The Week in Review: Remembering Oscar de la Renta, Celebrating Fashion

Oscar de la Renta shaped the meaning of elegance. With his tasteful lines, flowing silhouettes and bold colors, de la Renta proved great art in any form can transcend. In his 82 years—50 of which were spent at the helm of his own company—he celebrated women, donated his time and resources to education and cemented fashion’s role in politics by dressing the most important women in Washington.

“My job as a designer is to make a woman feel her very best,” he once said. “Work hard. Believe in yourself. It’s not the publicity that sells the clothes, it’s the woman.”

He dressed generations of women, including Audrey Hepburn, Oprah, Sarah Jessica Parker, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, rapper Nicki Minaj, Amal Alamuddin at her recent wedding and every first lady since Jacqueline Kennedy.

“We will always be grateful to Oscar for the love he showed us, and for sharing his talent on some of the most important occasions of our lives,” the Clintons said in a statement after his passing.

“We will miss Oscar’s generous and warm personality, his charm and his wonderful talents,” former first lady Laura Bush said in a statement. “My daughters and I have many fond memories of visits with Oscar, who designed our favorite clothes, including Jenna’s wedding dress.”

In a piece penned for Vogue, Anna Wintour, Artistic Director for Condé Nast and Vogue Editor in Chief, wrote, “There is much being said that his passing yesterday marks the end of an era. Not true. He was the most democratic man I knew and he would have lived happily and defined any era.”

De la Renta’s influence is seen in magazines on Flipboard, in topics ranging from bridal inspiration to women’s rights.

Wedding Wishes by kpease1: A bridal how-to, covering everything from de la Renta’s inspirational dresses to invitation options and location suggestions.

Clothes and Fashion by Amelia Shepherd: A look at fashion throughout our lives, from the runway to the street.

RunWay by universal_style: The models, runways and designers that comprise high fashion.

Bridal by margaret marshall: Iconic wedding dresses from de la Renta’s atelier and other lines.

Women’s Rights by Cena Bussey: Supporting the pursuits of women across the globe, inclduing the first ladies de la Renta famously dressed.

Tributes & Obituaries by thenewsdesk: Celebrating those we’ve lost.

~GabyS is reading “New York, New York
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On the Red Couch with Comic Book Icon Jim Lee

Young, talented Ivy League graduate leaves the safe confines of higher learning to pursue his dream, founds a company that transforms an industry and becomes wildly successful in the process. Silicon Valley startup entrepreneur, you say? Try comic book creator with an origin story worthy of the very pages he creates.

Jim Lee, world-renowned artist, writer, editor and publisher, has been a pioneer in the comic book industry for more than 25 years. Among his many accomplishments are founding Image Comics and Wildstorm Productions, becoming the current Co-Publisher of DC Comics, and being in the Guinness World Records for having penciled and co-written the best-selling comic book of all time (X-Men No. 1).

He might be best known for his distinctive drawing style, but Jim’s knowledge and influence over an entire publishing medium has been even more eye catching. We were fortunate enough to hear his stories, thoughts and insights below.

You decided to take a huge gamble on your passion in life, like many startup founders. What gave you the confidence to jump into comics?
It was largely stupidity. When you’re young and just starting out, it’s less of a gamble because you’ve got nowhere to go but up. You’re not thinking about buying a house or saving up for my kids’ college fund. It’s all about immediate gratification. When I was deciding what interests me, it was creating and telling stories with pictures. I couldn’t envision a life where I didn’t get to do that.

Your work has made a big impact on an entire industry, particularly artists. What influenced your style—that has in return influenced the style of so many after you?
I was very much a kid of pop culture and mainstream comics: John Byrne, Neal Adams, George Pérez, Frank Miller. When I first started in the business, I was still looking at past comics as a source of inspiration. But in my second year, I basically put down all those comic books I loved and said, “I’m going to throw that out of my point of view and just rely on what comes to mind.” My style did go on to be copied, perhaps because it was commercially successful. One of the more gratifying things I hear at Comic-Con is from young people who grew up on my comic books and were inspired to pursue a career in the arts because of them. There’s no greater honor than passing inspiration forward.

You were at the top of the game at Marvel when you took your second big entrepreneurial leap to start Image. How did that gamble end up happening?
Maybe it was less of a gamble because I always felt like, “Hey, if things go horribly awry, maybe they’ll take us back.” [Laughs] But at the end of the day, I launched Image with the other guys because they were my friends—we grew up in the business together, we had a lot of shared sensibilities and desires, and we didn’t know any better.

In addition to being a commercial success, Image also changed the game for independent creators from a business standpoint. How would you describe Image’s lasting effects on the publishing industry?
Well, first off, I think creators owning their work outright was a big change. We were able to pass on most of the profits to the creators themselves. But more so than that, showing there were other options out there for creators was important and continues to be to this day. Whether it’s Kickstarter or self publishing or web comics, I think it’s healthy for the business and healthy for the talent community to have as many options as possible.

Tell us about The New 52 project at DC. What was it like to reboot the most iconic characters in the DC Comics universe?
It’s interesting. This touches on many of the themes of what prepares you to take gambles in life. I certainly drew upon the experiences I had at Marvel with Heroes Reborn, where we rebooted the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Avengers and Captain America. And I looked at history, as well, since DC had done what’s called the Silver Age reboot of the characters back in the 50s. We wanted to take the entire DC universe and do something exciting that would essentially reset the table to make it inviting for both new and old fans.

When you think about The New 52 and how dramatically sweeping those changes were, there was a risk of damaging these icons that have been around for 75+ years. There was a furor and controversy in the press leading up to the launch as fans were up in arms about these changes. But it was one of those instances where it paid off to stick to your guns because when the books came out, it was a huge success. It really showed that you can’t always rely on a certain subsection of your readers who may be the most vocal but may not represent the bulk of your potential sales and audience.

Something near and dear to Flipboard is the technology shifts that are happening in digital publishing. Are there any new consumer technologies related to the comic book industry that you find interesting?
One of the great things that helped The New 52 gain so much traction was the same-day-digital [publishing] across our entire lineup—you could buy the print edition and the digital edition at the same time. That opened up the world: it made The New 52 just a couple clicks away for a potential consumer to read an article about what we’re doing, find the website, and purchase the comic book that they just read about.

The other thing that happened was that portable media devices allowed us to experiment with interactive storytelling and tell stories in dramatically different ways. Instead of your traditional left-right, up-down narrative/flow that you would normally have in a printed comic book, you can now build panels in a dynamic way that mixes visual and story elements. You tap the screen and get a word balloon; tap again and get a sound effect; tap again to see a previous panel, and so on. It’s like building a song using notes in a very different way.

It seems like comic book characters and their stories are more popular and relevant than ever, with several of the highest grossing movies this year being based on comics. What do you think has caused this renaissance?
The common answer here is that comic books are the mythology of pop culture today. But I think these movies are so popular because they are based on great stories. What you get out of publishing great comic stories for 70-80 years is a sort of natural selection. The stories that have survived are the best stories of an entire industry over decades. The glitzy CGI is then great for bringing those stories to life on the big screen. But at the end what brings people to the cinema are the stories about the people and that human element. I don’t think it’s a surprise that some of the very best movie heroes out there are comic book heroes.

DC Comics’ “Justice League: Origin” is available for free download now through our partner, iBooks, as part of its iOS 8 celebration. You can download Lee’s book (and others) via the iBooks pages in this magazine:

~EricF is reading “Ten for Today
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What I’m Reading: The Moment Magazine

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“Nothing useless can be truly beautiful,” said the English textile designer and writer William Morris. A century later, one man made it his life’s work to echo the need for both form and function. Months before his passing, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs reminded the world that “technology married with liberal arts makes our hearts sing.”

Two people who live by these ideas are Jennifer Frye and Allan Bunch of The Moment Magazine. The Washington, DC-based duo work in tech—Frye as the technology project manager for a museum and Bunch as the VP of a local startup—and see art as an integral part of their professional and personal lives.

On Flipboard, the pair slip into the role of curators. The Moment’s virtual gallery of city guides, art news and trends is updated daily with selections ranging from the offbeat to the essential. With so much available eye candy, we wanted an insider’s guide to having great taste.

So we asked: what are you reading?

The Moment began as an opportunity to share with the world stories around our collective interests and experiences. Our first daily posts were explorations in art, food, music and travel.

Before long, we realized that our collection of stories truly resonated with our readers, so we set out to understand why. With so much available content focusing on culture, what was it that attracted people to the musings of our experiences? It wasn’t long before we started to uncover the answer: positivity.

With positivity as our beacon, we set out, every day, to curate the best content for our 14 Flipboard magazines that span culture, art, fashion, technology, design, food and local guides to New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami.

We subscribe to growing list of about 137 sources that we flip from throughout the day and also when we’re up at night. While it’s hard to narrow our favorite Flipboard sources down to a few, some of them include:

Instagram: We subscribe to images tagged with #contemporaryart, #streetart and #lovenyc as well as several talented NYC photographers like Kevin Lu, Gary Hershorn, Wrongrob, DARIO NYC and JMSUAREZ. One of the best parts of any day is coming across those few images out of the multitude that we can’t wait to share with our readers!

Twitter: Nothing beats Twitter for finding out what is happening at events like Art Basel, New York Fashion Week and SXSW in real and near time.

Flipboard Picks and Instagram Gems: We love checking out the inspiring content shared by the Flipboard team in Flipboard Picks and Instagram Gems. Both magazines are our favorite jumping off points for exploring magazines offered by other Flipboard MagMakers. Of course, we are always very excited if we find one of our flips featured in them as well.

Untapped Cities, Time Out New York, Gotham Magazine, Guest of a Guest: On a consistent basis, we can always count on these wonderful folks for insights on what’s happening in NYC.

Blouin Artinfo, Hyperallergic, Colossal, Arrested Motion, Artsy: Fantastic sources for keeping up-to-date with contemporary and modern art.

Cool Hunting, Wired, Fast Company, My Modern Met: Commendable sources for a wide variety of cool, motivating and inspiring stuff.

Our Flipboard readers know that we keep them up-to-date on topics ranging from fashion, to local happenings, to offbeat delights. Aside from our specific sources, what all but a few know is the test that each must pass before publication consideration: our smile test!

As we uncover exciting nuggets to share with our friends, if it makes us smile, The Moment readers are likely to see it. It’s our way of connecting with our magazine fans. When you read a fun Offbeat Moment story, gaze at a photo in Art Moment, visit an event you discovered in What Where New York, or try that recipe from Culinary Moment, you can be sure that what you’re experiencing made us smile.

And when our readers comment, letting us know that we brought a bit of cheer to their day; well, that’s why we do what we do. That’s why The Moment is on Flipboard.

Stay in The Moment on Flipboard:

~ShonaS is curating “Proof of Experience
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Your Guide to Travel + Leisure on Flipboard

When “Camera and Travel” became “Travel + Leisure” in 1971, it combined the renowned photography of the former with the most experienced travel journalism of the latter. Today, the result is a magazine filled with inspirational images and articles to help make your worldly adventures more comfortable and chic.

In search of a kid-friendly place to stay? Pick from a list of the best hotel kids’ clubs. Worried about this holiday season? Catch up with five “before you leave” steps to ease the stress. Tired of over-packing? Get tips from a travel-pro CEO. Having a girls or boys weekend in Miami? Make sure you do it right.

They’re also known for the World’s Best, a user-survey-driven list of recommendations that includes the World’s Best Hotels, Cities, Cruise Lines and Spas.

Turn your workday daydreams into a reality by planning your next family vacation, hour of relaxation or perfect meal with Travel + Leisure, specially designed for Flipboard:

~GabyS is reading “Presidential Time Capsules
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The Week in Review: Catholic Church Debate

Over 19 months ago, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis. The pontiff has since changed the face of the Catholic Church, speaking out against income inequality and poverty and about the importance of family and responsible government.

While the Pope enjoys record popularity levels, the teachings of the Catholic Church often stir debate in the U.S., most recently surrounding gays and same-sex relationships. A group of Roman Catholic bishops gathered at the Vatican this week to address the future of the church. They produced a preliminary paper that called for the church to accept unmarried couples, those who previously divorced and gay people, who have “qualities to offer to the Christian community,” the bishops wrote.

The writing, believed to be the first positive statements about same-sex relationships from the church, was met with applause by some and criticism from others.

Archbishop Bruno Forte said the church does not support gay unions or marriages, but it must “respect the dignity of every person.”

“The fundamental idea is the centrality of the person independently of sexual orientation,” he said after the document’s release.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke said “worrying tendencies” were emerging because the group was “supporting the possibility of adopting a practice that deviates from the truth of the faith.”

The firestorm and international headlines that followed the paper in part caused the Vatican to backtrack. In a statement later, they called the report a “working document” not intended to create “the impression of a positive evaluation” of same-sex relationships or unmarried couples who live together. A final report is expected to be released Saturday.

The Vatican tug-of-war reflects conversations globally and in the U.S., where opinions about religion are constantly changing. A recent Pew survey found three-quarters of Americans think religion is losing influence in America but want it to play a more central role in politics. Since the 2010 midterm elections, there was also an increase in those who said their views on social and political issues should be expressed in places of worship.

Readers are collecting stories about religious issues and people on Flipboard. Here’s a sampling.

Pope by Elayne Casados: Tracking Pope Francis, from his most recent travels to his statements.

Religion Newsflips by clasqm: News about Catholicism, Mormonism, Judaism and Islam.

Vatican by Kyle Andrew Brown: Images, video and speeches from the seat of the Catholic Church.

Temples by Balasubramanian: See the beautiful temples of India.

Buddhism by navneetnair: The teachings and customs of Buddhism.

Faith by Ambrose Pan: Sayings, scripture and quotes.

~GabyS is reading “Monuments
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On the Red Couch with Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers

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They say design is the world’s oldest discipline. And maybe the most essential: From freeways to French fries, the stuff of modern civilization had to be crafted by designers—engineers, artisans and architects—with the capacity to understand and execute the needs of society.

One of those designers is Stephen Ayers, the 11th Architect of the Capitol. Of his many responsibilities, one looms the largest: the renovation of the Capitol Dome. To explain why the iconic edifice needs a facelift, Ayers uses Flipboard to retell the story of one of democracy’s greatest symbols.

What is the Architect of the Capitol?
It’s a federal agency, and we are the stewards of the beautiful buildings on Capitol Hill. We’re in charge of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of nearly 18,000,000 square feet for Congress and the Supreme Court.

We’re an organization of 2,300 employees who are experts in architecture and historical preservation, and employ historical crafts and trades to repair and maintain these beautiful buildings that have been entrusted in our care.

It’s also a person. I’m the 11th Architect of the Capitol in our 224-year history in this great city of Washington D.C.

Was this something you aspired to as a child?
It’s not something I knew about in architecture school. I was in active duty at the military, working as a licensed architect, in 1985 or so. It wasn’t until the late ’90s that I heard about the Architect of the Capitol, and applied for a job there. I’ve been here 17 years.

When you were in the military, what kinds of projects were you working on?
It’s funny, everybody asks me that question. They’re surprised to hear that there even are architects in the military!

I was designing office buildings, a master plan for Edwards Air Force Base, and family housing units—homes, that is—plus all the industrial parts that go with flying airplanes: an air traffic control tower, or a hangar, or some high-tech facility.

I was part of a team that designed an anechoic chamber—that’s a huge building where the B1 bomber would come in and be on a turntable, which would turn inside this building as it activated its radar so the military could do tests. Some really fun, hi-tech buildings.

The public doesn’t have a great opinion of Congress at the present moment. Why should people care about what you’re doing?
I’ve been out across the country in the past several years, talking to people and giving speeches and getting feedback, and one thing that I’ve learned is that people treasure their Capitol building. It always ranks as one of the most beautiful buildings in these surveys that architects do every year.

And people want to know about it. It’s important for us to get the word out because there’s a genuine interest across the nation and globe. You can hardly turn on a television anywhere in the country without seeing a glimpse of the Capitol building. It’s become a symbol of our democracy. People want to be reassured that it’s cared for. And that in 200 years, it will look as it first did.

It sounds like the Capitol is under a lot of construction. What’s going on?
We have a number of issues across the Capitol campus. Right here on the Capitol building we are restoring the cast iron outer shell of the dome that’s been in place for some hundred and fifty years.

It was built at the height of the Civil War. It hasn’t been restored since 1959, and today it’s got over a thousand cracks and water leaks and is in dire need of repair. We’re undertaking the repair of the dome today, and it’s in the process of being scaffolded. We’re also restoring the frescos and paintings of Constantino Brumindi, and that’s just here in the Capitol Building.

Out of all those projects, which is the most personally satisfying?
The restoration of the dome. It’s so iconic, everyone knows and loves it, and it stood for so much. It was constructed in the midst of a war, when President Lincoln talked about the building continuing through the Civil War. Relating that construction to the fact that our nation should endure is really meaningful for me. What an honor to be a part of it everyday.

You’re fixing old buildings. Why use new media like Flipboard?
We have an unbelievable groundswell of people asking questions. It’s not just a local thing, it’s a national and international thing. We have to reach a broad spectrum of people very, very quickly. Not everyone gets the opportunity to see it. We have to recreate that experience virtually.

And what do you hope people learn from these magazines?
We want people to be comforted that we are passionate stewards of their treasure. This is their capital building and they’ve entrusted my organization to care for it. We accept that challenge and are passionate about doing so. We really want people to be inspired about architecture and design and the work that Congress does.

As an architect, what do you think about that the average person might not consider when it comes to cities and the buildings in them?
What I often think is important is not the buildings themselves, but the space between them. The design of those buildings has to create healthy and welcoming environments inside and outside. I also think about how they create civic spaces that give communities a sense of who they are. Buildings must be designed to reinforce our identities.

Keep up with the Capitol Dome renovation here:

~ShonaS is curating “Proof of Experience
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Table for Two: Serious Eats Joins Flipboard

Before becoming the “missionary of delicious,” foodie Ed Levine had two great passions: baseball and jazz. After throwing one too many curveballs, Levine migrated to music full-time, becoming the pop critic for The New York Times. But while Levine enjoyed the position’s authority, he longed for a sense of community.

Enter his third and most definitive passion: pizza. Well, all food actually. Levine had just finished writing a book about New York City dining (aptly titled New York Eats) and realized he could demystify the way people think about eating.

So he started Serious Eats, a site devoted to democratizing food culture. With a voice that’s proficient but playful—think “Harold McGee meets The Simpsons”—the site investigates everything from the science of the perfect steak to the history of America’s weirdest soda.

Serious Eats has brought its entire archive of recipes, experiments and delectable discussions to Flipboard. Whether you’re looking for Dinner Tonight or the best way to hack homemade red sauce, your “destination for delicious” has been fully paginated to appease every device and appetite. Pull up a chair and dig in:

~ShonaS is reading “Facepalm
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The Week in Review: Women Take Center Stage

“We are having a moment,” Barnard College President Debora Spar told The New York Times. “Young women are identifying as feminist at levels and in ways that haven’t been seen since the 1970s.”

Spar appears to be onto something if news coverage and recent events are an indication, from op-eds about feminism to analyses of the female voting block ahead of the November midterm elections and the debate over workplace discrimination.

Seventy-two million women make up 47% of the current U.S. workforce, but that representation is significantly lower at tech companies. Women are 20% of the workforce at Apple, 31% at Facebook and 30% at Google. That recently admitted disparity and vocal female leaders in tech have helped increase the focus on gender diversity in the industry.

In his new book, “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,” Walter Isaacson profiles women who helped shape today’s technology but have since been excluded from the history books.

“When they have been written out of the history, you don’t have great role models,” Isaacson, a biographer and President of the Aspen Institute told NPR. “But when you learn about the women who programmed ENIAC or Grace Hopper or Ada Lovelace…It happened to my daughter. She read about all these people when she was in high school, and she became a math and computer science geek.”

Hopper was a U.S. Navy rear admiral before she led a team that created what became one of the first computer programming languages. Women gathered in her honor this week at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference.

Female leaders were also celebrated this week at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, one of many similar gatherings organized by media companies. GM CEO Mary Barra, HP CEO Meg Whitman, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords were among the speakers this year. According to The New York Times, “Conferences promoting women’s empowerment are on the rise and haven’t had this kind of cachet since the feminist movement encouraged consciousness-raising groups in the 1970s.”

Even the word “feminist” attracted a high profile defender in Aziz Ansari this week.

“If you look up feminist in the dictionary, it just means someone who believes men and women have equal rights,” Ansari said on CBS’ “The Late Show.” “I feel like if you do believe that men and women have equal rights, if someone asks if you’re a feminist, you have to say yes, because that is how words work.”

Read about women working in tech, feminism and the importance of leadership, regardless of sex.

Women Who Tech by Amy Vernon: A look at the women who worked, work currently and would like to work in tech.

Feminism by Courtney Cole: Feminism in the workplace, in politics and in our families.

Leadership, Management & The CEO by Tony Crawley: Leadership advice from those who make it seem easy.

Women and Tech by Laura Grantham: Laura Grantham, a recruiter at Flipboard, is curating this magazine with some of our other female employees.

Girl Power by Hazel Hernandez: Women raising their voices around the world.

Advocate, Empower, Change, And Grow by Alice Lannon Maynor, LCSW: Quotes, tips and speeches to give you the push you want or need.

~GabyS is reading “Political Junkie
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On the Red Couch with Pretty Little Liars’ Sara Shepard

Imagine being sure of your professional calling while your peers played princess and scrambled on monkey bars. “I was one of those kids who didn’t really play dress up or didn’t play outside,” says author Sara Shepard, the mind behind the blockbuster young adult (YA) series, Pretty Little Liars. “The thing that I loved to do most was sit and write stories.”

In 2005, her imagination spun “a weird obsession with kidnapped people” into the start of a thriller series that has since catapulted Shepard into the stratosphere of YA writers and spawned a popular TV show on ABC Family. While Pretty Little Liars will officially come to an end this year with the publication of Vicious in December, Shepard’s taste for mystery and intrigue lives on in books like The Heiresses, the new The Perfectionists and whatever else she might stir up.

Pretty Little Liars (PLL) is loosely based on your experiences growing up on Philly’s Main Line, right? What kind of upbringing did you have?
“Loosely based” is very true, but I did not sleep with my English teacher. I did not have anybody after me. I didn’t have a missing friend. I knew two family friends who were kidnapped when they were younger, and that really resonated with me. It was kind of hush hush, and I was pretty young, so I let my imagination take over. And you always hear about family secrets and that sort of stuff. But my upbringing was pretty normal. Rosewood in the book is based on the Philadelphia Main Line, but it’s a really stylized, wealthy version of where I lived. We lived in a normal house and I went to public school.

One of the premises of the series is that “everyone has something to hide” and now there are apps like Whisper where you can anonymously share secrets. How might technology play into your story if you were to start it today?
It would be interesting to start it now and have all of these different social media sites. [The character] “A” would use social media to more of an advantage. “A” would be pretty nasty broadcasting certain things not just to the whole school but to everybody. As an example, “A” outs Emily at a swim meet with a photocopied picture of Emily and Maya kissing. There was probably a little bit of Facebook back then, but now it could have been much more extreme. The show uses a little bit more social media than the books do, but, yeah, that’s a fun question. I’ve actually never been asked that.

PLL comes to an end this year with Vicious. What can we expect from the series finale?
I’m thrilled that readers have stuck with the series for this long. When [Vicious] starts out, the girls are not in a good place. I don’t want to give away too many details, but they seem pretty doomed and there’s a really big twist. I think it’s a satisfying end.

It’s funny: a long time ago, with book 8, Wanted, I thought that was the end. And then the show came out and it sort of revitalized the series. So I was very sad at book 8 that I was ending Pretty Little Liars, because I was like, “I’m not ready!” But now I think I’m ready to end it. I’m ready to start something new. And I think these four girls, whom I’ve written about for nine years, have been through too much torture. I have to end it.

What’s next?
Well, I have a two-book series coming out [October 7] called The Perfectionists. It’s a murder mystery, and I think it’s a good followup to Pretty Little Liars. It’s kind of similar but it’s its own thing with its own unique mystery and characters.

How do you collect inspiration or ideas for books?
I write those down longhand—if something pops into my head or if I read something or if I overhear a conversation. I always watch teenagers wherever I go, and I read a lot. When the series first came out, I subscribed to a whole bunch of teen magazines like Teen Vogue. But now it seems like girls are kind of dressing like adults more and more, so I don’t [read teen mags] as much anymore. I used to watch a lot of the reality series that used to be on MTV, like The Hills and Laguna Beach. But now I just I look at comments on Twitter, and I have a couple of neighbors and friends who are young, in high school still, and I talk to them.

Adults now are embracing young adult fiction like never before. What do you make of this trend?
It’s pretty amazing. When I started writing the series, there wasn’t much of it; Twilight was coming out at the same time. It’s kind of wonderful that it’s become its own genre. There’s so much good fiction that I can’t even keep up with all the good stuff that’s coming out. Good writing is good writing. I’ve gotten as much out of good YA novels as I have out of a regular adult fiction book. So I don’t think there’s actually a stigma about it anymore.

I’ve read a bio of yours that says that you’re a hypochondriac. What’s a hypochondriac to do in today’s world of flus and global pandemics?
Oh, that’s funny. I used to be a hypochondriac. But it was never like big flus that I worried about. It was more like brain tumors—the things you would see on some sort of medical mystery show.

How do you find the time to read as a busy working parent?
I basically read for a few minutes before bed. I used to love to knit. And I kind of had to drop that. But I was like, “I can’t drop reading!” There was no way.

Shepard’s book, Pretty Little Liars, is available for free download this month from our partner, iBooks, as part of their iOS 8 celebration. You can download the book (and others) via the iBooks pages in this magazine:

~MiaQ is reading “R E L E V A N T T
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What I’m Reading: William Holman of Guerilla Furniture Design

Will Holman is a one-man design studio. Trained as an architect, the multi-disciplinarian took it upon himself to approach buildings from all angles. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he poured concrete at urban laboratory Acrosanti, taught carpentry to rural kids in Alabama and was an artist’s assistant on the South Side of Chicago.

Now back in his native Baltimore, Holman is helping a nonprofit company build safe, affordable makerspaces for local artists. He’s also a regular contributor to BmoreArt, posts DIY guides on Instructables and writes about design and the politics of craft at Object Guerilla, a blog “on the front lines of sustainable design.” His first book, Guerrilla Furniture Design, is due out from Storey Publishing on March of 2015.

Holman’s work is both purposeful and practical. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about how structures impact our lives, he’s done his fair share of research. So we asked him: what are you reading?

There is so much media out in the world, and I get to it through a variety ways: streaming video, podcasts, radio, blogs, books, print magazines and social media. I use Flipboard to cut through the clutter and get a daily dose of useful information at the top of each day.

I read widely on a huge amount of topics like sustainability, food, politics, music, film, literature, design, architecture, art, urban planning, economics and history in order to inform and expand the horizons of my work.

My front page is news sources, so I can quickly catch general headlines. The second page is mostly design sites, spread across sub-topics like industrial design, technology, architecture and urbanism. The last page is longer-form pieces for when I have time in the evening, food sites, less serious stuff.

For news, I hit The New York Times, local Baltimore sites, then Quartz for business updates, The Daily Beast for headlines, and Politico for Washington news. They give me a good broad overview of national and international news.

In design, I check Core77 every day. They do great mid-length pieces that examine a lot of passed-over corners in the design world. I particularly enjoy their “True I.D. Stories” series.

CityLab and Places Journal are smart, well-argued sites about urban design issues, placemaking and sustainability.

Then in the back, I love Longform and The New Yorker. I really enjoy non-fiction across topics, and Longform pulls together the best articles from 20-odd good magazines. My parents always got the New Yorker growing up, and eventually I picked up the habit.

Reading informs me as a designer. Design does not exist in a vacuum. A well-informed designer is a well-informed citizen, putting the problem at hand into a broader social, economic and cultural context.

Follow William on Twitter (@objectguerilla) or find him at Object Guerilla.

~ShonaS is curating “Proof of Experience
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