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In Battleborn, a collection of short stories, Claire Vaye Watkins recreates the rich and complicated history of the desert regions of California and Nevada. The title is derived from one of Nevada’s nicknames, The Battle Born State, which it earned by becoming a state during the Civil War. Similarly, the ghosts of past battles are never far away from the characters’ minds as they struggle through life. Watkins succeeds at using regional details to ... Read More
  Oksana Marafioti’s memoir brings to light a minority culture that most people have very little knowledge of beyond TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Yes, Marafioti does write about one of those extravagant affairs, in which she donned a mango-colored taffeta gown and teased her hair to the heavens, but the strength of her book lies in the way it makes her Romani family, who moved to California in the early ’90s, and their over-the-top ... Read More
In Overdressed, New York-based writer Elizabeth Cline explores the extreme decline in the cost of fashion, and the political, economic, and social implications of this change. Cline begins with a personal yet familiar anecdote: she once bought seven pairs of $7 shoes in a single haul, only to eventually throw half of them out without having worn them once. Most of us who grew up in the ’90s practice Cline’s former shopping ritual: consistently buying ... Read More
Chicago-based artist and illustrator Lilli Carré creates magical characters in her comics and animations. Whether she’s telling the tale of a mythical singing sea monster, a stone-skipping woodsman, or a sister-run joke-writing business, she manages to create work that's altogether thought-provoking, sincere, and relatable. I was introduced to Carré’s work with her 2008 debut graphic novel The Lagoon, which also became one of the first ... Read More
The weather is getting colder and the ultimate cuddle buddy is primed for its comeback: a book! Sometimes, a girl wants one to stretch the horizons of her brain (and not just her heartstrings--I'm talking about you Harper Collins Romance!), so it's great that books like New Art/Science Affinities exist.  The book, co-published by Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Gallery and the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, is 190 pages of contemporary art focusing on ... Read More
Have you ever wanted to make needlepoint nipple doilies? If so, Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery -- written by Leanne Prain, the co-author of 2009's bestselling Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet & Knit Graffiti -- is the anarchistic DIY craft book for you. Hoopla's twenty-eight innovative embroidery patterns will teach readers how to stitch a mythical jackalope, a ransom note pillow, and mean yet dainty knuckle-tattoo church gloves.Click here ... Read More
  Guess what arrived in the office today? The very first copies of  The BUST DIY Guide to Life!! And boy is it beautiful, chock-full of awesome info and super sweet projects. Editor-in-chief Debbie Stoller and creative director Laurie Henzel compiled over 250 of your favorite BUST projects from the last 15 years in one handy-dandy volume. No more digging through your back issues for that how-to story, or searching through scraps of paper for that ... Read More
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