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text 2021-06-13 08:24



A Young Woman, a Camera, an Uncompromising Ethic

June 13-17

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Young, talented, ambitious, Freyja Brynjarrson’s a photographer struggling to crash the art establishment, the challenges presented by her family, and keep true to her uncompromising ethic.

Fate places her on the front line of a political demonstration where soldiers open fire on civilians. She photographs death for the first time and the intensity makes everything she’s done previously in art and life seem inconsequential.

The current government is concerned these highly charged images could sway the voters against them. With a closely contested election only three days away, they’re doing whatever they can to attempt to suppress their publication. But someone far more unscrupulous than government spin-doctors also wants these images destroyed.

Gunnar Brynjarrson, Freyja’s eldest brother is the head of an illegal narcotics empire. He’s concerned about the opposition party’s platform to decriminalize drugs. His sister’s photographs could influence the outcome of a close election and put his business in jeopardy.

As events unfold, Freyja slowly becomes aware of the far-reaching impact the billions of narco dollars have on the government, the economy, friends, family and even herself. Something insidious has infected society and like a superbug, it’s resilient, opportunistic and appears as a mutation in the most unexpected places.

Freyja refuses to compromise and is intolerant and unforgiving of those who succumb to this evil or are complicit in their acceptance of it. If she stays at home, she’s afraid she’ll be infected and never attain success on her own terms. She takes an assignment with an international agency photographing the chaos and casualties of Mexico’s drug war. Freyja soon discovers she’s shot only one frame of ‘the big picture’.

The Big Picture focuses on dramatic action, zooms in on political intrigue, and takes a candid snapshot of modern romance. The plot also reveals how narco dollars, overtly and covertly, influence every level of our lives; the wars we fight, the governments we elect, the impact on healthcare, and most importantly and tragically, our personal relationships.


"The plot of The Big Picture, with its twists and reversals of fortune, ...is imaginative and fast moving...extremely compelling. ....characters are diverse, well developed, and real... ...imagery is powerful and fresh. The book is an excellent read and pausing to experience some of the imagery makes it even better."


"The Big Picture is ...a thought-provoking novel that is smartly written with genuine emotional, no holds barred dialogue, and events that will punch you in the heart. - This book was a gem to read and an interesting one at that."

"...a journey of self discovery... a coming-of-age, social thriller... focused on key ethical questions... a creative solution to expose the links of social problems."
Tom Pope - for Bookpleasures

"I like the plot and the plotters...Arni's sense of humor and the dynamics in the Brynjarsson family...Gunnar the druglord, BB the addict, Arni the hedonist, Giordana who rationalizes and Freyja who wants to fight. I like the love story, too. Freyja and Marty with their differences and similarities make a good couple.
... (there are) moral issues in The Big Picture. The drugs, corruption, the way people with beliefs and principles slowly drop them in the treadmill of politics and re-elections. What drug money does to each of the Brynjarssons. Freyja's ethics against Gunnar's power."
- C. Widmann, Goodreads Review


Imaginative and fast moving...extremely compelling...will punch you in the heart.
5 STARS - Readers' Favorite Book Reviews


This is a fascinating novel...adventure, excitement, drug cartels, family issues, romance...themes that are important and questions we sometimes need to ask ourselves.

Judge's commentary - 2nd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published eBook Awards







#books #bookworm #twitterbooks

#newbooksnetwork #goodreads #amreading #readingcommunity

#booklovers #newfiction #readers #read






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photo 2019-05-22 07:49

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Dubai Trip and Tour how to manage transport or Car Rent services in Dubai. Don’t worry just go to Rental Cars UAE and find out a suitable package. Rental Cars UAE provide all kind of Car Lease or Monthly Car Rental Services in Dubai. Moreover, you can get a 30% discount on all packages. Furthermore, if you are looking for Three Days deal on Cheap Rent a Car Dubai? No worries! Dubai Rent a Car is here to assist you with the best packages that are the most suitable and cars are available at very affordable rates on three days. 360 AED is the three days package. Do not miss to grab the chance to drive in Dubai.

Source: rentalcarsuae.com
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text 2019-05-22 07:44
A Dubai best Holiday


Dubai is a staggering recreation heading that has such a great amount to delicate. From comeuppance, safaris, Semite cooking styles, synthetic wonders, tremendous affluent inns, amusement parks to reality well-known shopping get, Metropolis makes an author than ideal bearing for an enormous occasion...


The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Dubai Trip and Tour how to manage transport or Car Rent services in Dubai. Don’t worry just go to Rental Cars UAE and find out a suitable package. Rental Cars UAE provide all kind of Car Lease or Monthly Car Rental Services in Dubai. Moreover, you can get a 30% discount on all packages. Furthermore, if you are looking for Three Days deal on Cheap Rent a Car Dubai? No worries! Dubai Rent a Car is here to assist you with the best packages that are the most suitable and cars are available at very affordable rates on three days. 360 AED is the three days package. Do not miss to grab the chance to drive in Dubai.

Underneath are a significant number of the things you rottenness see while holidaying in City.

Palm Islands

Popular for being accessible from the slug, territory islands are iii of the biggest artificial islands ever. For travelers and guests, the touch Jumeirah highlights a software engineer of inns and close living arrangements. Spell the second of the trio Islands, contact Jebel Ali is striking for its recreation offices, you can likewise relish the submersed tune part on this island. The third island of the territory islands, Touch Deira is a creator or little a private spread with the rangy figure of urbane and chichi manors. The Palm Deira is likewise the maxima of the trey islands shaping an exceptional artificial happening ever. The district islands are an unquestionable requirement force travel quality for each goes in Dubai.



This tourer fascination is for those detecting for a sept deliberation in their Dubai occasion. Expansion in a nation of 18 hectares, this fun basic is regularly loaded up with travels and guests appreciating the Caribbean journey, qualify slides, lady sprinters, breaker slopes and various such great attractions.


Magical Planet

Wizard planet is a fun measure for kids and is a diversion property elite for children. This tourer quality is high for your children to bump whatever enjoyment in their recreation in Dubai. You can give your children a chance to adore their Dubai get-away with attractions the same travel bungee wilderness, small tar and swing, electronic amusements and 10 stick bowling.


Art Galleries

Dubai likewise shows a couple of remarkable and somewhat workmanship exhibitions for craftsmanship sweethearts on their vacation in Dubai. Bolstered in 1976, the Dubai Art Gild is a significant unparalleled visitor trademark in Dubai. The craftsmanship displays got their allot of fame after beingness rehashed in collection 1980. In the mid of the 1980s, it was renamed as Dubai Multinational Art Point. The set advances aptitudes of little craftsmen and ought not to be missed on Dubai recreation on the off chance that you are attached to workmanship.


Fly Safaris

Recreation in Dubai is never thoroughgoing without the gathering well-known calif. Safaris. Explorer and guests are purloined on godforsaken enact in gatherings and get the opportunity to get Dubai, its substance and comeuppance. The Dubai safari change is something you instrument not go anyplace else and to add to the assignment, you likewise get a medium-term fill in Arab tents. Recreation in Dubai gets important when you get to separation the conventional Arab grill amid night wild eats.


Physiologist second to somebody a go in Dubai

The model involvement for a Dubai get-away is between November-March, likewise celebrated as season measurement in Dubai.

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text 2016-10-28 17:58
Mystical Landscapes - An Evening with Ross King

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to spend an evening at the AGO listening to Ross King give a wonderful talk about Claude Monet – an introduction to both his new book and to the AGO’s new exhibit “Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and More”.  The opening night gala included turning the walls of the AGO's Walker Court into “A Starry Night Over the Rhone at Aries” with a light show.

Mr. King is a historian and the author of several books including “Judgement in Paris” which he refers to as the prequel to his most recent “Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lillies”.
From reading some of Mr. King’s previous books I know he has the enviable ability to make the subjects of his books come to life.  He writes non-fiction that is does not read like endless boring art history lessons and biographical facts but is rather great story telling with amusing anecdotes, tidbits, illustrations and photographs.  His talk at the AGO was no different and included beautiful slides, great stories and intriguing (new to me) facts about Claude Monet’s life.  Judging from the Q&A following his talk the audience was filled with fans of Impressionist Art in general and Monet in particular yet Mr. King held everyone enthralled for the hour he spoke.  My daughter joined me for the evening, and while she enjoys art of all genres he certainly peaked her interest in Monet’s massive Water Lillies art installation.  She is lucky enough to be traveling to New York next week and after seeing the slides and hearing the story behind the mural-like paintings has added a MoMA visit to the “must fit in” list for NYC.
As enthusiastic as Mr. King was about his subject matter he was very careful (by his own admission – at his editor’s behest) not to give away everything in his book.  The line up to purchase his book at the end of the evening proved that he had succeeded in whetting everyone’s appetite.  I definitely picked up a copy and had it signed.  Mr. King was also kind enough to sign my copy of “Judgement in Paris” as well.  Mr. King was so generous with his time taking a few minutes to speak to everyone as he was signing his or her books. Kudos definitely go to the AGO for putting on an enjoyable evening.
When I travelled to Paris recently friends knew I would definitely be going to the Louvre – I mean who goes to Paris for the first time and doesn’t take the time to see the Mona Lisa (okay one person I know, who will go unmentioned, you know who you are!) – but those same friends, knowing of my interest in Impressionist Art said “DO NOT miss Musee D’Orsay”.  Definitely good advice!  While packing for the trip I had included a favourite top.  I didn’t think about it, just threw it in because I like it.  I wanted to wear it one day and when she saw it my daughter suggested that I should save it and wear when visiting D’Orsay.  She takes the greatest pictures wherever she goes and the wheels were already spinning for this “Monet/Mom-et” moment.
To quote another Mr. King (Stephen) “Ka is a wheel” and that certainly proved true in this case.  Barely a week after I returned the newsletter from AGO popped into my electronic mailbox announcing their newest Impressionist special exhibit, which includes many paintings on loan from D’Orsay, and the talk by Ross King.  My tickets for Mr. King were booked in almost a heartbeat.  I wasn’t sure about spending the money on the AGO exhibit (it seemed a little redundant after “D’Orsay) but after hearing Ross King speak we decided that we are definitely going back to walk through “Mystical Landscapes”.  Planning to make a day of it we are going skip across town and check out the Chihuly Glass exhibit at the ROM on the same day.
Looking forward to it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from www.rosskingbooks.com)
Ross King is the bestselling author of books on Italian, French and Canadian art and history. Among his books are Brunelleschi’s Dome(2000), Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling (2002), The Judgment of Paris (Governor General’s Award, 2006), and Leonardo and The Last Supper (Governor General’s Award, 2012). He has also published two novels (Domino and Ex-Libris), a biography of Niccolò Machiavelli, and a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s fables, jokes and riddles. He is the co-author with Anja Grebe of Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743 (2015), the most comprehensive book ever undertaken on the art of Florence.
Ross’s latest book, published in September 2016, marks his return to French Impressionism ten years after his award-winning The Judgement of Paris. The story of Monet’s struggles and triumphs in the last dozen years of his life, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies has been written with “a historical novelist’s attunement to the interplay of place, temperament, and society … Never before has the full drama and significance of Monet’s magnificent Water Lilies been conveyed with such knowledge and perception, empathy and wonder” (Donna Seaman, Booklist).
In tandem with his writing, Ross is an active fundraiser for the arts and a passionate lecturer and tour guide. He serves on the Council of Academic Advisors for Friends of Florence (FoF), the fundraising charity that ensures the survival of Florence’s art and architectural treasures. He has participated in numerous FoF study tours throughout Italy, including in Rome, Assisi and Milan. He is a regular participant in the Italian Renaissance seminars at the Aspen Institute, and has given Impressionist tours of Paris, Normandy, Brittany and Provence. He has lectured in many American museums, including at the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Frick Collection, and the National Gallery. When not traveling for work or pleasure, he lives in the historic town of Woodstock, near Oxford, with his wife Melanie.
His books include:
About “Mad Enchantment” (from his website)
Claude Monet is perhaps the world’s most beloved artist. Among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are the most famous. Seeing them in museums around the world, viewers are transported by the power of Monet’s brush into a peaceful world of harmonious nature. Monet himself intended them to provide “an asylum of peaceful meditation.” Yet these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced at the difficulties of capturing the fugitive effects of light, shade, depth and color. Their calmness and beauty also conceal the terrible personal torments—the loss of loved ones, the horrors of World War I, the infirmities of age—that he suffered in the last dozen years of his life.
Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies. The history of these remarkable canvases begins early in 1914, when French newspapers began reporting that Monet, by then 73 and one of the world’s wealthiest, most celebrated painters, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision—what Paul Cezanne called “the most prodigious eye in the history of painting”—was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again, this time on a more ambitious scale than ever before.
Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Mad Enchantment presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture—from his lavish lifestyle and tempestuous personality to his close friendship with the fiery war leader Georges Clemenceau, who regarded the Water Lilies as one of the highest expressions of the human spirit.
Early praise for “Mad Enchantment”
“King consummately meshes biography with art history … Never before has the full drama and significance of Monet’s magnificent Water Lilies been conveyed with such knowledge and perception, empathy and wonder.” - Booklist (Starred Review)
“Readers will rejoice at this critical and social “biography” of Monet’s stunningly ambitious final signature painting cycle, Water Lilies, a deeply immersive companion to the author’s memorable The Judgement of Paris … King is ever the brilliant docent murmuring the right, telling details and critical backstories in our ear as we move through space and time. He ultimately brings the man and his work into perfect focus while increasing his audience’s interest in both all the more.” – Literary Journal
The event raised $673,000 for the Gallery, which will be used to support its education and outreach initiatives as well as exhibitions like this one, which not only brought Starry Night Over the Rhone to Canada for the first time, but will also take significant Canadian works from artists like Emily Carr and Lawren Harris to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
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text 2016-05-25 19:57
Fashion. Titanic. Scandal ... My Local Connection

I recently read and reviewed the book "The Dressmaker" by Kate Alcott.  A principal character in the book was Lady Lucile Duff Gordon.  I knew that the character in the book was based on a real person, an early 20th century fashion designer and fashion innovator.

 She was a trendsetter; introducing the first runway fashion show with live models, designing a line of "ready-to-wear" designer clothes for women and designing fashion/costumes for Broadway plays.
Unfortunately, despite her enormous contribution to the early days of the fashion industry what Lucile is most known for is being on the Titanic's first and only voyage and her deplorable, (dare I say it?) inhumane behavior as the ship went down.


What I did not know, and learned through happenstance watching a local news broadcast, was that Lady Duff Gordon had a local connection to my little part of the world.  I was puttering around in the kitchen getting supper things cleared from the table when her name being announced caught my attention.  So I immediately began listening a little more closely.  I learned that Lady Duff Gordon had lived part of her, somewhat notorious, life in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  And ... the Guelph Civic Museum happened to be having an exhibit featuring her that was going on right now.  Well ... I knew I had to visit the exhibit.  After all, there is no such thing as coincidence, right?  So this past Victoria Day weekend I spend a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon exploring the Guelph Civic Museum - a lovely building that I not visited before - and learning just a little bit more about this woman with the local connection.



The exhibit was staged on two floors of the museum, the first floor dedicated to her early years in Guelph and the "Titanic Incident" and the third floor dedicated to actual samples of her dresses and fashion innovations.


She is partly responsible to getting women out of corsets and fashioning more
comfortable lingerie.  Sounds like the Victoria Secret of her time.  There is still a line of lingerie marketed under the "Lucile, Established 1890" label today.

Lucy Christiana Sutherland was born on July 13, 1863 to Douglas Sutherland, a Toronto civil engineer and his wife Elinor Saunders, an Anglo-French-Canadian.



As I was wandering the exhibit I overheard two other patrons, rather elderly ladies, discussing the picture of the house were Lucile was raised ... commenting that the house is still standing albeit sans wrap around porch.  All right ... YES! ... I WAS eavesdropping.




Lucile began sewing early in her life.  There probably wasn't much else to do in Guelph in the late 1800's?   At the age of seven she began making dresses for her dolls with materials from cases of cast off clothes and fabrics which were sent yearly from relatives in France.  She soon moved on to making dresses for herself and her sister, future novelist Elinor Glyn.



Lucile married for the first time in 1884, when she wed James Stuart Wallace.  Alas, despite having a child together, daughter Esme, the marriage was not a happy one.  Wallace was a alcoholic and was involved in several not so discreet love affairs.  Lucile consoled herself in love affairs of her own and in 1890 they separated and Lucile began divorce proceedings.  In 1900 she married Cosmo Duff Gordon, a wealthy Scottish landowner and sportsman.


After her divorce from Wallace Lucile had supported herself and her daughter by working as a dressmaker.  Before long she had opened Maison Lucile, in the fashionable west end of London.  From all accounts Sir Cosmo supported Lucile's venture's into the fashion industry and invested in her business.  In 1910 she opened her first "fashion house" in New York City.  It was an almost instant success and it wasn't long before she moved to a larger venue.


Lucile made a name for herself on Broadway as well, designing many fashionable costumes for the stage and for the new phenom - the silver screen.  One of her frequent and loyal customers was Ontario born movie legend Mary Pickford.


Lucille Limited can rightly be called the first international leading house of couture as in addition to her New York house, she opened a house in Paris in 1911 and in Chicago in 1915.  She was legitimately international with couture houses in three countries. 
Despite her success, the "French fashion world was scornful" and she often found herself the subject of cartoonists because of her innovative and the, hitherto unheard of,  idea of using "live mannequins" to model her clothes.
Lady Duff Gordon would enlist pretty shop girls working for her, dress them in her designer clothes and parade them around the room as "live mannequins" while patrons enjoyed tea and treats.  Although the practice was scoffed at and ridiculed at the time, we all know how that turned out ... can we say Milan, Paris, New York and Toronto Fashion Weeks!
With her success as a fashion designer and her husband being a Baronet, money seemed to be no object for the Duff Gordons.  Needing to travel to America they booked first class passage on maiden voyage of the ill-fated Titanic.  For some unknown reason they booked their passage under the names Mr. and Mrs. Morgan.  Of course we all know that the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to sink.  As passengers were being evacuated Lucile, Cosmo and Lucile's secretary Laura Francatelli were placed in Lifeboat 1, the fourth lifeboat to be launched approximately one hour after the ship struck the iceberg.  The lifeboat was a "cutter" designed for the emergency use of the Titanic crew so had less seats than the other lifeboats.  Despite it's smaller size (pictured below) it still had a maximum capacity of 40 people and was launched with only 12 persons aboard.  Despite the infamous call for "women and children first" Lifeboat 1 carried 10 male passengers (seven of whom were crew members).
Lifeboat 1 was dubbed "the money boat" because of it's not near capacity cargo and rumors that Lord Duff Gordon had bribed the seamen on board to
keep rowing and not allow any of the multitude of people in the water to climb into the lifeboat.  Taking a page from Marie Antoinette's "let them eat cake" guide, Lady Duff Gordon even commented to her secretary that it was too bad that she had now lost her "beautiful nightdress". 
A general inquiry was held into the sinking of the Titanic and fueled by pressure from the tabloid press in both the United States and England a special inquiry was held into the circumstances surrounding the launch of Lifeboat 1.  The appearance of Lord and Lady Duff Gordon, the only passengers called to testify at any of the Titanic inquiries, resulted in the largest crowd of spectators.  Lord and Lady Duff Gordon were never formally charged in any wrong doing but the court did admonish that "occupants of Lifeboat 1 should have made a more concerted effort to rescue survivors from the water".
Lucile Duff Gordon really had no luck when it came to traveling by sea and it could even be said that she had somewhat of a charmed life when it came to boat and ship disasters ...
When her mother remarried she and her sister moved to the Isle of Jersey with their mother and her new husband, David Kennedy.  In 1875 following a visit to relatives in England, Lucy and her sister Elinor survived a shipwreck when their ship ran aground in a gale force storm.
Lucile escaped with her life when the Titanic hit an iceberg.
In 1915 Lucile had booked passage on the RMS Lusitania.  It was reported that due to illness she cancelled her trip at the last minute.  On that voyage, where Lady Duff Gordon should have been aboard,
the Lusitania was hit by a German torpedo and sank.
I guess three times is the charm. 
A few years back I went to an exhibit of "Story Quilts" entitled "From Oma to Oma" which left me with a bit of a fascination of how people can make quilts to reflect a story as clearly as any written on a page.  There was one such quilt, crafted by fabric artist John Willard, hanging as part of this exhibit entitled "A Night to Remember".  It was a beautifully crafted piece of art and looking like the caps of waves were the names of all the passengers and crew members that sailed on the Titanic on that fateful voyage.  I was able to locate the names of Lucile and Cosmo Duff Gordon and Lucile's secretary, Laura Francatelli (admittedly with a little prompting from an arrow on the descriptive picture posted along side the quilt) as well as the name of another rather well known survivor, the "unsinkable" Molly Brown (which I found all on my own - thank you).
And since this after all a "book" blog I had to include the following which were displayed among the object in glass cabinets filled with the smaller sized mementos of Lucile's life and accomplishments.  Two first edition books concerning Lucile and her family.  Lucile herself wrote two autobiographies, the American first edition of the first autobiography was on display.
Lucile's sister, Elinor Glyn, was a rather well known author.  She was a journalist, screen writer and author who was quite notorious in her own life, causing scandal on both sides of the ocean.  It is widely accepted that Ms. Glyn was this first to coin the phrase "It Girl" in her novel "The Man and the Moment" which throughout the 1920's was a common term referring to "sex appeal". Her book "Letters to Caroline" was also included and it features an original sketch by Lucille on the front flyleaf.
A rather sad sidebar to this exhibit is based on another "local connection".  Thomson Beattie was born in Fergus, Ontario which is 20 Km north of Guelph.  Thomson and two friends were traveling on a winter vacation when one of his friends became sick and had to return home.  Tired of traveling themselves Thomson and his other friend, lifelong companion Thomas McCaffry, decided to make their way home themselves booking passage on the Titanic.  Thomas wrote his mother before leaving "we are changing ships and coming home in a new, unsinkable, boat".
Beattie and his companions did make it on to one of the last available lifeboats, a collapsible, but died of exposure waiting for rescue.  A month after the Titanic went down a life raft was seen from the deck of the Oceanic bobbing in the water.  The three bodies in the raft were sewn into canvas bags and buried at sea.  Thomson Beattie was still wearing the evening clothes he had worn on the Titanic that last night.
In a coincidence odd enough to give you goose flesh ... Thomson Beattie was buried at sea on his mother's birthday at almost the exact spot were where she had been born 82 years earlier ... in the Atlantic ocean on a ship bound for Canada.
He is remembered with a stone on the family grave site in Fergus, Ontario.
So very many things I learned today because of one name in a book!
Thanks for reading.
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