Tag: nostalgia

Tired of Screens? Check Out These Old-Fashioned Puzzle Books!

Back in the day, when iPhones were still just full of fake beer drinking and lighter apps, the best thing you could have on an airplane or a long car ride was a puzzle game book. Remember those books full of sudoku puzzles or crosswords? All you needed was a pencil and a few hours, and you were set for some good times. Nowadays, they have apps for such things. Apps are great and all, but it can be so easy to get distracted, or get a headache, or lose your focus. So if you want some of these for nostalgia’s sake or for a break from screens, check out this list!


1. Big Book of Sudoku: Over 500 Puzzles & Solutions, Easy to Hard Puzzles for Adults by Parragon Books


Image Via Amazon


As the book itself says, “you don’t need to be a math whiz to enjoy a great sudoku puzzle!” In fact, math doesn’t even have a lot to do with it. All you need is some focus and you’ll be golden. Pick up this book and sharpen your mind. The way sudoku works, for the uninitiated, is that you get a nine by nine square puzzle, divided into three by three sections. For each three by three section and for each nine box-row and nine-box column, you need to fill in the numbers one through nine. And you can’t have two of the same number in any section, row, or column. There are a few techniques and strategies to pull off, and you’ll get better and better the more you practice. So what are you waiting for? Go check this out!



2. The Supreme Word Search Book for Adults: Over 200 Cleverly Hidden Word Searches for Adults, Teens, and More! by Word Search Puzzle Group


Image Via Amazon


Remember that feeling of triumph when you finally find that word that’s been eluding you for so long? And when you finally get to circle those letters and your pencil scratches satisfyingly across the page. Compared to the feeling when you highlight the found word on the a screen, it just isn’t the same. This book will give you just what you need to get that satisfying feeling back. If you want a good time, these word searches are for you!


3. The New York Times Ultimate Crossword Omnibus: 1,001 Puzzles from the New York Times by The New York Times, edited by Will Shortz


Image Via Amazon

One thing that has always held true is that the New York Times has some good and challenging crossword puzzles. Sure, they can get a little repetitive—oboe is always the answer—but they’re fun! Here’s the thing though, it can be hard to do on the phone. The screen is just too small to see everything easily, especially the Sunday puzzle. So, here is a perfect solution. This book has over 1000 New York Times crossword puzzles on an easy-to-see page. Go check it out!



4. Brain Games—Criminal Mind Puzzles: Collect the Clues and Crack the Cases by Publications International Ltd. and Brain Games


Image Via Amazon

For anyone who loves a good mystery and a good puzzle, this book is for you! This book contains a mix of verbal and visual puzzles about crime and investigation, and you’ll have to flex your skills to solve the crime. Get ready to play detective, use logic, and try to catch the most hidden of details. You’ll get to read about true crimes and you’ll have try to remember as much as you can. This book will entertain you utterly, so if you want a good time, it’s for you!

5. F*ck I’m Bored! Activity Book for Adults by Tamara L Adams


Image Via Amazon

This final book is absolutely for those of you out there who need something to do. These 100 “F*cking Adult Activities” include coloring, sudoku, dot-to-dot, word searches, mazes, fallen phrases, math logic, word tiles, spot the difference, “Where the F*ck did the Other Half Go,” nonograms, “Brick-by-F*cking-Brick,” Word Scramble, and much more. If any of these enticed you, entertained you, or just straight up baffled you, then this book is definitely worth it. You should be aware that there may be some inappropriate language, but for adults who need a little entertainment, go check out this book!



We’ve all had those days where it’s all screens, all social media, all work all the time. And the eye strain, headaches, and back pain can really start to ruin your day. So, to combat the weariness, put those screens away for a while and pick up one of these books. Not only can the old-fashioned and nostalgic way of doing these puzzles soothe you, but you’ll get a chance to stretch your brain without stretching your eyes too much. Go check out these books!


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4 Childhood Throwbacks Books

Do you ever look at your bookshelf and wonder what happened to all those books you read as a kid? I do and sometimes I miss reading those books and feeling how excited I was the first time I held them, ready to explore a new world with new fictional friends. I feel the same way when I pick up a book now, but the excitment is different when you’re a kid, and these four books are some that I will always cherish.

  1. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

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Junie B Jones, is the first book series I remember reading on my own. I remember the first time my second grade teacher read a chapter from one of the books, and after that I had to read the books on my own. I believe I owned all of her books at one point. It’s about a kindergarten girl named Junie B Jones, who gets herself in a lot of mischief. She had very strong opinions and was kind of sassy and very much so her own person. In one book she was very outspoken about becoming a big sister and in another one she cut her own hair. It’s a cute series, and it’s written for kids in first-third grade, but I still wish I had some of the books as a keepsake.


2. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

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Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing, is another great series I used to love reading. I remember borrowing them from the library and how funny Fudge was. If you’ve never read this series then you’re missing out because it’s a classic series about a little boy, Peter and his little brother, Fudge. Peter, is fed up with Fudge and all of the attention he gets. All Peter wants is for his parents to pay attention to him sometimes. The dynamic between Fudge and Peter pretty much stays the same throughout the series. They do get a little sister in one of the novels, but regardless Fudge knows how to demand the spotlight. I want to read these books again, they are definitely on my list of books to re-read.


3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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A Series of Unfortunate Events, is such a great series that teaches children about having compassion for others. It’s about three orphans, the Baudelaire orphans who lost their parents in a fire. Now they’re being bounced around from different homes because of the evil Count Olaf, who just wants their fortune and is doing everything he can to get it. Even if it means destroying all of their chances at having a home again. I’ve always felt bad for the orphans but now as an adult I amazed at how strong they are at such a young age to deal with everything they’ve dealt with. No one believes them when they say Count Olaf is after them and the people put in charge of them aren’t the best or nicest people. It’s a tragic tale, but it’s a good series, and I already started re-reading this series and I love them just as much as I did the first time I read them.


4. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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Captain Underpants, was my first graphic novel and it’s a great series for kids to read. It’s about these two fourth graders who create a comic book called Captain Underpants, they also pull pranks and they mistakenly turn their principal into Captain Underpants! They hypnotize him before he can expose their stunts using a 3D hyno ring. The rest of the adventures are wacky and fun. The adventures are what kept me invested because they get wackier with each book. I highly reccomend it to young kids who don’t like to read much, and considering it’s a graphic novel it won’t be so overwhelming. I love to read so the pictures were just an added bonus for me.

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the warden

The ‘Holes’ Villains, Ranked from Least Evil to Most Evil

The first time I read Holes by Louis Sachar it blew my tiny sixth-grade mind. My librarian had told me that the ending was incredible, but I was simply not prepared. The way all the little threads wove together, all the loose ends tied up so perfectly?? I was shook. Beyond shook. I was a new person. I was reborn. I was a phoenix, rising from the ashes of my former self. The ‘S’ shelf of my elementary school library was now a sacred space, where Sachar leaned against Jerry Spinelli, where Holes and Stargirl, the two most influential books I read as a child, stood side by side. I even fantasized that I would one day sneak my own book between theirs— Sachar, Spinabelli, Spinelli. The Holy Trinity. The Three Musketeers. Name a more iconic trio, I’ll wait. 


Of course, that hasn’t happened yet, and I’ve moved on to more realistic fantasies, like faking my own death to get out of paying my student loans. But the other day on the train I was reminded of my sixth-grade dream. There was a kid reading Holes by Louis Sachar. The cover art was different from the version I’d read back in the day, but the nostalgia bit me like a yellow-spotted lizard, nonetheless. That lucky little punk! She was reading Holes for (presumably) the first time! I was insanely jealous, realizing that I would never get to read Holes for the first time again— barring some sort of conveniently specific amnesia. So I went home and revisited Camp Green Lake, flipping through my own paperback copy. And, though it wasn’t the same as reading it for the first time, it was weirdly eye-opening to read as an adult. I realized how many terrible grown-ups exist in Stanley Yelnats’ world. There’s something Roald Dahl-ish about it. 

So, here we go. In my opinion, there are six solid villains in Holes, and after careful thought and research, I have ranked them from least to most evil. Enjoy.


6. Derrick Dunne


Okay, if you haven’t read the book in a while but you’ve seen the movie recently, you probably don’t remember Derrick Dunne. He doesn’t make it into the final cut of the movie, which is a shame because he is the whole reason for the season! He sets everything in motion! He’s the reason Stanley Yelnats gets sent to Camp Green Lake, and, get this, he’s the reason Stanley Yelnats is released from Camp Green Lake! Yes! Derrick Dunne! Amateur villain and elementary school bully!


So basically, Derrick Dunne takes Stanley’s notebook one day and plays keep-away with it for a bit, tormenting our young hero. Dunne eventually throws the notebook in the school toilet, and Stanley has to fish it out, consequently missing his bus home. So he walks home, and Clyde Livingston’s sneakers fall from the sky and hit him, and the rest is history. We don’t hear from Derrick Dunne again until the end of the book, when his testimony proves Stanley’s innocence— Stanley couldn’t have stolen Clyde Livingston’s shoes, he was too busy getting bullied! For these reasons, Derrick Dunne earns the title of villain, but just barely. He kind of redeems himself in the end, and he’s just a kid, after all. It’s the adults who are really to blame.


5. Mrs. Bell


Again, a character that only appears in the book:

“On his last day of school, his math teacher, Mrs. Bell, taught ratios. As an example, she chose the heaviest kid in the class and the lightest kid in the class, and had them weigh themselves. Stanley weighed three times as much as the other boy. Mrs. Bell wrote the ratio on the board, 3:1, unaware of how much embarrassment she had caused both of them.”

So aside from the obvious humiliation and body-shaming going on here, I have another bone to pick with this Mrs. Bell character. Why is she teaching a new lesson on the last day of school? What’s the goal here, Mrs. Bell? What kind of sadistic witch just plunges forward with the math curriculum on the literal last day of class? The last day of school is for signing yearbooks and cleaning out your locker and watching movies in the dark AC of your classroom and noticing how eerie and empty the room looks without all the bulletin board decorations, and realizing that time changes everything and everything will eventually come to an end. It’s not a day for learning new concepts! It’s not a day for teaching lessons! What the actual cuss, Mrs. Bell. You’re a villain. You’re barely mentioned in the book, but you’re a villain forever in my mind. 


4. Mr. Sir


Image Via Holes Wiki

Image Via Holes Wiki


At last, we arrive at Camp Green Lake. Mr. Sir is easily the tamest villain at Camp Green Lake. He’s more like a grumpy, sexist uncle than an actual villain. He’s always eating sunflower seeds and saying stuff like “this isn’t a Girl Scout camp.” Like, okay? No one ever said it was? His villainy mostly just stems from his position at Camp Green Lake, which is essentially a child labor camp masquerading as some sort of juvenile rehabilitation.


But also, there’s the bit where he brings Stanley to The Warden for stealing his sunflower seeds, and The Warden scratches him (Mr. Sir) across the face with her wet rattlesnake venom nails (iconic) for bothering her about something so petty. Mr. Sir is completely emasculated and humiliated in front of Stanley, and in an act of Toxic Masculinity™ decides to take it out on poor, helpless Stanley by depriving him of water. This is pretty much the only instance of Mr. Sir actually hatching his own act of villainy, because for the most part he’s just a dumb pawn in The Warden’s master plan.


3. The Warden


Image Via Tumblr

Via Tumblr


The Warden runs the show. The Warden owns the shade. The Warden has badass rattlesnake venom nail polish (seriously, so iconic!) and villainy is pretty much in her DNA. She can’t help it, she’s Trout Walker’s granddaughter. She earns the spot as third-worst villain because she is basically the mastermind behind this ridiculous camp scheme, which is honestly pretty genius.


Kissin’ Kate Barlow’s fortune is buried somewhere in this vast desert, and instead of trying to find it and dig it up herself, as she was forced to as a kid, The Warden opens up a camp. She somehow convinces people that digging holes all day has a sort of rehabilitative quality for delinquent boys, and boom. Camp Green Lake. Not exactly a get-rich-quick scheme, but The Warden is patient. She’ll wait for some pimply teenager to dig up her fortune. She’ll wait as long as she has to. 


2. Mr. Pendanski


Via Tumblr

Via Tumblr


At last, the villain who’s ranking I am the most passionate about: Stanley’s camp counselor, Mr. Pendanski. This dude is messed up. He comes off as so nice, he earns the campers’ trust, they nickname him Mom, but don’t be fooled. He is no one’s mom. He is a literal pile of hot garbage. First of all, he insists on calling all of his campers by their real names, not their nicknames, with one exception. He calls Hector Zeroni by his nickname, Zero, claiming “there’s nothing inside his head.” As a former camp counselor, this disturbs me to my core. You can’t just single out a camper like that! How un-kumbaya of you, Mr. Pendanski. He picks on Zero throughout the book, taunting him and calling him stupid and telling him digging holes is all he’ll ever be good for. It’s textbook emotionally abusive behavior.


But wait, it gets worse. In the final scene at Camp Green Lake, Zero and Stanley are trapped in a hole with a bunch of deadly yellow-spotted lizards and Kissin’ Kate Barlow’s fortune. The camp staff hovers on the ground above them, essentially waiting for the boys to get bitten and die so they can retrieve the treasure. Obviously this is super messed up and villainous of all of them, but Pendanski manages to make some pretty dark comments that push his villain-status over the edge. “At least we’ll have a body to give that woman,” he says, referring to the social worker who came looking for Stanley a few days prior. He then says, “maybe we should just shoot them,” and when another staff member asks if he means the lizards or the kids, he laughs (!) and replies, “the kids are going to die anyway.” He then laughs AGAIN, and says “at least we got plenty of graves to chose from.” WHAT. THE. CUSS. In conclusion, Mr. Pendanski is a sick, twisted man with no empathy and no soul and no business being a camp counselor. He is a second-place villain only because our first-place villain is a literal murderer. 


1. Trout Walker


Image Via Villains Wiki

Image Via Villains Wiki


Charles “Trout” Walker is the villain of all villains in Holes. He’s got it all: the Toxic Masculinity™ of Mr. Sir, the evil master planning of The Warden, the dark, twisted nature of Mr. Pendanski, and, as an added bonus, he’s a racist murderer! Let’s dig in, shall we? I’ve waited this whole article to make that joke. I’m so very tired. 


To start, Trout Walker is gross. Literally, because of this foot fungus that makes his feet smell like fish, and also because he’s sleazy AF. He takes an adult night class to learn how to read, but he’s disruptive and is mostly just interested in getting with the teacher, Katherine Barlow. After class one night, he asks to go out on his motor boat with him. The motor boat is described as making a loud noise and spewing “ugly black smoke over the beautiful lake.” She turns him down, because air pollution, and he says, “No one ever says ‘No’ to Charles Walker!” So, he’s spoiled and also needs to grasp the concept of consent. 


Later on, after it’s been revealed that Katherine has kissed Sam, a black man, Walker leads a mob of people to the school house, destroying Katherine’s classroom, calling her “The Devil Woman,” and eventually burning down the entire school. And of course, solidifying his rank as top villain, Trout Walker crashes his motor boat into Sam’s rowboat and shoots him in the water. Hence, racist murderer. I shouldn’t have to explain why this makes him the most evil, so I won’t. 



Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go reread Stargirl.


Featured Image Via TimetoToast

Close up of a Goosebumps cover

Readers Beware: R. L. Stine has A NEW SERIES!

R. L. Stine shaped (or, let’s be honest, scarred) most of our childhoods with his 130 Goosebumps books. He chose the right place, then, when he chose to announce his new Goosebumps series at Comic Con, in front of people dressed as monsters and other cosplayed supernatural beings. That series: a comic series with Marvel called “Man-Thing.”


Marvel first debuted “Man-Thing” in 1971. Stine will change the monster that was once speechless to finally be able to vocalize. The new comic is inspired by a 1950 comic series called “Tales from the Crypt.” In an interview with New York Times, Stine says, “My first ambition was to be a comic book artist.” He hopes to make the character creepy but still humorous and sarcastic at the same time.


Jack Black and R. L. Stine smiling together.


While attending Comic Con in San Diego, he received the Inkpot Award that celebrates contributions to the world of comics, fantasy, and sci-fi. This award is prestigious and has previously been awarded to George Lucas, Neil Gaiman, and Steven Spielberg.


Stine didn’t always want to write for young readers, however. He didn’t initially want to write children’s books but changed his mind once he thought of the name “Goosebumps” for his books.


Cover of One Day at Horrorland by R. L. Stine.


The next movie stars Jack Black as Stine with supporting character “Slappy the Dummy.” The film is set to be released in September of 2018 and will be called “Horrorland.” Stine himself gave praise for the new movie on twitter. Many speculate that the film is based on the 16th book in the series called “One Day at Horrorland.”


Featured image courtesy of Scholastic