Holiday Shipping December 07 2015
For delivery by Christmas, please place your orders by the end of the day December 19th.
We'll be traveling and relaxing with family and friends between Dec 20th and January 1st. Any orders placed during that time will be fulfilled in the new year.
The Happy Surface of Dystopia June 12 2014
Our latest shirt takes a cheery approach to one of our darkest pieces of literature. Though we love H.P. Lovecraft, we believe that for true horror you should turn to 1984. Nothing chills the spine quite like Orwell’s depressingly convincing tale of oppression.
There are other 1984-inspired shirts out there, all striving to capture the gloom and paranoia of the book itself. We took a different approach.
We think this is exactly the kind of shirt an oppressive, propaganda-focused government would produce. It’s bright, fun, and vague. In fact, you can see this kind of vague boosterism in our world today, most notably in the form of North Korean propaganda posters. Whenever governments have oppressed their people using ideology, you are sure to find attempts to rally the populace behind their own subjugation. It’s frightening stuff, which is why we think this shirt is creepier than any black or gray one.
We hope you enjoy wearing it, and that the soft, favorite-shirt feel reminds you to keep on the lookout for doublespeak.
Junot Diaz v.s. Old Dead Guys May 12 2014
Hm... We're having some technical difficulties over here. How hard can it be to post on a blog?
Ah, here we go:
If you or someone you know has slogged through an MFA (or even an undergrad in creative writing), this link will surely interest. The prevalence of the old, dead, and white (and male too) on curricula is an issue. Junot Diaz thinks so and we agree, and not just because we’re reading his This is How You Lose Her and loving it.
Wish I could have taken a class on world building. That reading list looks amazing.
And if you’re wondering where we've been lately: Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/DustJacketTees.
Friend us there and in real life too, please.We've also been working on a brand new shirt, soon to be revealed. Curious to know what book it takes its inspiration from? One written by the same man that wrote what may be the best essay on writing in the English language. But don’t take our word for it. Go read it.
Been There, Read That? February 10 2014
So many things...
I've always believed that literature is a great way to enhance travel, and I have done my best to precede my travels by reading some fiction from the country I'm about to visit. There are so many cultural nuances you can absorb from a book, particularly a novel, which you can never get from a travel guide. Using that criteria as your travel prep, there's one woman who can go anywhere. She read a novel from every country in the world: http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/
Now, if you live in the Durham area, there's still time to become the greatest punner of them all! The Great Durhman Pun Championship occurs tomorrow. It's like a spelling bee for puns. Doesn't that sound punderful?
Next: it's the collision of worlds. My Salt Lake City friend Jennifer Adams has recently published Edgar Gets Ready for Bed, a children's book about Edgar the raven, based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe, who I do not need to remind you wrote in my hometown of Baltimore. I read the book this morning and I say that if you have young children you should buy it. If you are from Baltimore you should buy it. If you are a raven you should also buy it.
And finally, I leave you with a mystery solved... or is it? One researcher has a theory on the strange Voynich manuscript that has puzzled scholars for the last hundred years.
You live in a world of pun contests and mystery manuscripts, friends. It doesn't get much better than that.
Links to Enhance Your It's-Almost-Christmas Slacking December 18 2013
But what is the most famous book from your state? Too bad I didn't like the one from my state. And I haven't read the one from my adopted state. But at least I like New Jersey, which is more than I can say for most of what's from the Garden State.
You're on your own now. Slack away.
News and Discount Code November 26 2013
The Most Dangerous Game tee is now off pre-order and ready to be rushed into your hands by the tireless efforts of the United States Post Office. Just in time for the holidays, isn’t it? Speaking of which, this holiday season we wanted to bring you more than a dashing new shirt: we’re also bringing you free shipping. Get free shipping on any order from Dust Jacket Clothing. (Remember, we only ship within the U.S. at the moment. Sorry, world.) The deal starts Thanksgiving Day and ends with 2013 on December 31st.
Just enter the code OHENRYWhy OHENRY? Because no work of literature, not even Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, reminds me quite as much of the holidays as O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” So here, along with your code, is a link to one of the best holiday stories by one of the finest short story writers of all: The Gift of the Magi.
Christmas Delivery Deadlines and Bulletproof Clothing November 18 2013
Important News: Our last guaranteed-delivery-by-Christmas date is December 19th. Order by December 19th at midnight or you will ruin Christmas.
News of Questionable Import (but oh-so-fascinating): I had this idea back in the early aughts when they had just begun turning everything into a reality show, but I thought: there's no way anybody would watch that. It would be boring as hell. Turns out I was wrong! There's a first time for everything, folks, and if watching brooding writers stare at a blank screen is your idea of fun, then your first time seeing it on television will be as soon as you track down this: Masterpiece, an Italian reality television competition for writers. Is this a good idea? Unlikely. Do I hope to hear more about it? Absolutely.
Really Important News (if you are James Bond): Garrison Bespoke is now offering a bulletproof suit. What's next, a bulletproof T-shirt? Well, not from us. But one of the crew here did point out that a suit doesn't cover some vital chest area, which means there's clearly a gap in the market that must be filled. Now where does one purchase a bulletproof tie?
After seeing a link to a book video with Ben Stiller, Jason Schwartzman and Flea only a day after seeing a link to a book video with Nathan Lane in it, I'm starting to wonder: are celebrity cameos in book trailers the new literary thing?
On the one hand, celebrities supporting the literary arts = wonderful. On the other hand, what if you're not best buddies with a movie star? What are you gonna do now, unlucky writer person?
I decided to go searching to see if anyone else was talking about this, but instead I found 8 Celebrities You Won't Believe Have Written Books and The 5 Most Insane Celebrity Cameos in Comic Books. An inquisitive mind must wonder: are celebrity cameos ever beyond the bounds of sanity? I would argue that, surprising though they may be, they're probably not insane.
That's how people title articles these days. I think we can all thank (blame) Cracked and its (barely) more polished tagalong Buzzfeed for this plague. Luckily, there's XKCD around to defend our sanity:
Last but not least, I'm gonna spoil our own, upcoming announcement: Christmas deals are coming.
Gross sex stuff and books as weapons October 22 2013
In case you don't read about the publishing industry (I know, who doesn't read about the publishing industry for fun?), you probably haven't heard that things blew up recently.
A lot of large companies have either bought up self-publishing companies, started self-publishing arms, or begun to carry self-published books on their main sites. Most of these self-published books are e-books, and the number of them has exploded.
And then someone noticed that some of them were terrible. And we don't mean terribly written: we're talking gross: incest, bestiality and other stuff that gets pretty sick. People freaked out, large companies realized they were peddling disgusting porn to anyone (no age limit on the Kindle, kids!) and shock was expressed.
But the only surprising thing about this whole scenario is the surprise itself. How did self-publishing companies not see this coming? They certainly don't bother proofreading (or even reading) the books they publish, so why, after creating a completely unregulated online forum, are they shocked that people use it for weird sex stuff? Have they ever heard of, you know, the internet?
Maybe those agents and editors that keep so many of us from publishing with the big publishing houses actually have a purpose? We don't want to pick sides here, we're just pointing out that self-publishing probably isn't some kind of crowd-sourced Library of Alexandria. The best round-up of the details is right here.
What else have you missed lately?
If you want a book t-shirt to cover you, we've got you covered. But what if you want to cover a book with a t-shirt? Here you go.
And just in case you were thinking "my day won't be complete without at least two book-related youtube videos," here's how to use a book as a weapon. Or, you know, you could always pick up 50 Shades of Gray and start reading it out loud. Oh, burn!
But maybe you don't think the pen is mightier than the panzer: well then why were books among the first cargo unloaded after D-day? Don't doubt me: buy a book and read about it.
Conference Time September 26 2013
I'll be spending this weekend at the Writer's Digest Conference West (I'll be leaving Mark in the warehouse to toil away without me), so if any of you will be attending, you should wear your Dust Jacket T-shirt. If you do, and I see you, I will buy you a beer.
In the meantime, I thought I'd leave you with a little thought provoking reading:
First, this: the first time (in a long time) I've heard anyone say that new technology will not make the old perish from this Earth. Possibly we can have both. Amazing.
It's Banned Books Week. I think we should all go find the priggiest prig we know and read copies of Beloved, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Underpants or one of the other most commonly banned books right in front of that person. Bonus points for whistling the national anthem while you do it.
Finally, if you're into vegan food with your books, and you happen to live in the city that gave birth to Dust Jacket (aka Charm City, aka Clipper City, aka Bulletmore), you're in luck.
And speaking of food, does anyone know anywhere good to eat in LA? Email me. I'll be on a bag-of-Doritos-a-day budget, so no swanky spots.
People that Disappoint Us September 16 2013
People who write overly dramatic headlines for their articles. Like: Nightly Bedtime Stories a Thing of the Past. Also they cause cancer! And they include three surprising things that are keeping you fat!
Except they're never surprising, and that isn't exactly what the article says about bedtime stories, a point we will get to in just a moment, after we discuss...
People who don't read to their kids. You make us sad. Of all the things we are supposed to do as humans, (exercising, eating right, drinking eight glasses of water a day (oh wait, that's a myth)) reading to one's children is arguably the most fun on the list. Do something pleasant with people you like. Shouldn't be that hard, and yet, only a third of us do it.
Wait a second...
People who choose narrowly worded survey questions on which to base grand assumptions. Only 33% of parents read bedtime stories with their children daily. Daily? Well that doesn't seem so bad. Doing something every single day is really hard. Just ask the 28 percent of Britons who don't brush their teeth every day. One third of us reads to our kids every night. That's pretty great.
But you know... we better keep it up, because bedtime stories are dying! They're practically extinct! Take your kid to a baseball game, spend the evening catching lightning bugs, sit by the fire with grandma telling stories--how dare you, you scoundrel. You are destroying America and sending the bedtime story to an unmarked grave! You fiend.
You see what I did there, with the exaggeration?
Introducing The Most Dangerous Game Tee September 08 2013Then he said slowly, "No. You are wrong, sir. The Cape buffalo is not the most dangerous big game." He sipped his wine. "Here in my preserve on this island," he said in the same slow tone, "I hunt more dangerous game."
In 1924, Richard Connell published "The Most Dangerous Game." Today, we reveal our homage to the Gothic action story that was The Hunger Games before there was a Hunger Games.
If you haven't read "The Most Dangerous Game," that's not a problem: Luckily for you, it's been collected by Eserver and is available for free. You can read it right.... now. (if you didn't click the word "now" as you read that, you really lost out on the effect there). The line breaks don't always correspond nicely to the dialogue by the way, but that's what you get with a free online version. Still worth a read.
"The Most Dangerous Game" not only became Connell's most famous story and ended up in nearly every American literature anthology for decades, it also inspired multiple feature films. You can watch the original, and most accurate, 1932 63-minute feature film from RKO Radio online, for free. (I have not watched this so I can not actually recommend it as I would the short story, but it's got quite a lot of critical acclaim and fans online, for what that's worth.)
To honor this awesome short story, we gave our shirt a bright, pop-art appearance to reference the way in inspired so many stories and films to follow. But also... it's important that the shirt be the color of blood. Trust us.
A bit late... but still inspiring September 06 2013
We're a bit late on this, but it's still worth a look.
After our last post I thought we needed a something a little more optimistic. From the Atlantic.
Cowards and Destruction September 03 2013
Though I do have a Goodreads account, I don't do much there. And now, after learning this here, I may not ever.
I first learned about the bullies of Goodreads from the estimable Nathan Bransford, who has his own wise take on the subject here.
And according to some, one of the sites set up to combat these negative reviews is apparently misguided as well.
So that's depressing.
I think the cultural change Nathan calls for on his blog is necessary, but I also think Goodreads must police its own online community. There is no valid argument for allowing uninformed reviews, much less personal attacks, and if Goodreads cannot tell the difference between a negative review and a personal threat Goodreads shouldn't be in the business of hosting reviews. Moderators of message boards throughout the Internet understand this responsibility.
Goodreads is now owned by Amazon. They have all the weight they need to change the way the reviews on that site function, and from a business point of view they have every reason to do so. Hopefully they have the courage to do so as well. But if they don't, there's plenty of better ways for all of us to spend our time than on Goodreads.
What We've Been Up To August 06 2013
And luckily, if we think we're gonna run out of reading material we can always pick up this.
But this guy? He's not running out of anything to read any time soon. Rory would be proud.
Any hotter and that dress would burn up.
Recognize these links? I admit: this guy tends to keep me in reading material.
And here's a nightcap for you.
Shirt updates coming soon.
Hang tags with a purpose! July 24 2013
Dust Jacket just got some new hang tags printed up, and they've been specially coded to actually serve a purpose instead of sitting on the recycling pile. So, the next time you're at your local library looking for a copy of 'The Amazing Adventures of Captain Gladys Stoutpamphlet and her Intrepid Spaniel Stig Amongst the Giant Pygmies of Beckles' (volume eight of course), rest assured that Mr. Chickens' unblemished library account will come through for you*.
*Please don't anger your sweet, neighborly librarian by trying to use this fake library card.
Pique Your Pinterest? July 18 2013
Lately we've been building a little photo gallery of life at Dust Jacket headquarters on that masterful time waster, Pinterest.
Check it out: The Dust Jacket Clothing Corporate Headquarters.
Is it a one hundred percent accurate portrayal of our business? Well, let's just say that if it sways a little off the path of absolute veracity it adheres all the closer to our hopes and dreams. Which we hope is enough for you.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that we were inspired to try and tell our story through Pinterst by seeing it done so well elsewhere. Namely, in My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter. This kept us laughing for far too long. We hear Quinoa's imaginary mother has even received offers for television shows and books.
We're not holding out hopes for that. We just hope you like playing along with us and wearing our shirts.
Never Published Tennessee Williams Work June 25 2013
One of my favorite literary events, the Key West Literary Seminar, has posted an audio file of a never-published work by Tennessee Williams. In addition to this unpublished piece, the audio, recently discovered on reel-to-reel in a Key West library storeroom, features Williams reading 14 other poems.
Best of all, because the KWLS folks and the Tennessee Williams estate are such great people, you can listen to it right now, for free.
How Government Spying Sells Books June 12 2013
According to the Wall Street Journal and others, sales of George Orwell's 1984 have spiked recently due to the recent revelation of the NSA's surveillance of phone records.
What good is a science fiction book if it never comes true? I suspect that in this case it means the book is more than good. I believe books like 1984 are meant as prophylactics. Only by clearly and forcefully illustrating the horror a totalitarian government could inflict could Orwell get the idea through our thick skulls. And we have to clearly understand the problem if we're to avoid it. 1984, A Brave New World, and hopefully the recent spate of dystopian young adult novels can keep us from birthing some terrible futures.
Of course as someone trying to sell shirts it would be nice to have one ready for this surge in interest, but the fact is that 1984 will remain relevant. We won't have to wait long for the next incident that media will slap the "big brother" label on. And by then we'll have a sweet shirt waiting for--yes, it's been in the works since before every other headline had the letters "NSA" in them.
It's too early for hints or peeks, but stay tuned.
The First Gatsby Movie June 04 2013
Hollywood's first attempt at The Great Gatsby.
The internet says Fitzgerald himself hated it. What do you think? Do you like the trailer?
The Great Gatsby Teacher Contest May 14 2013
Now that's a teacher you want to respect.
One of the things that makes a great work of literature great is the energy that teachers put into teaching it, generation after generation. Here’s a well-deserved contest to reward all those teachers.
Tell us your best story from your students or pass along the best quote you heard from a student while you were teaching The Great Gatsby. Leave your response on our Facebook page. We'll pick our favorite and give him or her one of our Gatsby shirts. We’ll pick a winner at the end of the month, so enter now and spread the word.
...And We're Back! May 03 2013
I’m back! Mark’s been dutifully
manning the store while I was in relaxing in Argentina, and since
sales were up while I was gone, I’m thinking of leaving again.
While away I took a bookish break from vacation to see the Feria de Libros in Buenos Aires.
An entire convention center of books. Swoon.
I’ve been to lots of book festivals, but most of them would have gotten lost between the booths at the Feria de Libros.
Most of the books were (obviously) in Spanish, and thus out of my reading range, but just seeing the sheer volume of books and the huge crowds was inspirational and impressive. Jorge Luis Borges would have been proud.
So many books...
I did find an English language stand and picked up Henning Menkell’s Kennedy’s Brain, but… well, more on that book on my Goodreads account which I have tried and failed to link to our Facebook. It says it’s linked, but it lies.
But among all those books, not a single book T-shirt. You hear that, Mark? Next year, business trip to Buenos Aires.
Books and Bars April 10 2013
Pictures of books in bars!
Unfortunately, they missed Bourbon and Branch's library room:
Books all along the left side, velvet wallpaper all along the right. Tin ceiling above. Bourbon straight ahead.
A much better view of the books, plus a random young lady. What's more likely to light the books on fire? Her, or the candles?
The main area of Bourbon and Branch is great, but the library room? When we dream about drinking, we are doing it here.
Of course it helps that I got to hear Craig Clevenger read there during Litquake.
Have you been to Litquake? One of the best book festivals of all time. And if you want to volunteer to help out, we know a person.
Which segues nicely into my thoughts recently about how perfect our shirts are for wearing at book festivals. The weather is beginning to turn, and festivals season is nearly upon us. You'll be browsing tables of used books, smoothie in hand and warm spring sun on your bare shoulders, practically tomorrow.
Got a favorite book-themed bar? Tell us on Facebook.
Librarians Everywhere April 02 2013
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