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Ulysses Press
Ulysses Press

14 Unusual Coloring Books for Adults

Ulysses Press
Ulysses Press

Like slumber parties, whipped cream, and juice boxes, coloring books aren't just for kids anymore. There's a huge collection of coloring books that appeal to a (slightly) more mature crowd out there, perfect for any coffee table. I colored in a few pages.

1. The 1990s Coloring Book: All That and a Box of Crayons (Psych! Crayons Not Included.)

Ulysses Press

As any nostalgic twentysomething will tell you, the '90s was the best decade ever. Who needs Woodstock or the first moon walk, when the '90s had Pogs and Gameboys? Believe me when I say this coloring book has it all: Legends of the Hidden Temple, X-Files, Tomagatchi, you name it. There's even a draw-your-own Beanie Baby page! (I made mental_floss its own themed bear.)

The coloring book explains that it doesn't come with crayons (with that classic '90s 'tude) so I recommend picking up some purple and teal colors for this one. 

2. Snake Eyes

The coloring book you never knew you needed: Snake Eyes. This bizarre-but-awesome activity book lets you join in on all of Nic Cage's wacky adventures. Budding artists can even help give the actor a new face. My co-workers helpfully gave him a variety of faces so he can chase down Special Agent Archer incognito. 

3. The Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book

ECW Press

CBGB might be closed, but that doesn't mean you can't keep graffitiing on the bathroom walls (in spirit). The Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book offers lots of fun with punk bands of the past and present. There's something very satisfying about drawing your own tattoos on Henry Rollins (I opted for a pony). 

4. Color Me Drunk: A Drinking and Drawing Activity Book

This is a great activity book for lushes. The matte brown cover, designed by Danielle Deschenes and Matt Davis, comes with cut out beer goggles to wear while you color. These come in handy for the games and puzzles that are tailored to the user's inebriation. There's even a handy page that lets you keep track of how much you drank by coloring little beer bottles. The only problem is reality setting in when you color the whole page.

5. Indie Rock Coloring Book

Chronicle Books

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 foreward that really captures the charm of the project. 

6. Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book

Harry N. Abrams

When Bun B isn't writing raps on his iPhone, you can find him in this exciting activity book, which has 48 pages of countless rappers and hip-hop references just waiting to be colored in. Some of the guests include Childish Gambino, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and more. You can check out their tumblr here. 

7. Color This Book: New York City

Chronicle Books

If you love Broad City as much as I do, 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 the cool opening titles).

8. Dinosaurs With Jobs: a coloring book celebrating our old-school coworkers

Dinosaurs are really hard workers! Enjoy hilarious captions as you color in some of the older employees in the workforce. 

9. Coloring for Grown-Ups College Companion

Plume

Perfect to bring into boring lectures, this activity book provides the nostalgic joys of childhood mixed with the new joys of binge drinking. Fun puzzles include keg stand connect-the-dot, dorm room design, and quad bingo. One page lets you draw obscene images on a passed out student, so I went with the worst thing I could think of. 

10. Between the Lines: An Expert Level Coloring Book

Have you ever had to set your Sesame Street coloring book aside because it was just too easy? Here's a more challenging book for art majors with some time to kill. To see what some artists did with the pages, check them out here.

11. Color Me Swoon: The Beefcake Activity Book for Good Color-Inners as well as Beginners

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

12. Thrill Murray

Bill Murray lovers (everyone) can rejoice! 23 illustrators were commissioned to create 23 fantastic pages just waiting to be colored. Thrill Murray takes scenes from all your favorite movies, from Groundhog Day to almost every single Wes Anderson movie. 

13. Coloring Book for Lawyers 

This satirical coloring book is great for lawyers with a sense of humor (my dad's reaction was so-so). Follow one lawyer as he takes you through an average day. Make sure your brown and grey crayons are sharpened for this one. 

14. Game of Thrones 

"Dracarys," you murmur as you color in Drogon's flames with your canary yellow crayon. TeamArt's beautifully hand-made Game of Thrones coloring book is just the thing to pass the time before the next season starts. If you're waiting for the next book, you might want to invest in a 120 pack of crayons.

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Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

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Smart Shopping
12 Smart Book Ideas for Everyone in Your Life
iStock
iStock

Books make the perfect gift: they're durable, transportable, and they promise some (hopefully) quality alone time. But what do you get the aunt who loves mystery novels if you're not familiar with the genre? Or the nephew who devours travelogues and goes backpacking around the world? Look no further—we've got them covered, plus 10 other very specific categories.

1. FOR THE VINTAGE COOKBOOK LOVER: LEAVE ME ALONE WITH THE RECIPES: THE LIFE, ART, AND COOKBOOK OF CIPE PINELES, EDITED BY SARAH RICH,‎ WENDY MACNAUGHTON, DEBBIE MILLMAN, AND MARIA POPOVA; $27

Book cover for Leave Me Alone With the Recipes
Amazon

Author Sarah Rich and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton fell in love with the work of Cipe Pineles, the first female art director at Condé Nast, after discovering her recipes at a San Francisco antiquarian book fair. Filled with vibrantly colored illustrations, Leave Me Alone With the Recipes shows the joyful spirit and homespun flair that made Pineles’s work so influential. Alongside the recipes, the book includes contributions from luminaries in the worlds of food and illustration, including artist Maira Kalman and Maria Popova of Brain Pickings renown.

Find It: Amazon

2. FOR ANYONE HAVING SURGERY THIS YEAR: THE BUTCHERING ART: JOSEPH LISTER’S QUEST TO TRANSFORM THE GRISLY WORLD OF VICTORIAN MEDICINE BY LINDSEY FITZHARRIS; $27

Cover of The Butchering Art
Amazon

Back in the bad old days of medicine, a consistently blood-soaked apron was a sign of pride. Surgeons rarely washed them—or their hands, or their operating tools. Joseph Lister, the somewhat reluctant hero of Lindsey Fitzharris's new book The Butchering Art, was the genius who convinced the medical world that germs were not only real but a major cause of mortality in their hospitals. With an eye for vivid details and the colorful characters of 19th century medicine, Fitzharris has crafted a book that will make you thank Lister for his foresight—and make you glad you weren't alive back then.

Find It: Amazon

3. FOR THE GENEALOGY OBSESSIVE: IT’S ALL RELATIVE: ADVENTURES UP AND DOWN THE WORLD’S FAMILY TREE BY A.J. JACOBS; $27

Cover of Its All Relative
Simon & Schuster

What constitutes a "family"? In his latest book, A.J. Jacobs (famed for lifestyle experiments like trying to live an entire year in accordance with the Bible) delves into the world of genetics and genealogy to try and orchestrate the world's largest family reunion. With his trademark humor and insight, he ends up exploring the interconnectedness of all of humankind.

Find It: Amazon

4. FOR THE SOCIALLY AWARE YOUNG ADULT: THE HATE U GIVE BY ANGIE THOMAS; $18

Cover of The Hate U Give
Amazon

Already caught between the conflicting worlds of the poor neighborhood where she lives and her fancy prep school, 16-year-old Starr Carter finds herself in the middle of a tragedy when her childhood best friend is shot and killed by a police officer. As his death becomes a national flashpoint, it becomes clear that she may be the only person alive who can explain what really happened that night. Angie Thomas's writing has earned praise for being gut-wrenching, searing, and deftly crafted; Publishers Weekly called the book "heartbreakingly topical."

Find It: Amazon

5. FOR FANS OF PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY THAT READS LIKE A NOVEL: THE WARS OF THE ROOSEVELTS: THE RUTHLESS RISE OF AMERICA'S GREATEST POLITICAL FAMILY BY WILLIAM J. MANN; $35

You might think you know the Roosevelts, but historian William J. Mann looks beyond the well-worn stories to expose the bitter rivalries that drove its most famous members' quest for power. Along the way, he examines the Roosevelts who were kept away from the limelight, and the secrets they hold—all told in dramatic style.

Find It: Amazon

6. FOR THE INTREPID TRAVELER: ATLAS OBSCURA: AN EXPLORER'S GUIDE TO THE WORLD'S HIDDEN WONDERS, BY JOSHIA FOER, DYLAN THURAS, AND ELLA MORTON; $35

The book cover for Atlas Obscura's book
Amazon.com

An amusement park in a salt mine? Check. A tree so big it has its own pub? Check. A giant hole that's been spouting flames for 40 years? Check. This guidebook is a compendium of the world's strangest and most wonderful places, and it's guaranteed to inspire some serious wanderlust, especially in more adventurous travelers. For the complete experience, you can also get an awesome wall calendar featuring destinations from the book designed as vintage travel posters; there's a page-a-day desk calendar and explorers' journal too.

Find it: Amazon

7. FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO LOVES WEIRD HISTORY: THE PUBLIC DOMAIN REVIEW SELECTED ESSAYS; $20

The Public Domain Review is one of the premier online destination for fans of curious history. If you know someone who enjoys stories about weird medieval medicine treaties, ancient automata, deranged 18th century scientists, and other odd subjects well off the beaten historical path, look no further than this book of essays (the site's fourth).

Find It: The Public Domain Review

8. FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE A GOOD MYSTERY: THE BIG BOOK OF ROGUES AND VILLAINS, EDITED BY OTTO PENZLER; $25

Cover of the Big Book of Rogues and Villains
Amazon

At the heart of every good mystery is a (usually dastardly) perpetrator, whether it's a Count Dracula or a Jimmy Valentine. With this anthology, Edgar Award winner Otto Penzler has combed through 150 years of literary history to find 72 stories featuring the most famous and entertaining antiheroes authors have ever been able to dream up.

Find It: Amazon

9. FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THE BORSCHT BELT IS: JEWISH COMEDY: A SERIOUS HISTORY BY JEREMY DAUBER; $28.95

Jews and humor go together like challah and Manischewitz (after all, as my bubbie says, if you don't laugh, you'll cry). In this "serious history," Columbia professor Jeremy Dauber considers the origins of Jewish humor in Biblical times through its life on Twitter today; how it's reflected—and even influenced—Jewish history; the production of major archetypes like the Jewish mother; and the prominence of Jewish comedians like Sarah Silverman and Larry David. You don't have to be Jewish to love it, but it may help you understand the in-jokes.

Find It: Amazon

10. FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO LOVES DARK SHORT STORIES: HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, BY CARMEN MARIA MACHADO; $16

Book cover for Her Body and Other Parties
Amazon

A story told in the form of Law & Order episode summaries. A strange plague that makes girls go invisible, as narrated by a mall worker. A recollection of romantic encounters with the last of humanity’s survivors. In this collection, Carmen Maria Machado fuses urban legends, dystopian tropes, and heavy helpings of sexuality to create a new kind of magical realism strangely appropriate to our era. The images will haunt you long after you put the book down, if you let them.

Find It: Amazon

11. FOR THE PERSON WHO LOVES BIG-DEAL LITERARY NOVELS AND ALSO ABRAHAM LINCOLN: LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, BY GEORGE SAUNDERS; $18

A meditation on sorrow and the Civil War populated by a rag-tag group of ghosts, Lincoln in the Bardo starts with the real-life death of 11-year-old Willie Lincoln, Abraham's son. In the book, Willie has entered the Bardo—a Tibetan Buddhist term for a transitional limbo—where there's a fierce struggle underway for his soul.

Find It: Amazon

12. FOR THE GENERALIST: A BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION; $45 FOR THREE MONTHS

A book of the month club subscription box with gift trappings nearby
Book of the Month Club

Can’t decide what to get, but feeling generous? Give your friend who loves to read a new hardcover book of their choice every month. Literary fans who are short on time will love having someone else do the legwork to find the best new novels; plus, there’s early access to new releases. Prices vary depending on the length of the subscription, and there’s a deal right now where you can get a month free when you give a subscription as a gift.

Find It: Book of the Month

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