George R R Martin

Friday Things: 11/03 - Haunted House Cams, Star Wars Costumes, and Other Late Things

LinksKristina PinoComment

[It's Halloween! Man, I love this holiday, but boy is it not a thing in Japan. I mean, yeah, you can celebrate here and there are places to party and there are even a few Trick-or-Treat events around the country, but it's nowhere near the same thing. At all.]

On Books and Comics:

Great write-up by Janelle Asselin on the state of super hero comics for children.

The final trailer for Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is out!

There's a new coffee table book about the costumes of the Star Wars characters (big and small) and it looks pretty rad.

If you like to read and you're up for giving publishers feedback, you should consider using Netgalley. I love it, and First Second wrote this great article with tips on filling in your profile from their perspective.

Super fun and charming clip of GRRM being quizzed on quotations from Game of Thrones.

On Music:

OK Go's latest music video was shot here in Japan. As usual, amazing.

Daniel Radcliffe can rap like a boss.


I always love watching Ellen send her producer Andy into haunted houses around Halloween time.

The Dalai Lama rocks my socks.

A bunch of dudes tried on "sexy" ladies Halloween costumes. Spoiler alert: they hated it.

Stuff I wrote at other places:

I wrote a beginner's guide to cosplay over at Panels. There will be follow-up. Have any suggestions for topics in future cosplay-related columns? Let me know!

Also at Panels: Art Roundup with a focus on Violet from Rat Queens.

[Have a great week!]

Friday Things: 08/01 - A Sumo diet and the daily sketches of Skottie Young

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Oh man, it's August already! Also, yay, I'm back! Although, this month might be light because it's also when I'll be having my summer break. While I'm enjoying my vacation, I may or may not post regular link dumps. We shall see!]

On Books and Comics: 

Skottie Young is one of my favorite comics artists at the moment, and you can buy his latest sketchbook (called Daily Grind) right now.

Did you take advantage of that sick deal by Marvel during SDCC and sign up for Marvel Unlimited last weekend? Here's a great place to look for some direction if you are overwhelmed by the options.

Have an excerpt of Haruki Murakami's upcoming book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage



On YouTube:

(via Cheezburger) Very cool documentary-type video about the diet of a Sumo wrestler.

Catch this Wicked medley by Peter Hollens and Nick Pitera.



On Cool People:

You might be surprised by what you'll hear if you ask a homeless person to tell you their story.

George R R Martin continues to be a totally rad and awesome person.

One of the things that will, guaranteed, get me to notice an author and look up their work is a fantastic interview like this. Hello, Amy Bloom!



On Disney:

Cute post: 11 steps to a better you with Winnie the Pooh.

How-to: Draw Anna from Frozen.

[Wow, I think this is the first time I've done a link dump without an 'other' category! Cheers, have a nice weekend~]



Friday Things: 06/09 - in which Ursula the sea witch has her say

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Another Monday edition - sorry! Here's the thing:]

On Disney: 

Comics Alliance has an exclusive preview of Marvel's Disney Kingdoms Figment #1.

Cute list if you're into Disney/PIXAR trivia: 10 things you may or may not have known about The Incredibles.

Great little DIY project: how to make coasters out of Disney theme park maps



On Game of Thrones:

George R. R. Martin is raising funds for two charities, and one of the things you can get for donating is horribly killed in Winds of Winter.

This is a fantastic article with some choice words from Sophie Turner in defense of her character, Sansa. 



On Comics:

The latest news from First Second is a look at their upcoming book (for September release) Julia's House for Lost Creatures, which looks delightful.

UDON Entertainment shares a look at their Art of Capcom: Complete Edition, which is slated for release in October. Check the link for a 16-page preview.




This interesting article made the rounds a bit on a few blogs I follow: "The Sea Witch Sets The Record Straight."

Test your spelling skills.

[Have a great week!]



Link Bits: Keith Richards is also writing for kids now

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Still Wednesday!]

I had always thought it was odd, but I never looked into how or why Anne of Green Gables is popular in Japan. Here's a fascinating explanation.

"Little, Brown Books for Young Readers announced on Tuesday that it would publish Mr. Richards’s 'Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar,' as both a hardcover book with a CD and an ebook on Sept. 9." (via NYT ArtsBeat)

Have an excerpt from William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher.

(via Neatorama) I can't get over how delightful Morgan Davidson's artwork (color pencil portraits) is.

George R. R. Martin has announced he's finished writing his part for The World of Ice and Fire, which is an official history book type thing for... yeah. The A Song of Ice and Fire series (a.k.a. Westeros).

All the amazing graphic novels First Second are releasing in the fall of this year. I pretty much want them all.

Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at!

Friday Things: 02/28 - A paragraph of THE WINDS OF WINTER, and knowing your supers by their underwear

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Ohhhhh a Friday Things link dump that's actually on time! I'm inundated with links to things I want to share with you all, so I made this early. Enjoy!]

On Books:

Check out the finalists for the 2014 Audie Awards. I'll admit, I spent a little too long clicking through the samples. The ones for Matilda and William Shakespeare's Star Wars are most entertaining!

Game of Thrones pop-up book that converts to a 3D map of Westeros. Delightful!

(via GalleyCat) This cool Kickstarter is for pet owners who love to travel but hate to leave Fido behind. The Kickstarter will be accepting funds until April 8th.


Read an excerpt from Cameron Diaz'sThe Body Book. It made me smile, big and wide.

Read an excerpt from George R.R. Martin's  The Winds of Winter.

Read an excerpt from Chuck Wendig's book  The Commorant, on the subject of "the friend zone." (warning: language)


Cute post from Oh My Disney: "Disney Moments and Their Real Life Counterparts."

Guillermo del Toro's Day of the Dead take on Romeo & Juliet looks amazing. Have some concept art.

Heroes and villains by the underwear.

Things adults say to their kids make for hilarious graphics.

"The Ultimate Pop Culture ABCs" by Jeff Victor suspiciously lacks references to Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz (and perhaps even Sherlock Holmes), but is a cool collection nonetheless. Pop culture can't really be contained in 26 references, anyhow.

[Lookin' good for now. Keep an eye out for smaller link dumps throughout the week, though I'll keep doing bigger ones on the weekend]

Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at!

Friday Things: 01/11 - the return!

Kristina PinoComment
[Oh hey, I'm back! And now that I'm all settled in and back at work, my weekly link dump returns. Check out a fresh batch of internet for your weekend reading just below]

On Books and Comics:

Wisdom from George R. R. Martin - 10 Fantasy Writing Tips.

There's a new Hulk comic starting up in April. Should I read it?

This is not a particularly good interview, but Ridley Pearson (author: Kingdom Keepers series) has some fantastic responses to the questions he got. It's worth a read.

Star Wars comics are moving back in with their parents, Marvel (owned by Disney). I've got mixed feelings about this, because I was just looking into reading the Dark Horse Star Wars comics written by Brian Wood. But then again, new Star Wars comics could also be good.

Dark Horse is getting its last hurrah though, as they've announced they'll bring the end of the Clone Wars in comic form since the show didn't end properly. Looking forward to that once I'm done watching the animated series!

On Photography:

Check out some great photographs and be inspired to play with your food!

The latest Disney Dream portrait by Annie Leibovitz is Jessica Chastain as Merida from Brave! Beautiful photograph, and the "behind the scenes" look was supposed to be published already, but it's delayed, so I'll link it here next week.

As much as I love the Follow Me project, wherein Murad Osmann takes photos from his perspective of being led around the world by his girlfriend, I'm not so sure about this batch of photos. The HDR is punched up a little too much.


The safest airline in the world is... drumroll... Quantas! See the rest of the airlines at the top of the list.

I want all of these Disney villain-themed perfume bottles, even if there's no fragrance inside...!

[And, that looks good. A nice, sexy, well-rounded batch of 10 links. Have a beautiful weekend - it's great to be back home!]

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: 'A Game of Thrones,' 'Lamb,' and 'Where Did You See Her Last?'

BooksKristina PinoComment

Instead of writing a full-blown long review for each book I read, I've devised a way to continue to put my thoughts down regularly without the added stress of having to think of what to say beyond a couple of paragraphs. Some books call for a long, critical review. Others don't. And maybe some of the books I'm including in my bite-sized round-ups deserve a longer review. But I'm kind of on a reading streak, and I don't want to break it now.

Without further ado, check out my thoughts on A Game of Thrones, Lamb, and When Did You See Her Last?

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

I read this book for the Les Literables online book club. Our initial goal was to read the first two books in the series, but that proved to be way too ambitious for just one month's work.

I'd already seen the HBO series before reading, and I think it helped me appreciate AGoT better. I had visuals for the many, many, many, many characters that GRRM introduces into the narrative, and already had an idea of where the story would go, so I could appreciate the smaller details and the writing itself more than frantically trying to keep track of every person and what they're doing.

Watching the first season of the TV adaptation was frustrating. There are things about the world in these books that don't sit too well with me, and I especially didn't like the treatment of Daenerys when she was introduced, up until she decided to take an active role in her relationship with Khal Drogo. But the book gave me so much more background information, a better look inside her head, and just straight up better character development, and I like the series that much better because of it.

My only side note is I read this as an ebook, and I don't recommend that format. It's better to have a physical book in your hand so you can refer to the indexes and maps more easily.

Looking forward to reading the next book!

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

This oddball choice in my reading repertoire was actually a recommendation (and borrowed copy) of a friend who lives in the same town I do here in Japan. His approach was, "are you super religious, or better said, easily offended by poking fun at religion?" I said no, not really, so long as it really is poking fun and not being all-out vicious. So he handed me this book, saying it's one of his favorites, very funny, and that he re-reads it regularly.

Lamb manages to poke fun at religion (not just Christianity, by the way) without being disrespectful or gratuitous. The whole point of the book is to fill in the years that the good ol' Bible skips of Christ's life, and its told from the perspective of his best friend in modern terms. It gives Christ a fantastic personality, and way more dimension than the bible stories do. In many ways, I feel like it complements his character more than anything else. It accounts for his childhood and then sends him on travels East to learn from other masters, and we get to see how his message might have (who knows?) formed as a result of his experiences.

If you're not easily offended by some goofing off and mucking around in biblical history, I can't recommend this enough. Your faith might actually be strengthened by reading this.

When Did You See Her Last? (All The Wrong Questions, Book 2) by Lemony Snicket

I wrote up a review of the first book in this series towards the beginning of this year, and this book continues the story of young Snicket's life as an apprentice. ATWQ2 sees the return of Seth, a brilliant illustrator who lends his hand to this story, and the author's clever, witty writing that I like so much.

In the first book, Snicket ended up at Stain'd-by-the-Sea to recover a stolen object. Things don't go as planned, and at the end of the book he was just as clueless as when it began. Now, his chaperone takes on a new case, taking place in the same town regarding a young girl who is reported missing. As you might imagine, her disappearance is absolutely linked to the events of the first book, and once again, by the time this one ends, he's still no closer to solving the mystery, though he managed to save a few lives... for now (Unfortunate Events flashbacks...).

It's kind of difficult to put praise to words for Daniel Handler's work as Lemony Snicket, especially since words are so important in his stories. I always learn new things when I read these books, and I have no trouble admitting that my inferior vocabulary and diction are no match for his. Just trust me on this one - reading Lemony Snicket books is the most delightful way to learn new words and get a great story out of it without having to flip through a back-of-the-book dictionary in between pages.

That's it for this round! I'll be back soon with another batch, so please look forward to it! Do you like Bite-Sized Reviews? Let me know what you think.