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Michaelbrent Collings

Because Life Is Too Short Not To Read Michaelbrent Collings is a #1 bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His bestsellers include Strangers, Darkbound, Apparition, The Haunted, The Loon, and the YA fantasy series The Billy Saga (beginning with Billy: Messenger of Powers). He hopes someday to develop superpowers, and maybe get a cool robot arm. Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that's a low bar to set), and much MUCH cooler than he is (also a low bar). Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings and can be followed on Twitter through his username @mbcollings. Follow him for awesome news, updates, and advance notice of sales. You will also be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins!

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer Okay, so you meet a person on match.com or crazysingles.net or desperatepeopleneetnotapply.org or something and you go and there the person is. Gorgeous. Smiling. The profile said "Successful doctor. Lover of books and words and children." But we know those things lie, so how can you tell? What if this person is really someone looking to make a lampshade out of your face-skin?

Well, bring this book along with you. Present it to your date. If he/she says anything other than, "I LOVE this book," then the whole "lover of words" is a lie, and the "and children" part is probably a fib as well. You're definitely in face-skin lampshade territory.

The Phantom Tollbooth is, quite simply, THE litmus test for word lovers. The story is fairly simple: a little boy who is bored with life receives a gift that whisks him away to a magical world where he discovers he must rescue the princesses who were banished long ago.

Sounds fairly standard? Well, on its face it is. But the magic is in its details. Its whimsy. Its playfulness and imagination. The characters you meet, all of whom are plays on words and situations. From Tock, the watchdog (who is a literal dog with a watch embedded in him... but which ticks, not tocks), to the Humbug (never quite right about anything), to Officer Short Shrift, to Faintly Macabre, and many many more, the book is chock full of fun and creativity.

This is a book that, once you read it a few times, you can pick it up and open to a random page and just revel in the wordplay. A treat for anyone who enjoys the power of words, the things that language can accomplish, and the opportunities that follow when imagination is followed.