The Quick-and-Easy Harry Potter Party

By Sam F.

This weekend, I put Dana’s post to the test with a Harry Potter-themed birthday extravaganza, a party that was long overdue for a New York apartment named Malfoy Manor. While Dana’s party sounds incredible, it’s also impossible to pull off for three twenty-somethings on a budget who only have one short week to plan. So we did the knock-off version. The Pigfarts version, if you will.

With Halloween approaching, it was easy to find decorations at our local dollar store (as well as our beloved fruit stand, where we picked up pumpkins and decorative gourds). For less than our average Seamless order, we found cauldrons, cobwebs, streamers and cups, candles, balloons, a Sorting Hat, and a window marker for writing ominous messages about the Chamber of Secrets. We also splurged on this:

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9 Tips for a Very Spooky Halloween

9 Tips for a Very Spooky Halloween

Approximately one out of every seven Halloweens falls on that worst day of all: Monday. There is no joy to Monday. It is the inherent opposite of fun. Monday stymies spooky energy and shackles the spine-chilling Halloween winds. Our great nation has faced many trials, but Halloween on a Monday might be our direst hour.

But like a shining jack-o-lantern in the darkness, I am here to bring you a number of tips to make every waking moment of your Halloween Monday as spooktacular as possible. Think of these as Microspooks.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Library: Young Adult Edition

Libraries are wonderful places. They are cornerstones of the community, they provide open-access sources of information and education, and they are full of books. (I repeat, full of books.) Though I think most people my age already know that they can borrow those books and often DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, or even video games from libraries, I have gotten the impression that we often don’t take full advantage of everything the library offers because we feel its services are not meant for us.

Obviously, story time and summer reading are for kids, tutoring and teen centers are for teens, and parenting classes are for parents. But libraries have begun reaching out to young adults by modernizing traditional resources and developing new, creative events that you probably wouldn’t expect. If you’re a literary-oriented, still-learning new grown-up like me, here are some popular library programs worth checking out (pun intended).

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Book Review: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Book Review: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

 

For our honeymoon, my wife and I went up to sunny New England. We road-tripped from Burlington, Vermont to Bar Harbor, Maine and stopped at every. Single. Used. Bookstore. The best honeymoon we could hope for, really. In Burlington, we stopped on Church Street at a little place called the Crow Bookshop, which deals in new, used, and out-of-print books. Their sci-fi/fantasy section wasn’t huge, which seems to be standard for hippy/literary bookstores. But there, next to the five millionth copy of Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World, was a book I’d never even seen before: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor.

I’ve read Binti, Dr. Okorafor’s Hugo-winning Afrofuturist novella, but other than that I’m a relative newcomer to her writing. I went into Who Fears Death with almost no expectations. I was blown away.

The plot summary, in brief:

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Three YA Books to Curl Up with for Utmost Autumn Hygge

Hygge, a Danish word that is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide, is a concept that basically means “huddling up in front of a crackling log fire with a fuzzy blanket, a purring cat, and a bowl of cheese fondue, whilst rain patters outside, scented candles fill the house, and your favorite atmospheric music plays in the background”. That feeling of being totally, contentedly, hedonistically quiet, because that is your reward for living in a place where it gets cold during the year. Hygge fits in very well with the bookish life.

Here is a list of three young adult novels that embody the autumn spirit—perfect for a day off or a blustery November evening.

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On Writing, and Starting Fresh

I finished the final draft of my first “proper novel” (a phrase which here means “something I didn’t hate”) back in March. Although I’m really happy with it, for various reasons I’ve decided to stop querying it and concentrate instead on writing a new novel. Which… I’ve found… is a lot easier said than done.

Writing Proper Novel was kind of like being possessed. (Not that I ever have been possessed, cough cough whistle whistle, but I feel I’ve read enough fiction to know pretty well what it might be like.) Point being, the protagonist jumped into my head when I was only sixteen, immediately inserted herself as a side character in the (terrible) novel I was writing at the time, and refused to stop appearing in things until I wrote a novel about her. Which I eventually did. And now, I think, she’s finally happy, because she hasn’t shoved her way into anything ever since.

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