Did you say Bookish Tattoo? I did.

A number of you already know I want a few literary tattoos in the future. I want the deathly hallows symbol. But I REALLY want a mockingjay pin. I’ll get both at some point. Might even throw them together somehow. And some of y’all know I got my first book-related tattoo just a couple days after earning my degree to get me started on my writing journey. I got this in May 2013.

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It’s on my left forearm. And I just added another to my right forearm last week! Take a look.

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“Books are the only freedom I’ll ever know.” If you love or hate the quote, that’s okay. I’m the one who came up with it. 😁

It’s been a long time since I originally wrote about literary tattoos here, so I’ll ask again. Do you have or want any? Tell me your thoughts on my new one? Everyone at work noticed immediately and seems to like it.

The Wisdom of Carl Sagan

Many people don’t know who Carl Sagan was, but they’re probably familiar with a well known quote of his.

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

[Cosmos, Part 11: The Persistence of Memory (1980)]”
― Carl SaganCosmos

Well, to be fair, I think people are only familiar with the end of that quote. “A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” But I think the rest of it is pretty darn cool!

For those of you who don’t know, Carl Sagan was a very famous scientist, primarily in the field of astronomy. He also wrote quite a few books on the cosmos, and a little known book called “Contact.” Yeah. Remember the movie? It came from him. *Mind blown* Right?

Anywho, this quote, to me, sums up the reason that people love to read so much. And the reason people take care of (or should take care of) their books.

Reading has always been a mind-altering experience for me. Yes. You heard it right. Reading is my drug of choice. And in all honesty, I’ve probably been on trippy experiences as a reader that might equate to hallucinogenics. (No, I’ve never touched that stuff). I’m sure you can think of a few trippy books you’ve read that left you feeling a little ‘out of body.’

This quote also embodies the fact that, once a book is published, the author no longer has ANY way to control how people perceive it. We all take books and make what we will of them. I don’t think I feel the same way about “1984” as other people, and you know what? That’s okay!

Did J.K. Rowling ever think people would make OTPs between Hermione and Draco? Umm… Doubt it!

“Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.” And whenever we read a book, we use our own life experiences to make what we will of the genius of the author’s gift. Thank you, Carl Sagan, for reminding us how important books are.

So… are books proof humans do magic? I vote, heck yeah! What do you think?

Ten Facts About Books for World Book Day (a day late)

Yesterday was World Book Day. At least that’s what popped up all over my WordPress Reader. I also happened to see at least one person call it Erotic Book Day. We’ll just assume she was trying to bring attention to herself because that can’t really be a thing. I surely hope not.

Anyway, yesterday was World Book Day. And I have no idea what we were celebrating. Was it someone’s birthday from a few centuries ago? Or maybe the original publication date of one of the most known works in history? I have no clue. But surely there’s some reason March 5th is the date. So in honor of the momentous day, here are ten “facts” about books. They’re from the UK and the list isn’t mine.

1. The Average UK household owns 203 books.

2. The British Library contains about 14 million books and needs roughly six miles of new shelf space every year just to add new items.

3. UK publishers release about 184,000 new or revised books each year.

4. Since 2011, sales of eBooks in the UK have overtaken sales of print books.

5. Jane Austen originally gave the name First Impressions to her book that was later published as Pride and Prejudice.

6. France has won more Nobel Prizes for Literature than any other country.

7. J.R.R Tolkien is said to have typed the whole of the LOTR with only two fingers.

8. In 2014, the town of Tuszyn in Poland banned Winnie-the-Pooh.

9. A 2013 survey reported that 18 percent of people don’t read print books.

10. “There is no friend as a loyal as a book.” -Hemingway

I think I took these from a UK tabloid because it really reminds me of Elite Daily. BUT these don’t seem too outrageous to think they aren’t somewhat true. So eh, just read the list knowing that I have no means to verify the accuracy of any of these statements. Well I could verify a few, but what fun would that be?

Happy Belated World Book Day!

On this day in 2014 I published Stop Choosing Between Writing and Reading.

Why Literary Awards Matter

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Photo Credit: Ben Stansall/Getty Images

From 2014 onward, the Man Booker Prize will be awarded to any book written in English. This year was the first in which authors from the United States were included. The prize is one of the most prestigious in the world.

This year’s prize was awarded to Richard Flanagan for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never read anything he’s ever written. I haven’t. This post is about something else. It’s about literary awards.

Flanagan’s book was one of those well-received works that struggled to find an audience. In fact, his previous books have also struggled to gain traction in the ultra competitive publishing industry here in the US. It was because of the poor sales of his titles that he was considering going to work in the Australian mines. Yes. An author who I can’t seem to find a bad word about online was going to work in mines because he was broke. He wasn’t a middle of the pack author with decent sales, he was broke. Until October 14.

October 14 was the day he won one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world. The cash prize is about $80,000, which isn’t bad in itself, but there was more on the way. Last week, Flanagan earned about $220, 000. That total is more than his previous ten years of BookScan sales. You’re talking about $300,000 to a man who had next to nothing.

I know plenty of you are thinking that writing isn’t all about making money. Okay. You probably say that as you have your “real” job that pays all your bills. Writing is a hobby to you. No matter what you say, but it isn’t for Flanagan. This is his job. His career. So don’t sit there and say literary awards don’t matter, because they do. Because there’s one writer out there who almost had to give up on writing because he was no longer able to support himself. He’s no longer facing that decision.

“In essence, this means I can continue to write.” -Richard Flanagan at the awards ceremony.