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UO x Lonely Planet: Get Out There Instagram Contest

Urban Outfitters and Lonely Planet are challenging all adventure seekers and travelers to Instagram their most epic travel photo for a chance to win an 11-day trip for two through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Document your trip and you could be featured on our site. Get out there and go explore!

How to Enter:
1. Download the Urban Outfitters App
2. Sign up for "Urban On" and link your Instagram account to the App
3. Instagram your most epic travel photo with the hashtag #UOxLP in the photo caption

While you're waiting to see who wins, you can flip through Lonely Planet's book, 1000 Ultimate Experiences, to start planning your next big adventure!

UO DIY: Scrapbooking

After visiting Tulum recently to shoot our newest lookbook, we had so many new Instax photos that we didn't know what to do with all of them. Rather than hang them up, we decided to start a scrapbook/journal hybrid for them, so we could keep all our pics in one spot and also write down some of our favorite memories. Instagram is good but when it comes to keeping track of a bunch of photos, sometimes it's best to go back to a good ol' fashioned notebook. Read on to see what we did!

If you, like us, take a boatload of photos, you'll want to sit down before scrapbooking to decide which pics you want to include and which pics you're going to shove in a box somewhere. It's also nice to be able to look at everything in front of you before you start working, just so you can make sure you have everything you need. Above were our basic supplies for this project. The notebook we're using to start out is this super fun (and bright!) unruled Leuchtturm journal.

Keep It Simple
It's easy to want to throw five pictures on each page with 30 different artistic touches, but it usually (not all the time!) looks better when the clutter is kept to a minimum. (But if you've figured out how to make clutter look amazing, give us a call, because we love glitter and stickers.)

Washi Tape
We love washi tape for scrapbooking because 1) it's adorable and 2) it's the easiest way to adhere pictures. You don't even have to worry about doing the roll of tape on the back because it looks perfect taped right on the front. We're also pretty lazy when it comes to crafting, so it's nice to have something that's so versatile and easy to use.

Obviously stamps are a great way to add some excitement onto your scrapbook pages. You can get literally anything on a stamp these days, which is perfect for those of us less artistically inclined. Can't draw a cat? Stamp it! Boom. Done.

Mixed Media
We liked the idea of mixing in some souvenirs and cards we found, just to round out the whole scrapbook a little bit better. For some of our backgrounds, we bought printed paper in Mexico that we then cut out and taped into the book to give our pages a more colorful background. A pack of beachy playing cards also looked nice mixed in with everything, so we stuck them in there, too.

Stickers are THE BEST. You can put them on pictures, use them to stick pictures to the page, and decorate the page with them. It's super easy to go overboard with them. (We maybe went a little overboard. It's fine.) But hey, if you love stickers, there are some giant books of them out there that will let you sticker to your heart's content.

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Fine Print: Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore has been a known name in photography since the 1960s. Since the age of six, he's been working and experimenting with photography, specifically color, and has become an inspiration for photographers around the world. His early work depicts America at more than just face value, full of rich colors and culture. His latest project took him to Israel for a collaborative project which came to be his new book, From Galilee to the Negev, out in early May from Phaidon. We met up with Stephen before his book signing at Space 15 Twenty to talk about the book, his early days, and the Mickey Mouse-shaped camera and darkroom kit that really kicked things off for him. Interview by Maddie Sensibile

Tell us about your new book, From Galilee to the Negev, and what you wanted to accomplish with it.

It grew out of a project. 12 photographers were commissioned to go to Israel and the West Bank and we were given pretty much free reign to do whatever we wanted. Because it was a large group of photographers, I didn’t feel like I had to do something definitive. In fact, I’m not sure anyone can do something definitive in a country as complex as Israel and the West Bank, so that freed me up to explore what I was interested in. I wanted to explore a lot of the rest of life in Israel, of what daily life is like; it doesn’t avoid the conflict because that’s part of daily life, but life is much more than that.

Your book almost has the feel of multiple series put together; there are landscape shots, portraits, and lots of detail shots. Is this how you wanted the book to feel?

Exactly. There are conflicts in Israel that exist outside of the Arab/Israeli conflict. There’s a lot of contention in the country. There’s contention between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox, there’s contention between ultra Orthodox Jews and reform Jews. There are all kinds of tensions. I wanted to not express the conflict but the idea that there are multiple voices that often talk past each other. In a way, I used multiple voices in the book which I think is what you’re picking up on.

What made you want to travel to this region of the world and make this collection of photographs over several years?
Well, I didn’t seek it out. The project was offered to me. Starting in the '90s, I began to photographically explore cultures other than North American culture. It was something that interested me, to bring what I’ve learned about getting a sense of a place and see if I can do that in a foreign place. So, I jumped at the chance when it was offered.

The book combines both digital and film photography. Do you feel that people will continue to use film even when digital photography has become so advanced?

I teach at Bard College and we still use film for the first two years. Students don’t use digital until they’ve spent two years working in a dark room; they spend at least a semester doing color processing and printing, and a semester with a 4x5 view camera. I love digital. All the prints I make are digital, all the photography I do now... I haven’t shot film since the Israel and West Bank book. I have absolutely nothing against digital. I think it’s allowing photographers to make a kind of picture that simply couldn’t have been made ten years ago. However, I think there is a tremendous amount that can only be learned through film.

You shot many photos of the Factory in black and white in the '60s. What made you want to shoot in color, as we see in American Surfaces and Uncommon Places?
There were a couple of events, one was in 1971. I started on two projects that both involved vernacular uses of photography. One was a series of postcards of Amarillo, TX, where I photographed the ten highlights of Amarillo and had the largest postcard printer in America make real postcards of them. Of course they were in color, because all postcards were in color then.

And the second?
The other series was a series of snapshots. Again, I wanted to bring a cultural reference of the style of the photograph to the meaning of it, so the image gained some meaning by being seen as a snapshot or as a postcard. This was a series called the Mick-A-Matics. They were taken with a camera, the Mick-A-Matic, which is a big plastic-headed Mickey Mouse with a lens in its nose. I had the pictures printed by Kodak, and they were also in color, and the Mick-A-Matic work led to American Surfaces. I wanted to continue something like the Mick-A-Matic, but with a camera that had finer optics than the plastic lens in Mickey’s nose. The one advantage of it, though, was every time I took a photo of a person, there was a genuine smile on their face. The other thing I really learned from doing the Mick-A-Matics was that part of the information that a picture can convey about a particular age in which it was taken is the palette of that age, which is out of the range of black and white.

What was your experience with color photography like prior to that point?
There was just one of these dumb events that could lead someone to think deep thoughts. I met a young composer at a party and he expressed an interest in seeing my photographs although he didn’t know much about photography. We went back to my apartment and I opened up a box, and his first reaction was “Oh, they’re black and white!” He had only seen snapshots, not art photographs, and he didn’t understand why they weren’t in color. He expected in that box would be color photographs. That led me to think about the snapshot and the postcard and why did this guy expect…I mean, I knew the art photography tradition. I knew color was light years from it; we didn’t see color in it. When I handed him the box, he thought it was going to be color. That, I found fascinating. I wanted to explore why he thought that. That’s when I started doing the postcards and the snapshots.

When you began taking photographs, who or what inspired you to do so?
I started because a relative of mine gave me a darkroom set for my sixth birthday. At first I wasn’t interested in taking pictures, I was only interested in taking my family’s snapshots and developing them and printing them. I did that for a couple of years. It wasn’t until I was eight and got a 35mm camera that I started photographing seriously. Before that, my real interest was darkroom work.

When you were 14, MOMA acquired your work, specifically Edward Steichen. Do you remember how you felt when that happened?
I don’t.

Would you say that was a pivotal moment in your career?
No. It wasn’t a pivotal event because I didn’t know enough for it be a pivotal event. On the other hand, if I knew more, I would’ve thought it was inappropriate to call up Steichen and ask to show him my work. So, my childish and naiveté led me to do that, but on the other hand it led me not to see it as a pivotal moment.

If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to get into photography and make it a career, what would it be?
Read my book published by Phaidon called The Nature of Photographs.

Fine Print: Henry Carroll

Henry Carroll, author of the book Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs, approaches photography in a refreshingly simple way; his book isn't bogged down with impossible to understand jargon, and his photography mantra can boil down to "just get out there and do it!" Here, we ask Henry to fill-in-the-blanks with some of his favorite tips, tricks and photos, to inspire us all to start shooting like pros. Interview by Katie Gregory

I came up with the idea for this book when I set up my company, Frui, and started teaching digital photography. I realized that there was a real need for a new kind of introductory book. Existing "how to" books were way too techie, full of forgettable pictures and seemed to be geared towards men. People weren’t inspired by them. So I decided to write a book that made things super simple, referenced incredible images and emphasized creativity rather than science.

The people who will get the most from my book are novices. The book explains the fundamentals of photography in very simple terms, so anyone who is a novice or in need of a refresher will find it helpful. The book is also a great sourcebook of creative ideas, as it features loads of well-known photographers and different styles and approaches. That’s inspiring for everyone!

What I love the most about photography is photography gives everyone the freedom to present the world in their own unique way. And as an art form it can be applied to so many different areas, from fashion to journalism to art. The other thing I love about photography is the fact that you don’t need to know too much technical stuff to take great pictures. Once you’ve got to grips with a few essentials you’re on your way.

My number one photography tip is you could own every piece of kit and know all the jargon, but your pictures will always be a bit rubbish if you don’t train your eyes. So it’s sometimes good to head out without your camera and just spend the day "seeing". It sounds weird, but make time to wander the streets and notice things. Just enjoy the process of using your eyes without the pressure of having to "capture" anything.

My favorite photograph changes almost daily. At the moment it’s this cracker by Garry Winogrand titled New York. I love the interaction between the girls and the photographer, while the guy just keeps on smooching. It has to be one of the most unromantic kisses ever photographed.

My favorite photographer is Eliott Erwitt. He's my number one. His witty observations of everyday situations always make me smile. He’s a great example of someone who injects his personality into all his pictures, which is why they’re so distinctive. Actually, that’s another top tip.

I learned the most about photography by looking at other people’s pictures. Seeing what others are up to helps you to understand and develop your own style and voice. You obviously have to get out there and take pictures too!

My favorite photo subjects are little oddities in the everyday.

The best photograph I’ve taken was one I took on the 85th anniversary of Coney Island’s Cyclone Roller-coaster. I don’t know about "best," but I like this one. It was a hot and busy Saturday in June and I wasn’t getting anything. Just before calling it a day I walked into this bar and noticed these kids. One looked exhausted and the other was in a kind of trance while everything around them was going off. Without looking through the viewfinder I quickly snapped the picture. I got lucky.

My favorite camera to use is a Fuji X100 and an old Olympus MJU compact film camera, which are both perfect for shooting on the street.

The best camera for beginners is...well, there’s no simple answer to this. It depends on what you want to take pictures of. One thing’s for sure - don’t be sold on the fact that a camera offers you a million different modes and functions. Once you get going you’ll only need to use about 10% of what’s on your camera. Everything else is junk.

The hardest part about writing this book was it took a lot of work to make things clear and simple. Above my desk I have a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “I'm sorry I wrote such a long letter. I did not have the time to write a short one.” It reminds me that it’s easy to over complicate things, but it takes time to make things simple. That’s good advice for writers and photographers.

Anyone can take a good picture if they read my book, of course! That’s a no-brainer.

UO Exclusive: Get Free

Planning a summer adventure? We have the perfect books to inspire and the cameras to document. To kick it all off, photographer Jordan Sullivan sent us some favorite shots from his new book The Young Earth, a fictional hardcover photo series shot in Iceland on 35mm and Polaroid film. As one of our favorite current photographers, we also had Sullivan take our new self-snapping Autographer Camera for a spin. To spend a day in his life, read the full feature here.

On The Road: Book Companions

On The Road: Book Companions

Road-tripping is, of course, a great time to bond with your friends in the very close quarters of someone’s borrowed car, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to find those lulls and moments of silence in the backseat to do a little reading. Even in an age where e-readers are at their prime, books are the best road trip buddies, and if you’re a nerd/bibliophile/love the sound of your own voice like me, you can read passages aloud to your friends. Here are some choices to throw in your bag to read between point A and point B. Maitri

Astronomy 101 By Carolyn Collins Petersen
This lovely little book is packed with clean illustrations and gorgeous technicolor photos of the heavens above. If you’re driving on the open road, you can try and find those corresponding constellations.

Colorstrology: What Your Birthday Color Says About You By Michele Bernhardt
Can you paint with all the colors of the zodiac? Colorstrology will tell you what colors will brighten (or darken) your life, and who on the spectrum is your color match. I’d like to think I’m a Pantone Radiant Orchid.

Love Is a Mix Tape: Life And Loss, One Song At A Time By Rob Sheffield
Similar to when you’re on an airplane, emotions run high on road trips — confined space, the vast country of America, running out of Pringles, etc. Sometimes it’s good to go with those emotions, so you should read Love is a Mix Tape, Rob Sheffield’s powerful and SUPER sad story of the love of his life’s death, and all the music that held them together. Then go dig up the first mix CD your high school boyfriend gave you and re-listen to all those old Arcade Fire songs from Funeral.

How Music Works By David Byrne
If you’re road-tripping this spring or summer, there’s a good chance you’re on your merry way to a music festival. Why not read a music and life-affirming manifesto from the Talking Heads weirdman/genius, David Byrne, to remind you how music can (and is about to) change your life?

Stargirl By Jerry Spinelli
Throw some fiction in the mix. Stargirl is one of the best “young adult” books out there, so forget about The Hunger Games. This one's about a girl who is loved and admired for her strangeness until one day, for reasons seemingly unknown, she’s turned on by her friends. It’s gonna stir up some bad tween memories, for sure, but it will also make you proud of being yourself.

Fine Print: Katie Heaney

Katie Heaney has a hilarious Twitter, a feature on The Hairpin, and she’s also a regular writer for BuzzFeed. To top it all off, Heaney’s first book, Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without A Date, was released earlier this year from Grand Central Publishing. In it, Heaney tells the tale of being the odd woman out; for some reason, even though she’s a total catch, she's just never been in a relationship. It’s not a book of woe, but a story of how it’s empowering to invest instead in your female friendships. I recently chatted to Katie about her book, her best friend Rylee, and her favorite Mr. Darcy.
Interview by Maitri Mehta. Photos c/o Katie Heaney.

First of all, congratulations on writing the book! Have guys from your past come out of the woodwork since you published it?
Thanks! Not really. Most of the feedback I’ve gotten has been really positive emails and tweets from women thanking me for writing the book. I’ve gotten a few messages from dudes, some creepy, some polite, but I usually just ignore them.

One of the main characters in your book is your real-life best friend, Rylee. How does she feel about being a part of it?
Rylee knew about the book from the beginning. Sometimes it was hard in college. I think that despite her having a different dating life she never thought it was weird that I wasn’t seeing anyone. It wasn’t something that came up a lot, even. It was more her struggling to understand why I didn’t WANT to be with anyone.

How long have you and Rylee been friends?
We’re coming on nine years! It’s been work at times, but part of the challenge of finding the right BFF is finding someone that also wants a very committed, loyal relationship they can devote time to, even if one or both people are also in romantic relationships. Finding the right best friend is just as tough and just as important as finding a significant other.

You wrote this book in "real-time." Was that weird?
At first, but by the end it was more like journaling mixed with being aware that I was writing a book. I was always hoping that it was going to be a good finished product, something that people would want to read. I still considered it a project to be finished that was very much separate from my actual life (even though it was my life I was writing about!). It’s good that I didn’t really have the chance to go back and change it.

How did you choose which dudes and experiences to write about?
I have to say I chose the crushes I had that were more substantial, more romantic, or just more interesting.

Who’s your favorite Darcy?
Obviously Colin Firth from the BBC miniseries.

Same! He’s the only choice, really. What do you think of the enormous statue of him in his long johns that was built in England?
I think it’s totally creepy and it doesn’t do him justice.

Who was your first kiss?
I can’t remember his name. Maybe Eric? It was at a frat party while I was visiting a friend during my freshman year of college at her school. I never saw him again!

Who’s your favorite Austen heroine?
You know, I always say Emma, but in a way I kind of hate her, too. She thinks she’s being helpful and great but then all these guys fall in love with her, and she’s just perfect, and oblivious, and annoying. I love the book but god, Emma kind of sucks. I’d be so jealous of her if we went to college together.

I hate to even ask (because it’s horrible to talk about out loud), but do you use Tinder?
I mean, I’ve been on OKCupid, and I have Tinder on my phone, but I’ve really only used it to test out a story or as a half-assed attempt to please my friends that think I should have it. I don’t like it at all!

What do you want people to take away from Never Have I Ever?
Young women shouldn’t feel bad about being single or wanting to be single and actively not wanting a relationship. It’s perfectly fine to prioritize other things in your life.

Fine Print: Jaime Hernandez

Jaime Hernandez, an illustrator from Los Angeles, is best known for his comic book series Love and Rockets. The series, which Hernandez writes and illustrates with his brothers Gilbert and Mario, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and continues to be a mainstay in the alternative comic movement. Last fall Hernandez teamed up with Riverhead Books to illustrate Junot Diaz’s book This Is How You Lose Her, a heartbreaking and tender collection of stories from Diaz that celebrates and laments his character Yunior’s relationships with the women in his life. We were lucky enough to talk to Hernandez from his home in Los Angeles about illustrating and writing female characters.
Interview by Maitri Mehta. Illustrations c/o Riverhead Books.

First of all, thank you for illustrating this book. It’s one of my favorites, and I just got a copy of the illustrated version. It’s beautiful!
Thank you! But I owe it all to the publisher [Riverhead Books]; they did all of the design work.

Did you know Junot Diaz before you illustrated his work for The New Yorker?
Yeah, I was emailing him back when I did one of his first stories, but my computer crashed and I lost all the contact information until this time around! I was first introduced to his work through part of the Oscar Wao story [The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao].

Many people—myself included—find a lot of similarities in yours and Diaz’s work.
Sure, sure. A lot of the character development is similar. Maybe it’s just Latino culture.

Is there a reason you’re drawn to creating female characters? Do you feel like it’s more important?
There’s a million reasons. I basically… like women! You know, all around. For the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons [laughs]. I think it all started when I was 13 and learning to draw women. I was a little scared to before that. Growing up Catholic, my mom was uptight about stuff and uptight about sex and I was a kid, you know? It was always, “Don’t draw girls, you’ll go to hell," or worse, "Mom’s gonna get mad." And when I was 12 or 13 my older brother Gilbert was already drawing women and doing comics with women, and he was like “You should draw girls, it’s fun.” From then on, it was like if I wanted to do stories about women I had to... should I say, back it up? It didn't feel right JUST to draw curvy women. I had to put something else in there to bring them to life. I think that's where it started. I just started to like writing women. I don't know if I was doing it right, but I was trying, and by the time we did Love and Rockets, a woman came up to me and said, “I like your women characters and I like the way you do women.” And I said bam, okay, I'm here. I've got nothing to apologize for.

I think it's hard for male artists to write a good woman which is really why I love Junot Diaz. Did you have a favorite of the girls in This Is How You Lose Her?
Yes, the one that read comics, Nilda, because she had 50 million things going on in her head. I liked the craziness and the sweetness and the intelligence, all of that put together in one character. She spoke to me more than the others.

Was it difficult to illustrate someone else's writing?
Yeah, especially because in prose you don't have to describe people in detail so I was looking at every detail in the writing, thinking, "Okay, I'm getting an idea about this woman," and then three pages later I find out she's not Latina, she's white! I guess I could have asked Junot himself but I figured it was my job that I was hired for, to figure it out myself, to put my two cents in there. You know, to help create his world. Luckily he agreed with 99.9 percent of what I did.

Did you have a lot of freedom in how you interpreted his characters?
Yes, a lot, but there were a few things that came back to me in his notes. You know, make this character bigger, or make this character more this and that. But not too much, and I’m happy that he trusted me because this is his world, and I know how personal that can be.

Diaz’s stories are really autobiographical. Are yours too?
Yeah, of course, but I take liberties and change things because my life is pretty boring and my characters need a more interesting life for my readers to follow them. I romanticize sometimes but within reality.

It seems like you ended up doing exactly what you wanted to do in life—any advice for young illustrators or artists in general?
Ooh! Tell the truth. Or I guess, be truthful to what you're drawing; don't fake it because you'll be found out later. It's hard to explain... but that's why I'm an artist and not a teacher.

Did you ever teach anywhere?
Nope. I sat in on a graphic novel class once; I didn't know I was being primed to maybe teach a class. I just sat there kind of like a doofus. I could never express myself the way these teachers do; that’s why I let it come out in my art.

Happenings: Bookmobile Project

Our friends who started The Bookmobile Project are currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to produce a book that chronicles their time spent on the Bookmobile from 2001-2005. The Bookmobile Project was an annual touring exhibition of artist books, zines, and independent publications hoping to spread their love of print to various corners of the globe. Traveling by way of a vintage Airstream, the Bookmobile visited a variety of venues in Canada and the US, and a group of coordinators traveling with the exhibition facilitated a series of workshops, artist talks, and educational forums. The project exposed thousands of visitors to a unique collection of independently produced book works and collaborations, and the book hopes to do the same. As a project that was partially based in Philadelphia, this one is close to our hearts!

If you'd like to see The Bookmobile Project reach their goal, you can pledge a monetary donation over on their Kickstarter page. Any amount past their goal will just ensure that the book will be even bigger and better than they could have hoped for. We have no doubt that the book is going to be amazing, and are so excited to see this project find its way to a larger group of people.

Read Your Heart Out: Comics

For the end of the year, we thought we'd finish our 2013 Read Your Heart Out series with a small collection of some of our favorite comic books. Ranging from the serious (Persepolis) to the not-so-serious (Walking Dead), each book is filled with a wide array of eye-catching illustrations and stories. Check out which of our favorites made the cut. Katie

This is the complete collection of Unlovable comics, originally found in the back pages of BUST magazine. The entire comic series is loosely based off a diary that was found in a gas station bathroom, and Esther Pearl Watson's illustrations perfectly capture the awkward moments of adolescence recounted by the unknown diarist. To check out some of Watson's other work, click here.

Megaskull by Kyle Platts
Kyle Platts' illustrations are hilariously creepy, and the jokes within the comics themselves are more of the same. (Check out his comic "Neglect" to get a sense of the humor in this one.) Perfect for anyone who has an offbeat, internet-y sense of humor.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
A lot of people may have heard of Persepolis after it became an animated film, but diving into the original comic is an absolute must. Through comic strips, Marjane Satrapi tells her story of coming-of-age in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and then living in exile from her country. It's an extremely candid and heartbreaking read.

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
This is another comic that people may have learned about through the (small) screen version, but The Walking Dead comics are slightly different from the show, and offer a little bit more to the reader than the show would. Plus, ZOMBIES!

Fine Print: The Le Sigh

Since its launch last winter, The Le Sigh has been an online cool girl clubhouse of sorts. With consistently excellent indie music and arts coverage along with a strong allegiance to zine culture, The Le Sigh is one of the best well-rounded blogs in cyberspace today. This month, the Le Sigh girls will be moving to print with THE LE SIGH Vol. 1, a full color publication. The contributor list reads like a who's-who of Tumblr It-girls with work from Grace Miceli, Laurence Philomene, Lauren Cook, and more.

But the glossy, bubblegum pink-tinted zine is not the only thing these ladies have up their sleeves. The Le Sigh is partnering with Brooklyn-based record label Birdtapes to put out a girls-only tape compilation featuring acts such as the twee singer-songwriter Frankie Cosmos and the raucous punk band Priests. The publication and tape, which will be available for purchase online November 18th, will debut at The Le Sigh zine launch party November 17th at Silent Barn, which features performances from musicians on the tape like Whatever Dad, Lizard Kisses, and more. Hazel

Read Your Heart Out: Kim Krans

For this series, we've been reaching out to some of our favorite people to ask for themed book suggestions. We then make those books available for you to purchase online. Easy! What better way to get to know some authors you might have overlooked?

For this installment,
we spoke to Kim Krans, the incredibly talented artist behind The Wild Unknown. In the spirit of the season, we found out what books Kim recommends to keep the mind mystical.
(Photo above by Daniel Arnold)

Kim's choices:

The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges
"The perfect bedtime book for anyone with a mystical mind. Borges tells the tales of over a hundred magical creatures, the likes of which you’ve never imagined before. My very favorites are the Animals That Live Inside The Mirror. And then there’s the classic tales of the Phoenix, Fairies, Gnomes, and Dragons. Oh but wait… you’ve never heard their stories told like this before."

The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda
"If you want to fall asleep at night and feel like you’re steering the dream wheel (at least a little bit), this is the book for you. Don Juan drops super knowledge on how to be a true 'sorcerer' and walk consciously through the sleeping hours. Believe it or not, your dream life is there for the taking – it’s just a matter of practice."

Shakti Woman by Vicki Noble
"Ladies, its time to get down with the Dark Goddess. Here’s why: Vicki Noble (author of the Motherpeace Tarot) gives us like a million reasons why not acknowledging this force within keeps us from finding inner peace, true creativity, and power. And then she gives us lots of ways to unearth this shakti, allowing it to unfold and brighten our lives. Ladies night book club, here we come."

Dune by Frank Herbert
"For years I made the mistake of thinking this was a sci-fi book for dudes only. Totally wrong. This is the most beautiful, spiritual, and intensely yogic story ever told. I am obsessed. If stranded on a desert island and I had to pick one book, this would be it. It’s wild and otherworldly and will have you sweating and crying at the same time. HBO, will you make a series out of this please?"

Shop The Wild Unknown Tarot

Spooky Lit: The Turn of the Screw

At some point in your scholastic career you may have been assigned Henry James and thought, "Why are there so many words? Boring! I'm just gonna play my Tamagotchi in class." But James is a master stylist, and reading a scary story is a rare pleasure in the modern world of teen slasher flicks. Plus, this isn't even real book. It's a novella. That's a short novel. Also, it's available as a free ebook, so you have no excuses. Reading is good for you. 
The story takes place in England back in the day when "cars" were attached to horses, and has all the elements of a classically spooky story: a creepy old mansion, creepy kids, mysterious happenings, etc. I can't tell you what happens because that would ruin it for you, but I swear I read it and liked it. It's kind of like The Others, okay. That's all you get. Angelo

Are You a Cyber Witch?

I can not remember exactly how I stumbled upon this beautiful e-book titled The Cyber Spellbook: Magick In The Virtual World, but I am so glad I did. I mean, witchcraft and the Internet together in one book!? The book outlines the ethics of being a Cyber Witch and how to effectively use the digital world to enhance your spells. I know what you're thinking: how do you know if you are a Cyber Witch? Well, the book explains it all, but start off with this handy quiz:

Another great Cyber Witch tip is to make a "Book of Shadows." It's basically a blog. Actually, it totally is a blog:

I love the one spell that makes sure the emails you send don't get misinterpreted! Need this for when I send too many cryptic emoji that only make sense to me. 

And never forgot to keep some goddesses around with you at all times. Maybe put some pics on your Palm Pilot? Oh how I love you, 2002.

Wes Week: BTS Photos from 'Royal Tenenbaums'

In honor of us selling The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz, we wanted to share these brilliant behind the scenes photos from (my personal favorite film) Royal Tenenbaums. The image of Luke Wilson with that hawk STILL gives me the butterflies. (Via Vulture) —Ally

Buy The Wes Anderson Collection

The Secret Language of Birthdays

The Secret Language of Birthdays will explode your brain. I first flipped through it after seeing it on the bookshelf of a kooky old lady (possibly a witch) at my old job. The book has a page for people born on each day of the year and the "personology profiles" are scary accurate. And not just cute, coincidental accurate like a Teen Vogue horoscope that happens to predict your new crush, but creepily, semi-troubling accurate. Plus, each day of the year has a cool name like "Day of the Cryptic Secret." 

After tripping on my own page, I started photocopying my friends' birthday pages and sending them to the friends, who were mostly like "Hey, don't read my page, I don't want you to know my inner secrets!" But it's not all bad - the book gives a positive meditation guide for every profile and ways to maximize the positives of your personality. If you can track this book down, check it out and share it with your friends and family and make them all depressed.

For an internet friendly run-down, you can also check out the Birthday Horoscope Tumblr that we visited a few weeks ago. Angelo

Read Your Heart Out: Shea Serrano

Shea Serrano is a music writer for various websites, the author behind Bun B's Rap Coloring And Activity Book, and the perfect candidate for our Read Your Heart Out series here on the blog. For this series, we've been reaching out to some of our favorite people to ask for themed book suggestions that we then make available for you to purchase online. Easy! What better way to get to know some authors you might have overlooked?

For our first installment, and in honor of his Rap Coloring And Activity Book, we asked Shea to recommend some of his favorite books about music. Here's what he picked. —Katie

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According To Questlove
"This is probably this year’s most enjoyable music nerd book to read if you are a music nerd. Questlove is great and super charming and he tells a bunch of great stories and I really can’t think of too many ways that this book could be better. I joked with him on Twitter that our only goal was to sell more copies of our book than he did of this one (because his is fairly new and so is ours). I think he maybe sold, like, 60 million copies already though, so I’m not sure if we can catch him anymore."

Love Is A Mix Tape: Life And Loss, One Song At A Time
"Oh man. This one is just heartbreaking to read. It’s about Mr. Sheffield and the sudden death of his wife and how everything changed after that and it really is just a remarkable thing. I’m lucky enough to be married to a woman that I love desperately and so I couldn’t help but put myself in his spot while reading this and, I mean, I don’t even know. It’s just brutal. You have to read it. And then you have to tell other people to read it."

Dirty South: Outkast Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, And The Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop
"I picked this one in part because I am mentioned in it, and that’s definitely the easiest way to get me to say that your book is good, but mostly I picked it because it’s a recap of the rise of southern rap but it’s written around a bunch of enjoyable, well-written anecdotes. The author, Ben Westhoff, drove around the bottom of the United States and met up with rappers and hung out with them and then wrote about it and that’s the sort of thing that’s always interesting to me. It never seems like enough people are doing proper reporting."

Ego Trip's Book Of Rap Lists
"I’d once considered doing a book of rap lists but then I found this one and was like, “Well there goes that idea.” This is a lot of fun to read. I’m hoping that they do a new version again soon."

Shop Bun B's Rap Coloring And Activity Book
Follow Shea on Twitter!


Are you a feminist? Do you like food? Do you enjoy the intersection of the two? Well, then you're going to want to submit to the new print zine Vag Appetit! The zine wants whatever you have related to feminism and food, from poetry to illustration to essays and more! The zine's also running a Tumblr for submitted videos (no longer than 3 minutes) so get your feminist brains cookin', and send any submissions you have to by October 15! —Hazel

Meet Alex!

And now! Introducing the newest addition to our fabulous blog team... drum roll please... ALEX!!!!

"Sup? My name is Alex. I pretty much don't leave my house because everybody is terrifying. You can find me in my room drinking a coke, watching made for TV movies on VHS from the '90s and studying the production/songwriting credits on Britney Spears' discography. Oh yeah: I recently just finished writing my first novel, YOURS TRULY, BRAD SELA."

Read more from Alex on his Twitter page @alexkazemi and be on the lookout for his posts, coming to you right... now.

Alone With Other People

I love writer Gabby Bess' zine Illuminati Girl Gang, which brings together some of the coolest female artists, poets, and more across the 'net in one publication, so of course I knew her debut collection of poems and stories Alone With Other People was going to be good. The new book frankly explores the inherently complicated experience of being a young woman through Bess' intimate poems and stories, which tackle topics like fame, alienation, and constant digital performativity. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the collection of graphic text pages that punctuate the longer pieces, which include darkly funny lines like: "go back in time to warn self about self (if possible)." The book is a beautiful collection for the tragic female figure whose identity is intrinsically tied to her Macbook (aren't we all, though?) and it's pretty damn good. Hazel