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review 2018-10-17 18:55
Guess who has a new favourite author?
Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter

This was bloody amazing!

 

The writing was gorgeous, the braided in stories colorful and as bizarre as you could expect, and even when at their most tragic, always running this underground hilarity out of sheer cynicism and pragmatic pizazz. All seasoned with a good dose of feminism and magical realism.

 

I laughed a lot, but it actually ran me through the whole gamut of emotions and I did not want it to end. Loved it, will read more by the author, and will buy whatever of hers I can find around here.

 

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review 2018-09-10 19:01
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan,Teresa Patterson

Fans have labeled this 'The Big Book of Bad Art', and for good reason. This book is large format, almost coffee-table sized, and I'm sorry to say there is no reason even a die-hard fan should pick this up.

 

'World' was released after 'A Crown of Swords' so there are many unanswered questions and plot lines hanging in the air. Reading this, years after the entire series is complete, I read this with the eye of spotting information that wasn't otherwise duplicated elsewhere in the official series.

 

There's nothing. Well, almost nothing. There are fragments of information about the Seanchan and other lands beyond "Randland" (the main setting of the series, the continent and the world were never given a name, so it was dubbed "Randland", woof.) Even that information gets repeated in the novels themselves.

 

The text itself couldn't decide if this were a mock-history of Randland from a fictitious scholar, an arch commentary on the book series, or...what? It worked on no level. The text was riddled with awkward sentences and typos as well, which was unfortunate.

 

With the text out, that leaves the art.

 

It's bad. If you, as a reader, have ever done a quick internet search about a character or a plot point to refresh yourself (which is acceptable in a 14-volume series with hundreds of characters) pictures will pop up. For years I'd dismissed them as fan art, which has its place, but it turns out they were from this book. Muddy portraits with doubtful anatomy and melting features. Even the landscapes and buildings, such as the White Tower, were terrible. This was an official product of a best-selling fantasy franchise from the premier fantasy publisher. Presumably Jordan signed off on this? I was so appalled, I could only laugh.

 

The only redeemable art in the whole book was the double page spreads of Darryl K. Sweet's cover art for the first seven books. I've never been a fan of his figure drawing, but the landscapes were beautiful.

 

That, however, does not make up for the cover price. You're better off picking up only 'The Wheel of Time Companion' and letting this one fade into legend, myth, etc.

 

The Wheel of Time

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review 2018-08-07 14:45
Kings & Queens of England and Scotland
Kings & Queens of England and Scotland - DK Publishing;Plantagenet Somerset Fry

Kings & Queens of England and Scotland by Plantagenet Somerset Fry is a 96-page concise reference book about the monarchs of England, Scotland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom.  Though is primarily focused on the monarchs of England (and successor unions) with each ruler getting their own individual article from 1066-to-present, while the Scottish monarchs were only briefly covered in comparison.  Not all the information given in monarch articles is correct, at least to those readers well versed in history, but overall the book is a good reference book.

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review 2018-07-26 19:31
Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power - Stephen Greenblatt

Greenblatt's studies on Shakespeare on "must reads" for me.  His discussion of the tyrants throughout Shakespeare's writings are thought-provoking in a way that I don't find anywhere else.  I particularly enjoy the discussion of Coriolanus, since that particular play is less performed and discussed than others.  I teach Coriolanus every year and students really love analyzing him so this book will add depth to our conversations around the motivations and thoughts of Caius Martius.  

Greenblatt makes it clear what his political leanings are and whether you agree with him or not, this study of the nature of tyrannical power is one well worth reading.

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review 2018-07-21 00:52
The ultimate reading resource
The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition - Jim Trelease

Every now and again when I receive new books to shelve, I come across one (or quite a few) that I pull aside to read for myself. That's how I stumbled upon today's book. The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease immediately caught my eye for no other reason than I'm a giant nerd for my profession. :-D The first half of the book is a discussion about the importance of reading and more specifically reading aloud to children from birth to...forever. This is not just Trelease's personal opinion but is backed up by extensive research and a plethora of data on the topic. However, it's not all technical jargon replete with charts and numbers. He uses examples from his own childhood which he describes as 'print rich' with a father who modeled reading habits as well as read to him on a regular basis. He was also fortunate to have a teacher that read aloud to the class each day. (This is a rarity in schools because of the rigorous standardized testing schedules and something I strongly contest.) He also received encouragement from a teacher who sent a note home to his parents praising his behavior and writing capability. (That really can make all the difference, folks!) Trelease also talks about the rearing of his children and their nightly routine of book reading.  Perhaps the most compelling parts of this book are the firsthand narratives of the significance of reading aloud throughout childhood and the benefits gained from it. It is chock full of anecdotes from principals, teachers, parents, and librarians and how they did their part to guide the children in their lives to become lifelong learners and readers. I've used quite a few of the 'tips and tricks' that he discusses like using ebooks and audiobooks for visually impaired and illiterate parents in the workshops and one-on-one discussions I've had with parents in my community. (P.S. Wordless picture books are another great resource.) Whether you're a professional in the field of library sciences or education or simply trying to create a love of reading in your own children this is a must have. I bought a copy for myself before I'd even finished reading it! 10/10

 

Oh and did I mention that the second half contains a Treasury of books subdivided by reading comprehension, age group, genre, and best books for reading aloud? WHY AREN'T YOU READING THIS YET? 

 

What's Up Next: The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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