David Bowie’s Legacy… and most treasured books

(c) pedrojperez

(c) pedrojperez

It is amazing how one spark of life can impact the lives millions. And when that spark disappears, humanity reacts in the most beautiful way–by honoring and remembering its existance.  This week the world lost one of the most brilliant and magical artists of all time. This week we said “until next time” to the Goblin King, to Ziggy Stardust, to the dream weaving David Bowie.

I think everybody who picks up a guitar or puts pen to paper has something in his system, in his self that he wants to express to others and have them understand… – David Bowie, Interview with Today, 1993

Most only know Bowie as a talented musician and actor. The pioneer of glam rock with his abstract style and non-conventional influences. What many don’t realize is that he was also an enigmatic writer and avid reader. He’s long contemplated writing for theater and was said to read up to a book a day.

One of the most facinating things I feel that Bowie left for us is his list of 100 “must read” books. The list spans a vast array of literary influences and genres, fictions and non-fictions, biographies and memiors. From Anthony Burgess to John Cage to Jack Kerouac, the vast list is as unique and diverse as Bowie himself.

David Bowie’s 100 recommended books: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/10347410/David-Bowie-reveals-his-favourite-100-books.html

A tale of a man who loved books: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/david-bowie-the-man-who-loved-books/

David Bowie lit up imaginations in once cold, dark minds. He brought us to worlds and dreams that many wish we could have conceived ourselves. Magic flowed around the world, sparked by his creative genius. They say that when you die, your soul joins the stars and shines brightly upon the Earth. David Bowie’s star is one that shines the brightest as his creativity and influence breathed a new life into the realm of art, music, and writing.

Shine on, you brilliant star. The world is forever changed because of your spark.

TSM Recommends – Novels, Short Stories, and Other Wordy Things

TSM Recommends

I don’t know if you guys remember this, but for a while last year I posted weekly recommendations from blog articles and books to videos and other wordy-based things. I will now be returning to this series, albeit on a monthly basis (or every four weeks). As I get back into the blogosphere, I will be reading some of the amazing posts you all are putting out there so I can share them with our readers; however, given my rather terrible blogging style as of late, I’ve been reading mostly books — or offline in general — so my recommendations for this month are more from the outside publishing realm, rather than the blogging one.

Below you’ll find the most recent readings and recommendations. Robyn and Chris have kindly contributed their recommendations for the month, as well.

Happy Reading!


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

This one is Robyn’s recommendation, your friendly neighborhood writing mentor. She says: No one is potentially more afraid than the creative person about completing and sharing their work. Daring Greatly isn’t just for artists and writers. It’s for anyone who deals with vulnerability and/or shame and is a guide to getting out of your head. Brene Brown has a warm style and a great knack for explaining her research, but it all comes down to this: being vulnerable makes us stronger and more resilient than holding back or protecting ourselves.



The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohoe

This chilling tale of a troubled boy trapped inside the confines of his home and tormented by the endless need to draw monsters had Chris resigned to sleeping with the lights on. With creepy visions and beautiful, fleeting descriptions, this book is a masterpiece in psychological horror.

Literary Historical

Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

Apparently the Muses have a thing for darkness, because though this novel starts off lightly enough, bathed in the adventure we dream of as kids and touched with a poetic London in a by-gone age, it quickly transforms into a haunting coming-of-age tale, rocked with tragedy, but held aloft with hope. Part of this book’s charm is the voice of Jaffy Brown, the main character, but the other part is the imagery. Birch has the ability to turn a phrase that paints this dark adventure into a mesmerizing reality.


Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

The final book in the Imperial Radch trilogy. I put the last one here since it was published most recently (and I also read it recently); however, I hope if you haven’t read the first two that you will start from the beginning. The main character, you discover, is not your typical sci-fi heroine. The first novel in the series, Ancillary Justice, won pretty much every speculative fiction award available, including the Hugo and Nebula Awards.


Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

This book of poetry won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. Though the title may invoke thoughts of space or science fiction, these are poems that are very much about our life here on Earth. Highly recommended to any lovers of poetry who enjoy a touch of the universe — both the one in which we inhabit and the one in our heads.


The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

This speculative short story (published by Lightspeed Magazine), interestingly enough, has a rather low rating on Goodreads. It was originally on the list for the Hugo awards. I quite liked it. Chris and I even had a discussion on how we wish we had thought of the idea ourselves. Well, you know how it goes. Though the main character isn’t your traditional likeable hero, I thought he suited the story, and I do think he grows by the end. So, mission accomplished. Give it a go and see what you think.

Have any other book recommendations? We here at TSM are always looking for more to read. Let us know your current favorites in the comments below!


Giving Thanks to our Inspirational Books

It’s Thanksgiving today in the United States. In honor of the holiday, we thought we’d share the books that we are most thankful for — the books that have in some way inspired us.

Amanda Headlee:

Giving Thanks to Our Inspirational BooksI know it is cliche, but Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is the first book that I am most thankful for. It was the first full-length novel that I read as a child. Carroll’s words fueled my imagination. I felt as though this specific book unlocked something in my mind. It gave me permission to dream. Whatever boundaries that were being placed on my imagination by culture and society as I matured, I ignored. My imagination is my most prized possession and I am proud to say that as of today, in my 30’s, it is still brilliantly limitless.

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood is another book that I am thankful for as it taught me about letting go and finding where I am happiest. Elaine Risley was the first character that forced me to reflect on my life.  Her story was one that resonated with my soul. Just like Elaine, I also have a background in Biology, but I chose my passion and career to be in the arts. When I read this book, I was struggling to let go of experiences from the past. It was this very book that showed me how to let all of that pain and sadness go. Also during this first reading (and as a sophomore in university), I was wrestling with the decision whether to continue with my goal to become a Marine Biologist or to change my career to a Technical & Creative writer track. Cat’s Eye was the force that compelled me to choose writing.

Michelle Mueller:

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle was probably the most important book of my childhood. I read it around the time a horse I loved died, and in a lot of ways it helped me learn how to cope with loss. Though I read a ton of books as a kid/young adult, this is the one I always remember. I think every young person (and adult) should read it at least once.

A lot of people are surprised by this one, but Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is one of my favorite books of all time. No one can forget the brutal, stubborn, selfish Scarlett O’Hara. I don’t know if admitting this is a good thing, but she was one of the first characters I truly could relate to. She’s a survivor. Weaknesses and strengths aside, I understood her.

Chris Musgrave:

I’m going to buck the trend and eschew all that sentimental crap my colleagues are spewing. What books am I most grateful for? Good question. To be perfectly honest with you, I’ll read just about anything, but I have a very special place on my shelves for Terry Pratchett. The wit and surreal perspective, not to mention the sheer genius of the Discworld, have always spoken to me and keep me coming back for more. If I had to pick one book out of the canon which really stands out, I’d have to say Mort.

Another book and author to which I owe a lot in terms of inspiration is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I’ve grown up on myths and legends but this was the first time I’d ever seen deities in the modern world. The fantastical and yet everyday themes which colour Neil Gaiman’s tales started me down the path to insanity which I am currently hurtling down head-first.

Which books are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments!