Tag: 2019

Five Bookish Halloween Costumes Someone’s Gotta Try

With a week left until the big day, it’s time to iron out your costume. Here are a few based on books that break the mold a little (or a lot). But they’re mostly just straightforward to execute. Requiring things you probably have and very little explanation, try these outside the box ideas that’ll tell everyone “This is the one day a year I put down my book and leave the house.”

 

 

Queen of Hearts

Image via Good Housekeeping

 

The card ruff makes this so simple. Red dress, red lipstick, and a pack of cards. All you really need that’s strange is a little crown, which you could probably fake with tin foil or something if you’re anything like me. Of course you have to own clothes that are colors, so you can’t be anything like me, but it seems like a good, easy play.

 

Edgar Allan Hoe

Image via Copy Blogger

 

Who doesn’t like wordplay? Who doesn’t like sexualizing dead authors? Plus, goth thot has a nice ring to it, and he’s so distinctive. Slap on a raven and a fake mustache and everyone will know what you’ve done. The vest with no shirt horrifies me. Not for very cold climates! Don’t freeze out there for the aesthetic, even if it would be what he’d want.

 

Clark Kent

Image via Mixbook

 

Is this lazy? I don’t think so. You’ve gotta find nerd glasses, and you’ve gotta wear two shirts. Really you can do this with any superhero, except maybe Deadpool. What shirt do you have? Wonder Woman? Supergirl? Spiderman?! All set! The only thing you need is normal clothes. If you wear real glasses like me, though, I have no suggestions.

 

 

Fifty(ish) Shades of Grey

Image via Writer’s Flow

 

I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong – it’s not a pun, it’s word play. Plus, this costume has a lot of merits. Not only can you just wear your own clothes, the only element you need is the paint chips, which you can just walk in and take from anywhere that sells paint.

 

A Sexy Beetle

Image via Scoopnest

 

If you’re thinking, “does that briefcase indicate he’s a traveling salesman?” the answer is yes. That is a sexy Gregor Samsa – post transformation. It’s great, because if you know the book you might be genuinely appalled, and if you don’t you still will be! This one looks more like a cockroach than a beetle, but the choice is yours.

 

 

 

 Featured image via Moda Magazine 

Be Inspired By Our Nonfiction Biography Picks!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are new biographies for you to dig into and be inspired! Dig in and enjoy!

 

5. ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ by Bob Iger 

 

image via amazon

 

The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger is a biography by the CEO of Disney, offering tips and life advice from Iger’s fifteen years of service to the company. When Bob Iger became CEO, the Disney company was a shallow parody of itself. But Bob Iger committed to the fixing the company with his new ideas. Ten years later, Disney is the most respected and powerful media entertainment corporation in the world. Sharing stories about Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney behind the scenes, this is a must read for Disney fans.

 

4. ‘Accidental president’ by A.J. Baime

 

image via Amazon

 

The Accidental President by A.J. Baime tells the biography of the man who didn’t sign up to be President but got the job anyway: Harry S. Truman. Selected as FDR’s fourth term Vice President, he was an ordinary man until FDR’s sudden and shocking death. This biography follows Harry S. Truman in the one-hundred-twenty days he was president, during which he was forced to preside over some of the toughest moments the nation ever faced: the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings in Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation in Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. This is a fascinating look into the man who never was supposed to be President but became one of our strongest for the brief period he was in office.

 

3. ‘Madame Fourcade’s Secret War’ by Lynne Olson

 

Image via Amazon

 

Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson is the true tale of a young woman who led a spy network against Hitler’s Nazi Germany. In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war. Strong-willed, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. The name Marie-Madeleine chose for herself was Hedgehog: a tough little animal, unthreatening in appearance, that, as a colleague of hers put it, “even a lion would hesitate to bite.” Now, in this dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.

 

2. ‘Every Man a Hero’ by Ray lambert 

 

Image via Amazon

 

Every Man A Hero by Ray Lambert is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known.

 

1. ‘Mind and Matter’ by John Urscel 

 

image via Amazon

 

Mind and Matter by John Urschel is a memoir by the former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, giving him the opportunity to tell his story. John Urschel developed an appetite for mathematics when he was young, devouring math contests, exams, and textbooks by the truckload. But when he reached his older years, football challenged him in a new way and he became thrilled by the physical contact of the sport. With his two loves competing for his attention, his football and love of math, he shares pivotal moments from his life to inspire others.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

 

 

Full Trailer For ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ Has Dropped!

Good news for Disney fans! The full trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has dropped and it looks to be an exciting preview of the next chapter of the adventures of the villainess turned hero played Angelina Jolie. The sequel is follow up to the 2014 box office hit, which chronicled the tale of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of Maleficent, who was originally the villain of the 1959 animated film. Jolie will obviously reprise her role as the dark fairy, while Elle Fanning returns as Princess Aurora. The film also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

The 2014 grossed over 700 million and was received positively by critics, although it received a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with criticism going to some of the changes made to the narrative of the original classic film. Still, Angelina Jolie was very positively received as Maleficent, easily channeling the dark coolness of the villainess.

 

Image Via Vulture

In the sequel, it appears the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora will be further explored. Maleficent has become an overprotective mother towards Aurora and is having trouble letting her adoptive daughter be married off to Prince Philip. What follows is a disastrous banquet, where Maleficent refuses to let Aurora be married to the prince and declares war on his Kingdom, calling for the assistance of magical creatures to her aid. The special effects look magnificent and the two lead roles look to be explored in even greater depth. If nothing else, we’re here to see Maleficent unleash hell and spread her black wings once more.

 

Image via Deadline

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil releases this fall on October 8th. Are you excited to see the dark mistress once more, against the backdrop of the fantasy world she inhabits? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Variety 

Teaser for ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ Arrives!

Exciting news for Disney fans! The trailer of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has arrived and it looks to be a darker tale than most Disney productions. Fan favorite Maleficent, the mistress of all evil, returns in this sequel to the 2014 version. The first film told Maleficent’s origin story, offering a different perspective on the classic Sleeping Beauty. The upcoming sequel will pick up a few years after the original, and will see the dark sorceress join with Princess Aurora to protect the kingdom from greater threat. The film will explore the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora, while crafting a beautifully realized fantasy world.

 

Maleficent stands side by side with Aurora, Maleficent wreathed in green flames and spreading her black wings

Image via Slash Film

The aesthetics for the film look on point, with Maleficent herself brilliantly portrayed by Angelina Jolie once more.  Jolie perfect embodies the role, with her pale skin, curved horns, wreathed in green flames and  imposing black wings topping off the look. Not to mention her smooth, yet almost mischievous, voice. Joining Jolie in the film will be Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, Harris Dickinson as Prince Philip, and Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora.

The teaser doesn’t show much but it lets the viewers know this will be a darker twist on the source material, showcasing the moody interior of the towering castle in the kingdom, Maleficent attacking enemies to protect Aurora, and a glimpse of dark creatures flying down from the skies, as well as Maleficent spread her wings, looking like she’s ready for total war.

Are you excited? We sure are! Get ready to see the mistress of evil this October, as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil arrives October 8th.

 

Featured Image Via AV Club 

9 Books New York Times Recommends This Week

The New York Times’s senior editor Gregory Cowles lists nine books he regards highly in terms of their literary merit. Hop on the imagination train to escapism and check out the reads below!

 

  1. The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell

 

 

 

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives—their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes—emerge through a panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction.

From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines, this gripping, unforgettable novel is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.

 

2. Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White by William Sturkey

 

 

 

If you really want to understand Jim Crow―what it was and how African Americans rose up to defeat it―you should start by visiting Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the heart of the historic black downtown. There you can see remnants of the shops and churches where, amid the violence and humiliation of segregation, men and women gathered to build a remarkable community. William Sturkey introduces us to both old-timers and newcomers who arrived in search of economic opportunities promised by the railroads, sawmills, and factories of the New South. He also takes us across town and inside the homes of white Hattiesburgers to show how their lives were shaped by the changing fortunes of the Jim Crow South.

Sturkey reveals the stories behind those who struggled to uphold their southern “way of life” and those who fought to tear it down―from William Faulkner’s great-grandfather, a Confederate veteran who was the inspiration for the enigmatic character John Sartoris, to black leader Vernon Dahmer, whose killers were the first white men ever convicted of murdering a civil rights activist in Mississippi. Through it all, Hattiesburg traces the story of the Smith family across multiple generations, from Turner and Mamie Smith, who fled a life of sharecropping to find opportunity in town, to Hammond and Charles Smith, in whose family pharmacy Medgar Evers and his colleagues planned their strategy to give blacks the vote.

 

3. The Promise of Elsewhere by Brad Leithauser

 

 

 

Louie Hake is forty-three and teaches architectural history at a third-rate college in Michigan. His second marriage is collapsing, and he’s facing a potentially disastrous medical diagnosis. In an attempt to fend off what has become a soul-crushing existential crisis, he decides to treat himself to a tour of the world’s most breathtaking architectural sites. Perhaps not surprisingly, Louie gets waylaid on his very first stop in Rome–ludicrously, spectacularly so–and fails to reach most of his other destinations. He embarks on a doomed romance with a jilted bride celebrating her ruined marriage plans alone in London. And in the Arctic he finds that turf houses and aluminum sheds don’t amount to much of an architectural tradition. But it turns out that there’s another sort of architecture there: icebergs the size of cathedrals, bobbing beside a strange and wondrous landscape. It soon becomes clear that Louie’s grand journey is less about where his wanderings have taken him and more about where his past encounters with romance have not. Whether pursuing his first wife, or his estranged current wife, or the older woman he kissed just once a quarter-century ago, Louie reveals himself to be endearing, deeply touching, wonderfully ridiculous . . . and destined to find love in all the wrong places.

 

4. Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment and the Rule of Law by Preet Bharara

 

 

 

Preet Bharara has spent much of his life examining our legal system, pushing to make it better, and prosecuting those looking to subvert it. Bharara believes in our system and knows it must be protected, but to do so, we must also acknowledge and allow for flaws in the system and in human nature.

The book is divided into four sections: Inquiry, Accusation, Judgment and Punishment. He shows why each step of this process is crucial to the legal system, but he also shows how we all need to think about each stage of the process to achieve truth and justice in our daily lives.
Bharara uses anecdotes and case histories from his legal career–the successes as well as the failures–to illustrate the realities of the legal system, and the consequences of taking action (and in some cases, not taking action, which can be just as essential when trying to achieve a just result).

Much of what Bharara discusses is inspiring–it gives us hope that rational and objective fact-based thinking, combined with compassion, can truly lead us on a path toward truth and justice. Some of what he writes about will be controversial and cause much discussion. Ultimately, it is a thought-provoking, entertaining book about the need to find the humanity in our legal system–and in our society.

 

5. The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell

 

 

Prague, 1935: Viktor Kosárek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth.

Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum.

Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.

 

6. Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia Ó Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury by Carolyn Burke

 

 

 

New York, 1921: Alfred Stieglitz, the most influential figure in early twentieth-century photography, celebrates the success of his latest exhibition–the centerpiece, a series of nude portraits of the young Georgia O’Keeffe, soon to be his wife. It is a turning point for O’Keeffe, poised to make her entrance into the art scene–and for Rebecca Salsbury, the fiancée of Stieglitz’s protégé at the time, Paul Strand. When Strand introduces Salsbury to Stieglitz and O’Keeffe, it is the first moment of a bond between the two couples that will last more than a decade and reverberate throughout their lives. In the years that followed, O’Keeffe and Stieglitz became the preeminent couple in American modern art, spurring each other’s creativity. Observing their relationship led Salsbury to encourage new artistic possibilities for Strand and to rethink her own potential as an artist. In fact, it was Salsbury, the least known of the four, who was the main thread that wove the two couples’ lives together. Carolyn Burke mines the correspondence of the foursome to reveal how each inspired, provoked, and unsettled the others while pursuing seminal modes of artistic innovation. The result is a surprising, illuminating portrait of four extraordinary figures.

 

7. RAG: Stories by Maryse Meijer

 

 

 

A man, forgotten by the world, takes care of his deaf brother while euthanizing dogs for a living. A stepbrother so desperately wants to become his stepsibling that he rapes his girlfriend. In Maryse Meijer’s decidedly dark and searingly honest collection Rag, the desperate human desire for connection slips into a realm that approximates horror.

Meijer’s explosive debut collection, Heartbreaker, reinvented sexualized and romantic taboos, holding nothing back. In Rag, Meijer’s fearless follow-up, she shifts her focus to the dark heart of intimacies of all kinds, and the ways in which isolated people’s yearning for community can breed violence, danger, and madness. With unparalleled precision, Meijer spins stories that leave you troubled and slightly shaken by her uncanny ability to elicit empathy for society’s most marginalized people.

 

8. A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

 

 

 

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

 

9. White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf

 

 

 

The White Elephant looms large over the quaint suburban town of Willard Park: a gaudy, newly constructed behemoth of a home, it soars over the neighborhood, dwarfing the houses that surround it. When owner Nick Cox cuts down Allison and Ted Millers’ precious red maple—in an effort to make his unsightly property more appealing to buyers—their once serene town becomes a battleground.

While tensions between Ted and Nick escalate, other dysfunctions abound: Allison finds herself compulsively drawn to the man who is threatening to upend her quietly organized life. A lawyer with a pot habit and a serious midlife crisis skirts his responsibilities. And in a quest for popularity, a teenage girl gets caught up in a not-so-harmless prank. Newcomers and longtime residents alike begin to clash in conflicting pursuits of the American Dream, with trees mysteriously uprooted, fires set, fingers pointed, and lines drawn.

White Elephant is an uproarious, tangled-web tale of neighbor hating neighbor (and neighbor falling head over heels for neighbor). Soon, peaceful Willard Park becomes a tinderbox with nowhere to go but up in flames.

 

featured image via THE NEW YORK TIMES