21. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

Fantasy Art for Beginners: create fantasy beings step-by-step by Jon Hodgson, 128 pages, read by Marsha, on 08/12/2014

indexThis is a great book especially for those wanting to begin with oils, acrylics, or digital media.  Watercolorists would have to adapt the shades of the washes from lightest to darkest.  Hodgson lays it all out step-by-step as the title implies, instructing the artist on drawing out and painting fantasy characters and backgrounds.  He walks the artist through six different paintings, all using various methods, creatures, and poses.  A good reference to keep on hand as well.  Just wished it was geared a little more for watercolor too.

20. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction · Tags:

Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly, 240 pages, read by Brian, on 08/19/2014

twitterWant to learn how to use Twitter?  Tim O’Reilly gives a fun and easy to read book on how to use the 140 character social media tool.   This book is useful if you are a casual user or wanting to promote your busy.

 

30. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, How To's, Humor, NonFiction · Tags:

Box Lunch by Diana Cage, 144 pages, read by Brian, on 06/28/2014

boxBox Lunch is an adult oriented book.  It deals with the taboo subject of sex.  Why sex is taboo is beyond me. Oral sex is the subject matter of this piece of work.  This could be one of the funniest books I have read and yet instructional too.  If you do not like explicit sexual books then stay away from this one.  Diana approaches Box Lunch from her own experiences.  If you’re not familiar with the author it’s because she edits and writes for the lesbian magazine, On Our Backs.  I would recommend this book.

 

23. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, How To's, NonFiction · Tags:

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cuningham, 240 pages, read by Brian, on 06/13/2014

wiccaCunningham has written numerous books on the subject of Wicca and anything that relates to it.  This book is more then about magick, Cunningham wants the reader to realize how important it is to have a relationship with earth.  Wicca is an earth oriented religion.  This is not Scott’s best work but is a decent introduction for those with no experience at all.

 

28. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Humor, Inspirational, Marsha, Memoirs, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, 238 pages, read by Marsha, on 05/27/2014

birdLamott gives us an inside peek at her writing processes and the advice she gives to her workshop students.  Hilariously written, as one reviewer notes, the book is “a warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.”  Lamott is not shy about telling her students and readers that writing is hard work and what we think of as reward, publication, may not ever happen.  And yet, we should keep on writing about ourselves, our lives, our very ups and downs.  She encourages us all to just keep writing day by day.  A good dose of humor is thrown in to keep us from getting too despondent.  Lamott tackles libel, beginning writing, taking classes, and finding writing partners with a good dose of reality and fun in her text.  I highly recommend it for any creative person who needs a good laugh.

 

21. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter's Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects by Jessica Pigza, 207 pages, read by Marsha, on 05/16/2014

bibliocraftThis book is excellent for anyone who wants to learn more about the different types of libraries and how to use them.  Even if the reader is not a crafter, there is much information to be gleaned from this book about how to make the most out of library resources and how to find what you are looking for.  The author gives a lot of tips and websites for various types of collections that might interest crafters, as well as sites for digitized collections.  Tips are also given for what to expect when viewing rare books and what some of the policies may be for libraries who hold them.  The second half of the book has a lot of information about projects and how the creators for each project used their libraries as inspiration.  Inspiration can come from images from books or even from the architecture of the library itself.  While many of the projects are not to my personal taste, I did think the explanations for making something similar were clear enough.  The projects had information about the original images that inspired each piece so that the reader could see just how the designers’ minds worked.  Very interesting book.  Even if the reader doesn’t craft, the first half is a must read for any library patron.

 

16. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Inspirational, Marsha, NonFiction, Self Help

Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon, 224 pages, read by Marsha, on 05/06/2014

showThis book, a follow-up to Steal Like an Artist, continues Kleon’s advice on creativity by encouraging artists everywhere to show their work.  This particular volume discusses the value of sharing work in online communities through blogs and other social media.  Not only does the artist make work public in this way, but he or she also shares with others a bit about process and how the work is made.  I found this book to be just as valuable a resource as the first and have already read it twice.  It is inspirational and will have artists everywhere wanting to get up and share what they do with others.  As Kleon notes, the world owes us nothing.  We have to give selflessly in order to get and this book will show the reader how.  I highly recommend Kleon’s work to artists of all kinds.  Create–share.  What a fun cycle to be in!

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

The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti, 144 pages, read by Marsha, on 04/30/2014

libraryThe projects in this book are fantastic!  This might be another one I order for my personal collection.  This book is all about altering books and making them into something new.  The projects include lamps, lampshades, ornaments, mobiles and wall hangings.  Like Playing With Books, which I reviewed earlier this month, the instructions are written clearly.  The one thing that has me on the fence about purchasing this particular book is that the accompanying images for the directions for each project are drawn diagrams rather than photos.  Still, the diagrams seem fairly clear.  I am looking forward to delving into the projects in this book.

 

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

Book Art Studio Handbook: techniques and methods for binding books, creating albums, making boxes and enclosures, and more by Stacie Dolin and Amy Lapidow, 160 pages, read by Marsha, on 04/28/2014

studioThis book has some nice projects in it with different types of bindings.  However, it is not meant to be a book for beginners.  Some of the instructions assume the reader has made at least a couple of books before and therefore glosses over certain steps.  The instructions use photography rather than drawn diagrams, which is nice.  This would be a great book for someone who has already done a little bit of book binding before.  It might be something I add to my library at a later date.

 

28. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

How to Find out Anything by Don MacLeod, 256 pages, read by Tammy, on 04/30/2014

how to find In How to Find Out Anything, researcher Don MacLeod explains how to find what you’re looking for quickly, efficiently, and accurately—and how to avoid the most common mistakes of the Google Age.

He starts by explaining what a regular Google search (as the most popular and search engine) is good at and what it is not. He also shows you some tips to improve Google’s ability to find what you are really looking for. He also emphasizes that while Google may be the best place to start a search it is not the best place to end it.

He shares websites that let you tap into the knowledge on the “deep web” or many websites and databases that have reliable information available but that will not be found by a Google search.

In spite of having attended several training sessions on the deep web, MacLeod’s book has some that I had never heard of before. He also had some tips for searching Google that I was unaware of such as how to limit your search by country of origin of the website.

26. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction

A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds: make the inside of your head your favorite place to be by Barbara Sophia Tammes, 160 pages, read by Marsha, on 04/26/2014

blueprintA Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds is full of delightful ideas for escaping into one’s own imagination.  However, it also provides lots of useful tips for dealing with negative emotions you might come across.  Take the negative emotions into various rooms of the castle to deal with them.  That is the essential meat of the book.  There are rooms to express love, creativity, happiness and other positive emotions.  The reader is encouraged to have fun building these mental rooms and is given some great starter questions for building each room.  The author also encourages physical manifestations such as drawings of the rooms and conversations with different aspects of the reader’s personality.  Very enjoyable and lots of great ideas.

 

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

Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson, 152 pages, read by Marsha, on 04/24/2014

playingPlaying 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!

 

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

Making Books by Hand: A Step-By-Step Guide by Mary McCarthy and Phillip Manna, 108 pages, 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.

 

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

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, 160 pages, read by Marsha, on 04/23/2014

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!

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

Real Life Journals by Gwen Diehm, 178 pages, 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.

14. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

Compact Houses by Gerald Rowan, 207 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/08/2014

compact homesGuide to making the most of smaller homes though several of these I didn’t consider small. The book gives floor plans, guides to what to consider when designing room layouts, ways to remodel small spaces to make them more energy efficient and a few general ideas to make the most of every inch in your smaller home.

I was hoping for more ideas on remodeling an existing small home.

 

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Kira, NonFiction, Self Help

Creative visualization : use the power of your imagination to create what you want in your life by Shakti Gawain , 128 pages, read by Kira, on 01/27/2014

Shakt-_iyf

A pioneer in the world consciousness effort, Shakti Gawain details the practical technique of using mental imagery and affirmation to produce positive life changes.  creative-visualization-complete-book-on-tape-shakti-gawain-audio-cover-artThis includes the Pink Bubble Technique, Grounding and Runnbook covering Energy.  I find these exercises very useful and recommend work by Shakti Gawain.Visualization

28. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cookbooks, Fiction, How To's, Humor, Informational Book, Noelle, NonFiction

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris, 303 pages, read by Noelle, on 01/08/2014

Cute. Quirky. Weird. Adorable.  INAPPROPRIATE!  Charming. Hilarious. Delicious.  Those are just a few words that come to mind when reading this book, which was a great deal of fun.  If you’re familiar with Amy Sedaris, then you’d expect nothing less.

Are you lacking direction in how to whip up a swanky soiree for lumberjacks?  A dinner party for white-collar workers?  A festive gathering for the grieving? Don’t despair. Take a cue from entertaining expert Amy Sedaris and host an unforgettable fete that will have your guests raving.  No matter the style or size of the gathering-from the straightforward to the bizarre-I LIKE YOU provides jackpot recipes and solid advice laced with Amy’s blisteringly funny take on entertaining, plus four-color photos and enlightening sidebars on everything it takes to pull off a party with extraordinary flair.  You don’t even need to be a host or hostess to benefit-Amy offers tips for guests, too!  (Number one: don’t be fifteen minutes early.)  Readers will discover unique dishes to serve alcoholics (Broiled Frozen Chicken Wings with Applesauce), the secret to a successful children’s party (a half-hour time limit, games included), plus a whole appendix chock-full of arts and crafts ideas (from a mini-pantyhose plant-hanger to a do-it-yourself calf stretcher), and much, much more!

06. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Brian, Fiction, How To's, NonFiction · Tags:

Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, 254 pages, read by Brian, on 06/04/2013

If you are a hardcore zombie fan, this book is for you.  Max Brooks wrote the popular World War Z, where the world had to fight off zombies to survive.  He takes a fiction/nonfiction look on what to do to survive such attack and the other humans still hanging around.  You learn how the living undead move and survive, the best way to fight depending on where you live, what the best weapon is to use and many more things.

zombie

22. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Kira, NonFiction

The Complete Home Organizer: A Guide to Functional Storage Space for All the Rooms in Your Home by Maxine Ordesky , 192 pages, read by Kira, on 05/20/2013

This book takes you room by room and shows you how to add shelves, storage and the like to various rooms to keep them organized.

Like many books of this nature, they still don’t solve my problems with having enough place to put things away.  The book had colorful pictures showing examples of the ideas.  The examples looked very nice, and very expensive.  The rooms displayed seemed to have a lot of space to start off with.  Ordesky so often suggested building custom made storage, well of course, she profits from building these high end organizing units.  She devotes a couple pages to safes, and storing your valuables. complete-home-organizer-maxine-ordesky-paperback-cover-art closetsInteresting, but nothing earthshattering.