If you haven't been invited, you better have a damn good reason for ringing this bell.
Okay, Frankie. In this late 1960s biography of the Sultan Of SwoIf you haven't been invited, you better have a damn good reason for ringing this bell.
Okay, Frankie. In this late 1960s biography of the Sultan Of Swoon, we get to see some behind-the-gossip-pages snickyroos that were the beginning of the new bio styles. Prior to this Arnold Shaw volume, most celebrities could ensure they had rosy outcomes from writers and journalists, but this one got under Sinatra's skin. Use your mentality, wake up to reality, right Frankie?
The guy has to live under pressure. If there isn't any, then he invents some.
Unlike some of Sinatra's later bio scribes, Shaw is more of a fan, so his revelations are more eloquent. I liked his backstage information on the famous albums and recording sessions. Basic cool.
Book Season = Autumn (benches in Central Park)...more
Most memoirs and biographies are usually perfect for the summer. You can sit by a beach and dip into the self ramblings without having to interrupt yoMost memoirs and biographies are usually perfect for the summer. You can sit by a beach and dip into the self ramblings without having to interrupt your sand count. But this is a book of a different grade, mainly because it's the autobiography of Ken Russell, so the cold days of winter will suffice. Ken Russell's ramblings require a fireplace and the safety of four walls.
The Bronx reminds me of the Gaza Stip.
There are memories of his childhood and his unusual take on men who like to dance. But mostly, there are his tales of movie sets and travel and dealing with high-octane actors. Russell was the least conventional of the British directors and his words reflect that picture. He is also hounded by fans who actually believe his films are for real to the point of obsession.
The men who have invited me to wrestle nude in front of a log fire are legion.
I thoroughly enjoyed Russell's musings. Life for him was an adventure, one which he could stylize and put to the music of the great composers. Take shelter.
The packaging of this little hardcover book is rather nice...purple cloth cover with an inlet picture of a medieval townscape. So, of course, I purchaThe packaging of this little hardcover book is rather nice...purple cloth cover with an inlet picture of a medieval townscape. So, of course, I purchased it. I'm a sucker for good covers.
As you live, you find yourself among a community of fellows-or so you believe.
This is a first novel, one combining magic and proto-realism. Past and present. The real and the unreal. It's a bit of a mindbender, that's for sure. Politics and the subversion of the creative mind come to the forefront, in a roly-poly fashion.
This is the natural course of things, that we rein in our energies, defer to the agencies of others and, for the sake of the common good, hew to a common course.
I liked the journal style of narration and the take on modern humanity. It's the type of book meant for a programmer sitting in a cubicle in a vast fortress of an office.
The concept of decent customer service has become so unknown that books must now be written about it. Here is another one, based on a grocer bagger wiThe concept of decent customer service has become so unknown that books must now be written about it. Here is another one, based on a grocer bagger with Down's Syndrome who helps improve his store's bottom line with simple ideas to help keep the customers flowing.
How is what you do every day making someone's life better?
It seems as though a day cannot pass without another news story of the incredibly bad customer service provided by huge companies. As a manager who's had to teach basic common courtesy to grown adults (folks, if you're over 18 this is your own responsibility), I found this book to be a quick to-the-point read to help The Lost figure out what a customer actually is and once discovered, how to, you know, provide decent satisfaction.
Great service begins with anyone.
I enjoyed some of the ideas and the fact that we are all responsible for making the customer the #1 priority. Without customers, there are no employees, so this isn't rocket science. As a customer myself, I like to be part of a family, a tribe, that will always stay loyal to me. I frequent eateries that may not be on the Michelin list but their customer service keeps me coming back...because I'm a member of their extended family. Overall, this is a good introduction to teaching our business units how to create customer success, plus it comes with a DVD for group presentations.
Book Season = Year Round (bring the customers back)...more
When you play at being a peasant, you risk being killed by one.
This was a fun book! Along with the usual biographies and methods-of-death for these onWhen you play at being a peasant, you risk being killed by one.
This was a fun book! Along with the usual biographies and methods-of-death for these once supreme leading ladies, the reader can also cut out Doomed Queens paper dolls, answer quizzes, download backgrounds for the dolls, and discover what type of Doomed Queen you might be. This is as interactive as a p-book can get.
It's not as though I enjoy reading about royal damsels who lost their lives and/or kingdoms, but this is such a beautifully put together book, I must say I rather enjoyed the tales of woe. While we might know of Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary Queen of Scots, there were so many others who don't immediately come to mind when one says, "Doomed! They are doomed!".
Justice served late doesn't remedy death served early.
For instance, Gertrude of Meran was murdered by jealous Hungarian nobles who blamed her for the King's transfer of lands to the people. Poor Gertrude. Her husband didn't want to upset those evil aristocrats, so he simply re-married. But decades later, when her son came to power, well watch out you bad, bad killers. Little Bela patiently tracked them down, one by one. A little late for Gertrude, but justice was truly served.
Look before you leap onto the throne.
Then there was Oghul Ghaimish. This woman was the wife of the leader of the Mongol Empire, so she thought she was tough doody. When he died of too much drink, Oghul had to fight off the claims of yet another grandson of the Great Genghis...and he won. Being a woman, she was accused of being a witch and forced to commit suicide.
Kris Waldherr has designed a book full of fact and whimsy (in the illustrations). I certainly went to her website to see her Doomed Queens playing cards and other items perfect for a holiday stocking or two.
Book Season = Autumn (don't run from destiny)...more
Pourquoi y a-t-il autant d'attente? (What's taking you so long?)
Luckily, I've never had to say that while in France. But thanks to this book, I've hadPourquoi y a-t-il autant d'attente? (What's taking you so long?)
Luckily, I've never had to say that while in France. But thanks to this book, I've had that phrase eagerly waiting to make its first appearance, courtesy of the book's Eating Out section.
Je voudrais quelque chose da plus mince. (I want something thinner.)
Okay. That one is just wishful thinking, but it's on the tip of my tongue when shopping (yellow section).
Pouvez-vous me montrer sur la carte où je suis? (Can you show me on the map where I am?)
I have no sense of direction. None. I can be standing in Notre-Dame Cathedral and still can't figure it out.
Good source for pulling out the occasional needed phrase with the different sections in different colours (which really helps). There's also a reference section. But most important is the back of the front cover with the basic list of niceties which may not make you fluent but will sure get you a smile and great service, because common courtesy is a universal language.
Let's face it...we all need help when travelling, especially when it comes to saying the right word at the right time. Although technology has made liLet's face it...we all need help when travelling, especially when it comes to saying the right word at the right time. Although technology has made life easier, the little Berlitz booklets are easy to carry and don't require batteries or data plans. My Portuguese will never be adequate, so this puppy has been very helpful for many years. After all, you never know when you need the translation for lime juice (amargo de lima) and haddock (arinca).
Book Season = Year Round (thirst for the horizon) ...more
I really wanted to like this book. While I'm not a big fan of Eco's books, I somehow seem to collect them, nonetheless. The premise wowed me, the coveI really wanted to like this book. While I'm not a big fan of Eco's books, I somehow seem to collect them, nonetheless. The premise wowed me, the cover art is righteous...and yet. And yet. The main character drove me crazy, Hamlet-style. He reminded me of the fear mongers who work 9-5 jobs, but never leave their unhappy jobs and go through life blaming others. It's like driving in the slow lane, even though all the other lanes are empty, and then getting unhappy because the slow lane is bumper-to-bumper. Do something!
Eco is a very intelligent writer, perhaps too intelligent for moi. Try I did, but success eluded me. Instead, I felt like Tantalus, with the grapes always eluding my grasp, the water always receding. Sadness envelops me, not worthy of Umberto. Me sorry!
Here lie the bones of twenty trees, lost far from home under gallons of seas.
A shipwreck in the locker of Davy Jones never sounded so yearning, taken fHere lie the bones of twenty trees, lost far from home under gallons of seas.
A shipwreck in the locker of Davy Jones never sounded so yearning, taken from the viewpoint of the decaying wood. It's an example of the ocean poems by Kate Coombs, written for children but useful to the wee adult, too. Accompanied by shimmering watercolours from Meilo So, this is a good book for parent and child to either read together or for children to begin learning easy poetry.
Deep water shimmers, A wind-shape passes, kimono trailing.
Doesn't that describe a floating jellyfish? "Kimono trailing"...beautiful image in words. Some of the poems are whimsical (comparing seagulls to beagles) and some are serious (the shark), but all are enjoyable. A nice read on a hot day in front of the shimmering sea, the beautiful sea.
For the water sings blue and the sky does, too, and the sea lets you fly like a gull.
Perfect read for the month of October. Although this is a children's book, it serves as a simple introduction toBats are the masters of the night sky.
Perfect read for the month of October. Although this is a children's book, it serves as a simple introduction to those darn BATS who fly through the night, and sometimes through our dreams, guided by their echolocation (have your kids spell that). Author Laurence Pringle fills each page with facts and myths about these beneficial animals, and I walked away with a new respect for these creatures of the dark.
...bats are not mice with wings.
As with most books for the wee ones, it is the illustrative art which makes it special, and that art is provided by Meryl Henderson, who makes each type of bat come alive. How can you not love these faces?
Her Bats gracefully fly and roost but the best are the Vampire Bats walking on their legs and happily munching on the hoof of a sleeping cow! There's also information on providing backyard homes for Bats and how they can help eliminate the mosquito menace. Good stuff.
Book Season = Autumn (children of the night)...more
This book caught my eye a few years ago, because of the look on the cat's face on the front cover. Those eyes, those whiskers, that look of sheer supeThis book caught my eye a few years ago, because of the look on the cat's face on the front cover. Those eyes, those whiskers, that look of sheer superiority. Yup, that's a feline. While I don't believe the words "good" and "cat" should ever be in the same sentence, I nevertheless snatched up this volume to read about a legendary cat doctor, who was a feline specialist before the current cat-yoga/cat-internet/cat-everything began.
To a cat, human beings are an inferior, servile race, always to be kept in their places, with occasional rewards if they perform well. To love a cat is uphill work, and therefore very rewarding.
'Uphill' is an understatement. One really needs to create a salesforce-type CRM system, based on a cat's moods, food-of-the-hour, sun location, bedding changes, and time of the year. If I had the time, I would create such an app. In the meantime, one has this wonderful collection of stories told by Louis J. Camuti, who was the first veterinarian to devote a practice solely to cats. In New York City, no less! As a child, he was sick at home with fever when a stove accident started filling his house with gas. His cat jumped on his chest to waken him. At that point, he decided he would become a cat doctor when he grew to be an adult. Sweet.
Mr. Camuti tells some marvelous tales, remembrances of the adventures he would face every day as he made his round of house calls. There are celebrity memories and some wacky escapades...wacky being an adjective any cat owner would use at least once to describe feline relationships. Camuti was also one of the first specialists to advise against buying kittens from breeders, a stance which put him years ahead of his time.
Let's face it - if you are going to get a kitten from a pet shop or a breeder you are running the risk of getting a sick animal.
This is a book I will probably re-read in the future, preferably on a rainy day when The Cat and I are both stuck in the house. Just one year after this publication, the elderly doctor was dead, but thankfully his love of the feline race lives on in his words.
As I write this, Creampuff the Cricket Killer is in Full Indifference Mode.