Only one essay in here that includes the TV show. Kinda disappointed with that but otherwise a really good collection of essays regarding the franchisOnly one essay in here that includes the TV show. Kinda disappointed with that but otherwise a really good collection of essays regarding the franchise and philosophy....more
Short review is short, but only because this is an artbook with little to no commentary by the artist on her process. Which was a bit disappointing.
MuShort review is short, but only because this is an artbook with little to no commentary by the artist on her process. Which was a bit disappointing.
Much like Mizuno Junko, D'Errico is one of those artists that combines the cute and the creepy to create some really wonderful, at times awe-inspiring work. I love the pop-art influences that she has, along with some clear salutes to anime and manga, and I especially love that she doesn't flinch away from creepy crawlies like octopi and insects to include with her subjects, which are pretty much all female. In some of her other works in this book, you can see she takes pages from Range Murata and other famous Japanese doujin artists/character designers with cute girls with strange steampunk appliances, and I love that.
However, this is a book you definitely need to pick up and feel in your hands. An e-book simply doesn't do it justice. At all. Don't care if you have the most awesome HD tablet or e-reader, you simply must feel these pages in your hands to get the full gravity of each piece. The images are a bit fuzzy, even for review purposes, but at least this volume has some of her work that I haven't seen before (and I've seen most of it, I think), which was a nice bonus. If you're a fan of pop art, or kawaii culture, definitely pick up any of D'Errico's books or paintings, as they're simply just awesome.
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Any of my friends could tell you I’m not a traditional girly girl. I rarely use makeup, and if I do, it’s mostly just stuff for acne or lipgloss or coAny of my friends could tell you I’m not a traditional girly girl. I rarely use makeup, and if I do, it’s mostly just stuff for acne or lipgloss or concealer. I don’t actively go seeking tips, but I will admit that that this book did tempt me with the combination of autobiographical narration AND beauty tips. However, I found that “Lauren Conrad Beauty” sorely lacked in terms of new material in the beauty tips department and I found myself reading it for the autobiographical bits that are included in each chapter instead. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the aim of the book. Still, if you’re looking for a good beginner’s beauty book, you can’t go too wrong with “Lauren Conrad Beauty”.
There are a few good tips in this book that I hadn’t even really been looking for, but that popped out at me. The presentation of the book asthetically was really good in this way – the highlights of each chapter were clearly presented in an easy to understand, step by step way, and I have to give the designers credit for that. Otherwise, I didn’t really find anything that I couldn’t have found in youtube/online video tutorials, other magazines or books. It’s all very basic, and would probably be really good for a young teenager to get them in the habit of keeping their skin healthy, if anything. But if you’re an older reader (like me), you’re not missing much here in the how-to department, whether it be in the hair, skin, or nails department.
Instead, what I found interesting were the bits of Conrad narrating her own life, from her childhood up until she hit the reality circuit and how her own look evolved inside all of that time, complete with embarrassing stories (I think the Gwen Stefani one was my favorite, to be honest) and photos. I do have to give it to her for being brave enough to submit those stories and old photos, as some of them were pretty bad. I enjoyed her narration the most out of all the things in this book, and her beginnings were interesting, especially as I’m very familiar with the whole South County (southern Orange County) look and mannerisms.
Still, this is going to great for a late tween or early teen, and will hopefully get them on the right path to eating well, treating themselves well, and taking care of themselves well in general. Which, face it, especially for American teens? Is a very badly needed thing. Anything that can get them started on the right path, I’m definitely for it.
But that’s just how I feel about it. You can pick up “Lauren Conrad Beauty” now from Harper in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!
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Hi, my name is Usagi, and I’m autistic. More specifically, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, one of the “lighter” forms of the disorder on the autism spect Hi, my name is Usagi, and I’m autistic. More specifically, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, one of the “lighter” forms of the disorder on the autism spectrum. I’ve been mainstreamed (meaning never put in special education, but instead with a classroom with neurotypical (“normal”) kids my entire life. And never have I been so happy to have been raised as such. I was dubbed highly gifted in fourth grade, I did honors and AP classes (for everything but math), I went to UCSB, majored in Japanese, went to Japan and lived there while going to ICU in Tokyo, and graduated with a decent GPA in 2007.
In short, I am an autism success story – and success stories are not often talked about, which is incredibly frustrating. We are always spoken of in softer terms, couched in “tough stuff” and it’s as if we’re surrounded by eggshells upon which everyone has to walk on.
We’re tougher than that. And people like Temple Grandin, Bill Gates, and others only prove that.
That being said, I’ve found it incredibly hard to find books that deal with autism (or people with it) that actually take us seriously. Much like I have massive problems with Autism Speaks with wanting to shove everyone in Special Ed instead of mainstreaming when it’s an option (seriously, guys, it’s like trying to shove the GLBT community back in the closet), I also have problems with a lot of YA/MG books that have tried and failed to tackle the concept and issue of autism while giving respect to the individuals who have it.
I’m happy to announce that this fabulous little book does both – tackles the subject, gives the subject respect, AND is wonderfully easy to understand for the age of any person reading it. Sy Montgomery has really done Grandin a solid here, and has captured her life very eloquently. If you’re trying to find a book to introduce the issue of autism to any age group (but especially the youngest ones), I highly recommend this biography that speaks of the blossoming neurodiversity movement through Grandin’s experiences.
Grandin herself gives us a very simple introduction, getting our feet wet (as the audience) – telling us very briefly about her life and how autism affects her, as well as the goals of the biography in general. This is a very straightforward yet gentle way to ease people into the subject matter to come, and it automatically got my attention.
As for Montgomery, she has done an absolutely fantastic job with the whole book. From its style of storytelling (as if this were fiction and not fact) to the tidbits on how to help kids with autism, explaining more about the condition and an extensive bibliography at the end giving us a lot more resources for those who want to read up more on Grandin. What absolutely chilled me (and in a good way) was the way she explained how those with autism (present company included) experience the physical senses, and how sometimes those “senses (are) on fire”. I’ve never seen anyone be able to describe how sensory overload so simply and so well before, and for that I’m profoundly grateful. I too have sensory overload problems, and I’ve tried in the past to explain how it works, but failed. Now I have a great reference for people who want to know how it works.
This book balances autism education and Grandin’s life story very well – both in easy-to-digest forms. To be blunt, we need more books like this about those with autism both in all genres. By the end of the book, Montgomery builds a steady excitement that will make you want to cheer for Grandin and her accomplishments, as well as give those who know those with autism a new way at looking at them and interacting with them. The comparison with how animals think and how some of those with autism on the spectrum think was spot on, and I think it’ll definitely help neurotypical kids understand more about aneurotypical kids a bit better. It also talks a lot about animal rights, how Grandin’s work ties into them, and how important they are – never a bad thing to introduce to a young audience. While it does make some sweeping generalizations about Big Agriculture and livestock farming in general that I wasn’t really into, it’s at least something to get the conversation going.
But quite possibly my favorite part? Grandin’s final tips to kids with autism on how to manage it on their own in order to thrive. They’re great pointers, and it brought a smile on my face because I only got a fraction of that advice after getting diagnosed. Now it’s there for future generations to enjoy, and nothing makes me happier than that.
So if you’re looking for a respectful, eloquent way to introduce autism to anyone of any age, pick up “Temple Grandin”. It’s made my best of 2012 so far list, and its place there is well deserved. “Temple Grandin” is out now from Harcourt, so be sure to check it out – it’s seriously one of the best books on autism and on Grandin that I’ve read yet.
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, librarything, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)...more
When it comes to series I love, I love reading any kind of scholarly (or even pseudo-scholarly) discourse and discussion on it. George R R Martin’s “AWhen it comes to series I love, I love reading any kind of scholarly (or even pseudo-scholarly) discourse and discussion on it. George R R Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” has long warranted at least one kind of anthology with essays about the series, and I’m happy to say that Ben Bella books has really done fans a solid by releasing this gem of a book. “Beyond the Wall” isn’t just useful for fans, but for aspiring authors, as well (regardless if you’re writing fantasy or contemporary). Whether you’re a casual or a die hard fan of the series, or if you’re just getting into “ASOIAF”, “Beyond the Wall” is definitely a must read for you.
There are quite a few awesome essays in this book – covering everything from magic to politics, sexism and sexual violence to religion, how fantasy series compare, and more. The authors for each essay make the language of their work very easy to access so that you don’t have to be in academia to understand what they’re saying or the argument they’re making. They lay out their points very clearly, and use the text of the book (and interviews with the author) to back up what they’re saying. Reading something like this is a joy because of the ease in which you can just dive in and really kind of get into the conversation about some of the long-argued areas (both controversial and not) that the fans have been talking about for the last 15 years.
I think, though, my favorite essays are the ones by Alyssa Rosenberg (“On Men & Monsters” – on the controversial ‘rape culture’ within ‘ASOIAF’), Susan Vaught (“The Brutal Cost of Redemption in Westeros” – on how ‘ASOIAF’ can be seen as a series of tales of redemption and moral ambiguity), Myke Cole (“Art Imitates War” – on PTSD within the series), Jesse Scoble (“A Sword Without a Hilt” – on magic within the series), and Ned Vizzini (“Beyond the Ghetto” – how GRRM’s work transcends genres). These five essays are my favorite because each author really hits the nail on the head for all of their arguments, and gives some really brilliant examples within their discourse from the actual text. If you’re just going to skim a few essays from this anthology, make it these five – they cover all of the hotly contested areas of the series, as well as go into places I hadn’t even thought about in terms of symbolism, foreshadowing, and how time flows within the books. If you’re a fan, you really need to read this book as it’ll definitely illuminate things you had brewing in your head or things you’d noticed subconsciously when reading.
I really hope this is just the first of many books to come on this series, if we’re going to get more of the same brilliant essays that we were given in this book. We all know that there are a lot more arguments to make about and within the “ASOIAF” series, so here’s hoping that this is just the first one. And bravo to Ben Bella books for releasing it first – they tend to release some absolutely awesome essay collections on some of my favorite TV shows and books with high-quality academic-type of discourse on each topic.
“Beyond the Wall” is now available from Ben Bella books in North America, so be sure to check it out! It was an absolute treat to read, and perfect for that in between TV season and book wait for the series.
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)...more
The checklists are pretty awesome, but I have to disagree with some major points on some things. Otherwise, pretty much a must-read for any aspiring aThe checklists are pretty awesome, but I have to disagree with some major points on some things. Otherwise, pretty much a must-read for any aspiring author....more
The Cigarette Smoking Man was one of the most iconic villains of my childhood. I grew up watching "The X-Files" from the pilot onward (I was nine at tThe Cigarette Smoking Man was one of the most iconic villains of my childhood. I grew up watching "The X-Files" from the pilot onward (I was nine at the time), and though I dropped out from season 8 to right before the series finale in season 9, it still remains one of my go-to comfort shows whenever I get sick or feel down. When I lived in Japan and got sick I'd watched it dubbed in Japanese on TV there. CSM always fascinated me, because he seemed to have so many conflicting stories about him, about his life, as if he were his own mytharc and not just apart of the larger government scheme.
So when I learned the actor was releasing an autobiography about his time on the show and the rest of his life, I was really excited. And I wasn't let down. "Where There's Smoke" offers interesting insight into the evolution of Canada's radio, film, and theatre industries from the latter half of the last century onward (something I know next to nothing about), as well talks about today's television boom within Vancouver and his other endeavors within the industry. That, and we finally get to see what goes on inside of CSM's head as a character. Yay!
I really enjoyed it and I feel like I learned a lot. For example, I didn't know that acting schools in Canada had subsidies from the government. I'm pretty sure that's not the same in the States. It was almost like reading fiction when reading the parts of his childhood acting, getting involved with British theatre companies and the decline of radio. It was very absorbing, and Davis definitely has a rather compelling voice as a writer that's definitely his own. It's almost as if, in parts, when talking about his own experiences he wasn't using first person POV, but almost as if it were third close instead. And he used first person the entire time in the actual form on prose. It was a very surreal experience, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn't know how interconnected all of these different industries were, and I feel like I definitely got schooled (in a good way) there. I also mourned with him how things changed as the years passed in terms of media - video killing the radio star, and all of that. We're evolving so quickly with our technology, and that made me wonder (and not for the first time) if this is truly the best thing for our species.
The X-Files insider information was especially of interest to me, and I definitely devoured the rest of it up. Before I knew it, the book was over, and I genuinely felt grief over the fact that the show is done and over with and now, nearly ten years past its finale along with Davis. There seemed like there was so much more that was going on within the making of the show that he decided not to talk about, and though I don't know whether that's true or not, it sounds like things weren't all sunshine and aliens behind the scenes. And for that, I'm sorry. Not that I expected it to be, but I genuinely laughed and agreed when he called acting "waiting" instead. Because yeah, that's what actors do - they do a lot of waiting until they can actually perform their craft. At least, if they're doing episodic television.
I'd love it if Davis were to write more books, because I feel like he'd have a pretty awesome fictional voice if he were to try out fiction. He is an actor, after all. He knows how to slip on a skin written for him. I'd like him to write one of those skins instead. Overall, if you're a fan of the industry, or you just like CSM, definitely give "Where There's Smoke" a try. Definitely one of the better non-fiction books of 2011.
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I’ve noticed that even in pre-publication, this book has gotten a rather bad rap for being “anti-religion”. After reading it through this past weekendI’ve noticed that even in pre-publication, this book has gotten a rather bad rap for being “anti-religion”. After reading it through this past weekend, I can say it is not – in fact, Hawking and Mlodinow ask the question whether there is more room in quantum physics/mechanics compared to traditional (or “classical”) physics instead. This book is a very thoughtful read, and parts of it are a bit hard to get through because you have to sit and really give it a good pondering but nonetheless, it should be a book that everyone should read.
I think the parts that dragged in the book weren’t because the subject matter was dense, but because those sections needed better editing. In anything, I’m blown away by how clean and easy a read Hawking and Mlodinow has put together on things like classical versus quantum mechanics, philosophy, and religion. The parts of quantum mechanics that I didn’t understand before due to the fact that I’m terrible at math are now very clear and easy to understand, and I learned a lot about something I didn’t even know existed – M-Theory. M-Theory is an extension of string theory, and unites/reconciles both quantum and classical physics together in one nice big umbrella. I knew what string theory was but Hawking and Mlodinow, through presenting M-Theory, helped clarify all of the details I was a little fuzzy on.
If anything, this book is a godsend. It’s so accessible that school children could (and probably should) read it and understand everything that’s going on. Hawking starts with the earliest mathematicians and introduces to classical physics/mathematics (pretty much all scientific theory up until the 1920s) and helps make the storytelling easier with funny comics and analogies that will ease even the most uncomfortable of audiences into the subject more or less painlessly. The authors go from there and explain everything that goes on, even stopping to examine how religion and philosophy influenced classical mechanics (and vice-versa), and then goes on to explain quantum mechanics, the Many-Worlds theory, and more while still asking the question whether or not religion and philosophy have a place in the science field today.
All in all? For really tough subject matter, this was done really well. The only parts that needed clarifying were really the areas that needed one more draft or edit, and there weren’t too many of those areas. So if you’re going to read one book on science-y things this year, I’d have to recommend “The Grand Design” because it’s just so well done. It hits shelves on February 7th, 2012 in North America so be sure to get a copy at your local store or library. It really is worth the read.
(posted to goodreads and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
Just like "Go the Fuck to Sleep" was awesome for parents, here's yet another education-or-storytime-for-children parody from the guy who brought us the Honey Badger video on youtube. You think that Discovery Channel and Animal Planet have the most awesome animal documentaries? Think again. Randall, with his humor and foul language (fabulously foul, I may add), has brought new life to animal documentaries. Since then he's put up quite a few more on other animals that are extremely strange, like the Basilisk "Jesus Christ" Lizard (called that because it walks on water!). I absolutely love Honey Badger and wish I could have one of my own but he'd probably eat me, so this book is the next best thing.
Needless to say, this book is SO not for kids, aside from the parody format of this being a children's book. And aside from that, it's actually living up to its advertised genre of being educational. I learned a lot about the honey badger in this book and I had a ton of fun doing it. Honey Badger's not the only one you can learn about in this book - the Aye Aye, the Tasmanian Devil, the Emperor Tamarin (who may or may not actually be both a human and an animal), the Pink Fairy Armadillo (can I have one? Please?), the Tarsier, the Opossum, the Solenodon, the Wombat, the American Bullfrog, and others all can be found in this book. And humor aside, I learned things I didn't even know about some creatures I didn't even know existed.
Just like "Cake Wrecks", and "Go the Fuck to Sleep", I think that adults will really dig this. You can learn and have fun without falling asleep in front of the television to the drone of nature documentaries. Older teens will enjoy this one too. There's no plot or technical detail to be analyzed here, just facts and funny, and Randall delivers them both to the audience on a silver platter.
Definitely one of my best of 2012 in the humor catagory, and possibly in the educational catagory as well. I think you guys will enjoy this one, too.
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
If you love the zombie genre, you know who George A. Romero is. If not? Shame on you! My finger wagging aside, this is a great set of interviews thatIf you love the zombie genre, you know who George A. Romero is. If not? Shame on you! My finger wagging aside, this is a great set of interviews that awesomely chronicles his work in the film industry (and in chronological order, too!). I had a blast reading through these, since so many of them had been hard to find on my own the further back you go pre-internet. So if you love the zombie genre, you should definitely pick up this book to learn a little more about the man that basically breathed new un-life into the mythological creature that is now so prevalent in western pop culture.
What I love most about these interviews is Romero’s blatant honesty about how rough the film industry really is in terms of the creative process – everywhere from the very beginning with even writing the most basic of screenplays to the post-production editorial process. It’s a fascinating look at the place behind the curtain that the industry doesn’t really like yanking back too often, and it shows the tenacity of one man through over forty years of making movies. If anything, it makes me love Romero and his work even more, and it educated me on the finer points of industry politics that I had no idea even went on before reading.
It also gave me the full breadth of his filmography, with films I had no idea that he had a hand in making. So it’s wonderful to have some fresh (for me, anyway) material to work with to watch for inspiration and fun in the future. Romero is funny, intelligent, and refreshingly honest about all of it – most of all, his own feelings about the industry and the filmmaking process. It takes balls to talk about these things honestly, and I respect him for that.
So if you’d like to learn more about our zombie overlord and master Romero, pick up this read. I think it might break the fiction monotony that this summer has provided, and get you a little more excited about the genre in general.
(posted to goodreads and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
I remember the night Princess Diana died – my mom didn’t stop crying after she heard the news for about three days straight. She looks very much likeI remember the night Princess Diana died – my mom didn’t stop crying after she heard the news for about three days straight. She looks very much like Diana (as she did back then) and had more than one thing in common with her (though I won’t reveal what those things in common are). I also remember watching the funeral later that week and wondering what it would be like to go on without a Mom, especially if I were in the shoes of William and Harry, and how I would turn out. Now, 14 years later, I have my answer along with a short (but interesting) education on how William and Kate got together.
Most of audience to which this book is targeted wasn’t yet born when Diana’s death happened, so the short review within the first few pages was just perfectly sized, considering that this isn’t the story of Diana and her children, but of William himself and of his history with Kate. Not too long, not too short, and perfectly reverent.
The book goes on to chronicle William’s history up until he meets Kate, and then it’s a joint history leading up to their wedding. Considering that this is a middle-grade book that will probably be ending up in elementary and middle school libraries all over the States (and other places too), there is a lot of information contained within these few pages that will hold the attention of these readers quite easily. The glossy pictures don’t hurt, either, especially when it comes to digesting all of this information.
The new Royals seem to have given hope back to the world, even though their power is more or less just constitutional anyway. Everyone roots for the underdog, and for a long time William was the underdog due to the obstacles thrown at him by life and his family. This book shows the hope that Kate gave to him and thus to the world, of a new age where commoner and aristocracy/monarchy can wed in peace, of a new age where the monarchy goes out among the people and cares about them more than ever. An enjoyable read, and I think that the kids who read it will enjoy it too.
(crossposted to goodreads, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
This book spans not just Reiss’ 25+ years of research with her dolphins, but also talks about origin myths, ancient history, and their relationship wiThis book spans not just Reiss’ 25+ years of research with her dolphins, but also talks about origin myths, ancient history, and their relationship with the evolution of dolphins throughout the years. I will admit that this book started a bit slow with all of the myths and personal experiences thrown in, but once she got to her work with the dolphins in question, I was riveted by her reporting and interaction with her mentor creatures and the results/findings stemming thereof.
Slow start aside, this book is pivotal in terms of learning not only about dolphins and their evolution, but our own. This cannot be stated enough. Just because this book is non-fiction shouldn’t put that off. The way Reiss writes makes even the most stern scientific fact inviting in a near-fictional way, and makes her adventures with her dolphins a surreal, almost magical life experience. It didn’t read like non-fiction at all.
What makes this even easier for even the most ignorant reader to understand is her multiple footnotes that made things even clearer if she felt that her language/jargon would cause even the slightest bit of doubt. While I know enough to understand basic biology-related papers, it really helped when she put in these footnotes. Not many scientists presenting their research in a book to the public that’s not in their field do this, and this impressed me all the more. I applaud her for making her work accessible to people of all walks of life.
Even if you’re into whale hunting and are against films like “the Cove”, this really needs reading (all the more). Dolphins, according to Reiss’ research, have not only a sense of individual self, but also have a sense of who isn’t a dolphin when interacting with others. I’m definitely not one of those militant PETA-types when it comes to animal rights, but I also know when an animal can feel and think on a level that might remotely be human. I urge everyone to give this book a try and be surprised by some of the most beautiful (and endangered) creatures on earth. It’ll make you wonder who’s the superior species once you’re done. One of the best of 2011 in the non-fiction catagory, for sure.
(crossposted to shelfari, librarything, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
I'd been hearing about the US Military and the Japan SDF putting out a manga explaining the various security treaties that bind them together to the pI'd been hearing about the US Military and the Japan SDF putting out a manga explaining the various security treaties that bind them together to the public in order to help ease the unrest following the USM moving their main base from Okinawa to Kagoshima. I was so excited.
Internet, this is totally adorable. It was everything I wanted and more. The facts are accurate, too. I applaud both the JSDF and the USM for their transparency on the 50 year history between both militaries.
I really hope this becomes available in hardcopy - once it does, I am totally going to buy a copy for me and my friends.