Zombies love books… they are good for BRAINS!!!

The undead have a well-documented hunger for human flesh but they also crave great literature. They may seem to be wandering aimlessly in the streets but they are usually just searching for new reading material. It is not uncommon to find the walking dead congregating around a public library. Zombies love books and would encourage us all to read more. Everyone knows that books are good for BRAINS!

This is how Arnold gets PUMPED!!!

Arnold reading

Everyone knows that reading is a great way to pass your time… Second only to pumping IRON!!!

If you don’t read regularly, be sure to start light. You don’t want to overdo it if your brain is not used to the work. Gradually increase the number of minutes you spend reading each day and try more challenging material when you feel ready. Before you know it your brain will be massive and beautiful like Arnold’s biceps. You will be admired by everyone around you (at least at book club) and you will feel confidence in your ability to lift heavy things (with your mind). You will find that you can conquer the toughest literary  challenges with ease. Guaranteed!

Remember to read what you like. Find a time that works for you. Set a timer if it helps. Put away your phone and avoid other distractions. Keep your back straight and always lift with your legs. Share this post with your friends who want to get ripped!

Indies First Day – November 25th, 2017

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Find yourself in an independent bookstore near you on November 25th to support Small Business Saturday. Indie bookstores are like people, each one unique and fascinating. Also, you can learn something new from each one you visit. These amazing places are some of the only businesses where you might walk in and find the owner right there behind the counter, or arranging books on display.

Visit a bookstore on November 25th to help support the work they do and the service they provide for your community. Each visitor counts. You will definitely come out with more great books to read, and you might even find Italic Bookmarks in a few of these wonderful places.

IndieBound has provided a map on their website of many of the bookstores that will be participating. You can use this to help find a place to visit.

Indies First – Nov 25th

If you don’t see your favorite store on the list, chances are that they will still be participating in the event in one way or another. Stop by and check it out.

Jason Reynolds – Long Way Down

I can’t wait to read this one! Jason Reynolds writes from a genuine and original perspective; one that is under-represented in the world of literature. He writes stories about the neighborhoods that he grew up in and the kinds of people that he grew up around.

Reynolds is an inspiring figure of how books can transform a person. He states that he had never read a book cover to cover before he finally discovered Richard Wright’s Black Boy in his last year of high school.

You can learn more about Reynolds’ background, his recent success, and his newest novel in this article from the Washington Post:

Washington Post – Jason Reynolds article

Have you read any other works by Jason Reynolds? What would you recommend?


You Need a Digital Detox

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Are you spending too much time looking at a screen? Probably.

One of the primary reasons that I started reading more was to reduce the amount of time I spent drooling through endless, mediocre titles on Netflix night after night. I spent all day at work answering e-mail, then cam home to watch movies. At the end of each day, I would fall asleep while checking Facebook, Insta, Tweetchat, Snapsizzle, etc.

Now I love books. I love having something that I can hold, and bend (to some degree), something solid with a defined texture and unique smell. Books are a great escape from the screens that rule us from day to day.

Digital Detox is a movement that has been gaining in popularity over the last several years. The idea is to set limits for yourself regarding the amount of time that you use your devices each day, and to take frequent opportunities to “unplug” completely.

The benefits reported include increased engagement with the people around you, better decision-making, and increased motivation. Participants have even reported better eating habits and an increased sense of purpose. Amazing!

I found an article on Forbes that explains some of the additional reasons that people have chosen to dedicate some amount of time to pursuits other than “browsing”. You will enjoy it:

Why You Need a Digital Detox

I even discovered that there are multiple companies dedicated to designing “retreats” for those who need additional help or motivation in their attempts to disconnect. The site DigitalDetox.org provides many options and services. I particularly liked the statistics that they gathered regarding our use of digital devices and services:

Digital Detox Manifesto

While there are many solutions for solving the “digital dilemma” that is detracting from our attention spans, here is one that you can try whenever you like – leave your phone/tablet/laptop at your work one day and spend the entire evening with your family, friends, pets, etc. If you miss out on anything important, just say that you “forgot” your device. Oops! I am certain that you won’t regret it. Let me know how it goes.

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Italic Bookmarks at the Texas Book Festival – Literary Gala

We are excited – no, Honored… to be a part of the Texas Book Festival in Austin. Italic Bookmarks will be donating several items for the Silent Auction taking place as part of the Literary Gala. Proceeds from the auction will go toward several great causes around the state of Texas. If you are in Texas, and you love books… be sure to save the date. 

Strange Writing Habits

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A recent article on Medium.com highlights some of the quirks of the world’s greatest writers. The article gives us a quick look at some notable, if odd, characteristics of several authors that have made huge contributions to American Literature. Not all of the routines are as odd as Gertrude Stein’s requirement to have “cows and rocks in her field of vision” while she wrote, but they are all interesting. This article gives a unique perspective into the creative process, more specifically the physical environments or surroundings that these famous authors chose to create some of their most famous works. You can read the article here:

The Strangest Habits of Some of the World’s Greatest Writers

This was written by the creators of Writing Routines.com, which I found to contain a wealth of information and original perspectives on writing. The article on Strange Habits specifically features some of the more extraordinary or unusual routines of authors, but Writing Routines.com typically features advice, recommendations, and suggestions from contemporary writers that is intended to help aspiring authors create a routine of their own. They discuss the importance of establishing a writing routine, and feature articles from Kazuo Ishiguro, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Ryan Holiday, and many other best-selling authors. I found the site very helpful and insightful. There are hundreds of ideas that you can use as inspiration or guidance in establishing or changing your routine.


While I am still working on establishing my own personal writing routine, here is one point of advice that I have personally found to be useful:

Do not write after midnight.

I found myself staying up until two or three in the morning on occasion writing frantically with a feeling that my creative abilities were suddenly awakened. There was a feeling like adrenaline that would run through me as I wrote as many words as possible before finally retiring exhausted and wondering how I could possibly wake up to go to my job early the next morning. As soon as I had a chance I would read the stories that had been so exciting the night before… and they are typically unintelligible, rambling ideas that don’t contain any actual plot or specific ideas. I found that too often, my exhausted mind would either create ideas and concepts that made no sense at all, or I would revert to cliche characters and plot lines not realizing that I was essentially re-creating stories that I had heard before.

Now, instead of writing during that time after midnight before I drift off to sleep, I simply jot down one or two sentences about whatever comes to my mind. In the morning I will take a look at the list of ideas and select any that still seem interesting or actionable to my now refreshed mind! Sometimes I am surprised by the brilliance of the notes I find on my list, other times I laugh at the strange or bizarre things that I find there. I find notes like “Ravens are actually real!”, or “If we start in the mountain, we end in the valley.” On one occasion, there was a note that was just a series of numbers… and I could not remember what significance they had or why I had written them down.

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It was probably an old locker combination or PIN number that was floating around in the far reaches of my consciousness. Ha!

What tips do you have for establishing a writing routine?

Have you heard of any other strange habits from your favorite authors?