Tag Archives: interesting links

Andy Weir on writing The Martian, sex lives of slugs, agency and female characters and more {From My Haphazard Twitter Files, No. 9}


It’s about time for another edition of From My Haphazard Twitter Files. Here are some links I’ve shared on Twitter since the last edition. This week there’s Andy Weir, the sex lives of slugs, agency and female characters and more!

How Science Made Me a Writer.  In this engaging piece, Andy Weir talks about how he came to write The Martian (which he initially serialized it on his website and then self-published it on Amazon).

… as I wrote, I bungled my way into a revelation: Science creates plot! As I worked out the intricacies of each problem and solution, little details I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed became critical problems Mark had to solve. No need for meteor strikes — the surprises, catastrophes and narrow escapes were coming fast and furious on their own.

The Sex Lives of Slugs—and Other Mysteries of the Animal Kingdom. Seriously, how does one resist a title like this? In this interview posted at National Geographic, Simon Worrall interviews author Simon Barnes about his new book, Ten Million Aliens: A Journey Through the Entire Animal Kingdom, a book I added immediately to my to-read list. Oh, and those slugs?

Slugs start as hermaphrodites, so they’ll be both male and female. One courting ritual will often involve two slugs circling around each other, each waving its penis. The penis, relative to body size, is quite massive, about half the size of the body. So they circle around, waving a giant penis overhead, then mutually enter each other and fertilize each other in a process that will go on for hours and hours.

When it’s all done, they then have to break it off, and this, alas, is not always a mere metaphor. Sometimes the penis, which is corkscrew shaped, will be reluctant to come out, whereupon one of the slugs will kindly perform the favor-you may cross your legs at this point—of nibbling it up. It’s called apophallation.

The Road to Little Dribbling: Bill Bryson is releasing a new book and I can’t wait.  I can’t wait, either – a new Bill Bryson travel book is coming later this year!

This Twitter Rant Might Change How You Think About Female Characters. On agency and female characters. A few highlights, from writer Ada Hoffman’s Twitter feed:

… agency is a component of plot. Who is and isn’t able to make choices that have an effect on events is a component OF PLOT.

So what often happens is that a female character seems very cool, and then THE PLOT IS CONSTRUCTED so she can’t do anything.

Down and dirty fairy tales: How this rediscovered stash of darker-than-Grimm stories destroys our Prince Charming myths

Schönwerth just refuses to homogenize the stories, and so you find that there’s a lot more gender bending in Schönwerth. There isn’t that strict division of gendered labor that you find in the Grimms. The Grimms don’t have a male Snow White, for example, whereas Schönwerth does. Schönwerth has a male Cinderella. He has a boy who wears out iron shoes while searching for the woman he loves, a figure who is a girl in “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” He has a prince who gets under the bedcovers with a frog so she can be turned into a beautiful princess. You just don’t find that in the Grimms at all.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy. A fusion foodie celebration I’d never heard of before. It doesn’t quite tickle my taste buds, but I’ve never been too fond of haggis.

At Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a holiday that melds Chinese New Year with Robbie Burns Day, we eat gung haggis dumplings: Chinese dumplings filled with haggis—the savory pudding made from sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs; minced with oatmeal, suet, and spices; stuffed into the stomach lining of the sheep; and usually plated as a football-sized lump. They’re a fitting tribute to the undeniable cultural amalgamation of Vancouver, where the celebration was founded.

I confess, I’m always surprised when I go back over the links I’ve tweeted on Twitter. Each time, I’m reminded of why each link caught my eye in the first place!

From the Haphazard Twitter Files (No. 6)

Haphazard Twitter Files

It’s Saturday night already – the week has just flown by. I’m really quite excited, because aside from an indexing deadline on Monday and some legal blog posts on Tuesday, I’ll finally have some time off!

I realized I had to come up with a graphic for my Haphazard Twitter Files posts. I’ll have to come up with something better, but for now this file folder graphic I did up (I used a free image from Pixabay and the LetterGlow app), will have to do. I am so so so happy there are iPhone apps out there that make creating graphics so much easier.

Sticking with last week’s decision, from now on for The Haphazard Twitter Files I’ll be choosing seven of the links I tweeted in the previous week – if I posted all of them, this post would be very long!

  1. You never know when advice like this might come in handy: How to Sleep in a Haunted House.  The author, a sleep specialist, wanted to sleep at the hotel that scared him the most, but unfortunately (or should that be fortunately?!) the Overlook Hotel exists only on the pages of Stephen King’s The Shining. So he chose two next-best alternatives, including the hotel which was used for the interior shots of The Overlook in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining.
  2. 16 Skills to Make Your Reading More Productive is definitely geared more to non-fiction reading than fiction, but there were some interesting ideas in here. I’ve been developing an interest in marginalia, one of the techniques mentioned in this list (although I have yet been able to bring myself to make a mark in a book …).
  3. A game for readers! The Bring Your Own Book game is a “game of borrowed phrases, where players search through books for text to take way out of context.” There’s a Kickstarter for it. Want to give it a try now? Scroll to the bottom of the Bring Your Own Book page where you can print-and-play, with your choice of Classic Rules, Democratic Rules and Cutthoat Rules.
  4. I love these pictures of the quote cards from the 365 Gathered Thoughts quote box. It looks like they might be hard to find (Amazon lists them as currently unavailable) so I’ve been thinking I might like to make my own deck. I really like the vintage look of the cards, though, so will have to think a bit about how to achieve that look.
  5. There are some really interesting ideas in 10 Powerful Ways That Will Change the Way You Work. My favourite suggestion? Dedicate time to playful exploration. Yes!
  6. I am always on the lookout for posts and articles that will motivate me to keep a journal consistently. I have so many notebooks and journals with maybe seven to ten pages filled with journaling and then … nothing other than blank pages. I guess if I cobbled all those written pages together, I would have a full journal of sorts! After I read These 8 Good Things Will Happen When You Start Writing Diaries I decided to pick up the Commonplace book I started last year and continue with it. It’s not a journal, exactly, but it appears the way I’d been keeping it was journal-like.
  7. And finally, if you sit at a desk all day, and want to add more fitness to your day, check out this infographic on 15 exercises you can do at your desk. I’m still using the standing desk I rigged up last month but I do alternate between standing and sitting (as the day wears on, my legs get too tired of standing) so this is a handy infographic to have around.

These are the tweets I’ve pulled from my haphazard Twitter files for this week. Want to follow me on Twitter? I’m @msbookish!

{Links} The Haphazard Twitter Files (No. 5)

Yes, I’ve been tweeting away as usual. I can’t seem to help it – every time I come across an interesting link, I’ll generally flip it into one of my Flipboard magazines, tweet it, or send it over to Google+. Sometimes I do all three!

Unlike my last Haphazard Twitter Files post, I won’t post every link I tweeted in the past two weeks – that would be chaos!  Instead, here are seven interesting links culled from my Twitter feed from the past two weeks.

  1. I loved, loved, loved this post on how a 365 photo project makes you a better writer. I’ve been thinking about a photo a day, mainly because I think it will help me be more present and aware when I’m out and about. I have a tendency to walk around with only my end destination in mind, and I know I miss a lot of interesting things along the way. In this post, Marisa Goudy makes a great case for how embarking on a 365-day photo project can make you a better writer. Once I get out from under the current mountain of deadlines, I’m definitely going to give it a try.
  2. We discovered Duolingo a while back, a wnoderful free app available for both Android and IOS systems that helps you learn a new language. Dylan’s been using it to learn French, and seeing him use it has sparked my own interest in learning a new language. Or brush up on my French. These ten tips for learning a language should come in handy.
  3. I’ve kept a commonplace book in the past, and Shawn Blanc’s idea of developing your own core curriculum has made me want to start keeping one again, focused on “things that speak truth to who we are, who we want to be, and what we want to do”.
  4. Chocolate ravioli! Need I say more?
  5. Even in this digital age, I still love writing things down by hand. So it was good to see that writing by hand can help out our brains. (I just wish I had neater handwriting! I’m fine when I’m going slowly, but once I start writing at a faster clip, sometimes even I don’t know what I’ve written on a reread!).
  6. This tongue-in-cheek article on how to be the best book club member you know had me smiling – and wishing I did belong to a IRL book club!
  7. I’m trying hard to shake the habit of worrying too much – it’s a lot of energy to spend on things that probably won’t happen, right? Some of these seven surprising things that can help you stop worrying did surprise me – especially the grapefruit! I’ll have to test these out to see if they really do work.

Don’t you just love all the stuff you find online?

From the Haphazard Twitter Files of Ms. Bookish (No. 2)

twitterimageWelcome to my not-so-regular feature, From the Haphazard Twitter Files of Ms. Bookish (and yes, the title is a tribute to a one of my favorite books, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg).

I recently discovered that the Tweetdeck iPhone app now lets me email tweets to myself without leaving the app – a real time-saver, and ever since I started using it, I’ve accumulated a lot of great links – kind of a method of bookmarking when I’m not on my computer, plus great for writing up this feature (so it might be a more regular one from now on!).

Because, as it turns out, my favorite time for going on Twitter is in the morning, when I’m relaxing with a cup of coffee and not quite ready to get up and start doing things.

I don’t know about you, but I find such great links through Twitter – things that I might never have caught sight of otherwise. I know some people think Twitter is all about tweeting personal, irrelevant stuff (“Just had a bowl of soup for lunch. Yum.”) but it’s not just about personal updates (although yes, I do enjoy a smattering of those, too – it humanizes the whole experience for me). It’s such a great place to find interesting links (of course, much depends on the people you’re following – but on the positive side, you’re fully in charge of that!).

Bookish Links

Writing Links

Other Fun and Interesting Stuff

Are you on Twitter? What do you like best about it? And here’s the link to my Twitter page!