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review 2017-05-12 21:52
This Time Together (Burnett)
This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection - Carol Burnett

I haven't read the various other books by "serial autobiographer" Burnett. This one I would describe as light and, without the slightest snarkiness, "heart-warming." It consists of anecdotes of a page or two each about various people in Burnett's life, mostly celebrated people, and mostly funny anecdotes. She has anchored it with some stories about family as well, but there is no prolonged anlysis of the career, let alone psychological navel-gazing. This is Carol Burnett sitting at dinner or at a party, telling her best stories. I have no doubt that many of them have been polished or even improved a little over time. It doesn't matter. Throughout the book she exposes what seems to be a very real gift for appreciating those around her and, more unusually it seems to me, a strong gift for forming mutually respectful working creative partnerships with other very talented women (Lucille Ball, Julie Andrews, Beverly Sills).

 

One of the delights of the internet age is to read an anecdote about a particular TV episode or special, and then be able to go online and find it, however fuzzy, to watch and appreciate as if for the first time. It slows up the reading, but most enjoyably so. In the case of this book, a two-page anecdote turned into an hour of media-watching several times over!

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text 2017-04-12 07:09
"Smashwords Questionnaire / Interview"

I asked a friend to come up with some questions for my 'Smashwords Interview' and these are what he came up with. I've written my answers to each of them. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/reneepaule

 

You have written five books - one for children - and have a sixth in the pipeline on the human condition. What drives you to write?

 

What makes a flower grow, a heart beat or the sun shine? I don’t know the answers to these questions or to what drives me to write. I only know that I’m driven and that the ‘drive’ grows stronger with each book.

 

Many people who read your books are looking for answers yet your books provide none; isn’t this rather a contradiction to being a self-help book?

 

No it isn’t. If I provide answers to questions people have then some of them will listen to me and I may be wrong - it has never been my intention to become a ‘guru’. Self-help means just that; we need to help ourselves and not rely on others to find solutions for us - which leaves us none the wiser; our strength can only be found within. We must look for our own answers and I can only show you how I’m looking for mine. Having said that, I actually have no answers - just fewer and fewer questions and this has made my heart less heavy to lug around.

 

What age group are your books aimed at, if any?

 

When I wrote ‘On The Other Hand’ I thought my audience would be in my own age group (over 50s). I was surprised to discover that younger people like them very much too, so my answer is from around 15 or so upwards.

 

Why did you start to illustrate your books after ‘On the other hand’ and how did the idea of ‘Dilly’ come about?

 

I never thought about illustrating ‘On the Other Hand’. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know I had the ability to draw so it never occurred to me - I wasn’t artistic in my youth. When I was writing ‘Just Around the Bend’ an idea popped into my head of a ‘thought bubble thinking’ and I decided to draw it - it was just a bit of fun. From then on Dilly - a thought form that thinks - became a character in his own right and he was good at demonstrating points that I made in the text. I use ‘he’ when I talk about Dilly but I really don’t think of him as either masculine or feminine - it’s just for the sake of convenience.

 

You do your own illustrations; how do you decide what aspect to illustrate? Your earlier books have fewer illustrations than ‘Stepping out of time’, which has 27; one short of the previous two books put together. Why is this?

 

Sometimes the Dilly illustrations pop into my head before I’ve even written the point I want him to demonstrate, and sometimes the ‘point’ comes first; I have no hard or fast rules about this and let the illustrations develop as and when they want to. For this reason I can’t really answer the second part of this question. I can tell you however, that the images for ‘Stepping Out of Time’ came to me so quickly that I began to wonder whether my next book would be in comic strip format - as it turned out it was to be a children’s picture book.

 

Why did you write a children’s book and do you have plans to write more of them? Again, an idea just came to me and I shared it with a friend and we decided to write and illustrate this book together. Yes, I have plans - and ideas - for more. Our children need to learn to think independently (outside the proverbial box) as much as we do. They learn from us and will become the future leaders of our world, so it’s important that we teach them not to be afraid of it.

 

The latest book you are working on; is this in the same tone as your previous books; will it have more or less illustrations?

 

I don’t believe that my tone changes, so my answer to the first part of this question is ‘Yes’. To date, I’ve not yet made any illustrations for it or designed the cover, so I can’t answer the second part of this question yet.

 

Is there much more that you can write about on the human experience before you run out of ideas?

 

I’m far from short of ideas. If anything, there’s a problem writing them down fast enough before I forget. Because the genres of my books are ‘self-reflection’ and ‘observation’ it follows that my ideas will only run out when I do! But, who is this ‘I’?

 

If you had to sum up your books in a ‘Hollywood pitch’ for example, ‘Sci-fi Meets Supernatural’, how would you describe it?

 

‘Beds of Nails and Other Comfortable Places’.

 

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

 

I can’t answer that question - I may not be around.

 

Your books have no mantras to repeat, no exercises or meditations to perform and no means of tracking progress made; in fact, on the face of it there is nothing for the reader to do. How do your books work, how do they help people who read them to help themselves?

 

Oh but they do have a mantra to repeat - ‘Who am I?’ Ask it and keep asking it. There are three ‘do’s in this question and this ‘doing’ has got us into enough trouble already. There really is nothing to ‘do', as such. We make life so complicated when it should be simple. My books aim to help people to think differently and to let go of all that holds them back from being the best person they can be - from becoming a responsible and mindful person in society. I’m told that my books are both a mirror and a lens, and I believe that to be true. If my books teach anything at all then they teach us the truth about ourselves - steering us inwards - and this is all too often a difficult place to visit.

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url 2016-12-30 18:06
Staying Together and Running Apart | An Ode to 2016

 

2016 was a year of contradictions. 


We said goodbye to many artists who made the world a better place, including but not limited to Prince, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, and Alan Rickman. 

We said hello to great movies and entertainment, like Stranger Things, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Moana. Also, Hamilton the Musical continued its streak into fame. 

We got an American Authors album that rocked my mind. 

We got a president-elect who is pushing the boundaries of our nation. 

The book blogging universe exploded several times from scandal, fraud, and dishonesty. Racism and poor representation burned through social media. The call for diverse books, authors, readers, and editors was met with strong disagreements. 

The book blogging universe exploded with support for one another. Events like DiversityDecBingo and Loveathon shared the blogger love. Countless bloggers campaigned for diversity and representation on every platform available. 

The highs and lows were reflected in every area of life, especially in my reading goals and accomplishments.

 

Click the link to see my bookish reflection on 2016 and my goals for 2017.

Source: 4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/12/being-together-and-running-apart-ode-to.html
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review 2016-10-30 00:00
Reflection of the Son
Reflection of the Son - Todd Coburn Reflection of the Son - Todd Coburn Want to know more about Christianity and some foundational prinicples? This book is great for explaining those. For those already a Christian, it is good to remind us that we should be allowing the Lord to shine through us. It has multiple scripture references so that the reader can go see for him/herself what does the Bible actually say, and would be useful in trans-version study of many different translations, and word studies as well. It would also be a useful book for Bible studies too. I think we all encounter times, when we feel that we are not making an impact or a difference, and can get caught up in the notion of "If I just try a little harder, work a little more, etc", when this book is a great reminder of that it is not in our strength anything is accomplished, but His, and good for helping to get back on track by looking to the Lord, and not ourselves. I would encourage all Christians to read this book, and non-Christians looking to more about the Faith.
I received this book from the author.
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review 2016-09-27 11:39
Batgirl Vol 1: The Darkest Reflection
Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection - Gail Simone,Vicente Cifuentes,Ardian Syaf

I'm not normally a Batgirl fan, but I picked this one up because it was available at the elibrary and I had some time when I could only read on a computer that I couldn't download anything to or access Scribd, no phone or tablet available. It's weird, I know, but not the important part. So I found Batgirl and gave it a go.

It was entertaining in that action movie kind of way. There were some things I liked about it, like the action itself and the few sweet scenes between Batgirl and people who had been significant figures during her first foray as a crime fighting vigilante. There was her extensive internal monologue. It that attempted to humanize her and give her depth. It fell a little flat emotionally, but it was close enough to engaging that it didn't effect the way I felt about the book as a whole. I just kept hoping for it to lead to something a little more engaging. Her feelings about everything were just so expected. No surprises, and that kept it from being fun for me. However, I did appreciate the way her prior experiences as Batgirl, like when she was shot, effected her current reactions to things. Having had her past issues, she was constantly aware that she wasn't invincible. That's where the internal monologue didn't help, I felt like there was too much of it in the middle of some fight scenes. At the same time, the internal monologue was interesting in other scenes.

There were two things that came close to completely ruining it for me, as far as being interesting in a more than fleeting way. There was the way this was put together. Most of the time, a volume is one story in it's entirety. This one was two. There were two separate antagonists whose stories don't even overlap. The only reason I can think of for why these stories are smashed together in this volume is because each story isn't enough for a volume of it's own but that doesn't help me like it better. There's a place for a shorter story, and even collections, but I didn't even feel like these two help each other out.

Part of my problem with them being smashed together is that they both seem to make the same point, which just made the second story feel redundant. Yeah, there are nuanced little differences between the two villains, but they played her antagonist in pretty much the same way. There was nothing particularly fun about either of them. They were sad, the kind of villain I feel sorry for more than one that I just enjoy the villainy of.

As a set up for the rest of the series, it doesn't leave me with a clear expectation for the tone or direction of character development. I don't feel like she's going to spend much more time wondering if she's ready to be back in the suit and there's plenty of Bat family drama to go around but how much of her story is about guilt and this other Gordon family drama is questionable enough that I'm going to pass on continuing. Still, it wasn't too bad and it had its redeeming qualities. Like the art.

I almost gave it two stars on account of all the stuff I didn't really like about the story, but this is a comic and the art has it's own voice here. The art was great. It was in the details. Bodies look like bodies, not oversexualized into ridiculous representations of the human form. Gotham appeared to be the thinnest city in the country, but the individual forms didn't even come close to the border of ridiculous. Batgirl/Barbara is pretty without being unrealistic and she didn't feel "made for the male gaze" if you know what I mean. The poses for the fight scenes were great too, especially in the scene where she is actively thinking about the differences in the training she received and that of the person she is fighting, the art helps the point come across by showing those differences. It turned out that the fight poses from the beginning play right into where she knows she obtained her style rather than those ridiculous sexy poses that I've seen other comics get slammed for. Of course, that doesn't account for the angle of the pose, which does get a little crazy on rare occasions.

All that said, it's not a comic I would get for anyone under teen due to the content of the story. I feel like the art would have been okay for a younger crowd, but the story is a little too dark for that.

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