Category Archives: Events

Calligrams and WordCamp

I learned a new word last week: calligram.

A calligram is a poem, phrase, or word in which the typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image.

I learned this word from the design-lead for this year’s WordCamp Birmingham Josh Gilmer when he was explaining this year’s  event shirt.

WordCamp Shirt

Isn’t that cool? If you’re from Birmingham, AL you’ll get the reference to Vulcan, if not, you can still appreciate the wordy design aspect of the shirt. The shirt is one of the perks you get from attending this year’s WordCamp Birmingham on October 29th.

This site, Headsubhead.com, runs on WordPress and it’s great. WordCamp this year is only $20 and includes access to all of the WordPress-centered sessions, meals, snacks, after party drink tickets, t-shirt, etc. and it’s always a lot of fun. So many cool helpful people there willing to help you and/or learn from you.

So if you’re in driving distance of Birmingham and want to know more about WordPress, you should check it out. It’s only $20 and only one day. And it’s always worth it.

If you’re not near Birmingham, AL, you should check the official WordCamp site for events near you. Even the local meet-ups can be fun and informative. I have attended many WordCamps around the Southeast and have yet to regret it.

WordCamp Attending

 

Birmingham Book Events: February 28, 2016 – March 6, 2016

The sun is trying to come out and keep things warm. No complaints this weekend – unless you were one of the ones trying to find parking at the Hoover Library yesterday. WOW! Southern Voices 2016 was packed. So many people around the library this weekend. It’s a lot of fun. Here are three other events happening around Birmingham that might interest bookish folks:

Thursday, March 3rd at 6:30p – 7:30p – authors Martha Wurtele and Jake Collins will be in the auditorium speaking and signing copies of their book Homewood. It’s a book in the popular Images of America local history series.

Thursday, March 3rd at 5p – 9p – now that the weather is calming down a bit, it may be time to get out for a Birmingham Art Crawl. The chance of stumbling upon print artists, paper artists and book arts folks make it a fun event.

Friday, March 4th at 6:30p – 8:30p – the Birmingham Library is hosting its popular Bards & Brews event this week. It kicks off with music and then the mic is handed over to spoken word artists and local authors.

Southern Voices 2016

Tickets for Southern Voices 2016 go on sale Friday, January 8th. The line-up for the February 26-27, 2016 conference looks solid and will be held at the Hoover Library again this year,

SouthernVoices_LarsonThe big draw this year is Erik Larson who has written seven books and is best known for Devil in the White City, In the Garden of Beasts and the amazing best-selling book Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Dead Wake topped many bookstores’ “Best Books” lists. For $35, you can join Larson and others for a reception on Friday, February 26th.

The Authors Conference kicks off the next day on Saturday, February 27th and will cost you $40 to get in the door for the day. The Saturday Authors Conference runs from 9a.m.-5p.m. During the day you’ll get to hear writing advice and stories from such notable authors as Natalie Baszile, Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin. Plus, Craig Johnson, Jamie Mason, Laura Lane McNeal and Mark Pryor. It’s a great mix of serious, fun and thriller books.

I have to admit that I was bummed when I saw that this year’s musical guest had to cancel. It’s a shame. She’s great. If you haven’t heard of Kellylee Evans before, you need to watch this video:

How catchy is that? You should also check out her Ordinary People. She has this jazzy blues 60’s pop groove that’s addictive. Maybe Kellylee Evans make it to Birmingham or Hoover someday.

So at 9 a.m. this Friday you can click through to the official site and buy online (the BUY NOW buttons are over in the right sidebar) or you can call  (205) 444-7888. Good luck! Tickets to past Southern Voices events have gone fast.

 

National Science Fiction Day 2016

So yesterday was National Science Fiction Day for 2016. It’s not exactly a major holiday… yet… but it’s fun to celebrate nonetheless. An hey – if enough blog posts start mentioning it and the right publishers get behind it we could have us a real holiday one day. Though January 2nd would be a tough sell I have to admit. It’s just a little too close to the Christmas & New Year’s Eve to be of any fun.

But it’s the day that the grand poobah of the galaxy Isaac Asimov was born back in 1920. So it’s probably as good of a day as any to celebrate science fiction writing.

So in honor of Asimov’s awesome encyclopedic legacy, I’d like to share my three favorite science fiction books I read last year. I have to admit that it’s getting harder to figure out what is “science fiction” these days. So many books have elements of the future, time travel, dragons, etc. that science fiction is teetering on becoming mainstream. But that’s a post for another day.

If you’re looking for a good sci-fi read to kick off 2016, then check these out:

TimeSalvagerTime Salvager by Wesley Chu I thought this book was great fun. It does fall in the time travel category. It has a couple of common sense and unique solutions for dealing with many of the common issues with time travel, which I thought clever. Also, it’s the first in a series so it’s a great time to jump on board.

 

 

BoneClocksThe Bone Clocks by David Mitchell I finally got around to reading this and so glad I did. While I’m not one for “psychic powers” stuff, the writing is incredible and the way Mitchell loops everything together is almost a superpower. It’s a big book. So if you want to dip your toes then I’d recommend reading Slade House. It’s set in the Bone Clocks universe, but no necessarily a sequel. I think you’ll enjoy Slade House more if you read it second, but no harm in using it as an appetizer to see if it’s for you.

SevenevesSeveneves by Neal Stephensen – this book might very well be the most epic science fiction book I’ve ever read. It is Asimov-like in scope and skill. So very good. There definitely falls in the hard sci-fi column. So expect pages of scientists and engineers debating orbits, trajectories, etc. but you can skim that stuff if your eyes start to gloss over. The story is huge. It tracks humanity thousands of years into the future after the Earth is made uninhabitable.

That’s it! I am a huge fan of science fiction and speculative fiction. So please let me know of any fantastic reads that you’ve found. I’ll add them to my list.

Happy belated National Science Fiction Day!