May 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I read Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography the other day and have to tell you that it’s really quite a good read. If you don’t know who she is, she is the first Hispanic and the third woman appointed to the Supreme Court.
Her autobiography really delves into her early years and she gets quite personal with her experiences, particularly regarding her relationship with her parents. She paints quite a vivid picture of her family and the areas she grew up in. You feel like you’re there with her. She also discusses her juvenile diabetes, which was pretty much a death warrant for many, even with medical advances in the early 20th century.
It was a bit disappointing, though she made it clear in the beginning, that this book doesn’t cover her experiences in judgeship, but it makes sense due to politics and whatever other reasons she may have. But, once you’ve read the whole book, you, or at least I was, left wanting to read more.
You can check this book out at KF8745 .S67 A3 2013.
April 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I attended a conference last week, so in preparation I downloaded some free fiction for airplane reading to my iPad. I scrolled through the free books, not just the classics like Jane Austen or Wilkie Collins, and selected some very strange and random titles. I was pleasantly surprised and my roulette luck with these Kindle books. Some of these titles are no longer free–you just have to do a search on Amazon.com for the free flavour of the week/day/hour.
The first I read was classified as a short story called “Into the Vortex: a short story” by Bryan Pedas. There was already a four-star review left on the title when I came to it. I’m leery of these stars because for all I know it’s someone’s mother or girlfriend posting positive reviews. The publication date is just a few weeks ago in March, and the whole synopsis is: “A spineless everyman reflects on life, love, and the big swirling rip in space and time located behind his bookshelf.” “Into the Vortex” is definitely not a deep read and probably would only be a few pages, if pages were numbered in the Kindle downloads, but it is quirky. And you’re left wondering–what about the vortex. You want to know more about it–how did it get there, where does it lead to, does the protagonist finally throw himself into it–and you get nada but the tantalizing wondering like in a G
uy Ritchie film: what really happens in “the end” that we don’t see?
The next download I finished, on the same flight, was Spirm Jock. Ok, the title alone may be enough to make people cringe, but, honestly, read the book. It’s hilarious. I really did laugh aloud while at the airport, and read passages aloud to my travelling colleague. So, Spirm Jock is an Australian Champion Waterfall Jumper who wants to take the world by storm. He has a nemesis, Hugh Jorgan (and I didn’t get the pun until later), who is trying to steal Spirm’s title. Meanwhile, Spirm falls in love with a Wisconsin beauty and goes to America to become a U.S. champion and meet his future in-laws. The story focuses very much around Spirm and his future-mum-in-law, who absolutely loathes this half-naked, sports sex symbol, and their relationship. The book is absolutely quirky, at times hilarious, and endearing. Not only is Spirm not the vapid person he seems, but neither is this book. Give it a read!
February 7, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Puppies Behind Bars by Christopher Makos gets a 4 out of 5 bookworm smiles from me. This is short of 5 because of the layout: the anecdotes from inmates, officers, and volunteers I think would’ve been better done had they been included with the photos instead of hidden in the very back. Some of the photos didn’t make sense–the close-up of an inmate’s stubble…really?–and some of the photos next to each other in this book made for some confusion because of the cropping. Also, some of the cropping was odd.
The book is worth reading. The anecdotes made me tear up, and I was sitting at the reference desk during my desk hours wiping away tears. But the format just didn’t do this book justice.
You can check this out from the 2nd floor @ SF431 .M35 2007
January 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick is the first piece of fiction I’ve read for the new year, and I must say it truly is wonderful. This book reminds me very much of The Great Gatsby, which is one of my favourite books of all time.
Charlie Beale, back from WWII, settles down in a sleepy Virginia town and makes a name for himself as a butcher and as the stranger in their midst. He causes the greatest scandal to ever happen in the town when he falls for the enigmatic Sylvan Glass, who really isn’t an enigma at all. As her name says, she’s an illusion and a very frail one, but you can’t help but have sympathy for her and her situation any more than you can help feel Charlie responded in the only way possible. The book is narrated by Charlie’s best friend, a young boy named Sam now grown up looking back.
This book is filled with all sorts of emotions and deals with a great many topics and themes. I highly recommend this title to anyone who likes F. Scott Fitzgerald or The Great Gatsby, or just plain well-written and engaging books.
December 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Tis the time of year for Nativity stories: the immaculate conception of Mary with Jesus, how they fled to Bethlehem, the birth in the manger of the Christian Saviour, the wisemen who followed a star and brought gifts. There are several versions of this story in mythology as well as books that tell the tale–whether you read the Bible for spiritual accounts or you attend a nativity play–and Christmas pageants are often featured in churches world-wide to enact this moment.
One of the books I enjoyed as a child was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (LS .R5603B 1988) in which the rambunctious group of Herdman children, “the worst kids in the history of the world,” discover the nativity story for the first time and take over the play, having attended church for the first time after hearing they could get free snacks. This is a sweet and funny tale.
If you want something downright hilarious and irreverent then watch David Tennant as he plays the Virgin Mary for a radio panto: Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey.
December 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Stuck at an airport, having been dropped off earlier than initially intended, with nothing left to read, having read what I’d brought on my vacation already, I picked up Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was blown away. I’ve read other books by Moore before and have enjoyed them, particularly Lamb, but this book went above and beyond my hopes for airport entertainment.
Sacre Bleu tackles the mysterious death of Vincent van Gogh. Why would a man shoot himself in the chest and then go for help? Van Gogh’s friends, Lucien Lessard, baker-turned-painter, and scoundrel-with-a-heart-of-gold Toulouse Lautrec seek answers as they cross paths with mad cave-dwelling scientists, a dangerous Colorman, a beautiful and inspirational woman, painters of the era, and more. There is art history, intrigue, and romance. This novel has it all, as well as humour.
You can read the first two chapters online for free. Read it!
Borrow the whole book through Interlibrary Loans.
“A tormented genius, van Gogh was only 37 when he shot himself at the scene of his last painting. This captivating program focuses on the final period of Vincent van Gogh’s life, from his relocation to Arles to his final move to Auvers-sur-Oise.” From Films on Demand.
November 27, 2012 § Leave a Comment
If you’re not hungry then you will be when you see these beautiful landscapes made of breads, cheeses, vegetables, and meats.
There are fruits too, as in the hot air balloon scene.
Warner is a professional photographer, and definitely a food artist, whose many landscapes have been used in advertising for different European countries. This book is a collection of some of his advertisements and work, plus a behind-the-scenes look at what went into the foodscape, from the actual ingredients like savoy cabbage to create a turbulent sea or a farmhouse made of Stilton cheese and crackers to the adult toys used to create waves and movement in the Cheesecape used in an ad for the Lake District Cheese Company.
This book is a photographic gem. Warner shows us that you can play with your food and make wonderful art from realistic landscapes to Tolkien-esque, these photographs are a delight. Generally, I don’t much care for reading a lot in photography books–I like the pretty pictures–but this book is worth the time to read. I wouldn’t have gotten to snigger at the use of vibrating toys to create waves if I hadn’t read this, or known about how even this photographic genius (anyone that can make landscape out of salami has got to be some sort of mad genius) had his moments of doubts and almost lost his desire and passion to continue.
Folks who like food, photographers, and the average bear who just likes to look at interesting or new things should check out this book. By the end, if not before, you may be wishing the food was lying around for you to grab some. I’ve a wicked craving for something made out of the ingredients that went into the Tuscan landscapes.
Check out this book today at TR 655.W367 2010
Visit Carl Warner’s website: http://www.carlwarner.com/