Watership Down and Why I've Given Up on Gun Control

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You win.

All you guys in Open Carry Texas and everyone else who feels like even the slightest infringement on the types of armaments you can own and where you can take them? You win. I officially surrender, and the reason is Watership Down.

Yes, the book about rabbits, a beloved classic by Richard Adams that is usually assigned in school.

If you've never read the book somehow, the story follows a group of rabbits that flee their warren because one of them named Fiver has a prophetic vision of the warren's destruction by men. All in all a group of 20 rabbits or so leave with Fiver in a quest for a new home.

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Christina Escamilla Writes a Book About Not Writing a Book and It's Great

Categories: Books

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It's been only four months since I got to know local author Christina Escamilla through her amazing anthology, 64 Deaths, and already she's back with a new and very different novel called The Day the Words Went Away. Rather than exploring a variety of strange endings, she's gone down-right farcical comedy. The amazing thing is that she proves herself just as adept.

Our hero is Peter, and geeky aspiring writer who pays the bills writing term papers for people and awkwardly crushes on the cute medical student living next door. His best friend is Andy, an Alpha Male who also wants to be a writer. The problem is, the two of them are completely out of ideas.

Peter, in a fit of melancholy writer's block wonders if there are no new ideas any more. He sees the dearth of sequels, remakes, and homages and theorizes that somewhere in the universe the place where stories come from has run dry.

Andy thinks that's hogwash, but the two of them make a bet on it and try to come up with a truly new idea by the end of the day.

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Assemble Your Search Party! Find Waldo Returns to Houston in July

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How long will it take you to spot Waldo at the 16 local businesses participating in this year's Find Waldo" scavenger hunt? Sharp-eyed searchers will need to be on the lookout for a red-and-white striped T-shirt and knitted cap this month, as local businesses once again host this fun tribute to Waldo, and awareness-raiser for the Shop Local cause.

"We added businesses in the Heights this year," explained Brazos Bookstore's resident Kids Specialist (and Grand Czar of Teen Romance), Mary Catherine Breed. "We have an existing partnership with Travis Elementary, so it seemed like a perfect fit." Brazos will serve as the Find Waldo Local Headquarters, and returning businesses include Buffalo Exchange on Bissonnet and the Monster PBJ food truck. New businesses include Tulips & Tutus, the oolala boutique, and Heights Candy Bar.

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What Are You Reading?: A Question That Should Be Asked More Often than It Is

Categories: Books

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch Frame Dance Productions' culinary/choreography fusion Dinner/Dance 19. The collaboration between Lydia Hance and her Framers, and chef David Leftwhich made for an interesting - and tasting - dining experience in and of itself, but the interactive nature of a Frame Dance show is best enjoyed with a friend or two. That evening I brought a new friend, and in the intervals between vegetarian dishes and dances inspired by food production, we chatted about work, potential summer plans, and the fast approaching Free Press Summer Fest. And then I asked a question I haven't asked anyone in quite a long time: What have you been reading?

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Trying to Understand How the Modern Never Land All Fits Together

Categories: Books, Pop Culture

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Recently I bought my daughter the latest Tinker Bell movie, The Pirate Fairy. It's a good enough film, and one of the better in the series. The real reason I was excited is that Tom Hiddleston was playing a young version of Captain Hook. If the thought of Loki flying around with tiny winged pirates who use sewing pins as swords doesn't make you smile, then I can't help you.

But it's starting to bother me because there are three current adventure series in Never Land. There's the two proper Peter Pan movies, Tink's films, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. All three of them are vastly different but take place in the same setting and share characters. I've spent way more time than an adult should trying to figure out how it all fits.

First thing to remember is that fairies and Never Land have an intimate connection to our world, though they are separate. Fairies are born from the laughter of human babies, and I've shown elsewhere how Never Land is more or less created to be the afterlife of dead children.

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5 Ways The Incredibles Is Ayn Randian Propaganda

Categories: Books, Pop Culture

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Most adults love Pixar movies because Pixar movies are awesome. I'm not arguing that point. However, when you're an adult watching a Pixar movie you just kind of experience it like any other flick and go on about your business.

Once you have children you can now expect to watch any given film at least a dozen times in a row until you pray for the sweet release of death in order to not hear cartoon animals talk about friendship. In my house, my daughter has recently rediscovered The Incredibles, or as she calls it, The Amazing I-Man.

Somewhere between the eighth and the ninth run through last week I started to realize that the whole thing is really just a cartoonish representation of the ideas put forward in Atlas Shrugged. It doesn't mesh up perfectly, as we'll see, but sometimes it really is eerie how well the two works compliment each other.

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5 Official Novel Sequels People Forget About

Categories: Books

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If current trends continue then by 2050 roughly 134 percent of all entertainment will be sequels, and original content will be released retroactively as prequels in order to capitalize on the success of the sequel which will come first and... sorry. I've gone all cross-eyed. My point is, content creators love sequels because they eliminate half the marketing work.

You're not selling people on the idea of a boy wizard named Harry Potter, any more. Now all you have to do is take a the name everyone knows and add words like "giant snake", "werewolf", and "Emma Watson's increased physical maturity" and boom. Coke money.

Sometimes, though, sequels actually fall through the cracks, even for juggernaut franchises. For instance...

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Lily Koppel, Author of The Astronaut Wives Club, at Brazos Bookstore Monday, June 16

Categories: Books, Pop Culture

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Photo by Mark Seliger
Author Lily Koppel will be in Houston to discuss her latest, The Astronaut Wives Club, much of which takes place in Houston.
If your favorite parts of the film Apollo 13 are not the scenes from space, but the brief insights we get into the lives of the astronauts' families, you'll probably want to pick up a copy of Lily Koppel's compelling The Astronaut Wives Club, currently the shelves at Brazos Bookstore. Koppel will discuss her book at Brazos on Monday, June 16, at 7 p.m., and she recently took time to talk to us about the women who captured a nation's attention in a way that would foreshadow our future, collective fascination with Real Housewives.

"These women were, in many ways, America's first reality stars," said Koppel, who chatted with us by phone from New York City about her latest book. "Their job--given to them by [NASA] and their country--was to project a perfect American housewife image; they had to remain cool, calm, and collected while their husbands were riding what is essentially the world's largest stick of dynamite into space, and then make him the perfect apple pie for when he returned home."

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Samuel L. Jackson Reading Go the F**K to Sleep Free Download for Father's Day

Categories: Books

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Oh, you completely forgot to get your dad/husband/uncle/grandpa/creepy brother-in-law something for Father's Day and you have little to no time to do so? Worry not grasshopper. Audible, the books-on-tape for the digital generation, is offering a free download of the now infamous children's book, Go the F**K To Sleep being read by none other than Mr. Samuel L. Jackson.

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Terminal City Author Linda Fairstein Likes Getting Justice in Court and on the Page

Categories: Books

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Photo by Peter Simon
New York City's Grand Central Station is the setting for author Linda Fairstein's new thriller, Terminal City. The latest installment in the best-selling Alex Cooper series, Terminal City features Assistant DA Cooper tracking down a serial killer who carves cryptic symbols on his female victims. The chase leads Cooper to miles of Grand Central's hidden tunnels reaching several stories under street level, terrifying catwalks hanging hundreds of feet over the terminal floor and a little-known escape route reserved for the President of the United States when he's in town.

Fairstein was the chief of the sex crimes unit of the district attorney's office in Manhattan for more than 20 years. She tells us her experiences with real life crime and crime on the page are very different. "It wasn't always possible to 'do justice' in the courtroom," she says. "As a novelist, I certainly enjoy being able to control the fate of the criminals I created. It's great fun to create a bad guy...and see him meet an appropriate fate. My perps don't get away with much."

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