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50 Amazing Coloring Books to Celebrate National Coloring Book Day

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As recent studies have shown, adult coloring books aren't just trendy—they may be used as an effective relaxation technique, too. To celebrate National Coloring Book Day, why not reap the benefits and unwind with one that speaks to your unique tastes in entertainment, literature, and design? From Golden Girls to Shakespeare, we've rounded up 50 of our favorite coloring books that we've written about through the years.

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1. ART OF COLORING: GOLDEN GIRLS

Create a colorful world around Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia, and Rose with this 100-plus page coloring book, which features images of the main characters, plus a few of their favorite things (like cheesecake).

Find it: Amazon

2. THE PRINCESS BRIDE: A STORYBOOK TO COLOR

The classic 1987 movie The Princess Bride can now be found in colorable form. You can add bursts of flames to the Fire Swamps and give young Fred Savage a creatively hued bedspread as you color your way through 80 pages of illustrations by Rachel Curtis.

Find it: Amazon

3. LOST OCEAN

This nautical coloring book by Johanna Basford is sure to tickle any seafarer's fancy.

Find it: Amazon

4. TROPICAL WORLD

You'll probably want to break out your brightest colored pencils and pens to make the tropical animals of this book really pop.

Find it: Amazon

5. COLOR ME JANE: A JANE AUSTEN ADULT COLORING BOOK

The sparkling world of Jane Austen offers up a whole slew of designs and clothing to fall under the tip of your colored pencil. Illustrated by Jacqui Oakley, the book is inspired by all of Austen's greatest stories, from Pride and Prejudice to Sense and Sensibility. The 80-page book offers characters, patterns, and accessories that all need a splash of color.

Find it: Amazon

6. TOLKIEN'S WORLD

This unofficial coloring book takes inspiration from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There are over 90 pages in the book that come from six different artists. You can enjoy coloring all the fantastical locations and creatures, including elves, orcs, and hobbits.

Find it: Amazon

7. THE OFFICIAL BOB'S BURGERS COLORING BOOK

Grab some crayons and color all your favorite Bob's Burgers characters in a variety of amusing situations, from striking power poses to dressing up for Halloween. The book also comes with lots of fun activities like designing your own burger and, of course, making up your own punny specials for the chalkboard.

Find it: Amazon

8. HARRY POTTER COLORING BOOK

Enter the magical world of Hogwarts once more with this new series of coloring books. This book has over 90 pages just waiting for your colored pencils to give them life. When you're finished, you can try one of the other books in the series, like Magical Places & Characters, or Magical Artifacts.

Find it: Amazon

9. THE TIME CHAMBER

Follow a small fairy as she enters the human world and sees everything from a new viewpoint. Color in the ornate objects that the tiny magical being encounters on her journey.

Find it: Amazon

10. COLOR THERAPY

This book was specially made with stress relief in mind. Each section utilizes a different hue, so users can pick the color that matches their mood.

Find it: Amazon

11. THE INDIE ROCK COLORING BOOK

If you have a music lover in your life, this is the perfect gift. Illustrated by Andy J. Miller, this delightful book features bands like Bon Iver, Broken Social Scene, and The National. All the profits are split between the bands' charities of choice. Rilo Kiley's Pierre de Reeder writes a heartfelt forward that really captures the charm of the project.

Find it: Amazon

12. BUN B'S RAP COLORING AND ACTIVITY BOOK

This is the perfect activity book for any hip-hop lover. There are 48 pages of coloring and activities including some notable names like Kanye West, Earl Sweatshirt, Tupac, and Drake.

Find it: Amazon

13. COLOR ME CALM

Therapist Lacy Mucklow and artist Angela Porter worked together to create 100 different designs to color when you're feeling stressed out.

Find it: Amazon

14. SPLENDID CITIES

This delightful coloring book features a number of different real-life cities like London and Moscow—and some imaginary ones as well.

Find it: Amazon

15. COLOR THIS BOOK: NEW YORK CITY

If you love Broad City, you need this book. It's illustrated by Abbi Jacobson, who actually went to MICA before becoming an actress. Her art school background is showcased in this beautifully drawn book of various New York sights. If the west coast is more your style, you can also check out her San Francisco book. And if that's still not enough for you, check out this one by Mike Perry (the guy who does Broad City's cool opening titles).

Find it: Amazon

16. WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Emily Brontë's gothic novel paints a pretty vivid picture of the Yorkshire moors, and the misty landscapes and brooding characters make for excellent subjects in a coloring book. Each illustration is coupled with a quote from the book, so you can relive the drama once again as you color.

Find it: Amazon

17. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

Anne Shirley might not have been able to get rid of her carrot-colored locks, but with this coloring book, you can give her the raven- or auburn-hued hair she always wanted. Unlike many other coloring books, this one offers a coherent storyline that unfurls as you color. Illustrations are done by Jae-Eun Lee, who breathes new life into the iconic characters.

Find it: Amazon

18. WONDERLAND

The surreal and colorful world of Wonderland is a prime coloring book candidate because it welcomes bold and adventurous choices. If you want to give the Mad Hatter pinstripes and Alice a black dress, no one's stopping you—just don't mess with the Red Queen. Amily Shen gives the world and its characters a highly detailed look and even adds in new elements, like Alice's tiny bowler hat.

Find it: Amazon

19. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA

This official coloring book offers a new way to enter the wardrobe. Color through the world of Narnia and enjoy scenes, characters, and designs from all seven books.

Find it: Amazon

20. ESCAPE TO SHAKESPEARE'S WORLD

Experience the stories of William Shakespeare in a completely new and interactive way. This 96-page coloring book features designs and patterns directly inspired by The Bard's work.

Find it: Amazon

21. COLOR ME SWOOOOON

Every once in a while, you need to pour yourself a glass of wine and indulge in some good old fashioned swooning. This book of dreamy hunks does not discriminate; you can be any skill level to color in all your favorite heartthrobs.

Find it: Amazon

22. THRILL MURRAY

Bill Murray lovers (everyone) can rejoice! Twenty-three illustrators were commissioned to create the pages of Thrill Murray, which takes scenes from all your favorite Bill movies, from Groundhog Day to The Life Aquatic.

Find it: Amazon

23. EDGAR ALLAN POE: AN ADULT COLORING BOOK

You're going to need a lot of black and red before diving into this Poe-themed coloring book. Illustrator Odessa Begay brings the creepy motifs of Poe's work to each page, which are all laid out on thick, high-quality paper.

Find it: Amazon

24. THE DR. SEUSS COLORING BOOK

This new coloring book is an ode to the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. Inside, you can color familiar characters like Horton, the Lorax, and the Cat in the Hat.

Find it: Amazon

25. THE OFFICIAL A GAME OF THRONES COLORING BOOK

This is not a coloring book for the faint of heart—besides the graphic content, the intricate linework makes for some intensely difficult coloring. You can color the Weirwood trees, house sigils, and scheming characters from the books.

Find it: Amazon

26. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ADULT COLORING BOOK

This 45-page tome, from Dark Horse Publishing, features classic scenes and characters from the Joss Whedon series created by a number of artists, including Buffy comic book veterans like Karl Moline, Rebekah Isaacs, and Georges Jeanty.

Find it: Amazon

28. CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL

This coloring book is both relaxing and educational, providing the owner with valuable information about the subjects on each page.

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29. THE ANCIENT ALCHEMY COLORING BOOK

Color in sacred symbols and designs like celtic knots, mandalas, and more.

Find it: Amazon

30. COLOR ME LISA FRANK

Fans of Lisa Frank are in for a book bursting with gleeful unicorns, castles, and of course, rainbows. You're going to need a huge pack of crayons if you want to do this thing justice.

Find it: Amazon

31. DOODLERS ANONYMOUS EPIC COLORING BOOK

Doodlers Anonymous is a collective of artists that works as a home for eccentric and unconventional illustration art. For this unique coloring book, 90 contemporary artists from all over the world came together to lend their illustrations. Each page features a different artist and a different style.

Find it: Amazon

32. OUTSIDE THE LINES

If you're unimpressed by 90 different artists, how about 100? All sorts of creative minds—like animators, cartoonists, fine artists, graphic artists, illustrators, musicians—offered their talents to make this incredible coloring book a reality. 

Find it: Amazon

33. ANIMORPHIA

You may know artist Kerby Rosanes from his Sketchy Stories blog. Rosanes creates mind-bending scenes of objects and animals bursting into tinier objects and animals. The wildly detailed illustrations promise hours of coloring enjoyment. For added fun, certain pages are intentionally unfinished and encourage the colorer to draw their own designs.

Find it: Amazon

34. MID-CENTURY MODERN ANIMALS

Illustrator Jenn Ski has a flair for mid-20th century art and design. She created a series of coloring books in this style that ranges from folk art to botanicals. This animal-themed coloring book features simplistic but beautiful designs that are perfect for animal and design lovers alike. 

Find it: Amazon

35. NATURAL WONDERS

Patrick Hruby’s artwork is striking for its solid blocks of contrasting colors that pop right off the page. Now you can pick your own color scheme for his blocky, minimalist style. The 32 illustrations feature natural scenes of animals, flora, and landscapes. There’s even a guide in the back of the book that shows what each picture looks like with color.

Find it: Amazon

36. CHARLEY HARPER COLORING BOOK

American illustrator Charley Harper is also an artist known for his blocky and colorful artwork. These pieces are perfect to translate into black and white linework to put in a coloring book. The horizontal coloring book features Harper’s iconic drawings of birds and illustrations he did for Ford Times. When you're done, you can peel the work right out of the book and stick on a wall or fridge.

Find it: Amazon

37. THE OFFICIAL OUTLANDER COLORING BOOK

Lovers of the novels and Starz television series Outlander will enjoy reliving it all with this official coloring book. You’ll need to grab a lot of green pencils to fill in the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands.

Find it: Amazon

38. SECRET NEW YORK

Created by Paris-based artist Zoe de Las Cases, this coloring book focuses on the little things in New York City. Color your way through Manhattan to Brooklyn, one tote bag or sneaker at a time.

Find it: Amazon

39. WILD SAVANNAH

Illustrator Millie Marotta creates extremely intricate coloring books that are so beautifully detailed, they almost don’t need to be colored. Her patterns of the savannah’s flora and fauna offer a great way to relieve stress and be creative.

Find it: Amazon

40. DISNEY VILLAINS

Break out your red and purple crayons, because you’re going to need them if you want to do Disney’s best villains justice. Color in the extravagant outfits of villains like Cruella De Vil and Ursula (preferably while cackling maniacally). The fancy cover, a thick board with double metallic foil stamping, is fitting for any villain.

Find it: Amazon

41. THE MAGICAL CITY

Illustrator Lizzie Mary Cullen takes cityscapes and deconstructs them into swirly abstract designs perfect for the creative colorer. Cullen took inspiration from cities like London, Rome, and Luxor when creating this unusual coloring book. 

Find it: Amazon

42. THE ART OF NATURE COLORING BOOK

For the budding scientist in your life: a coloring book filled with scientific drawings from the 18th and 19th centuries. There are 60 pages of vintage illustrations of animals and flora to fill in.

Find it: Amazon

43. ALEXANDER GIRARD COLORING BOOK

Bring home the illustrative magic of Alexander Girard with this coloring book that transforms some of his work into simple line art to color. Girard, also known as Sandro, was an interior and textile designer who made some extremely charming and retro artwork.

Find it: Amazon

44. COLOUR ME GOOD HARRY STYLES

Get lost coloring in the eyes of One Direction’s front man Harry Styles. Ever wonder what Harry would look like as a blonde? Now you can find out! You can also design and draw some cool tattoos for the singer to sport. Once you finish coloring, you hang up your work with this themed duct tape.

Find it: Amazon

45. BAIT: OFF-COLOR STORIES FOR YOU TO COLOR

Palahniuk contributed eight brand-new short stories to this book, and a slew of comic book artists provided nearly 50 black-and-white accompanying illustrations. Artists involved in this project include Hellboy's Duncan Fegredo, Lady Killer's Joelle Jones, and The Suiciders’s Lee Bermejo.

Find it: Amazon

46. THE WALKING DEAD COLORING BOOK

Illustrated by comic book artist Robert Kirkman, the creator of the iconic comic book series, the book features 96 pages of images. Sure, the comic may be in black and white, but this coloring book is your chance to finally give the story some color. Think the walkers should be green like traditional zombies? No problem! Want them to be blue? Hey, it's your coloring book.

Find it: Amazon

47. DOCTOR WHO COLORING BOOK

Attention Whovians: It might be time to break out your wallets and purchase this 96-page-long coloring book featuring planets, galaxies, doctors, and of course, the TARDIS. The illustrations are done by artists James Newman Gray, Lee Teng Chew, and Jan Smith.

Find it: Amazon

48. WONDER WOMAN COLORING BOOK

Celebrate Wonder Woman throughout the years with this new coloring book that comes out in October. Color in the star-spangled hero as she explores her homeland, Themyscira and fights crime in the United States. The 80-page coloring book offers hours of entertainment.

Find it: Amazon

49. COLOUR ME SWIFTLY

The “Colour Me Good” series has a ton of different celebrities to choose from, including Ryan Gosling and Harry Styles. Another option is pop star Taylor Swift. Illustrator Mel Elliott has created 16 line drawings of the singer for you to color in.

Find it: Amazon

50. SUPERNATURAL

Color in your favorite fraternal paranormal hunting duo as they drive across the country in their black 1967 Chevy Impala (or any color car you want, really). This 96-page coloring book features a whole host of characters, angels, and monsters from the CW show Supernatural that could all use a bit of color. Each page is intricately detailed, so colorers will need plenty of time on their hands to get through it all.

Find it: Amazon

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Amazon Is Offering Free Same-Day Shipping to Prime Customers for the Holidays
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The holidays are arriving early for Amazon Prime customers—along with every gift they’ve yet to order through the online shopping behemoth. Amazon has put all of its Prime members on the “Nice” list this year, and is rewarding them with free same-day shipping from now through Christmas Eve. While that may be cutting it a little too close for some shoppers, the limited-time perk has perpetual procrastinators singing “Joy to the World.”

“We are continually investing in Prime, adding more selection and making delivery faster and more convenient,” Greg Greeley, Amazon Prime’s VP, said in a statement. “In fact, in 2016, the last Prime Free Same-Day order from Amazon.com delivered in time for Christmas was ordered at 10:23 a.m. on Christmas Eve. The order included Venum Contender Boxing Gloves, and was delivered to a Prime member in Richmond, Virginia at 2:42 p.m.—the very same day, for free.

(Whoever received those boxing gloves last year: now you know.)

This year’s holiday shipping schedule will allow gift-givers to push that deadline even further. While two-day shipping is always free for Prime customers, if that were the only option, they’d have to be done buying all their gifts by Friday, December 22. This year’s shipping perk means that you can push your shopping all the way to Christmas Eve, as long as you live in one of Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery zones (you just have to order by 9:30 a.m.). Even better: If Prime Now is available in your area, you have until 9:14 p.m. on December 24 to place your order and still have something fabulous to stick under the Christmas tree.

Of course, zero-dollar shipping costs are far from the $99 service’s only perk: unlimited streaming of Prime Video movies and TV shows—including Amazon-produced series like The Man in High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle, One Mississippi, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—is there for the bingeing. Free Kindle books, photo storage, and grocery delivery are among Prime’s many other benefits.

Not a Prime member? No problem! “Even if you are not currently a member, holiday shoppers can try Prime for free for 30 days and get two-day, one-day, and same-day shipping for free,” says Greeley.

It’s hard to argue with free.

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Photo illustration by Lucy Quintanilla, Mental Floss. Saint Nicholas: HULTON ARCHIVE, GETTY IMAGES. Skulls, backgrounds: iStock
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History
Tomb Raider: The Story of Saint Nicholas's Stolen Bones
Photo illustration by Lucy Quintanilla, Mental Floss. Saint Nicholas: HULTON ARCHIVE, GETTY IMAGES. Skulls, backgrounds: iStock
Photo illustration by Lucy Quintanilla, Mental Floss. Saint Nicholas: HULTON ARCHIVE, GETTY IMAGES. Skulls, backgrounds: iStock

Throughout history, corpses have been bought and sold, studied, collected, stolen, and dissected. In Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses, Mental Floss editor Bess Lovejoy looked into the afterlife of numerous famous corpses, including Saint Nicholas, one of the many canonized bodies whose parts were highly prized by churches, thieves, and the faithful.

Don't tell the kids, but Santa Claus has been dead for more than sixteen hundred years. No, his body is not at the North Pole, and he's not buried with Mrs. Claus. In fact, his remains are thousands of miles away, on Italy's sunny Adriatic coast. And while Santa might be enjoying his Mediterranean vacation, he's probably not too happy about what happened to his remains. They were stolen in the eleventh century, and people have been fighting over them ever since.

Of course, the Santa Claus of folklore doesn't have a skeleton. But his inspiration, Saint Nicholas, does. That's about all we can say for sure about Nicholas: he was a bishop who lived and died in what is now Turkey in the first half of the fourth century. Legend tells us that he was born into a rich family and delighted in giving gifts. Once, he threw three bags of gold into the window of a poor family's house, saving the three daughters who lived there from a life of prostitution. Another time, he raised three children from the dead after a butcher carved them up and stored them in a vat of brine. He also protected sailors, who were said to cry out his name in rough seas, then watch the waves mysteriously smooth.

The sailors spread Nicholas's cult around the world. Within a century of his death, the bishop was worshipped as a saint, lending his name to hundreds of ports, islands, and inlets, and thousands of baby boys. He became one of the best-loved saints in all of Christendom, adopted by both the Eastern and Western traditions. Christmas probably owes something to his December 6 feast day, while Santa Claus’s red outfit may come from his red bishop’s robes. "Santa Claus" is derived from "Sinterklaas," which was how Dutch immigrants to New Amsterdam pronounced his name.

As one of the most popular saints in the Christian world, Nicholas had a particularly powerful corpse. The bodies of saints and martyrs had been important to Christianity since its beginning: the earliest churches were built on the tombs of saints. It was thought that the bodily bits of saints functioned like spiritual walkie-talkies: you could communicate with higher powers through them, and they, in turn, could manifest holy forces on Earth. They could heal you, protect you, and even perform miracles.

Sometimes, the miracles concerned the saints' own bodies. Their corpses would refuse to decay, exude an inexplicable ooze, or start to drip blood that mysteriously solidified and then reliquefied. So it was with Nicholas: at some point after his death, his bones began to secrete a liquid called manna or myrrh, which was said to smell like roses and possess potent healing powers.

The appearance of the manna was taken as a sign that Nicholas’s corpse was especially holy, and pilgrims began flocking by the thousands to his tomb in the port city of Myra (now called Demre). By the eleventh century, other cities started getting jealous. At the time, cities and churches often competed for relics, which brought power and prestige to their hometowns the way a successful sports team might today. Originally, the relics trade had been nourished by the catacombs in Rome, but when demand outstripped supply, merchants—and even monks—weren't above sneaking down into the crypts of churches to steal some holy bones. Such thefts weren't seen as a sin; the sanctity of the remains trumped any ethical concerns. The relics were also thought to have their own personalities—if they didn't want to be stolen, they wouldn't allow it. Like King Arthur's sword in the stone, they could only be removed by the right person.

That was how Myra lost Saint Nicholas. The culprits were a group of merchants and sailors from the town of Bari, located on the heel of Italy's boot. Like other relic thefts, this one came at a time of crisis for the town where the thieves lived, which in this case had recently been invaded by a horde of rapacious Normans. The conquerors wanted to compete with the Venetians, their trading rivals to the north, who were known for stealing the bones of Saint Mark (disguised in a basket of pork) from Alexandria in 827. And when the Normans heard that Myra had recently fallen to the Turks, leaving Nicholas’s tomb vulnerable, they decided to try stealing a saint for themselves.

According to an account written shortly after the theft by a Barian clerk, three ships sailed from Bari into Myra's harbor in the spring of 1087. Forty-seven well armed Barians disembarked and strode into the church of Saint Nicholas, where they asked to see the saint’s tomb. The monks, who weren't idiots, got suspicious and asked why they wanted to know. The Barians then dropped any pretense of politeness, tied the monks up, and smashed their way into Nicholas's sarcophagus. They found his skeleton submerged in its manna and smelled a heavenly perfume wafting up from the bones, which "licked at the venerable priests as if in insatiable embrace."

And so Nicholas of Myra became Nicholas of Bari. The relics made the town, and the men who stole them. The thieves became famous in the area, and for centuries their descendants received a percentage of the offerings given on the saint’s feast day. The townspeople built a new basilica to hold the remains, which drew thousands of pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages. Even today, Bari remains a major pilgrimage site in southern Italy, visited by both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Every May an elaborate festival, the Feast of the Translation, celebrates the arrival of Nicholas’s relics. As one of the highlights, the rector of the basilica bends over Nicholas’s sarcophagus and draws off some of the manna in a crystal vial. The fluid is mixed with holy water and poured into decorated bottles sold in Bari's shops; it is thought to be a curative drink.

But Bari is not the only place that boasts of the bones of Saint Nicholas. If you ask the Venetians, they will say their own sailors visited Myra during the First Crusade and stole Nicholas’s remains, which have been in Venice ever since. For centuries, both Bari and Venice have claimed the saint's skeleton.

In the twentieth century, scientists waded into the dispute. During renovations to the basilica of Bari in 1953, church officials allowed University of Bari anatomy professor Luigi Martino to examine the remains— the first time the tomb had been opened in more than eight hundred years. Martino found the bones wet, fragile, and fragmented, with many of them missing. He concluded that they had belonged to a man who died in his seventies, although because Martino was given only a short time with the bones, he could say little more.

Four decades later, Martino and other scientists also studied the Venetian bones. They concluded that those relics and the ones in Bari had come from the same skeleton, and theorized that the Venetian sailors had stolen what was left in Myra after the Barians had done all their smashing.

As for Demre, all they have is an empty tomb. And they want their bones back. In 2009, the Turkish government said it was considering a formal request to Rome for the return of Nicholas's remains. Though the bones have little religious significance in a nation that’s 99 percent Muslim, there’s still a sense in Turkey that the centuries-old theft was a cultural violation. Its restitution would certainly be an economic benefit: according to local officials, tourists in Demre frequently complain about the barren tomb, and they weren't satisfied by the giant plastic sculpture of Santa Claus that once stood outside Nicholas’s church. Even though Santa has become an international cultural icon, his myth is still rooted in a set of bones far from home.

From REST IN PIECES: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy. Copyright © 2013 by Bess Lovejoy. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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