"You can’t even read American fiction to get a sense of how actual life is lived these days. You read American fiction to learn about dysfunctional white folk doing things that are weird to normal white folks."

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (via tokenblackconfessions)

When I read that quote in the book, I cheered. Seriously, I was nodding and going, “Yep, the doors to the church is open. She’s preaching today, all day.”

(via jazzypom)

(via crossedwires)

"I always assume that a good book is more intelligent than its author. It can say things that the writer is not aware of."

Interview with Umberto Eco (The Art of Fiction, No. 197). (via ragnaroked)

Also true of art in general.

(Source: the-library-and-step-on-it, via creepingmonsterism)

1,775 notes

"All witches are selfish, the Queen had said. But Tiffany’s Third Thoughts said: Then turn selfishness into a weapon! Make all things yours! Make other lives and dreams and hopes yours! Protect them! Save them! Bring them into the sheepfold! Walk the gale for them! Keep away the wolf! My dreams! My brother! My family! My land! My world! How dare you try to take these things, because they are mine!"

Terry Pratchett (The Wee Free Men)

(Source: persephinae, via aintgotnoladytronblues)

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

(Source: aseaofquotes, via heroics)

1,662 notes

Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks


The Raven

There once was a girl named Lenore
And a bird and a bust and a door
And a guy with depression
And a whole lot of questions
And the bird always says “Nevermore.”

Footprints in the Sand

There was a man who, at low tide
Would walk with the Lord by his side
Jesus said “Now look back;
You’ll see one set of tracks.
That’s when you got a piggy-back ride.”

Response to ‘This Is Just To Say’

This note on the fridge is to say
That those ripe plums that you put away
Well, I ate them last night
They tasted all right
Plus I slept with your sister. M’kay?

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

There once was a horse-riding chap
Who took a trip in a cold snap
He stopped in the snow
But he soon had to go:
He was miles away from a nap.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

There was an old father of Dylan
Who was seriously, mortally illin’
“I want,” Dylan said
“You to bitch till you’re dead.
“I’ll be pissed if you kick it while chillin’.”

I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud

There once was a poet named Will
Who tramped his way over a hill
And was speechless for hours
Over some stupid flowers
This was years before TV, but still.

(via pipistrellus)



Beowulf vs. Grendel as depicted in one shot comic Conquest # 1, 1943.

So… Grendel is a dinosaur. I call bullshit. It’s supposed to have feathers.

Wait, what? I don’t remember that from reading Beowulf, though it has been a while. /searches for Raffel translation, remembers she only has Heaney close to hand, sighs
Unless you meant tyrannosaurs are supposed to have feathers, in which case fair cop (probably, according to the latest mode of scientific thinking.)



Beowulf vs. Grendel as depicted in one shot comic Conquest # 1, 1943.

So… Grendel is a dinosaur. I call bullshit. It’s supposed to have feathers.

Wait, what? I don’t remember that from reading Beowulf, though it has been a while. /searches for Raffel translation, remembers she only has Heaney close to hand, sighs

Unless you meant tyrannosaurs are supposed to have feathers, in which case fair cop (probably, according to the latest mode of scientific thinking.)

26 notes


At the end of its report the expert commission summed up the results of its experiment in these words:

(1) Andrias Scheuchzeri, the salamander kept at the London Zoo, can talk, though with something of a croak; it has a vocabulary of about four hundred words; it says what it has heard or read. There can, of course, be no question of independent thought. Its tongue is sufficiently flexible; in the circumstances it was not possible to examine its vocal cords more closely.

(2) The same salamander can read, though only the evening papers. It is interested in the same things as the average Englishman and reacts to them in a similar manner, i.e. in the direction of established general views. Its intellectual life — in so far as one may speak of any — consists precisely of ideas and opinions current at the present time.

(3) There is absolutely no need to overrate its intelligence, since in no respect does it exceed the intelligence of the average person of our time.


Karel Čapek, War With the Newts (1936). Translated by Ewald Osers.


It is a well-known fact that the greater a man is the less he has on his plate. An old chap like Max Bondy in Jevíčko had to have large letters painted above his shop, on both sides of the door and on the windows, that this was the place of Max Bondy, merchant of all types of drapery, brides’ trousseaux, canvas, towels, napery and household linen, printed cotton and flannel, top-quality cloth, silk, curtains, pelmets, braids and all kinds of sewing material. Founded 1885. His son, G. H. Bondy, a captain of industry, President of MEAS Incorporated, Commercial Counsellor, Stock Exchange Consultant, Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Industries, Consulato de la Republica Ecuador, member of numerous boards of directors, etc. etc., had on his house only a small black-glass plate with the gilt lettering


Nothing more. Let others write on their doors Julius Bondy, General Motors Representative; or Dr. Med. Ervin Bondy; or S. Bondy & Co. — but there was just one Bondy who was simply Bondy without further particulars. (I believe that the Pope, on his front door, has simply the word Pius, without any title or numeral. And God has no shingle at all, on Earth or Heaven. It’s up to you to find out that He lives here. But this is all beside the point and mentioned only in passing.)


Karel Čapek, War With the Newts (1936). Translated by Ewald Osers.

I’m not remotely religious, so it’s been hard for me to put a finger on why this passage has stuck with me since I first read it when I was, what, ten or eleven? (I made my sixth grade English teacher read it and I’m pretty sure that was after I’d already blown through it a couple of times.) Even at that age the text just resonated; I could recognize the authenticity of Čapek’s observations on human nature without having personal experience of the authentic. As I get older and have new experiences, rereading it is like putting on a new shirt that fits as though I’d worn it for years.


Flygirl - Sherri L. Smith

Hey, tumblr!  Are you mad about the way the movie Red Tails was treated by Hollywood?  Does it frustrate you that The Help was a ludicrously successful book and movie despite treating its African-American characters in stereotypical ways?  Are you interested in supporting well-made historical fiction featuring characters of color?  Having trouble finding media that might fit the bill?

Well, have I got the book for you.

Flygirl is the story of Ida Mae Jones, a young African-American woman with a big dream: to be a pilot.  Her father taught her to fly in his crop-dusting plane, and she’d have a license if the man who proctored her flight test hadn’t told her he would never award a license to a woman. 

At the beginning of World War II, she works as a maid, saving every extra penny to go to Chicago and try again for her license.  But after her older brother enlists, Ida Mae decides that she has to help with the war effort, too—doing something more active than collecting nylons and tin cans.  She’s going to be a WASP.

The WASP—Women’s Airforce Service Pilots—are civilian pilots who fly planes cross-country for the Army, freeing up male pilots for active duty overseas.  Being a WASP means a life of danger and adventure while serving the country—but only white women are allowed to join.  If light-skinned Ida Mae wants to be a part of the action, she’ll have to deny her race and learn to pass as a white woman.  Her adventure with the WASP is destined to be more treacherous than any of her peers’.

Flygirl features a multitude of female characters of different races and religions, with varied backgrounds and richly imagined lives.  The story is exciting, and the narration is smart and charming.  Next time you’re at a bookstore, in a library, or surfing amazon.com, give it a look.

If you enjoy the book, tell friends about it!  Recommend it to librarians, booksellers, and other people in positions to recommend it to others.  If you are a librarian, bookseller, or otherwise talk about books a lot, suggest it (and Sherri L. Smith’s other books!) to patrons and customers.  Draw fanart, write fanfiction, create graphics.  Send an email to the author telling her what you thought of the story.  (I did, and she’s really friendly.  Don’t be nervous!)

(via crossedwires)

98 notes

(signal boost) Bloodchildren antho is only available till June 22


This is a fundraising anthology for the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship fund. Downloads are $8.01, which goes towards the scholarship and helps fund more POC going to Clarion and Clarion West. 

If you can afford that, and are looking for something other than the same old unconsidered white gaze, I’d recommend the antho strongly. Signal boosting is also very much appreciated, of course.

I’m too close to this to give it a proper review, since I’m in it, but I want to say a bit about how it made me feel, reading it:

It made me feel like we can do this.  POC writing speculative fiction, we’re not alone, we’re all doing really different things with the genre but we’re in conversation.  It made me feel challenged to do better, be more ambitious with my next stories, and not to fall back on safe tropes.

It gave me science fiction that’s so much more than white colonists in space.  Reminded me why I loved SF in the first place. And reassured me that there was still fantasy and steampunk I could love too.

And it made me feel incredibly honoured, made my throat feel tight, that I get to be in the same group as these amazing writers. I want to see what they’ll be writing next, in five years, in twenty years.

I had favourites, of course. I just love anything Kai Ashante Wilson and Rochita Loenen-Ruis write; their stories here were no exception and were stand-outs for me. Lisa Bolekaja’s too; it’s the first thing of hers I’ve read and I want more!  But I feel like talking about faves is a derail, because this antho is so much more than just a bunch of stories. Its biggest strength IMO is the sheer variety and complexity of all these different perspectives. It’s exactly what I find lacking in a lot of anthos, and what I needed.

(via crossedwires)

136 notes