As a writer, and a fictional writer at that, reading takes up a great deal of my time. I love perusing the shelves at the local bookstore, searching for new books to add to my library. In celebration of a fresh start as we welcome 2017, I set a fairly lofty goal for myself: to read at least one book per week, aside from the arsenal I already read in professional pursuits. I set this resolution in order to force myself to rethink how I utilize my downtime. Whether it’s a more thoughtful memoir by someone I admire, an educational anthology that’ll help inform my work, or an epic fantasy for pure leisure, I want to make sure that I’m actively enriching my mind with a good book.
For those of you who share my love of reading, and have set similar goals for yourselves, I’ve come with an author recommendation that is bound to keep your reading time well occupied.
Last summer I was introduced to the world of Sarah J. Maas. I was immediately enamored with her work, and read everything that she had published (at the time) in the span of one month. To date, Maas has written two stellar young adult series that are ongoing, currently totaling in eight novels, that are bound to interest readers young and old — she’s easily become one of my favorite modern authors. I even included her debut novel, Throne of Glass, as a part of our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide out of admiration.
A manifesto of sorts, I’m going to do my darndest to tell you why these books are absolutely fabulous, and worthy of a good read (all spoiler free!):
Both series take place within the same meta-universe, and are high fantasy “epics” about some pretty stellar girls doing some pretty stellar things. Throne of Glass, which currently sports six novels (one of which is a little collection of short stories that take place before the events of the first novel), and A Court of Thorns and Roses, which currently has two. Both series are scheduled to wrap up this year, with spin-off novels of the latter, ACOTAR, in the future works. That’s over 3,500 pages of material to blast through.
At 9am on Thanksgiving morning, my father was in the kitchen cooking our turkey and heating up sides that were prepared the night before. By noon, after we were done eating our “Thanksgiving Brunch,” my mother began fluffing one of her five synthetic Christmas trees. At 4pm, we went to go see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at their local theatre, and proceeded to spend the car ride home defending it to the nonbelievers (I’m looking at you, Pat). Finally, at 8pm we were all stringing up twinkly lights, and ogling at our massive, life-accrued collection ornaments whilst decorating the tree(s) as a family.
The Holiday season is officially upon us, and we are all abuzz with family traditions, seasonal drinks from your local coffee joint, and time with laughing with your friends and family. We are a diverse community that celebrates a plethora of different holidays. My family personally celebrates what we like to call “Commercial Christmas,” as we are avid fans of baking cookies and watching our favorite holiday movies on repeat. Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, or which traditions your family shares, many of us are looking for the perfect present to give your loved ones to let them know how much you care.
In order to help you take a step back and enjoy the holiday season that much more, or give you more time to finish up your last bits of work before hunkering down to spend some well deserved time with family, we’ve curated some of our favorite books, games, and festive plush toys that your geeky loved one will absolutely adore. Whether your geek is a big fan of Supernatural or renewing their love of Pokemon with the recent release of Sun and Moon, we’ve got something for every geek…and maybe just maybe, a little something for yourself!
Coloring Books, Novels, and Art
For your book-worm geek we’ve put together a list of coloring books (because those are trendy, right?), a unconventional YA series about a 16 year-old female assassin who takes on a world of magic, graphic novels, and art books detailing the beautiful concept work from the latest Disney flick:
We’ve found some great stuff for your media-obsessed geek. Whether your gamer has been plugging away since they could hold a controller, or is even newer to the gaming scene, we’ve got a few video games that are breaking the mold with fabulous female leads and compelling stories. We’ve also found an amazing but lesser-known film from some of our absolute favorite studios, Studio Ghibli, following a woman as she looks back on her childhood. Included are also a couple of coffee table books highlighting the history of Tomb Raider and the film Aliens’ cinematography.
Does your geek have an annual countdown to the holiday season, to when it’s appropriate to wear “ugly” Christmas sweaters and listen to nothing but Carol of the Bells for two months, non-stop? Well, that’s my kind of geek and I’ve got you covered. For my festive friends, we’ve got sweaters and other snuggly gifts, plush toys wearing plush sweaters, and nerdy cookie kits:
Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or something a little extra special, we’ve also put together a ton of miscellaneous gifts. Scarfs and shower curtains for your science lovers, cosmetics and bath bombs for a little self-love, and PUSHEEN! We wanted to make sure that there was something for everyone under the tree or by the fireside:
Note: Links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means GeekGirlCon receives credit if you make a purchase using them. You can also sign up for AmazonSmile for free and help out GeekGirlCon! Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable donation of your choice, like us!
On Friday morning, we posted a brief letter explaining our thoughts on the current political air. As we face a difficult period, we wanted to remind our GeekGirlCon community that we are here to support and foster diversity, representation, and equality.
At the end of that message, we asked you to share your thoughts on the current situation, but in an encouraging and optimistic light: what are you doing to contribute and help? Which women are inspiring you today? What media (television shows, movies, books, music) have you been turning to for additional motivation and comfort, and what media is doing a stellar job at representing diversity?
Here are some of the answers that we’ve been receiving on social media:
At the end of the second season of Jane the Virgin, Jane Villanueva finally marries her longterm sweetheart, Michael Cordero. While this would be, for obvious reasons, a very significant moment in Jane’s life, it would also be a very significant moment in my life. Finally, I would see how this show that has rooted itself so deeply into my heart addresses the big, complicated thing that is Jane’s sexuality.
Before I get into a totally acceptable amount of detail about this episode’s plot and my personal thoughts and feelings about it, let me explain some of the things I was hoping the writers would do with this very important moment. First, I wanted Jane to continue to think of the first time she has sex as a monumental thing—that’s pretty integral to her character at this point. However, I also wanted the first time Jane has sex to be rather less than monumental. I wanted them to continue writing Michael as very thoughtful and considerate and just generally not caught up in his own masculinity. And last, but definitely not least, I wanted them to cautiously and realistically address how Jane’s personal decisions about sex and marriage, while valid in a vacuum, do perpetuate harmful notions about purity and women’s sexuality in general.
To be fair, I will concede that The Episode, Chapter 47, ultimately addressed (if not to the extent I would have liked) most of my concerns. Unfortunately, it also called into question a pretty dangerous idea about the nature of intimacy and communication.
At GeekGirlCon HQ, we’re still on cloud nine as we recount all of our memories from the 2016 convention. Two weeks ago today, our staff and agents were on the floor setting up and preparing for the rush of attendees. Both Saturday and Sunday were spent smiling, laughing, sharing our passions, and inspiring one another.
GeekGirlCon keeps on growing, and growth brings more people who empathize with our mission. More people means more voices, and more than ever before we’re seeing articles across the Seattle area (and beyond!) sharing what they thought about the convention this year. To ignite those post-con feels, we’ve curated a ton of those posts to share with you.
My mind is blown by all of the imagination and ingenuity I’ve just seen that I’m not sure how to even write a post about it. Thank goodness I have Indigo, my fellow GGC copywriter to help me out! We’ve decided to tag team the writing of this panel to maximize the awesomeness.
It was crazy! In no time at all, Adrienne and I were drawn to the pure craftsmanship of the host and judge’s costumes. Lauren Bond was charismatic and made for a stellar Evie Frye. Cheyenne, Priscilla, and Li were no less, dressed as our favorite Nintendo and anime characters. The show started off strong, and only got better as it went on.
GeekGirlCon ’16 at Washington State Conference Center in Seattle, Washington, on Saturday, October 8, 2016. Photo by Danny Ngan.
Since my mind is blown, we’re going to hit the highlights of this year’s contest in an effort to paint a picture of this inspiring event. All of the participants were placed into one of five categories: anime, comics, other, film & tv, or video games.
It’s so close, I can smell it — I can smell that brand-new comic book smell when I hold up our Program Guide, the one that happens right after you crack it open for the first time. I can hear the Harry Potter fans excitedly discussing which Patronus they got at the fan meetup (mine is a swan). I can see my fellow geek’s faces when they walk into our massive Exhibitor Hall and behold all of the goodies, or while they watch on as Rey and Harley Quinn strut their stuff at the Cosplay Contest. I can hear victorious screams from the Gaming Area, the shuffling of cards and well-used controllers. GeekGirlCon 2016 is so close, and we are getting excited.
Organizing something like GeekGirlCon takes a lot of work, and we are 100% volunteer-run. It takes an entire year of long hours, thousands of e-mails, and endless cups of coffee to put it all together, but we do it out of passion. Each member of our team was brought together by a shared mission, and it’s so worth it to hear, see, and experience the weekend with all of you.
In these final hours leading up to con, we’re reflecting on what it takes to put on the show. In a brief Q&A with our Interim Executive Director, Danielle Gahl, we discuss what it takes and how we do it:
Q: How much planning (would you say) goes into making GeekGirlCon happen?
GeekGirlCon’16 took a full year of planning with a little extra spice added in because we have all new leadership and decided to expand.
There are so many things that go into making a Con for 10,000 people, and add in the fact that we’re all volunteers and things get even more exciting. This year, we brought in 30 new staff volunteers, shifted marketing efforts, expanded the space, cultivated more than 150 individual sponsors, and almost doubled the number of vendors and artists.
So how much planning? A ton for the Con itself, a ton for the organizational structures to sustain the Con, and a ton to make it happen as a ‘hobby.’
It’s officially October, and do you know what that means? GeekGirlCon 2016 is less than one week away! When this post goes live, there will only be 5 more days until we all join together in glorious, geeky harmony.
Each and every year, GeekGirlCon grows bigger and better. This year, we’ve got tons of fabulous contributors, an amazing lineup of exhibitors, great panels on cosplay, gaming, and fandom, and so much more in store for the weekend. As we continue to grow, we get that much more room and opportunities to host a ton of events that are new to the convention, and we’re going to talk about those nouveau happenings today:
A Bigger, Better Con
For starters, this year’s convention is BIGGER than ever before! With the 4th floor expansion, we’ve got more space to cram in that much more awesome content. Our exhibitor hall is going to be gigantic, we’ll have tons of folks on the floor of our gaming and DIY Science sections — every nook and cranny is packed with panels, social events, and even a couple quiet spaces to sit back and relax for a minute in the midst of all that crazy fun.
GeekGirlCon 2015 at Washington State Conference Center in Seattle, Washington. October 2015. Photo by Danny Ngan
GGC After Dark
As I wrote about in a former post, we’ve got some fun in store for our 18+ attendees. GeekGirlCon After Dark is a series of panels geared towards all of the adults joining us next weekend. Featuring more scandalous subjects, these panels will explore everything from sexuality in YA novels, the science of kink, to body positivity and BDSM. With hosts of contributors from internet-savvy filmmakers and published authors, there’s fascinating content with a more mature zing.
GeekGirlCon and the Girl Scouts of Western Washington have joined forces to bring together our love of gaming and young female empowerment. Andy Munich, our own Gaming Events Coordinator, helped bring the program to life. An avid gamer himself, Andy wanted to organize activities and tours for the Girl Scouts that would teach them more about the gaming industry. So far, they’ve visited our friends at Wizards of the Coast and DigiPen, and have future tours scheduled with studios such as Bungie.
To learn more about the program, I did a Q&A with Andy to see what the GeekGirlScouts are all about:
The GeekGirlScouts posing with a dragon during their visit to Wizards of the Coast.
Q: What is GeekGirlScouts?
A: The GeekGirlScouts is an initiative that was started via a conversation between me and Tammie Treibley Thompson while we were participating in the 2014 Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons Extra Life Marathon. We both agreed that it was high time that GeekGirlCon and the Girl Scouts of Western Washington teamed up for something related to the nerdy activities we so much enjoy.
In yesterday’s post, we got to look at all of the amazing teams and organizations focused on helping women further themselves career-wise as a part of GeekGirlConnections — but that’s not all we have in store. Various non-profit organizations and community groups will also be joining us at the convention. All of these groups share similar missions and ideologies as we do here at GeekGirlCon. Just as we are passionate about celebrating the achievements and representation of women in geek culture, we thrive to nurture a community where inclusiveness, acceptance, and support are all highly upheld. In one way or another, each one of these teams works just as hard to strengthen that goal. Not only will you connect professionally, but get to know your community and learn how you can get involved at GeekGirlConnections.
ACLU of Washington ACLU provides legal assistance and advocacy for both individuals and community groups by taking on major law reform through litigation and legislative action. They are keenly attuned to civil rights issues, dedicated to defending and expanding civil liberties for all regardless of race, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. ACLU distributes pamphlets and educational material to, as well as provides speakers to various schools and communities throughout the state of Washington.