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10 Bizarre Coloring Books for Adults

Psst! Got any crayons? You'll want a box when you see how much fun adults can have with coloring books designed just for those of a certain age. And please try to stay within the lines.

1. The Lowrider Coloring Book

The Lowrider Coloring Book contains illustrations of the most popular cars used in lowrider culture. Just by reading the blurb for the coloring book, I learned that hydraulic lifts for cars were developed to get around laws in California that banned lowriding cars -it enabled them to "get legal" in a hurry! Strangely, the coloring book is published in Sweden. See a promotional video for the book. Buy it on Amazon.

2. Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace

The entire title is Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace: a body-positive coloring book by Theo Nicole Lorenz. The coloring pages have 18 "fat scifi heroines" experiencing adventures in space and saving lives wherever they go. Buy it on Amazon.

3. Gangsta Rap Coloring Book

Your favorite rap artists from the beginning of the music genre are here in The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book by Aye Jay Moreno. If you bought the first edition in 2004, be aware that it has been expanded to 48 pages with the addition of newer rap stars. See more pictures from the book. Buy it on Amazon.

However, you can print out pages from a Tumblr blog featuring rap artists in a slightly different light at Bun B's Jumbo Coloring And Rap Activity blog. Each picture has suggested music to listen to while you color the pages in.

4. Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book

The Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book is more than a coloring book, although it has coloring pages in it featuring Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Motörhead, Guns 'n' Roses, Iron Maiden, and others. Color in tattoos, connect the dots, match the band members, and other fun activities await metal fans of all ages! Buy it on Amazon.

5. Color of Dissent

Color of Dissent is a coloring book and a history lesson. It contains 28 line portraits of Americans who were persecuted for speaking out against injustice such as John Brown, Henry David Thoreau, Geronimo, Lucy Parsons, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, and others you may not be so familiar with. Half the proceeds from the sale of this coloring book go to Books To Prisoners. Buy it here.

6. The Romanti-Goth A to Z Coloring Book

Got plenty of black crayons? You'll need them for The Romanti-Goth A to Z Coloring Book, which is an alphabetized illustration of 26 goth terms, illustrated by Heather Stanley.

Here, honored in full glory, are twenty six specifically chosen images of a Lace and Corset wearing world which is populated by those who find a Graveyard to be the perfect place for a picnic, Thirteen cats to be the perfect pets, and everyday to be Halloween.

Buy it on Amazon.

7. Torture: A Ruthless Visual Survey

Probably the only coloring book ever to deal with the subject of torture, Torture: A Ruthless Visual Survey has 40 pages of gruesome black and white drawings of torture methods through the ages. Buy it on Amazon.

8. Coloring Book for Lawyers

The Coloring Book for Lawyers takes you through a typical workday in the life a typical lawyer. It is a free download if you want to start coloring now!

9. Unicorns Are Jerks

Another coloring book by Theo Nicole Lorenz, the full title is Unicorns Are Jerks: a coloring book exposing the cold, hard, sparkly truth. The description reads:

Unicorns think they're so great because they're all mysterious and magical, but they can be real jerks sometimes. This coloring book features eighteen examples of unicorns texting in theaters, farting in elevators, eating your leftovers, and generally acting like jerks.

Buy it on Amazon.

10. Thrill Murray

Thrill Murray is a coloring book based on the career of actor Bill Murray. As far as coloring books go, this has both variety and a high cool factor. Produced by Belly Kids, it is a compilation of drawings by 24 different artists. Buy it on Amazon.


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George C. Beresford/Getty Images
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literature
12 Facts About Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness
George C. Beresford/Getty Images
George C. Beresford/Getty Images

Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella about venturing into the moral depths of colonial Africa is among the most frequently analyzed literary works in college curricula.

1. ENGLISH WAS THE AUTHOR’S THIRD LANGUAGE.

It’s impressive enough that Conrad wrote a book that has stayed relevant for more than a century. This achievement seems all the more impressive when considering that he wrote it in English, his third language. Born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857, Conrad was a native Polish speaker. French was his second language. He didn’t even know any English—the language of his literary composition—until age 21.

2. HEART OF DARKNESS BEGINS AND ENDS IN THE UK.

Though it recounts Marlow's voyage through Belgian Congo in search of Kurtz and is forever linked to the African continent, Conrad’s novella begins and ends in England. At the story’s conclusion, the “tranquil waterway” that “seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness” is none other than the River Thames.

3. THE PROTAGONIST MARLOW IS CONRAD.

The well-traveled Marlow—who appears in other Conrad works, such as Lord Jim—is based on his equally well-traveled creator. In 1890, 32-year-old Conrad sailed the Congo River while serving as second-in-command on a Belgian trading company steamboat. As a career seaman, Conrad explored not only the African continent but also ventured to places ranging from Australia to India to South America.

4. LIKE KURTZ AND MARLOW, CONRAD GOT SICK ON HIS VOYAGE.

Illness claimed Kurtz, an ivory trader who has gone mysteriously insane. It nearly claimed Marlow. And these two characters almost never existed, owing to their creator’s health troubles. Conrad came down with dysentery and malaria in Belgian Congo, and afterwards had to recuperate in the German Hospital, London, before heading to Geneva, Switzerland, to undergo hydrotherapy. Though he survived, Conrad suffered from poor health for many years afterward.

5. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY ALLEGED KURTZES IN REAL LIFE.

The identity of the person on whom Conrad based the story’s antagonist has aroused many a conjecture. Among those suggested as the real Kurtz include a French agent who died on board Conrad’s steamship, a Belgian colonial officer, and Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley.

6. COLONIZING WAS ALL THE RAGE WHEN HEART OF DARKNESS APPEARED.

Imperialism—now viewed as misguided, oppressive, and ruthless—was much in vogue when Conrad’s novella hit shelves. The "Scramble for Africa" had seen European powers stake their claims on the majority of the continent. Britain’s Queen Victoria was even portrayed as the colonies' "great white mother." And writing in The New Review in 1897, adventurer Charles de Thierry (who tried and failed to establish his own colony in New Zealand) echoed the imperialistic exuberance of many with his declaration: “Since the wise men saw the star in the East, Christianity has found no nobler expression.”

7. CHINUA ACHEBE WAS NOT A FAN OF THE BOOK.

Even though Conrad was no champion of colonialism, Chinua Achebe—the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart and other novels—delivered a 1975 lecture called “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” that described Conrad as a “thoroughgoing racist” and his ubiquitous short classic as “an offensive and deplorable book.” However, even Achebe credited Conrad for having “condemned the evil of imperial exploitation.” And others have recognized Heart of Darkness as an indictment of the unfairness and barbarity of the colonial system.

8. THE BOOK WASN’T SUCH A BIG DEAL—AT FIRST.

In 1902, three years after its initial serialization in a magazine, Heart of Darkness appeared in a volume with two other Conrad stories. It received the least notice of the three. In fact, not even Conrad himself considered it a major work. And during his lifetime, the story “received no special attention either from readers or from Conrad himself,” writes Gene M. Moore in the introduction to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: A Casebook. But Heart of Darkness managed to ascend to immense prominence in the 1950s, after the planet had witnessed “the horror”—Kurtz's last words in the book—of WWII and the ramifications of influential men who so thoroughly indulged their basest instincts.

9. T.S. ELIOT BORROWED AN IMPORTANT LINE.

Though Heart of Darkness wasn’t an immediate sensation, it evidently was on the radar of some in the literary community. The famous line announcing the antagonist’s demise, “Mistah Kurtz—he dead,” serves as the epigraph to the 1925 T.S. Eliot poem “The Hollow Men.”

10. THE STORY INSPIRED APOCALYPSE NOW.

Eighty years after Conrad’s novella debuted, the Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now hit the big screen. Though heavily influenced by Heart of Darkness, the movie’s setting is not Belgian Congo, but the Vietnam War. And though the antagonist (played by Marlon Brando) is named Kurtz, this particular Kurtz is no ivory trader, but a U.S. military officer who has become mentally unhinged.

11. HEART OF DARKNESS HAS BEEN MADE INTO AN OPERA.

Tarik O'Regan’s Heart of Darkness, an opera in one act, opened in 2011. Premiering at London’s Royal Opera House, it was reportedly the first operatic adaptation of Conrad’s story and heavily inspired by Apocalypse Now.

12. THE BOOK ALSO SPARKED A VIDEO GAME.

In a development not even Conrad’s imagination could have produced, his classic inspired a video game, Spec Ops: The Line, which was released in 2012.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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