Sunday, February 28, 2016

This Too Shall Pass, by Milena Busquets

Did absolutely nothing for me-- had to force myself to keep reading out of courtesy to LibraryThing Early Reviewer's program who sent me the book. But, as I told myself when I forced myself to turn the page, "This too shall pass."

Tags: 2016-readgive-me-my-time-backearly-review-librarythingadvanced-reader-copy 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cats in Paris: A Coloring Book of the Felines of Paris

I was seduced by the cover of this coloring book: cat on a bookshelf (pictured below). It's my favorite of the drawings, that will give great pleasure to fans of coloring, cats, and Paris. An interesting mix of line drawings and scanned art. I've come to the conclusion that though I like to draw art for coloring, I'm not such a big fan of coloring, itself.

Thanks to blogging for books and the publisher for sending a copy my way.

Tags: 2016-read, art, blogging-for-books, read, thought-i-was-gonna-like

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

This is a novel rich in images, focused on two girls growing up in a working class section of Naples in the 1950's. Their friendship is hard-won, but true. The interactions with family members and with other characters who inhabit that neighborhood captured me. If you're wanting a fast-paced action novel, look elsewhere. This has the rhythms and feel of the novels I studied at university, the story unspooling and reweaving slowly on its loom. It starts with a bit of a mystery (one of the girls, now a middle aged woman has gone missing) and the other travels back through time and memory to their girlhoods. As I understand it, the other Neapolitan Novels cover different periods in their lives. I'll keep reading, not just for the beauty of the language (even translated into English) but to find out which of the two girls is the brilliant friend. My opinion kept switching.

I've also heard that there is a bit of a debate about who Elen Ferrante really is. The novel was pretty much dismissed by the Italian Literary world, but became a runaway favorite with the rest of the world when it was translated.

Tags:  read-on-recommendation, will-look-for-more-by-this-author, thank-you-charleston-county-library, 2016-read, didn-t-want-to-put-it-down, made-me-think, translated

Friday, February 19, 2016

Patterns of the Wheel Preorder Discount ends Februay 20

Just a reminder to anyone thinking of  ordering: preorder discount ends when February 20th is over everywhere on earth. Thanks for your consideration. The book will remain available at until sold out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Hanging Girl (Department Q #6) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

This is a series I love. Not only are the cases interesting and full of their own quirks and twists, but so are the central characters. The cases assigned to Department Q are all cold cases, lying unsolved for years. The main team of characters are all broken in one way or another, with foibles and fears, secrets and sins, all wrapped up in many, many layers that Adler-Olsen carefully dissects away. And while some of the cases have the dark noir aspect of other Scandinavian writers, some are less vitriolic, but just as interesting to read. Sometimes you like a good mystery/detective novel that doesn't rip your guts out or give you nightmares. Jussi Adler-Olsen has proven to be able to craft a tale that grabs attention, and unfolds in a way that grabs interest, builds suspense, and defines characters beautifully. 

Tags: 2016-reada-favorite-authorcurrently-readingnordic-noirthank-you-charleston-county-librarytranslated-mystery

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pop Painting: Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon by Camilla d'Errico

Though Camilla d'Errico's  art is vastly different from what I make, I found this an interesting book, with good suggestions that I intend to try. The panels showing her process were fascinating.  I've been wanting to try birch panels, and after finishing the book, went out and got a few to give it a whirl.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for sending me my copy. It's a keeper!

Monday, February 8, 2016

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

I know straight off this book won't be for everyone, but it certainly was for me. Charlie Jane Anders has created wonderful mix of science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism with a bit of real magic and a dystopian slant. There's also a little romance thrown in, and I've heard that some people, based on the beginning, were thinking it was YA. I liked the characters. I liked their interactions. I liked the conflict that was set up (as a storyline, not as a potential reality.) I admit to being a sucker for books set in San Francisco, and this one, unlike some others, actually got the location right. If I'm not being that eloquent it's because I woke up at 2:30 and didn't get back to sleep last night.

For those that need a plot summary, the story starts with two misfit kids finding each other in middle school. That one understands the language of birds and nature, and the other is tuned to building the perfect AI is yet another mismatch. But events unfold so that they separate, only to meet up again, in San Francisco, on opposite sites of an undeclared war about how to save humanity. Plus, there are witches, robots, two second time travel, and good writing. What more could you wish in a book?

tags: 2016-readdidn-t-want-to-put-it-downdystopian-ishfantasygreat-covermade-me-thinkmagicmagical-realismplaces-i-have-beenreadread-on-recommendationthank-you-charleston-county-librarythought-provokingtorwant-to-re-readwill-look-for-more-by-this-author

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

When you've had someone you love die violently at the hands of someone else, you tend to think a lot about justice and karma. At least that's my experience. Mileage may vary for other family members. Our civilization, and many others, holds fundamental the ideas of justice and upholding laws that protect life and freedoms. And that's really the basis of this story. A violent act was committed. The repercussions ripple across the years, twisting and breaking lives and hearts in the process. If the truth is a long time coming, is it any better or worse to know? And what of justifications? Of suppositions? Of fermenting sorrows and anger. What about when fate steps in and deals it's own heavy hitting, is that justice? Can the score of taking another's life ever be settled? Can it ever be forgiven? Should it be?

My own experience teaches me we get through tragedy, but never over it. In the life taken from my world, both justice and karma had their say. It doesn't make the loss any easier.

I have purposely not rated this book. I can't.

tags: 2016-read, an-author-i-read, don-t-want-to-rate, made-me-sad, made-me-think, made-me-uncomfortable, mixed-feelings, places-i-have-been, read, read-on-recommendation, thank-you-charleston-county-library

Want to time travel? In Charleston, here's how (offer valid through February 18, 2016)

Late in 2015, the amazing Liv Antonecchia, of Surface Craft Gallery, invited local artists to join in a project: draw, paint, write, create in whatever form, in a sketchbook for 30 days in January 2016. The challenge was accepted by 40 artists, representing a broad range of visual and literary arts, and the completed works of 27* of them are now on display at the gallery (49 John Street, downtown). The basic sketchbook, a creative work in itself, measures approximately 1"x 3", and each were handmade by Kris Westerson, an artist with an amazing array of talents (Go on: check her site out. I'll wait.)

And the completed books? Oh, wow. I loved my teeny, tiny blank book that kept me company during January. I tried to think of a theme (which many of the participants did) but my mind was too scattered. I decided instead to use my book as a testing ground for trying out new things, as well as incorporating some of my basic skill set. I let myself be inspired by other artists, and try some things I'd been too timid to approach. And in between new things, I let my pysanky brain roam free. You might say my book consists of some things old, some things new, some borrowed, and even a couple that are blue. Some I love, some wouldn't see the light of day had they not found a home in the book, but hey, it's about the journey, right?

Photo by of Liv Antonecchia
Last night, though, I stood in awe of what fellow artists had accomplished in that same space: stories, collections, dreams, fantasies, maps, cartoons, commentaries-- it is an incredible array of art and world views. We each took that same tiny book that Kris bound and Liv offered, and created things fantabulous. One artist even created a work out of pottery instead of using the pages. (There are some pictures below-- some of which I ganked from Facebook or Instagram because many of mine came out more blurry than I anticipated. I blame it on the wine Liv served. I apologize to the folks who I didn't identify, I should have taken notes to go with pictures.)  

So, that's all nice, but how is is time travel? The answer is simple, simple math that is: 27 artists x 30 days = 810 days. And for the price of admission (which is free) you can see it all in the time it takes you to meander through the display at Surface Gallery.

Art and photo by Kate Fortney
Art and photo by Heather Powers

Art and photo by Amy Romanczuk

photo and book by Elizabeth Porcher Jones
Art and photo by Karyn Healy

Art and photo by Alison Brynn Ross

Interconnectedness (photo and book)
by Kris Westerson

art (and photo) byTami Boyce

Art by Kris Westerson

What? You're still here? Get on over to Surface Gallery!

*the option existed for people to be able to take their art home after the show, so some may be gone. The other cool thing? Some are for sale!

Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Write a Novel (a Novel) by Melanie Sumner

I'm just a little tired of precocious 12 year olds. The premise is clever and the stories told by Charles and by Aris's mother Diane, via the writing their characters do, were interesting. Aris (short for Aristotle) herself, meh. But, overall, I liked the book, as in "it was fine/ok", just didn't love it. Once again, Kirkus Reviews and I part company.