I like to read about history, but often, the books I read are full of dates, statistics, politicians, and other famous people. "Beauty and Atrocity" g...moreI like to read about history, but often, the books I read are full of dates, statistics, politicians, and other famous people. "Beauty and Atrocity" gives some background and history on the Troubles, but the bulk of it is made up of interviews with people from all walks of life in Northern Ireland. It's refreshing to see not just the facts, but how events affected real people. And if, from time to time, I had words with the people being interviewed, or if I disagreed with something Levine said . . . well, in the end, it didn't seem to matter much. I believe he genuinely tried to be objective and fair in his writing of the book, something that is no small task with this subject matter, and I think he did a decent job of it. If you're interested in Irish history, especially the Troubles, this is a must-read book. Even if it's not your thing, you might find this book interesting all the same.(less)
3.5 stars? 3? I'm undecided. I think mermaids are great (I blame Disney), so a YA book with a mermaid on the cover? Sign me up. (In fact, can vampires...more3.5 stars? 3? I'm undecided. I think mermaids are great (I blame Disney), so a YA book with a mermaid on the cover? Sign me up. (In fact, can vampires and werewolves go away and the next fantasy trend be mermaids and unicorns?) Not to mention, I loved the layout of the inside with the page numbers on the side and the pretty blue chapter headings. This was definitely an impulse buy that was a mixture of "Oh! Mermaids!" and "Oh! Pretty cover!" And while it will not go down in history as one of my favorites, I don't regret reading it either. In fact, I'll probably continue with the series. The story was interesting enough, and the characters, though I didn't love them, were likeable. I do feel some story elements might turn out to be sort of predictable. (view spoiler)[I suspected Mahdi was up to something way more important than being a playboy, and when Blu came on scene, I think it was pretty obvious the two are one and the same. (hide spoiler)] One thing I could have done without were all of the clothing descriptions. I barely tolerate them in YA books about humans. With mermaids, all the focus on the long, flowing dresses and layers and layers of clothing and such just seems . . . strange. And not really conducive to the whole idea of swimming and such. I love the descriptions of the different kinds of tails and skin types on the different mermaids, but not so much the whole, "tattered lace top, a voluminous sea-silk skirt . . . and a military jacket that had lost its buttons-all in black." Well, I suppose it gives girls something to sympathize with in the characters. Anyway, all in all, I thought it was an enjoyable, quick read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
All of the art books I've read so far have their own sort of personality, with different methods of organization and different focuses. The book for "...moreAll of the art books I've read so far have their own sort of personality, with different methods of organization and different focuses. The book for "Brave" was heavy on storyboards talked a lot about the technical details of doing CGI, as did the book for "Tangled." The book for "Princess and the Frog" talked a lot about setting and characters. I think this story book might be my favorite so far. I feel like the writer really rounded this out well. There are storyboards, but no so many that I get sick of them. There is plenty of concept art, and a lot of character sketches. It's heaviest, I think, on character designs/costumes and art for the different settings in the movie. (As someone with an interest of making some of the costumes, the costume pictures are incredibly detailed and helpful.) The writing, also, was really well done, and I think illustrates why "Frozen" is such a strong film. Solomon discusses the journey of turning "The Snow Queen" (my biggest gripe would probably be the way the original "The Snow Queen" fairy tale is summed up not-so-accurately) into a story of two sisters. I really loved reading details about things like the "Sister Summit," where Disney employees with sisters came together to tell stories about their relationships to help provide insight into the relationship between Elsa and Anna. There's a lot about the trip to Norway and a lot of the detail in the design of the film (architectural, rosemaling, etc.), but it all ties back into the story and creating a setting that meshes with the characters. There are details about the sort of materials used and methods for creating the clothing, but the clothes also reflect the personalities of the characters. I loved that one of the details discussed was a worn patch on Kristoff's pants from kneeling to secure Sven's reins. In discussing snow scenes, I liked that Solomon talked about the importance of not just filling the screen, but very intentionally thinking out each bit of landscape and how it contributes to the mood/plot/etc. The section on the ice palace has plenty to say on the subject of animating it, but also reveals insight into how Elsa's powers work. When Solomon talks about the songs, he talks about the effort the creators put in to make sure the songs were advancing the plot and not just places where people stop and sing. He goes into lighting, the storyboard process, some of the difficulties of CGI and 3-D technology, etc., but I felt like nothing was given so much emphasis that it felt overdone, and he still explained how all of the pieces came together to tie back into the story. Solomon did a really great job highlighting all of the effort put into making "Frozen" not just impressive art or writing or music, but a movie that is impressive on all fronts, and successful at blending all of those things together to make something really great. One thing about "Frozen" that I love is it is the first time I've really been impressed with CGI animation. I enjoyed the lantern scene from "Tangled," but spent most of the movie just wishing it was hand-drawn. "Legend of the Guardians" came close, but just wasn't quite there. But "Frozen" really, truly floored me with the animation, and I was sold. This book, also, gave me an appreciation of the work that goes into a CGI movie (without overdoing the subject and boring me) and some of the advantages (for example, I'd never thought before how difficult it would be to create the rosemaling details on the clothing if the whole movie were hand-drawn). Still, one of my favorite things in the book was near the beginning: "A strong story will carry weak animation, but the most polished animation can't save a weak story." The creative forces behind "Frozen" made a visually amazing movie, but I love that they recognize the importance of a good story as well.
I was drawn in my the pretty cover (I know what they say, but I rarely listen), but I was not at all disappointed with what I ended up with. I loved t...moreI was drawn in my the pretty cover (I know what they say, but I rarely listen), but I was not at all disappointed with what I ended up with. I loved the story and characters, and I breezed through this book pretty quickly. Twelfth century England is not the historical era I normally gravitate to, but I love Chadwick's writing style. I'll definitely be seeking out more of her work.(less)
Yeah . . . this was not really my thing. The over-the-top portrayal of high school life, the romanticizing of death and all things gothic . . . It jus...moreYeah . . . this was not really my thing. The over-the-top portrayal of high school life, the romanticizing of death and all things gothic . . . It just didn't appeal to me. It was one of the most beautifully designed books I've seen though.(less)