07. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, NonFiction, Paula

Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Kendra Bean, 272 pages, read by Paula, on 10/06/2014

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Vivien Leigh’s mystique was a combination of staggering beauty, glamour, romance, and genuine talent displayed in her Oscar-winning performances in Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. For more than thirty years, her name alone sold out theaters and cinemas the world over, and she inspired many of the greatest visionaries of her time: Laurence Olivier loved her; Winston Churchill praised her; Christian Dior dressed her.
Through both an in-depth narrative and a stunning array of photos, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait presents the personal story of one of the most celebrated women of the twentieth century, an engrossing tale of success, struggles, and triumphs. It chronicles Leigh’s journey from her birth in India to prominence in British film, winning the most-coveted role in Hollywood history, her celebrated love affair with Laurence Olivier, through to her untimely death at age fifty-three in 1967.
Author Kendra Bean is the first Vivien Leigh biographer to delve into the Laurence Olivier Archives, where an invaluable collection of personal letters and documents ranging from interview transcripts to film contracts to medical records shed new insight on Leigh’s story. Illustrated by hundreds of rare and never-before-published images, including those by Leigh’s #147;official” photographer, Angus McBean, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait is the first illustrated biography to closely examine the fascinating, troubled, and often misunderstood life of Vivien Leigh: the woman, the actress, the legend.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Memoirs, NonFiction

Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life by Tom Robbins, 384 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/18/2014

I’ve been a Tom Robbins fan since the age of 15, when I picked up a copy of Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas at an airport gift shop. It was the only thing that wasn’t a thriller/mystery/romance and I’d heard of Robbins before, so it seemed like the thing to do. As it turned out, that book was something of a revelation; it was unlike anything else I’d ever read. So I began acquiring his other novels. And read and reread them. Naturally, when I heard that Robbins had a memoir/autobiography out, I felt almost obligated to read it. I felt I owed it to myself and to Robbins to meet the brain behind the fiction. I was not disappointed. Robbins has lived a fascinating life and his anecdotes are laced with his trademark wordplay and sense of humor. I’m not sure that someone who had never heard of Robbins would enjoy this particular book, but those who are fans will find this quite entertaining. My only real issue with this memoir is the lack of a structured narrative. Each chapter is more a short story or vignette detailing a specific period of time in Robbins’ life. They’re more or less arranged chronologically. It’s best not to go into this expecting the traditional memoir/autobiography format, because, much like Robbins’ novels, experimenting with the form is par for the course. The stop-and-go nature made it very difficult for me to read this in a short period of time. Rather, I just read a few chapters and would then put it down for a few days. Needless to say, it took me an eternity to read and, while I more or less enjoyed the process, it did get tedious from time to time. For those wanting to know more about Robbins’ early life and works, this is an ideal place to start.

Flavorful, gluten-free meals that will leave kids begging for more!Every year, millions of children are diagnosed with Celiac’s disease or gluten intolerance, but the dietary changes necessary to treat them don’t come easy.

My favorite part of this book was the first chapter which described how to set-up a Gluten-Free kitchen and addressed possibilities for cross-contamination that I had not considered, such as using wooden spoons which retain traces of gluten or one child putting peanut butter on regular bread and leaving traces of gluten in the peanut butter than the gluten sensitive child coming along with a clean knife and getting the peanut butter with traces of gluten and spreading that on their special gluten free bread.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Inspirational, NonFiction

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Voscamp, Ann, 240 pages, read by Claudia, on 09/02/2014

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreJust like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. “How,” Ann wondered, “do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long—and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?”

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted … a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved—by God.

Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive.

 

 

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Inspirational, NonFiction

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future...: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned by Michael J. Fox, 100 pages, read by Brian, on 10/02/2014

foxSimply put, this is an inspirational book on how to roll with the punches and come on top.

 

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction, Sports · Tags:

Beyond the Phog by Jason King, 392 pages, read by Brian, on 10/03/2014

phogJason King has written a book about Jayhawk Nation what is very interesting he talks with with players and coaches and the transition from Roy Williams to Bill Self.  He covers the important issues of the time and gets the responses from all angles.

 

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction · Tags:

Travel Photography: A Guide to Taking Better Pictures by Richard I'Anson, Lonely Planet, 264 pages, read by Brian, on 10/01/2014

travelIf you like to travel and take really good photographs at the same time, then Travel Photography is a book you might enjoy.  The instruction is very helpful and the pictures are very cool.

 

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Humor, Katy

I work at a public library : a collection of crazy stories from the stacks by Gina Sheridan, 152 pages, read by Katy, on 10/02/2014

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This is a heartwarming and hilarious collection of stories of interactions the author has had with patrons in the public library where she worked. A must-read for anyone who has worked in a public library.

02. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Judy, NonFiction, True Crime · Tags:

In Broad Daylight by Harry N. Maclean, 406 pages, read by Judy, on 09/21/2014

For ten years he terrorized them without mercy. Ken McElroy robbed, raped, burned, shot, and maimed the citizens of Skidmore, Missouri, without conscience or remorse.  Again and again, the law failed to stop him.

Until they took justice into their own hands.   On July 10, 1981 Ken was shot to death on the main street of this small farming community.  Forty-five people watched.  No indictments were ever issued, no trial held… and the town of Skidmore protected the killers with silence.     With this powerful true-life account, Edgar Award-winning author Harry N. MacLean reveals what drove a community of everyday American citizens to commit murder.

02. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Judy, NonFiction, True Crime · Tags:

True Crime: Missouri by David J. Krajicek, 126 pages, read by Judy, on 09/08/2014

True Crime:   Missouri examines criminal activity in the Show Me State and explores the landmark cases that have received national and even international attention.  Included here are accounts of Lee Shelton’s murder of Billy Lyons of St. Louis that inspired the popular 50’s song “Stagger Lee”;  the vigilante killing of the town bully of Skidmore Ken McElroy;  the kidnapping of millionaire Robert Greenlease’s son in Kansas City; the Kirkwood City Council massacre; and the serial killings of thirteen young women in Kansas City by Lorenzo J. Gilyard.    These are the factual accounts of the cold-blooded killers, rapists, and psychopaths who shocked the state… and the nation.

02. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Graphic Book, Humor, Kristy, Memoirs, NonFiction

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, 200 pages, read by Kristy, on 09/29/2014

SistersWhile I think I liked “Smile” a tad better, I had a blast reading “Sisters.” I love how Raina’s graphic novels are so humorous but realistic at the same time. I can relate to many of the situations her characters encounter.

The tidbits of the the past added to this novel helped me to understand the

​unique ​

relationship that the sisters have. It also showed the struggles of the parents trying to raise 3 children in a tiny apartment.

Cute little novel. Can’t wait for the next!​

 

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, History, Kira, NonFiction

The Mental Floss History of the World : An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits by Erik Sass and Steve Wiegand with Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur., 416 pages, read by Kira, on 09/23/2014

3242424mental-floss-forbidden-knowledgeMentalFloss500mentalfloss   This was a far more interesting history of the world, or most any history than I’ve previously read. The downside, is that I will have difficulty remembering all the individual facts.  The narrative was constructed more like Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader including Harper’s Magazine Index-type lists of comparative statistics that really make you think. Much more attention is given to Asia, Africa and South America than your standard Euro-centered histories of the past.   Did you know that the Khan that Marco Polo visited was the same Kubla Khmentalfloss2an mentioned in Coleridge’s poem?  I listened to this title and thus missed some formatting and organization that would have been communicated on the page.   Apparently, they had sidebars that listed who-or-what was up at a given point in time, who/what was down. They also had important events listed within a given time-period.  These interesting tidbits didn’t translate as readily to the audio version, they needed more verbal placemarkers, such as these highlights apply to this time period.  Still I really enjoyed this book, and will look for more Mental Floss titles.

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, History, Lisa, NonFiction

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, 416 pages, read by Lisa, on 09/30/2014

For readers of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled  by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Inspirational, Marsha, NonFiction

Mixed Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration and Techniques by Cate Coulacos Prato, 127 pages, read by Marsha, on 09/30/2014

self-portraitsThis is a wonderful book for anyone who works in mixed-media.  The idea of doing a self-portrait may make many people put the book down before they even crack it.  This book is something you should at least flip through as it gives you clues of what to look for when trying to define yourself and how you are unique.  This is useful study for any type of portraiture as it makes the artist pay attention to things like eye placement and lip shape in comparison to other portraits.  The portrait does not have to be an exact image of the artist.  It can also be a representation or it can be a portrait of the person the artist wants to be.  The main thing for artists to keep in mind when creating a portrait of the self is to be introspective.  The book walks the artist through the importance of a self-portrait, knowing yourself, and revealing yourself.  A lot of the things talked about in the book are good for artists regardless of the medium they choose.  I highly recommend this book to anyone more curious about discovering what makes them unique.

29. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, NonFiction, Tracy

1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon, 992 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/11/2014

The musical adventure of a lifetime. The most exciting book on music in years. A book of treasure, a book of discovery, a book to open your ears to new worlds of pleasure. Doing for music what Patricia Schultz—author of the phenomenal 1,000 Places to See Before You Die—does for travel, Tom Moon recommends 1,000 recordings guaranteed to give listeners the joy, the mystery, the revelation, the sheer fun of great music.

This is a book both broad and deep, drawing from the diverse worlds of classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, world, opera, soundtracks, and more. It’s arranged alphabetically by artist to create the kind of unexpected juxtapositions that break down genre bias and broaden listeners’ horizons— it makes every listener a seeker, actively pursuing new artists and new sounds, and reconfirming the greatness of the classics. Flanking J. S. Bach and his six entries, for example, are the little-known R&B singer Baby Huey and the ’80s Rastafarian hard-core punk band Bad Brains. Farther down the list: The Band, Samuel Barber, Cecelia Bartoli, Count Basie, and Afropop star Waldemer Bastos.

Each entry is passionately written, with expert listening notes, fascinating anecdotes, and the occasional perfect quote—”Your collection could be filled with nothing but music from Ray Charles,” said Tom Waits, “and you’d have a completely balanced diet.” Every entry identifies key tracks, additional works by the artist, and where to go next. And in the back, indexes and playlists for different moods and occasions.

25. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Strike!: The Farm Workers' Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner, 172 pages, read by Angie, on 09/24/2014

Strike!: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights details the history of the farm workers struggle that started in California with the grape workers. These workers were generally migrants who travelled northward through California as the grape harvest came in. The Filipino and Chicano workers were not paid very much and their living conditions were deplorable. In the 1960s, two dynamic leaders started organizing the workers and trying to get them better working conditions. Cesar Chavez worked with the Chicano workers and Larry Itliong worked with the Filipino. They eventually banded together to form the United Farm Workers of America Union and led a successful strike and boycott of the industry. Their efforts took many years, but they showed through peaceful, nonviolent means that they could accomplish their goals. This book is an excellent source for kids to learn about the creation of unions and the conditions workers had to endure. It offers a wonderful historical perspective on what was going on in the agriculture sector during the 20th century.

25. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Artist's Journal Workshop: creating your life in words and pictures by Cathy Johnson, 143 pages, read by Marsha, on 09/24/2014

downloadThis is a nice book for anyone wanting to get started in creating an artist’s journal.  While a bit different from art journaling, there are still some fundamentals here that could be used for that craft.  This book focuses more on the types of journals an artist can create, such as travel.  The book discusses multiple media; however, many pages shown only combine a couple such as ink and watercolor.  If you are wanting to complete multimedia pages, this is probably not the book for you.  However, if you want to create pages that document your daily life or certain parts of it, in an artistic way with illustrations, Cathy Johnson provides a great starting point.  This book asks questions such as, “What do you want from an artist’s journal?” to help the reader get started in finding the type of journal that is right for him/her.  There are also chapters on test driving different media and the journaling lifestyle, just to name a couple.  Great book to start with!

23. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat by Gail Jarrow, 192 pages, read by Angie, on 09/22/2014

I have never heard of Pellagra or the fact that it was an epidemic in this country in the first half of the 20th century. After reading this book I am pretty happy that it is not a disease we need to worry about any longer. This book was so very interesting. I love learning about new things; I also really like reading about disgusting things. Pellagra is a disease that was around Europe for hundreds of years before appearing in the United States in the 1900s. It was believed the disease was caused by eating bad corn products which is why it affected mostly poor people in the South. They lived on grits and cornmeal and little else. Pellagra caused the four Ds: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death. It killed between 1 in 10 and 6 in 10 people affected. It took almost 40 years of investigations by multiple doctors to figure out what really caused Pellagra and how to treat it. Dr. Joseph Goldberg worked on the Pellagra problem for over 15 years and was the one who discovered that it was a lack of niacin in the diet that caused the problem. Because of his work with the Public Health Services that our grain products are now fortified with vitamins and minerals to decrease the chances of diseases caused by dietary deficiencies. This was a truly fascinating book.

18. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags: , ,

Journal Spilling: Mixed Media Techniques for Free Expression by Diana Trout, 127 pages, read by Marsha, on 09/17/2014

journalThis is a wonderful book for anyone wanting to dive into the world of mixed-media art journaling.  There are lots of techniques to try out, particularly with watercolors.  If watercolors are a medium you wish to learn more about, this is the book for you.  The instructions are clear without being overbearing.  They still allow for a lot of experimentation on the part of the reader.  The author tells you which tools you will need for each exercise, specifying which are optional.  She also discusses some brand names to try out.  I found this book to be very useful, especially when combined with other books and magazines on mixed-media art.  There are also prompts at the end of the book for continued thought and fun with art journaling.  The author encourages the reader to make a mess and try things out for fun.  While the book gives some of the basics, there is still room for the artistic reader to soar.

17. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, NonFiction, Paula

James Dean, The Mutant King: A biography by Dalton, David, 361 pages, read by Paula , on 09/17/2014

http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=0312439598/LC.GIF&client=mobius
This is the book that restarted the James Dean cult by celebrating him as the cool, defiant visionary of pop culture who made adolescence seem heroic instead of awkward and who defined the style of rock ’n’ roll’s politics of delinquency. The only book to fully show how deliberately and carefully Dean crafted his own image and performances, and the product of still unequaled research, vivid writing, intimate photographs, and profound meditation, James Dean: The Mutant King has become almost as legendary as its subject.
Second biography of James Dean that I have read.  Added another dimension to the man and the myth.