Lauren Byrne


The Clock Without a Face: A Real Life Mystery


The Clock Without a Face is unlike any book I’ve come across, ever, really. It transcends any preconceived notion of what “genre” is in a world where the notion of “genre” is critical.The book is a pretty hefty, pentagonal hunk of text and image, but the book is a puzzle. The great detective Roy Dodge teams up with his confidential assistant, Gus Twintig to solve the mystery of the missing numbers, the clock without a face. Visit Gus Twintig’s webpage, follow him on Twitter, or watch the Shadowy Story of the Emerald Khroniker. The Clock Without a Face is available at bookstores on May 1st and do visit the creators if they come to your town: Scott Teplin, Mac Barnett, & Eli… Read More

5 Books Obama Should Have Bought Instead of Pop-Up Star Wars


Yesterday, Obama visited Iowa City and stopped by the Prairie Lights bookstore, expressing to the public how the now-passed health care plan will help small businesses. He pretended he was there for Karl Rove’s memoir and owner Jan Weissmiller responded: “We believe in freedom of expression so we have to carry the book.” Instead of buying Rover and Mitt Romney’s latest, he went for the following:

1. The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell
2. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibotson
3. Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart

That’s right. Star Wars: A Pop Up Guide to the Galaxy. Sure, our geeky Commander-in-Chief claimed that he “purchased it for a friend.” He probably ordered the special edition hardcover on Amazon. We began thinking, “Well, what other books should he have picked up?” This is what we came up with.
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Trend Watch: Designer Ice Cream Trucks


Who doesn’t remember the thrill of playing outside and catching wind of one of those infectious ice cream truck songs? And now in various cities, you can find new and improved versions of the original Good Humor man. These days we have Ice Cream Man. To wit, everything hasn’t been sunshine and roses for these truckers. According to the New York Times, Grant Di Mille and Samira Mahboubian of Street Sweets, “…have been threatened at the depot where they park the truck; cursed by a gyro vendor who said that he would set their truck on fire; told to stay off every corner in Midtown by ice cream truck drivers’ and approached by countless others with advice — both friendly and menacing — on how to get along on the streets.” But let’s forget about turf wars for a minute. After the jump, we examine some of the latest ways to get your four-wheeled sugary fix in the Flavorpill… Read More

Exclusive: An Afternoon Beverage with Eli Horowitz, Managing Editor of McSweeney’s


Yesterday afternoon we sat down with Eli Horowitz, the managing editor of McSweeney’s. The encounter didn’t quite feel like an interview. We just talked. Naturally, we wondered how he got involved with the publishing house. According to the their website, “Eli Horowitz had been a volunteer carpenter when [Eggers et. al] were building 826 Valencia. He and I would talk about books, and he seemed very astute and hard-working, so eventually he became the logical candidate if McSweeny’s ever hired a managing editor.” Of course. Eventually, we had to “begin” our interview, so we we started with the obvious asked him to spill everything he knew about Dave Eggers’s latest, Where the Wild Things… Read More

Exclusive: Chasing The (Vincent) Moon


San Francisco and hung out with the three guys who conceived Chasing the Moon, a video podcast inspired by French filmmaker Vincent Moon’s popular Takeaway Shows. After a conversation about the dishonesty of people who wear contacts, the deliciousness of creamy root beer soda, and the slowness of travel during rush hour when pregnant and angry cows are in the road, we finally talked about the show.… Read More

Chessboxing: “It’s Like a Sword Fight”


We didn’t make up a verb because we were bored. It’s a real game. And even though you can probably figure out how to play just by saying the name slowly, we are going to tell you the details so you can organize the next match at your family’s Fourth of July barbecue.… Read More

Total Recall: These Were a Few of Our Favorite Things…


On Friday, we were bummed to read about Nestle’s recall of their delicious refrigerated cookie dough — growing up, those fantastic barrels of instant tastiness were a diet staple. We also started to wonder: What’s going on with all of these recalls lately? After the jump a list of our favorite fallen items from 2009 thus… Read More

America!: 10 of the Best Songs Named After Towns


This week, we came across a post from the Guardian’s music blog entitled Reader Recommended: Songs named after Towns. Inspired, we decided to compile our own list of songs named after US towns. Gosh, we’re clever. Although the list could have included hundreds of tunes, we had to be selective — you will not find overplayed tracks like “New York, New York” and “Viva Las Vegas” on this list. Sorry. As always, feel free to add to our list in the… Read More

Will You Make a Field Trip to UFOland?


When we first heard of UFOland we envisioned skinny aliens with black eyes. Pyramids. The Sphinx. Stonehenge. (There are theories circulating that express beliefs that aliens built those wonders.) But we were way off. The creators of UFOland are the Raelians, members of a religious group (founded by a French journo/test driver named Claude Vorilhon) who believe that humans were created by extra-terrestrial scientists, and they have some very different ideas about what a theme park museum should look like.… Read More