1 Jul
2017

Bingo 20017 Book Suggestions


If you don't have a stash of coloring books at home, we have SO Many! Here are just some of the ones we have in stock. 
Pro tip: If you're the type of person who doesn't want to color in the book over those pretty pages, photocopy a page! Then you can color it over and over again until you GET IT PERFECT.

- American Gods Coloring Book
- Narnia Coloring Book
- Swearword Coloring Book
- Star Trek Coloring Book
- The Enchanted Sea Coloring Book
- The Pittsburgh Coloring Book
- The National Parks Coloring Book
- Color Me Jane
- The Serenity Coloring Book (as in, Firefly!)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Coloring Book

 

We're not asking you to, like, go and learn another language here. (Although everyone should maybe at least try?) There are plenty of options to check off this box, but here are a few ideas!

- The Litte Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
- The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
- Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
- Night by Elie Wiesel
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson 
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Visit us in the store to see our full "Read without Borders" collection! Just ask at the counter and we'll show you the way. For those of you that can't make it in, here are a few choice selections.

- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
- I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck
- The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
- When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones
- An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

 

Dystopia is, like, so fetch right now. There are some pretty great classics that fit in this box, but plenty of new things as well!

- Utopia by Thomas More
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
- Divergent by Veronica Roth 
- 1984 by George Orwell 
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
- The Giver by Lois Lowry 
- The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau 
- The Circle by Dave Eggers
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding 
- The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Here are some of the books that we know and love! For the rest of the award winners, visit their website!

- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
- On Beauty by Zadie Smith
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
- A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- Invisible Man Paperback by Ralph Ellison 
- The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman
- Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon

It doesn't have to be a comic or a graphic novel, and we're pretty stretchy on the definition of Superhero....

- Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Brandon Montclare and  Amy Reeder 
- Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Sara Pichelli -                                                                                             --    -Black Panther by Ta Nehisi Coates
- The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- Huck by Mark Millar

 

We're going to be pretty darn flexible about this square. Gardening books, yoga books, organization books, they all count! Step out of your comfort zone and read something that will enrich your mind AND spirit.

- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Zen and Tonic by Jules Aron
- Cosmos by Carl Sagan
- The Book of English Magic by Philip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
- The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
- The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux
- Johnathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

You know the ones. They're the books that you're kind of embarrassed about reading, but also really can't stop yourself. We swear we won't judge. Most of us have probably read all of these books already.

- 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James
- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
- One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
- The Tommyknockers by Stephen King                                                                                                                           -The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Don't discount these books just because they're for a younger audience! There are some really amazing books in here, and they're probably a quick read too! Which means more time for more Bingos!

- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
- Holes by Lois Sachar
- The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- The High King by Lloyd Alexander
- The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil by E. L. Konigsburg
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

It doesn't have to be a ROMANCE book. It can be any book that talks about LGBTQ+ love!

- Far From You by Tess Sharpe
- Y; The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
- Luna by Julie Anne Peters
- Every Day by David Levithan
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
- The Fifth Season  by N. K. Jemisin
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
- Orlando by Virginia Woolf
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Parrotfish Ellen Wittlinger 

Don't forget to take a picture of your yummy food!!! We want to see your fab food creations!

- A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer
- Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes by Sophie Dahl
- Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver
- The Redwall Cookbook by Brian Jacques
- The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
- Leon: Baking & Puddings by Henry Dimbleby
- The Bob's Burgers Burger Book by Loren Bouchard
- My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart
- Big Gay Ice Cream by  Bryan Petroff, Douglas Quint, and Anthony Bourdain
- Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient by Jennifer McLagan

We don't necessarily know how YOU grew up, so here are a whole bunch of different life stories. Surely one of them is dissimilar to your own!

 

- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- Anne of Green Gables by  L. M. Montgomery
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
- Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- The Adventures of Huck Finn by Mark Twain
- The Secret Garden by E. White
- Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Here are some graphic novels that we LOVE!!!! Incidentally, we carry all of these and EVEN MORE in the store.

- Preacher Vol. 1: Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis
- Lucifer Vol. 1: Cold Heaven by Holly Black
- Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham, James Jean, and Alex Maleev 
- Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Dringenberg
- Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow
- Wonder Woman: War of the Gods by George Perez
- Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze
- Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
- 100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
- Spider-Gwen: Greater Power y Jason Latour and Robbie Rodriguez

Here is a list of books that cross a variety of genres. We don't know what you're usually into, but there's probably something on this list you never thought you'd try to read.

- The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
- Little, Big by John Crowley
- Good Poems by Garrison Keillor
- The Adventures of Tin Tin by Hergé 
- The Once and Future King by E. B. White
- A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
- Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
- Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman
- I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck
- Twenty Poems of Love by Pablo Neruda

The definition of Minority: a group that is different racially, politically, etc, from a larger group of which it is a part.

- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
- Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Beloved by Toni Morrison                                                                                                                                                   -The book of Night Women by Marion James

We SAID anything from 2000 on, but we're not actually going to get that picky.

- Anything by Chuck Klosterman
- I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
-Bossypants by Tina Fey
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

You're sure to be able to pick a book that you've been meaning to read from the list of Pulitzer prize winners. Here are some of the ones we think are gems!

-  A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
-Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

There are SO MANY CHOICES!!! Here are some that we highly recommend and probably have on our shelves!

- The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
- The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
- The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

 

1 Jul
2017

July 2017 Holidays and Birthdays

Welcome July! Oh how we've missed you, what with you fireworks scaring the shit out of our dogs and babies! We can forgive you though, July, because you also have a lot goin on, like National Ice Cream MonthInternational Kissing DayNational Hot Dog Day, and Walk on Stilts Day just to name a few. Read on to see what else we're getting set off about this month *baby you're a fiiiiiiiiiiiiireworkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk* Read more >>

28 Jun
2017

Happy 91st Birthday, Mel Brooks!

June 28 is Mel Brooks's birthday! Is it strange to write a blog well-wishing someone who doesn't know I exist? That I leave for the philosophers. Arguably the most esteemed comedic film director, Mel Brooks has made us all laugh. If I were to list my top 3 comedies of all time, two of Brooks's films would be featured (Young Frankenstein and The Producers, respectfully).  His films have influenced the way that my sense of humor has developed; what I think is remarkable about his writing and direction is the delivery and timing of his material. Here are a few scenes that I find work particularly well.

Young Frankenstein - 1974

An homage to the Frankenstein movies of old, this film takes a place in my heart as my favorite of his films. Dialogue from this movie is burned into my brain. I could go on and on about werewolves, Abby Normal, and quiet "dignity and grace," but there is one piece of dialogue in particular that always makes me laugh. It starts with Frau Blücher (horse noises).

     Frau Blücher: Would the doctor care for a... brandy before retiring?

     Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No. Thank you.

     Frau Blücher: [suggestively] Some varm milk... perhaps?

     Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No... thank you very much. No thanks.

     Frau Blücher: [suggestively] Ovaltine?

     Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: NOTHING! Thank you! I'm a little -- tired!

I truly do hate to explain the joke and ruin all sense of humor, I truly do. This set of dialogue often gets overlooked when people talk about the film's comedic genius, in favor of other memorable moments ("It could be raining," for example). However, these lines have a lot of meaning for me.

I would watch this movie a lot as a kid, and while I didn't get all the jokes 'til later in life, I got this one. Frau B being persistently nice and Gene Wilder being resistant to everything and suspicious set this scene up. The Ovaltine being completely out of place (and time), and Dr. Frankenstein's reaction knocked it out of the park.

I know I am biased, though. I remember on really tough days growing up, going to my room and being upset. My mother would come to the door and, doing her best Frau Blücher impression, would ask me these same questions. No matter how resistant I was (if I ended up laughing, I was no longer in my well-deserved bad mood), she would always make me break come to the Ovaltine part. By then I could talk about what was wrong. 

The Producers - 2005

While I do like Brooks's original film starring Gene Wilder a great deal, his later musical adaptation is superior (still bitter about never being able to see it live). The acting is wonderful in both, but the music in the film is just A+. What really sells it at the end of the day is the litany of well-written and fun songs. It is tough to find a favorite of all the songs on the soundtrack, but if I had to pick just one it would be "We Can Do It." Precluded by a step-by-step plan on how to pull of their scheme, the duet is perfectly executed by both Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. It's a beautiful song on how to be perfectly terrible. The parallel between historical figures of note and then themselves, sleazeballs trying to make a quick buck, is what truly makes the song work. It is so uplifting for such a scummy purpose.

Blazing Saddles - 1974

If you ever needed to know exactly who Mongo is, his purpose, how he acts, or whether he is the type of guy who can knock out an innocent horse in one punch, well, this scene covers these questions, and then some.

I have had a lot of conversations about Mel Brooks. Well, maybe not conversations as much as quote spamming and giggling. Everyone I have ever talked to has different favorite scenes, from conversations to film class critiques. That speaks volumes to Mel Brooks's ability as a writer and director. So many hilarious memories across so many different people, he has had quite the career (and is still making things!).

Happy birthday to an incredibly humble and talented man who has made an impact on so many people's lives.

23 Jun
2017

June 23rd, 2017! Take Your Dog To Work Day!

On March 4th, 2017, my wife and I went to Virginia, 5 hours from home (we drove there and back in a day, it was somewhat fun), and picked up the world's literal cutest creature.  Her name is Clover, she is an English Setter, and she is perfect.

Perfection.

She is also a pretty frequent visitor to Kards Unlimited. Thankfully, we don't need a special day for our dogs to come to work.  However!  Take Your Dog to Work Day is still pretty exciting, because dogs are the best and we love them a lot.

Omg her little face.

SO!  Here's what I propose.  On Friday, June 23, 2017 (Bring Your Dog to Work Day is always the Friday after Father's Day), take your dog to work!  Assuming your work is cool and not the worst, that is.  BUT!  After (or before or during or whatever) you do that, bring your dog to MY work so I can play with it.  I know, I know, your dog isn't as cute as Clover.  It's okay.  I mean, look at her.

Yeah, she's amazing.  It's cool.  I'm sure your dog is also cute.  Most dogs are.  So, anyway, bring your dogs to KU on Bring Your Dog to (My) Work Day, please and thank you!

Here are some more pictures of Clover!

This is very interesting grass, you guys.

We call it Resting Mope Face. She may look distraught in this picture, but it's really just her face. That's just how she looks.

Here's the opposite of Resting Mope Face.

 

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21 Jun
2017

Go Skate!

June 21 is Go Skateboarding Day! For many people, skateboarding is a hobby, but for many more, it's a reason to exist.

And for many others still it's actually a job.  There is an entire industry dedicated to the production of skateboards and skateboard related material (helmets, grip tape, etc.) and the culture that surrounds skating.  This includes movies, television, sporting events, video games, and clothing lines.  Indeed, one of the biggest and most popular shoe companies of the past 20 years actually specialize in making skate shoes.

Perhaps you're familiar

Skateboarding has its roots in the 1940s and became particularly popular in the 1960s.  Originally referred to as "sidewalk surfing," skating competitions were mild in comparison to the large events held today.  Contestants were judged on simple tricks such as manuals and handstands.

Don't act like you're not impressed

This all changed with the Zephyr skate team, bringing the style closer to the ground, pantomiming surfing.  As the sport changed, so did the boards.  They became wider, the tails of the board became more pronounced, and new polyurethane wheels gave riders better traction and control.

Jay Adams of the Zephyr skate team exemplifying their influential surfer style.

Throughout the years, skateboarding's popularity waxed and waned until the 1990s, when its popularity surged.  Today, most of the world is familiar with the culture.  I recently read this excellent article on skater girls in Afghanistan, providing liberation for young girls in the area where doing ANYTHING as a female is at the very least frowned upon.

When I was a teenager, Go Skateboarding Day was treated like an incredible summer holiday.  It wasn't just celebrated by skaters, but by practically everyone our age.  We would pick a stairwell or a gap and just sit there all day.  Skaters would spend all day trying to jump the gap or grind the rail, and everyone else would just hang out and be a kid.  It was magical.  You would come home after hours of hopping over the same concrete gap, sun drunk, bruised and scraped, and  feeling incredible.  Pure bliss.

I would be remiss if I didn't share one skating video in particular that really converted me from being a casual observer into one of those kids hitting a gap all day.  I've since given up skating, but this video seems to transport me to those days.

 

Now get out of your house or apartment or hostel or hotel room or wherever, go outside and GO SKATE!

14 Jun
2017

KU Book Club!

Jasper Fforde is one of my favorite authors!

We had a lot of fun at Sunday's book club meeting! Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair was the perfect book to start off the summer with!  Intrigue, danger, action, adventure, even a tiny bit of romance, that book had everything!  And it's the first of a series, so if you loved The Eyre Affair, KU has the whole series available, and they could easily eat up your summer, so be careful!

It was a ton of fun to meet a few new members also!  Some of us have been in the book club since the very beginning, so it's super exciting to have a new face now and again.  We love to make new book-loving friends!

Excited to take a chance on Hunter S Thompson!

We'll be meeting again on August 6th at 6 p.m. at Kards Unlimited!  Our discussion will be about Hunter S Thompson's Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas!

Fear & Loathing IS a novel (there was a bit of discussion about that, I thought it was non-fiction), a roman à clef to be exact.  So really we were all right.  It's fiction, but it's real life that was fictionalized.

Whether you're already a big fan of Thompson, you've never read him, or even if you've read his work and dislike it, we'll be excited to hear all about what you think at the KU Book Club! Come talk books and drink drinks and have snacks with us!

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1 Jun
2017

June 2017 Calendar of Events

Happy June! Now that summer is unofficially underway, it's time for everything summer fun. Highlights of this month: Gay Pride Month, Doughnut Days, World Juggling Day, Father's Day, and Take Your Dog To Work Day, to name a few. Read on to find out what else we're stoked for this June! Read more >>

25 May
2017

Am I A Geek? Hell Yeah!

Geek

Noun. A knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast.

Verb. Be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest.

Do geeks really need another reason to get excited? Probably not. It's kind of what we're known for. However, Geek Pride Day is May 25, and it is kind of everything. Started in 2008 by a blogger in Spain, this international day to celebrate everything geeky has gained rapid steam. So, members of the united geekdom, time to take your geek pride to a whole new level.

It's a lot of pressure to figure out the best way to celebrate. I've already been trying to decide what to wear for a week now. Do I go with my Pokemon trainer muscle shirt? My Game of Thrones direwolf T-shirt? Go full Trekkie with a uniform? Or stay low-key with punny tee?

Maybe I should just rotate my shirt by the hour.

Luckily, I'm working on Geek Pride Day, which when you work in the geekiest store in Pittsburgh is pretty ideal. I can say things like 'pew-pew' and 'Lexx is one of the most underrated sci-fi series of the 20th century' and it's totally acceptable. Do any of my coworkers know what Lexx is? No. Will I sing the Brunnen-G battle hymn for them anyway? Yes. And they will appreciate it because they, too, are geeks.

This is the gist of Lexx, one of the greatest sci-fi shows to ever exist.

What I love about the geekdom in general is how you can be a geek over just about anything, as long as you're really into it. Beat the latest Zelda in one sitting? Awesome! Can't start your day without finishing the New York Times crossword? So cool. Whether you spend every Sunday reading a new book without interacting with a single soul, or you taught yourself programming in your spare time, kudos. You know what you're all about.

What this means is that it's really easy to celebrate Geek Pride Day. Do what you love, and share your passion.

Side note: Do you know what I learned today because I'm a geek? In Ancient Greece, the word symposium meant 'drinking party.' Take that boring work conference that calls itself a symposium just to make it sound more fancy.

Did you see that? I geeked out for a second and it was really cool because we all learned something new (unless you already knew that, in which case, hats off to you).

If you're really at a loss how to best celebrate Geek Pride Day, you can always fall back on a gimme. Carry around your towel! Geek Pride Day coincides with Towel Day, in honor of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. A galactic traveler such as yourself really never should leave the house without a towel, anyway.

Happy geeking :)