Articles by " Athena Flint"
12 Jul
2016

Adam’s Summer Reading Picks!

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Adam wears birkenstocks and regularly uses a fountain pen. He also at one time was heard saying that he was "what hipsters wish they were." So this list may or may not be full of books that he knew were good about before you did. But honestly, he has pretty good taste, so give his list a try!

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Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
I read this book in a post-modern lit­er­a­ture class in col­lege.  I went into the class not really liking post-modern lit.  I found it over­wrought and vac­u­ous and largely com­pletely unin­ter­est­ing.  There were sev­eral books over the course of the class that changed my mind and this was one of the first and best.  If you like sto­ries of freak shows and weird cults, and family bonding, this book is def­i­nitely for you.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I had never heard of Donna Tartt before my good friend Jody handed me this book, told me that it was one of her favorite things she’d ever read, and told me to read it.  This book inter­ested me from the out­set because the main char­ac­ter goes to col­lege and majors in Clas­sics and if a book about a Clas­sics major in col­lege sounds bor­ing to you, just trust me that the tip of this ice­berg does not begin to do jus­tice to the remain­der.  Intense friendships, bacchanalia, and creepy secrets make this piece by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of
The Goldfinch is absolutely a must read.

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The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
The Jun­gle Book and The Sec­ond Jun­gle Book were orig­i­nally pub­lished sep­a­rately, but are fre­quently printed and sold as one vol­ume now.  This is one of those books that no film adap­ta­tion has ever even come close to touch­ing, so if you saw Disney’s newest adaptation earlier this year and either liked it or didn’t like it, just forget about it and pick up the book.  It’s fun, a great story to share with kids, and one of the most sur­pris­ingly emo­tional sto­ries I’ve ever read.  As an added bonus, the book is actu­ally a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, which makes it per­fect as a bed­time story option or com­mute book!

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
It is (hope­fully) glar­ingly obvi­ous to any­one who’s read this blog even a bit (or talked to me in per­son) that I absolutely love Tolkien.  He is basi­cally a deity to me.  
The Hob­bit is a great Sum­mer Read­ing option because it’s light and fun and about a trip, which makes it the per­fect vaca­tion book!  Plus when the vaca­tion­ing is done and you’re ready for some­thing with a lit­tle more grav­i­tas you can grad­u­ate to The Lord of the Rings, The Sil­mar­il­lion, or even Unfin­ished Tales of Numenor and Mid­dle Earth!

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Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
First of all, every­one should have at least one Dahl book under their belt.  He’s a clas­sic children’s/young adult author for a rea­son, folks.  
Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox is my favorite Roald Dahl book because sto­ries about crafty ani­mals out­smart­ing humans are pretty much my life blood.  Plus, one of the char­ac­ters sub­sists on noth­ing but hard cider, which is how I aspire to live my life.

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The Widow Clicquot by Tilar Mazzeo
I’m not a huge oenophile (though I like wine a lot) nor am I an espe­cially eager reader of non-fiction, but this book hooked me. In fact, this book is one of the reasons I’ve been more into biographies lately. The story of how Barbe-Nicole Clic­quot Pon­sardin not only han­dled her husband’s com­pany like a boss after he died but also com­pletely rev­o­lu­tion­ized the cham­pagne busi­ness, ran block­ades to sell her lux­ury wine, and basi­cally was an all-around hero for, like 60 years until Death finally showed up and was like, “Come on, lady, you’re mak­ing me look bad here,” is one that I can read over and over again.  She was
OG, man.

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Little, Big by John Crowley
The novel picked for the inau­gural meet­ing of the
KU Book Club (and also the sec­ond meet­ing when we showed up and dis­cov­ered that none of us had fin­ished it) has stuck with me in a huge way since then.  This book got me into read­ing tarot cards.  It also uses the ubiq­ui­tous idea of Faerie in a supremely fas­ci­nat­ing way and basi­cally is every­thing you could pos­si­bly want in a book.  I’ve never really been able to ver­bal­ize this until right now, but you know what Lit­tle, Big is?  It’s a Neil Gaiman novel from before Neil Gaiman was writ­ing nov­els.  I don’t know if Gaiman was directly influ­enced by Crowley’s book, but I have to say, I’d kinda bet on it.

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I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
I’ll be hon­est with you, I read this book because I saw the movie and really liked it.  I saw the movie because Hay­den Panet­tiere was in it and I really like her.  My moti­va­tions notwith­stand­ing, though, this book is excel­lent.  Any­one who has ever gone to high school will find some­thing to relate to here.  It’s funny, heart­felt, and makes you glad you grad­u­ated years and years ago.

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Mother, Can You Not? by Kate E. Siegel
I started following the Instagram account @crazyjewishmom months and months ago.  At that time, it was just an account where this young woman posted screenshots of text conversations with her overbearing, hilarious, and completely filter-less mother.  It has since grown into a huge viral phenomenon and Kate has rolled with the punches, coming out with this book earlier this spring.  It’s just as hilarious as the IG account, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s ever had a conversation with their mom that turned into something resembling an Abbot and Costello skit from a crazy parallel universe.  

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The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
I found this book in my elementary school library when I was in 5th grade or so.  It enchanted me in a way that no book had done before and few have done since.  It’s rare to find fantasy, high or low, that so perfectly captures the world it creates.  Magic and sword fights and pet big cats are things that all of us have wanted (and/or currently want) in our lives, and this book will give you those feels in abundance.

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Before I read this book, I noticed that one of the blurbs on the back said, “Shelve
The Name of the Wind with The Lord of the Rings and look forward to the day when it is mentioned in the same breath and perhaps as first among equals.”  This, to me, constituted extremely - almost impossibly - high praise.  Having read it, I can say unequivocally that Rothfuss’s book lives up to that praise.  If you enjoy fantasy at all, you should give this book your undivided attention at your earliest possible convenience.  

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Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This is a book many of us knew from our childhoods.  If you’re around my age or a little older, you probably have fond memories of the animated film of 1973, which is an excellent adaptation of what is probably White’s most famous work.  If you have or know a young child who loves animals, or if you just want to nourish that small child within yourself, pick up Charlotte’s Web and share it with someone.  It’s a book best read with a friend.

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The first book of Martin’s epic
Song of Ice and Fire is a fantastic book to read over the summer.  While fans of the series may enjoy the later books more (book 3, A Storm of Swords is most fans’ favorite), A Game of Thrones is the perfect first book of a series, making grand introductions, setting the stage for the incredible events to follow, and drawing the reader into the universe so completely that you’ll be hard-pressed to put any of these books down (until, of course, you throw one of them across the room in a Martin-inspired rage.)

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Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
This is literally one of the most perfect books of all time.  Even if you don’t like period pieces; even if you don’t like romantic comedies; even if you don’t like British literature; even if you don’t like the Classics, give this book a chance.  Austen’s incredible command of comedy and emotional depth make P&P one of my favorite books.  You’ll be laughing and ugly-crying in equal portions due to the snark and mooshy-ness in this book.  If you don’t love it, I will literally eat my hat.

11 Jul
2016

Alexander’s Summer Reading Picks

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Alexander is a recent addition to Kards Unlimited, but we're super glad to have his talents on our team. His resume includes Pro-Shark wrestling and a brief stint as a ninja, and you know, those are super helpful skills here at this particular book/gift/card store.
Alexander's list is pretty intense, I'm not going to lie. But if you read all of these books this summer you'll probably end up feeling like you could be a ninja too.

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Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna
For serious seekers only. McKenna’s radical hypothesis on the origins of human consciousness is the only Creation Myth that has ever made any sense to me, and has the unignorable characteristic of being concurrent with both scientific data and personal experience. If any element of it approaches the truth, the ramifications are as daming as they are potentially salvific.

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The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I’ve read a lot of holy books, but this absurdist’s bible is undeniably my favorite and has guided my life more than any other. Whenever I find myself taking life too seriously (my cardinal sin), I know that it is time to reread the Guide, laugh at life, and thumb my way into a new adventure.

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Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud
If you find yourself questioning the therapeutic validity of your psych meds and suspect that your therapist may simply be adjusting you to a deeply pathological culture instead of helping heal you, this book, from the Father of Psychoanalysis himself, may fuel your paranoia and catalyze a self-realization-or-bust journey of transformation. At least, it did for me.

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The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
This book is an introduction to that lost continent in the Western psyche, the world of mythos. If you’re looking for something to help you pass the time while you wait to die, this isn’t it. But if you’re hungry for a life of adventure imbued with self-generated meaning, this is a good place to start.

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Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
A whetstone for the intellect. Internalizing the logical razors Sagan presents in this field guide to truth-seeking has been of incalculable benefit to me in my life for avoiding a whole lot of bullshit while investigating the lunatic fringe and the varieties of weird experiences. I reread it every so often to keep my wits sharp.

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
For all that I knew about psychological conditioning and the massive social engineering projects undertaken in the 20th century, this book was the boot in the ass that I needed to rip myself out of my culture and begin the painful process of unlearning the insanity that I had assimilated to. Nothing like a good story to render a body of facts into impetus for action.

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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Inspire your inner revolutionary with this underdog tale of Libertarian rebellion on the Moon. Featuring my favorite weapon in all of science fiction for its engineering simplicity and my favorite familial social organization for its communal strength.

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Paradise Lost by John Milton
No other intellectual endeavor has carried out so thorough a meditation on Evil over the centuries as Christianity has. Paradise Lost is the crowning jewel of that investigation into the personality of Evil. It has helped me understand the path that people like Eric Harris to Adolph Hitler have walked down, and helped me avoid that path myself.

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Valis and Later Novels by Philip K. Dick
All of Dicks’ works render opaque the dubious wall of separation between fact and fiction, reality and delusion, and your life and the character’s, but the VALIS series is a mind bender for mind-benders on a bender. Historians should keep tabs on this book, because it will likely become incorporated into some future religion’s canon of revelatory literature.

 

Here are three more books to try as well!

 

6 Jul
2016

Athena’s Summer Reading Picks!

 

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Athena believes in fairies and dragons. She spent a while in Ireland and she will swear up and down that she saw things that can't possibly be real. But you know, she was also drinking quite heavily the whole time, so maybe that has something to do with it.
Check out what she's (re)reading this summer!

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5 Jul
2016

Blair Kirin’s Summer Reading Picks!

Summer Reading with Blair

Blair is, and I quote, the "Mascot of Kards Unlimited". She embodies the soul and spirit of this store: smart, witty, sometimes a little inappropriate and always TONS of fun. She is a KID at heart, but with also the brain of a sophisticated, well read person! Check out her summer reading recommendations! You won't regret it, yo.

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The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
This can be read in isolation but it is connected to his other books which I highly recommend--although you run the risk of spiraling down the rabbit hole of his time-jumping-we-are-all-connected-universe and try to make a chart and then meet him in person and show him said chart and watch him rub his temples from the headache you caused.
If you like puzzles, mystery, real life with a paranormal twist...read him.

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
So this may be my FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME even though I say that a lot...because of the universe I was enveloped in while reading it. What is so extraordinary about this book is YES it’s magic but it’s magic in the “real world”; a magician attempts to bring respect and dignity back to magic by showing its practical usefulness and employs it during war-time, for example, which I’ve never seen done (and oh my god those scenes are so amaze). The other fun thing about this book is the history in the footnotes--it’s practically a whole other book. The world she builds is truly incredible and the pace and care put into the character development and fictional history is unlike any book I’ve ever read and feels so real that you finish the book feeling like a scholar of an alternative history.

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Many people have likened this to a teenage, R-rated Harry Potter, which is somewhat accurate because magic but also blood and sex and violence etc., and our Harry in this case is a witty existential joker with a dirty vocabulary. Also, add Narnia. This is a fun read that has surprisingly sincere and moving moments along with its sometimes very creepy and haunting ones.

 

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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
One of the reasons I love sci-fi and or anything post-apocalyptic, is that you spend the beginning of the story learning a new vocabulary in a new universe and you don’t know what’s going on because you are opening the pages of this world and it doesn’t have to explain itself to you, the voyeur. Atwood is brilliant with her pacing and moments of revelation to the reader in this very strange world that feels like it could be ours. It’s the first in a trilogy and you’ll want to get to the 2nd the second you finish.

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The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
Ok. Here’s the thing. I don’t read a lot of scary stories which is silly because I love scary movies. But I’ve read this, and this is SCARY. I loved this and had SO MUCH FUN having the experience of reading a page-turner. The best part was having a friend read it and freaking out when you get to certain parts and sending gross texts to each other in the middle of the night that may or may not involve fetuses.

 

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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
So this was my first sci-fi and I haven’t looked back (at other genres) since. This changed my whole world. This is one of those stories that makes you wonder how a human could hold all of it in their head. In the millions of galaxies that exist a man named Hari Seldon has predicted the future and it’s HOW he predicts, not what, that is so fascinating to me. Imagine combining all the disciplines into one and all the knowledge that would give; imagine trying to deliver that message over the span of centuries---and does the very act of disseminating information change the future or does it cause what was always meant to be?

 

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Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

My love of lan­guage began here and is still with me. It is with young Milo that I learned how won­der­ful and strange lan­guage can be, which led me to pur­sue poetry, phi­los­o­phy and lin­guis­tics in col­lege. In Dic­tio­nop­o­lis I learned that let­ters taste dif­fer­ent. I learned that Con­clu­sions is an island that can only be reached by jump­ing. I learned that war is what hap­pens when rhyme and rea­son are nowhere to be found. I learned that mean­ing in lan­guage is never exhausted, but always open to new and imag­i­na­tive pos­si­bil­i­ties.

 

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
This is one of the most beautiful and moving stories I've ever read and I've read a lot of stories. Martin Scorcese thought so too and made it a film and won best picture of the year...just saying. The book is comprised of stunning pencil drawings and pages of text in between that tells the story of being true to oneself and one's passions in life. It'll getcha.

1 Jul
2016

Summer Reading Bingo 2016

Summer Reading

Summer started like weeks ago, we know. Are your reading pants on yet? Because it's TIME FOR  SUMMER READING BINGO.

Our summer reading display hit the shelves last week, so we're ready to rumble! BRING IT!

bingo card click link

summerreadingbingo

Everyone loves to win!

 

SUMMER READING BINGO!
Because we freaking love books, we've decided to make a game out of summer reading! Join us for an epic game of Summer Reading Bingo! There are prizes! 

So here's all the info you need on our Summer Book Bingo! JOIN US. 

How To Play

Crossing off squares!
Read a book that counts for the square you'd like to complete. (or, do the action it requires)
When you are finished with a book, post a picture of your book (or open kindle) on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter and tag us! Make sure you tell us which square you're crossing off. Only one square per book, please!
Each time you cross off a square you will get one raffle entry. So, the more you cross off, the better chance you have to win an amazing prize!

BINGO!
When you get Bingo, (5 squares vertical, horizontal or diagonal) you'll win a 10% off coupon for one item of your choice! Make sure you're keeping track at home. Just like in real bingo, you have to tell us you have a bingo in order to win. We'll be keeping track of your squares and will double check when you say 'BINGO!' on your Facebook or Instagram. (make sure you tag us, though. don't be shouting into the internet randomly! we might miss it.)

The Rules:

-One square per book! Yes, we know that some books are classic fiction AND Pulitzer prize winners. but you have to read TWO books to cross of both squares.
-You have to post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, tag us, and include #KUBookBingo to get credit for your squares. Please take a picture of your book, post on Facebook or Instagram, tag Kards Unlimited, and make sure to say which square you're crossing off. Also, if you have a bingo, Say it LOUD! Here is an example: (pretty picture of the book The Handmaid's Tale) Just finished reading The Handmaid's Tale for @Kards Unlimited summer reading bingo! I've just crossed off the Banned Book square! #KUBookBingo
-You have to post BINGO to get a bingo! While we'll be keeping track of your squares, you have to say it to win it! Just post on FB or Instagram that you've gotten a summer reading bingo and make sure to tag us! We'll get in touch with you to get you your coupon.

The Squares:

Specialty squares: 
Your Pick: You can read ANYTHING for this one!
KU Staff Favorite: Stop by the store to check out our Summer Reading display! Each of our Staff members has a whole shelf full of recommendations! Can't come to the store? Tweet or Instagram us and we'll set you up with something you'll love!
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter: This one’s really easy! Just hit the ‘follow’ button’! If you already follow us, just tag us in a status or picture to get these squares crossed off.
Ask a KU Employee: Tweet us and we'll challenge you to a random book or our choosing!
Free-Spot: Clearly, this means this spot is already x-ed off for you…. But if you want to read a book for this square anyway, we sure won’t stop you.
Follow KU on Instagram: Same as Facebook and Twitter square, except it’s Instagram!
Ask the Library: Tweet at Carnegie Library to get a suggestion! Like this: "Hey @carnegielibrary! @KardsUnlimted says you can hook me up with a summer reading suggestion! What should I read next?"

Regular book squares:
Need some suggestions?
We put together some lists of our favorite books from each genre right here!
Something with History: Non fiction or fiction, we don't care! Read something about a time that's not happening right now!
Poetry Collection: Get your verse on! Read a collection of poems. We sure don't care if it's Pablo Neruda or Shel Silverstein!
Young Adult: Read a Young Adult book.
Newberry Medal: Read a book that has been awarded the Newberry Medal!
Banned Book: Read a book that has been banned!
Something with Dragons: Komodo Dragons count!
Now a Movie!: Read something that's been turned into a film!
Something with Superheroes: Don't feel limited to fiction, guys! Real life people are superheroes to!!
Classic Fiction: Pick up a classic. You know the one. The one you've been putting off for ages. That one.
Manga or Graphic Novel: Read one! We have so many suggestions.
Non-Fiction: Read something REAL. But don't feel trapped into reading something boring. Non-Fiction is super fun a lot of the time!!
Now a TV Show!: Read a book that's been turned into a TV series. Or the other way around. That works too.
Hugo Award: Read something that's won the Hugo award!
Hot New Title: Read that new release that everyone is talking about. We won't judge if it came out a few years ago. >.>
Kid's Book: Read a book for kids!
Biography: Read about someone's life!
Continue a Series: Read the second or third or whatever book in that series you started a while a go and put down.
Something with Crime: Real crime or imaginary crime, it don't matter!

Good Luck! May your bedside table lamp ever shine in your favor.

bingo card click link

30 Jun
2016

July 2016 Events and Holidays

july 2016

Welcome to JULY people! It's getting hot in here! If you're looking for something to do between all the yard sales and barbecues, we've got some ideas! For instance, July is not just National Grilling, Hot Dog and Ice Cream Month, it's also Independent Retailers Month! Hey, that's us! Also up this month is I Forgot Day (July 2), International Kissing Day (July 6),  National French Fries Day (July 13) and National Tequila Day (July 24)! Birthdays this month include Robert Heinlein(July 7), Hunter S. Thompson (July 18), Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling (both July 31). Speaking of Harry and Rowling, The Cursed Child hits our shelves at 12:01 AM on July 31ST! If you pre-order soon, you can still join us for our Midnight Release Party! (Co hosted with Coffee Tree, because they are great people!!) For more information or more holidays, keep reading!

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July is the month of many things, including AC Appreciation Days, National Dog House Repairs Month, National Grilling Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Hot Dog Month, and National Independent Retailers Month!! Start the party!

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Okay, so there's a few extra days in this "week" but why are you even counting? First up this month is Canada Day (July 1)! It's the same day that the movie version of The BFG hits the theaters!!! Next up is I Forgot Day and World UFO Day which are very conveniently on the same day so that you can forget about the UFOs. (both July 2)

Get the grills out for Independence Day! But make sure to include some vegetarian options, since it is also Independence From Meat Day (Both July 4). Seriously, who thought that one up? Not eat meat on one of the biggest grilling days of the year. YEAH RIGHT. *ahem* I mean. Go you! You do that awesome meat free thing!!

Make sure you load up on sunscreen for Bikini Day (July 5)! All bodies are Bikini Bodies. But they don't all have to be crispy lobster bodies. Only YOU can prevent skin fires.

International Kissing Day and Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day share the box on the calendar (both July 6), so you might as well multi-task and make that a hot lunch date, yo.

Birthdays this week include:
Indiana Jones (July 1), Franz Kafka (July 3), Robert Heinlein  and Dr. Watson (both July 7).

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It's time for the CUTEST HOLIDAY EVER: Teddy Bears Picnic Day (July 10)! And then there's National French Fries Day (July 13) or you know, 'MURICA FRIES DAY if you're so inclined. It's also International Town Criers Day (also on July 13) and I honestly can't tell you why that's still a thing anymore. I vote we all just spend the day watching John Steward and John Oliver hash out the news.

St. Swithin's Day is July 15th, and then National Ventriloquism Week is from July 13th-16th. That's not a whole week, we know, but I guess July is also TIME DOESN'T MATTER month. Oh. also. Who is super excited about the new Ghostbuster Movie???? It hits the theaters on the 15th!

Birthdays this week include:
E.B. White (July 11), Henry David Thoreau (July 12), and Patrick Stewart/Jean-Luc Picard (both July 13).

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This week is National Zookeeper Week (July 17-23), so make sure you go say hi to all those lovely people who decided to get paid to hang out with adorable and sometimes scary animals. And also sometimes pick up poop. In fact, July 17th is National Ice Cream Day, so go say hi on the 17th and then hit up Allegheny Ice Cream right outside the Zoo. Their hotdogs are AMAZING. (It's also National Hot Dog Month, remember??? DO IT ALL!)

Next up is National Lollipop Day (July 20) and then on the 22nd, it's Casual Pi Day, Rat Catcher's Day AND ALSO Star Trek Beyond hits the theaters. Oh and then it's National Hot Dog Day (July 23) so maybe go have some more hot dogs. again. NO REGRETS.

Birthdays this month include:
Hunter S. Thompson (July 18), Cormac McCarthy (July 20), Ernest Hemingway (July 21), and Daniel Radcliffe (July 23).

 

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This week starts strong with National Tequila Day (July 24) and we have just the recipe for you! Check out Kards Unlimiteds' Killer Tequila Sangria to get the party started HOOOOOO. The next day is Merry Go Round Day (July 25) so make sure you get all that tequila out of your system or it could  be a nasty ride. Next up is Barbie in a Blender Day (What. the. what.) and Walk on Stilts Day (both July 27).

On July 30th we're having our MIDNIGHT RELEASE PARTY for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!! If you haven't pre-ordered your copy yet, call us ASAP! The book will be distributed at 12:01 AM on July 31st! Haven't heard about the Midnight Release Party yet? Here's some information for you!

Birthdays this week include:
Alexandre Dumas (July 24), Beatrix Potter (July 28), Neville Longbottom (July 30), and Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling (both 31).