Where in the world…?

…or out of it, for that matter.
Michael Kelley at the Business Insider asks if you’ve ever wondered where exactly King Kong came from? Then proceeds to show us on a map that shows the locations of The World’s Most Important Fictional Places.
Fictional WorldsWONDERNODE
The map is a delight and a much bigger version is linked at the end of this.
My own worlds haven’t made it to the map yet. So I can’t show them to you, but I can tell you where a few of them are ‘located’.
My Worldweavers books are specifically set in “this” world. A large part of the first book is set in the American Southwest. The second book takes place largely in San Francisco, and in Thea’s ‘home town’, Bellingham WA. The third book is set largely in New York and Colorado. In the fourth and last book in the series, coming out later this year, we leave Earth entirely for some crucial scenes that are set in the Crystal City of the Alphiri.
My Jin Shei books are easy – China, with a nod to Greece in “Embers of Heaven”.
The Changer of Days books – well, the desert realms are pretty much a mixture of Nambia and Morocco; Miranei and related parts are quasi Celtic and could be anything from Brittany to Wales; the southern Kingdom of Tath is Southern Italy.
Spanish Gardens was, for real, in Cape Town, South Africa. I transposed it to America for the novel. Somewhere on the West Coast. Or close to it – somewhere near the West Coast where it snows in December.
The Map of Fictional Places
11 little-known English words for specific family members
Arika Okrent at Mental Floss tells us that the words we use for family members in English are specific about some things, and vague about others. Our vocabulary marks a distinction between our mother and her sisters but doesn’t say whether siblings are older or younger. We lack words that pick out particular family members, we have “cousin,” for example, but what about child-of-my-father’s-brother?
FamilyImage credit: ThinkStock
Other languages/cultures can be a lot more specific – and confusing. Take my native language. In Serbian, your mother-in-law and father-in-law are called by different names if you happen to be the husband or the wife: The wife calls her in-laws “svekar” and “svekrva”, the husband’s are “tast” and “tasta.”
In Serbian your father’s brothers and sisters have different titles than your mother’s brothers and sisters – none of that generic “aunt” and “uncle” for us, thank you ever so much. The words for brother-in-law and sister-in-law are consistent which side of the family they come from, but they have zero to do with each other, being very distinct and non-related terms.
And that’s just the beginning. You really know your place in a Serbian family. It is DEFINED.
There were a few English words used in the past that more specifically defined your place in the family, Mental Floss says, and at least one is coming back into vogue. Take “niblings,” your nieces and nephews. You won’t find this in the dictionary, but use of this term seems to be growing among favorite aunts and uncles who want an easy way to refer to their little bundles of sibling-provided joy in a collective or gender-neutral way.
11 unusual English kinship words
A book’s vocabulary is different if it was written during hard times
Books published just after recessions have higher levels of literary misery, a new study finds, Joseph Stromberg reports at Smithsonian.com. A team of British researchers found a strong correlation between a book’s “literary misery index” – the frequency of words such as anger, disgust, fear, and sadness – and the “economic misery index” for the ten years that preceded its publication.
The researchers created the graph of literary misery by examining the frequency of words of roughly five million digitized books published in English during the 20th century.
The vocabulary of hard times
Judy Blume and Lena Dunham on reading
In a long conversation published by The Believer, Judy Blume and Lena Dunham talk about growing up, sexuality, feminism, writing, being frightened, and respecting childhood. But the real highlight is when they talk about reading, Maggie Lange reports in New York Magazine.
In the introduction to the volume, Dunham writes: When we, as young women, are given the space to read, the act becomes a happy, private corner we can return to for the rest of our lives. We develop this love of reading by turning to stories that speak to the most special, secret parts of us.
Lena Dunham is proud she read and misunderstood Lolita at age 9. Blume is proud of this, proof that parents should stop freaking out about racy, sexual content in books their children read. “Let the kids read the book,” Blume says.”
Just let the kids read
Sometimes I think it would be okay to keep the human race going after all.
Everything is NOT terrible.
Dave Stopera of BuzzFeed finds 35 pictures proving the world isn’t so bad
A New FriendPass It OnKid given a bikeKid given a bike by a stranger
Finding the good
Quote of the Day
I have been to the grocery store and the package store and now the bookstore. I am ready for the storm.” ~ UConn Co-op customer one winter day
Alma Alexander
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