Playing With Books is a book about altering other books.  This a terrific source of ideas for the reader who wants to take old books and make them into something new.  There are project ideas packed onto every page. The projects range from simple to more complex with an artists’ gallery for further inspiration if the projects aren’t enough.  Most of the projects use tools that the reader might already have at home or can easily find in craft and hardware stores.  The steps are explained fairly well, but the reader might need other books to explain some of the sewing or other skills used in making the projects.  The photography is wonderful and shows the projects at their best while demonstrating the techniques being taught in the written instructions.  There are even ideas for sources of free books the reader can use for the projects.  This was an exciting book to read and I have already put it on my wish list to add to my library at home.  I can’t wait to get started!

playing

24. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Making Books by Hand: A Step-By-Step Guide by Mary McCarthy and Phillip Manna, read by Marsha, on 04/23/2014

Making Books by hand takes the time to show the reader steps not often shown in other books, such as how to fold the corners of bookcloth on a cover.  This is a nice little reference book to keep nearby for that reason. The text contains instructions for several different types of books including accordion books, journals and scrapbooks, photo albums, and box books.  Some instructions are more detailed than others and some of the photos really need to have been taken closer up so that the reader can see the details of what the author is referring to.  But many of the instructions are well-written and the photography does not interfere with the reader getting a grasp on the content.  There is even a chapter titled, “New Directions: Trends and Traditions” that has a more uncommon accordion book and a scroll.  Included is also an artists’ gallery, which is sure to generate lots of new ideas.  While this is not necessarily a book I plan to add to my library, it is one that I will probably check out and peruse again once I start making my own books.

 

I enjoy books like this. Christine Liu-Perkins did a fantastic job researching Lady Dai and her time period and sharing it in an accessible way for children. There are all kinds of mummies out there: Egyptian  bog, etc. All of these mummies are desiccated remains. What I found truly fascinating was that Lady Dai wasn’t desiccated. Her skin was still soft, her joints still worked, her organs had not decayed. She looked like a recently dead person instead of someone who had died 2200 years ago. Her tomb contained many treasures like still recognizable food and silks and some of the first books. Her tomb and those of her husband and son are truly treasures.

stealKleon has written a fantastic little book that may be a quick read, but should be read again and again as it is jam-packed with content.  The book lists 10 things the writer wishes he had known when he started creating and they are fairly universal no matter what the reader makes (and everyone should be making something).  Kleon is a writer and artist but this advice applies to anyone who has the least bit of a creative streak, which is EVERYONE.  Don’t miss out on this little gem because of it’s size.  There are many things the reader can learn from reading and re-reading Steal Like An Artist.  This book is now on my Kindle!

23. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Crafts, Marsha, NonFiction

Expressive Handmade Books by Alisa Golden, read by Marsha, on 04/21/2014

handmadeIf the reader is looking for a new way to express oneself, look no further!  Golden has written a wonderful guide that not only gives some bindings to consider, but also has many different forms of accordion folds to experiment with.  In addition, the author presents a preparation section for most projects that includes a prompt for doing a book similar to the one featured in the project.  The steps are easy to walk through and the diagrams are fairly clear.  The prompts give a detailed look at the author’s processes as she developed her idea.  Overall, this is a great book and one I am thinking of adding to my personal collection.

This was a fascinating look at the connections between football and concussions. The first thing you read about in the book is the history of the sport of football. One of the things I found most interesting was the fact that conversations about the dangers of concussions with football players started at the beginning of this game. Football has always been a dangerous sport and it started out even more dangerous than it is today. I knew players didn’t start out with the padding and helmets of today. What I didn’t realize was that they started out with no padding or helmets and that it was a fairly common occurrence for players to die. From the time football started in the 1890s to when it was reformed in the 1900s it seems between 10-20 players died each year as a result of injuries sustained playing football. The fact that the game persists to this day is astounding!

The other thing I found really interesting was the fact that brain injuries are so very common among all ages of football players. The book gets into the science pretty heavily which I think will go over some kids heads, but they will understand the injuries and deaths that football players have sustained. Concussions and football have been in the news a lot lately, but the connection actually started in the 1980s. Repeated concussions and repeated blows to the head without concussion have resulted in dementia, ALS, Alzheimers, and death among football players. And it isn’t just the professional players that have to worry about it. Brain damage has even been found in high school and college football players. The fact that we let our boys start playing at a very early age and then have them continue into their teens means they are likely to get hit thousands of times. This means there is a greater chance they will sustain brain damage or injuries. I’m glad I never played football, but I worry about those who have and will.

17. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Crafts, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction

Bookworks by Sue Dogget, read by Marsha, on 04/17/2014

bookworksBookworks is a text about bookbinding and gives a lot of information about different methods of putting books together.  To begin, I should mention this may not be the best book for a complete beginner.  Some of the diagrams are rather unclear as are the instructions.  The author seems to assume the reader has done some bookbinding prior to picking up her text.  This is not to say the book is all bad, however.  There is a marvelous section accordion folding that I have not seen in other texts of this nature.  It has a lot of different ideas for using the said folds for various applications.  Dogget also keeps the number of bindings she tries to teach to a minimum, thus not overwhelming the reader with all the different ways available to bind a book.  The areas I feel could be improved include embossing covers and cutting recesses.  These features were glossed over and I feel she could have spent more time with them.  There are lots of great ideas in here, including a method for making a clasp for a diary you won’t want to miss.  It is worth picking up Bookworks and giving it a look.

Spirit AnimalsThe Secret Power of Spirit Animals gives some information on not only learning which animal is the reader’s totem, but also what characteristics those with that totem possess.  Part I is about connecting with a spirit animal and exploring to find out which animal is the reader’s totem.  It also describes topics such as familiars and techniques for working with spirit animals.  In Part II, 200 spirit creatures are described more in depth.  The information given includes characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, how to use the creature’s power, and symbolic meanings of seeing that creature either in a dream or the real world.  Part II makes up the bulk of the book.  As a reader, I myself was hoping to see more information in Part I.  Though some history and mythology is touched on from around the world, it would be nice if the author had gone more in depth with the human-animal connection through time.  Regardless, this is a nice book for those of us who are just curious about the subject matter and want a taste of what spirit animals are all about.  Part II reads much like a dictionary and would be better used as a resource than as something read from beginning to end, but it is still interesting if the reader decides to dive in and read it from cover to cover.  There is a lot of information crammed into each entry and some of the entries made me want to research those animals more thoroughly.  A good book for basic information, but wish it included some resources for further discovery.

10. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Humor, NonFiction

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris, read by Angie, on 04/10/2014

This is my first David Sedaris book and I am glad I listened to the audiobook. Sedaris reads the book himself and his unique voice really brings the stories to life. For the most part they are all tales from his childhood, young adulthood or current life. I especially enjoyed his first colonoscopy (hilarious) and his stolen passport. While not all the stories are laugh-out-loud funny, they are humorous and extremely satirical. I also enjoyed his essays at the end of the book where he takes on conservatives on social issues. The story of the woman who wants to march on Washington with the Tea Party was especially funny. This is a witty and humorous collection that I am sure fans of David Sedaris can appreciate.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Real Life Journals by Gwen Diehm, read by Marsha, on 04/09/2014

JournalsThis is a great book for learning more about the craft of bookbinding.  There is a lot of terrific material in here for beginners with thorough instructions for each step, as well as lists of materials and where to find those materials.  Diehm even includes a couple of websites to check out in case the readers’ local craft stores do not carry bookbinding materials.  The book is a wonderful resource and has a pamphlet for creating your own “bookbinding adventure,” which allows the reader to answer a series of questions and, depending on the answer, flip through to the appropriate binding for the project the reader has in mind.  Diehm even walks the reader through this process using nine examples of real journal-keepers as they made decisions about what kind of book they wanted for their journal.  Diehm followed up with each reader to find out what they liked about their journal and what they would improve for next time. The final chapter of this book contains background information about journals, including famous journal-keepers such as da Vinci.  I highly recommend this text to anyone looking into creating their own journals.  I am even planning to add this volume to my own personal craft library.

07. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Graphic Book, History, NonFiction

March (Book One) by John Robert Lewis, Andrew Aydin (Co-writer), Nate Powell (Artist), read by Courtney, on 03/08/2014

March tells the story of its author, Congressman John Lewis, and his lifetime of work with the civil rights movement. The first in a trilogy, book one covers Lewis’s early days in Alabama, his meeting with Dr. King and the beginnings of the the bus boycotts and lunch counter sit-ins.
This is a great collaboration between a living civil rights legend and renowned comics creators. Readers will learn about a pivotal point in history from a point of view not seen in history books. Lewis came from humble beginnings and worked hard to change societal attitudes at a time when it was downright dangerous to do so. The artwork is great; detailed and evocative. I look forward to book two.

07. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Informational Book, NonFiction, Teen Books

Rookie Yearbook Two by Tavi Gevinson, read by Courtney, on 03/27/2014

Can I just say how much I love Rookie? Loooove it. And it makes me really happy that a good deal of the online-only magazine is being published in these “Yearbook” editions. The format is identical to the first Yearbook, but the depth and breadth of the subject matter is fresh and relevant. Rookie tackles things that most other teen magazines wouldn’t dare to. Faith, sexuality, art, music and activism are all given equal weight and credibility. The fashion spreads are moody and creative (and refreshing free from brand names and prices; something I’ve always found particularly irritating about most magazines). Themed playlists and colorful art abounds throughout. There’s not a single teenaged girl I wouldn’t recommend this to. In fact, I think most adults should check it out too. I know I learned a thing or two. And boys? If you want to understand girls a little bit more, consider this a really good starting point.

02. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

The Black Belt Librarian by Warren Graham, read by Madeline, on 03/30/2014

Sharing expertise gleaned from more than two decades as a library security manager, Graham demonstrates that libraries can maintain their best traditions of openness and public access by creating an unobtrusive yet effective security plan. In straightforward language, the author shows how to easily set clear expectations for visitors behavior, presents guidelines for when and how to intervene when someone violates the code of conduct, including tips for approaching an unruly patron, offers instruction on keeping persistent troublemakers under control or permanently barred from the library, gives library staff tools for communicating effectively with its security professionals, including examples of basic documentation. The Black Belt Librarian arms librarians with the confidence and know-how they need to maintain a comfortable, productive, and safe environment for everyone in the library.

02. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Madeline, NonFiction

Julia's Cats: Julia Child's Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey, Therese Burson, read by Madeline, on 03/22/2014

The world knows Julia Child as the charismatic woman who brought French cuisine to America and became a TV sensation, but there’s one aspect of her life that’s not so familiar. Soon after the Childs arrived in Paris in 1948, a French cat appeared on their doorstep, and Julia recalled, “Our domestic circle was completed.” Minette captured Julia’s heart, igniting a lifelong passion for cats equaled only by her love of food and her husband, Paul. All the cherished feline companions who shared Julia’s life—in Paris, Provence, and finally California—reminded her of that magical time in Paris when her life changed forever.
From Julia’s and Paul’s letters and original interviews with those who knew her best, Patricia Barey and Therese Burson have gathered fresh stories and images that offer a delightfully intimate view of a beloved icon.

02. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Madeline, Memoirs, NonFiction

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, read by Madeline, on 03/07/2014

An instant American icon–the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court–tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir.

With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.  She writes of her precarious childhood and the refuge she took with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. She describes her resolve as a young girl to become a lawyer, and how she made this dream become reality: valedictorian of her high school class, summa cum laude at Princeton, Yale Law, prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.’s office, private practice, federal district judge before the age of forty. She writes about her deeply valued mentors, about her failed marriage, about her cherished family of friends. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-discovery and self-invention, alongside Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father.

02. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The In-Between by Barbara Stewart, read by Sarah, on 04/01/2014

  This was a haunting book that will keep you guessing until the very end.  A family of three (mom, dad, and Ellie) are in a terrible car wreck on their way to their new home and one of them doesn’t survive.  How would you cope if one of your parents died?  Ellie’s mind is a beautiful and terrible thing.  I would love to tell you more, but you have to read it for yourself.  It will touch your heart and leave its mark on you forever.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, Informational Book, NonFiction

Poop Happened! by Sarah Albee, Robert Leighton (Illustrator), read by Angie, on 03/31/2014

Poop is not just funny for kids. Some adults (**cough** **cough**) find this topic just as interesting. Everybody does it and no one wants to talk about it, but the history of how people eliminate waste is fascinating. Poop Happened takes the reader on a journey through history; the history of poop and what people have done with it. I found it especially interesting to learn that sanitation-wise things were much better during Egyptian and Roman times than they were for a thousand years after. There was a lot of waste just sitting around during the middle ages and no one seemed to know what to do about it.

The first time I read this book we sat in the library reading excerpts from this book for a long time and just couldn’t put it down. It is fascinating, informative and addicting. You have probably always wondered what they did for bathrooms back in the old days…well this book will tell you in all the gross detail. And you probably didn’t really want to know!

For instance, once a knight had his armor on it didn’t come off for anything and it was his squires job to clean it at the end of the day. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted that job! I guess you really can’t stop a battle to take off a hundred pounds of armor to go to the bathroom, but can you imagine sitting in that all day!

In Renaissance France the ladies’ dresses were so big they could barely sit down much less squat over a chamber pot so they had maids who would hold sponges under their dresses while they did their business. Yet another job I wouldn’t want. During that time period corners and hallways were also fair game for bathroom usage. I always thought of it as a very elegant time but I bet the bottom of your dress was pretty gross! And that everything smelled disgusting!

There are other awesome facts like these in this book. I highly recommend it. It is written so that you don’t have to read it cover to cover; you can flip through and pick different eras or pages to pour over. But the information is definitely worth the read. I was educated and entertained and I still think back on the book and what I learned and laugh! This is also a book I like to recommend to reluctant readers or kids who like gross facts. It is one that will suck you in!

I have been reading a lot on this subject lately (because I am doing a program on it) so I feel like I have become something of an expert. This is the oldest book I read on sanitation history and perhaps the dullest. The text itself has some interesting facts and there are great pictures throughout the book. However, the author has a very abrupt way of writing and seems to jump around a lot. It is also all black and white which means there is nothing that stands out on the page. I am sure this is because of the age of the book, but it does pale in comparison to the others I have read.

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Lisa, NonFiction

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, read by Lisa, on 03/20/2014

An instant American icon–the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court–tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir.

With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.  She writes of her precarious childhood and the refuge she took with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. She describes her resolve as a young girl to become a lawyer, and how she made this dream become reality: valedictorian of her high school class, summa cum laude at Princeton, Yale Law, prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.’s office, private practice, federal district judge before the age of forty. She writes about her deeply valued mentors, about her failed marriage, about her cherished family of friends. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-discovery and self-invention, alongside Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father.

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Lisa, NonFiction, Self Help

Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic by Esther Perel, read by Lisa, on 03/05/2014

One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.