he calls “the most lyrical sports book ever written.” Zirin writes:

In just about 300 pages, [Galeano] attempts nothing less than an exposition of the entire cultural history of soccer. No chapter is more than a few pages; some merit only a paragraph. Yet all are evocative, with words woven to create a mood as thrilling as watching the World Cup in a packed pub.

Today’s Must Read

Obviously, it’s Halloween. Between the sugar highs, and the new lows you’re mulling with this year’s costume idea, it’s easy to forget what this holiday is really about: getting so scared you can’t see straight.

Well, we’re here to help. Crack open Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, turn the porch light off and fix a bowl of candy corn for one. By the time you’re done with her ghost story – still terrifying after five decades – every creak in your house will have you on edge. Fun, right?!

gif via nopercynobaddog