Category Archives: Books

Exploring Dark Matter

Ok, so “Dark Matter” is the first thing I’ve read from Blake Crouch—or the first exposure I’ve had to his work given the tv adaptations of his work too—so I’m not sure if he’s super pretentious and that comes through naturally in his writing, or if his characters are all so astoundingly in love with themselves and their own brilliance, and he’s just that good at capturing it.This is an interesting story, but it feels hampered by how little I care about the actual characters. At this point I’m barely a third of the way through it, and it feels like I already have an idea of what’s going to play out—so either I’m astoundingly brilliant or there are some twists coming.

It’s reminding me so far of “Predestination”, the movie based on Robert Heinlein’s short story ‘All You Zombies’, although that was focused on time travel and the interweaving manipulations of timelines rather than exploring multiverse theory.

While I really enjoyed “Predestination” I’ve never read its source material, and after hating reading Heinlein’s “Stranger In a Strange Land” I’m a little hesitant to check it out. So I wonder if this might be a similar situation; that I might enjoy adaptations of Crouch’s work—‘Wayward Pines‘, ‘Good Behavior’ for tv and eventually “Dark Matter” itself as a film—more than I like his writing itself.

Or maybe I’ll enjoy this more as it gets going—like I said, there are probably some twists coming….

The Exhilaration of the Quotable (and the Explainable)

Every once in a while there’s an author quote that I come across that really hits me; sometimes it’s just pure genius and is poignant regardless of time and situation, and some quotes seem to connect so perfectly with current events that it’s hard to believe they were written twenty, thirty, sixty, or even two hundred years ago.
And sometimes I’m able to connect that quote with an image that perfectly captures how I felt when I first read it. It could be Dalton Trumbo’s ‘See How I Sing‘, or Nuruddin Farah’s ‘Time As a Cloth‘, and there are many more.

Poul Anderson exhilaration of the explainable gas station burrito society6 But yesterday I was brought back to this quote by Poul Anderson, an author I had never heard of before a year ago, and this image I created to accompany it. The image turned out pretty well considering the limits of the app I was working with; as much as there is to love about Adobe Spark for what I do, the number of clip art options are overwhelming and difficult to search through. But for all the difficultly I ran into, it turned out exactly how I’d imagined it.

So of course I had to put it on a tote bag—because capitalism. Now through November 29th you can get 30% off + free shipping from Gas Station Burrito at Society6!

Poul Anderson exhilaration of the explainable gas station burrito society6

Intolerance and The Fate of Fairy Tales in West Virginia

Inclusivity in children’s literature for one community comes down to a pastor and the county library board as the decision to ban a book about a prince and a knight falling in love is pushed back.

from Daniel Haack’s “Prince & Knight”
from Daniel Haack’s “Prince & Knight”
The Upshur County Public Library Board in West Virginia recently pulled the children’s book, ‘Prince & Knight’, from the library due to its LGBTQ content. This is another example recently of one person or group shouting louder than everyone else and forcing their opinions and personal beliefs on others in an intentional effort to destroy access to information.

In Citrus County, Florida, the county commissioners laughed at the idea of paying for a subscription to the New York Times, a subscription which would have benefitted 70,000 people, allowing them access to news and research. Their reasoning? The commissioners personally felt the New York Times was “fake news”.

Now another community “leader”, this time a pastor in West Virginia, is taking a similar position—his personal beliefs or opinions should supersede his community’s access to reading material, because the fairy tale he believes in of an omnipotent god who created the universe in seven days two thousand years ago is more realistic than a fairy tale about two guys falling in love.

from Daniel Haack’s “Prince & Knight”Because how dare you teach kids to be happy with who they are.

The children’s book was removed from the shelves of the library at the wishes of a pastor who released an anti-LGBTQ statement claiming the book “is a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBTQA lifestyle.” Pastor Layfield claimed that the only reason his four sons are straight “is that they never read children’s books with gay knights in them.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis states that “The decision to remove Prince & Knight from the shelves of the Upshur County Public Library is an act of discrimination, plain and simple. Inclusive children’s books do not ‘indoctrinate’ but do allow LGBTQ families and their children the chance to see themselves reflected in the world.”

Daniel Haack, the author of ‘Prince & Knight’ (as well as coauthoring ‘Maiden & Princess’ with Isabel Galupo) said the book is “meant to be a fun little adventure story that also just happens to better reflect the reality of millions of families not seen in other children’s stories. If the protesters are worried that reading this book will turn someone gay, I can easily refer them to all the gay adults who grew up only reading about straight romances.”

At a meeting of the library board on November 20 the president of the board walked out after several minutes of protest when it became clear that the board would not hear public comment on the banning of the book.

The book’s ultimate fate—whether it is to remain in the children’s section, get moved to the adult section, or get banned entirely—will be decided at a later date.

Until then you can show your support for inclusive storytelling by purchasing your own copy of Daniel Haack’s books, ‘Prince & Knight’, ‘Maiden & Princess’, or other similar titles such as ‘Jack (Not Jackie)’, ‘Our Rainbow’, ‘Except When They Don’t’, ‘Jacob’s New Dress’, ‘The Princess and the Treasure’, and ‘And Tango Makes Three’ just to name a few.

Are there any diverse or inclusive titles you’ve found or read to your kids that positively represent LGBTQ characters? Add them in the comments and I’ll try to update with cover images and links for others to purchase them.

Daniel Haack, Prince & Knight, Stevie LewisDaniel Haack, Isabel Galupo, Maiden & Princess, Becca HumanOur rainbow, Little Bee BooksJack not Jackie, Erica Silverman, holly Hatam Except when they don’t, Laura Gehl, Joshua Heinsz Jacobs new dress, Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman, Chris caseThe princess and the treasure, Jeffrey miles, j.l. PhillipsAnd tango makes three, Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry cole


Also check out Megan Walsh’s article, “The Missing Youth: How Rigid Gender Roles In Children’s Media Leave Many Kids Out of the Picture”

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