17. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction, Self Help · Tags:

Catification: designing a happy and stylish home for your cat (and you!) by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin, 291 pages, read by Marsha, on 12/15/2014

catificationThis book by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin is packed with ideas for making your home more cat friendly.  Cats at war?  Help is in this book!  Have a shy cat who hides a lot?  No problem!  Catification not only has ideas for cat furniture and climbing walls, but it also has information about why cats are the way they are.  For example, I discovered that the reason altercations happen on my staircase is because it is a matter of turf.  By building a superhighway with multiple lanes for traffic, I can eliminate these altercations.  The ideas in here range from $10 cost to $600 or more, so there is something for every budget.  If you wish to make life better for the feline(s) in your life, I highly suggest picking up this book.  It is a delightful, easy and fast read.

downloadThis innovative book teaches you how to rediscover the delightful curiosity you had as a child.  Wahl walks the reader through how we were when we were younger, how we are now, and how we can find our Picasso.  Picasso is an acronym Wahl uses to describe his methods for rediscovering creative genius.  Wahl gives examples of each step, as well as quotes and inspiration.  Wahl is not some professional psychologist.  He is someone who has walked this path to Picasso himself.  Wahl gives us very poignant questions to ask ourselves as we consider where we are in our current life and who we hope to become in the future.  This book deserves more than one reading in order to glean all of the information you can out of it.  I recommend this for anyone struggling with who they are and where they fit in at home or at work.  Great read!

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

Creative Lettering and Beyond: Inspiring tips, techniques, and ideas for hand lettering your way to beautiful works of art by Gabri Joy Kirkendall, Laura Lavender, Julie Manwaring, Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn, 144 pages, read by Marsha, on 12/05/2014

download (1)This new addition to the library as of November 2014 is a wonderful book for any artist.  I could see the applications being used in mixed media art, art journaling, calligraphy, and so much more!  This book will get you started with basic pen paper and ink while later chapters add paint, chalk, and more! Illustrated lettering is also discussed with ideas for enhancing the first letter of a quote for phrase.  Includes instructions for making your own chalkboard as well as how to do some of the basics in a digital program such as Photoshop.  Creative Lettering and Beyond is not one to be missed by all types of crafters.  Write on!

05. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

The Rules: A guide for people owned by cats by Max Thompson, 85 pages, read by Marsha, on 12/01/2014

downloadA cute book, but I feel the author could have used more hyperbole to add to the humor.  It seemed to be missing something and that is the only thing I could put my finger on.  It is a terrific idea, though.  And people really are owned by cats, not the other way around!  I think an expanded edition is in order!

22. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

I Knead My Mommy: and other poems by kittens by Francesco Marciuliano, 111 pages, read by Marsha, on 11/22/2014

download (1)Super cute pictures of fuzzy wuzzy kitties plus poetry typed out with their own little paws!  You can’t go wrong with checking out this cute little book.  Ever wonder what your kitten thinks about?  The answers are presented right here.  If you read and loved I Could Pee On This this is a must see.  I can’t wait to see what this author writes next.

22. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

Stink Outside the Box: Life Advice From Kitty by Jeremy Greenberg, 64 pages, read by Marsha, on 11/22/2014

downloadThis is a cute collection of life lessons as taught to you by your cats.  Very humorous with gorgeous photos of the cats themselves, this short little book is packed with lots of “educational” fun.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and each story is told from the cat’s point of view.  Super cute!

Download2Now this is a marvelous book which uses the creative process to help readers visualize their dreams and bring them into their consciousness.  What better way for a creative person to dream than through art?  Ms. Gaynor’s three step process of dreaming, creating and reflecting is very beneficial.  Gaynor is a licensed therapist who uses art therapy to help women realize their dreams.  The book includes a year of monthly entries by artists using her process as well as a transformation deck and tips for creating your very own dream book.  There is so much information packed in this volume that I couldn’t hope to do it justice in this review.  Go to the MOBIUS catalog and pick it up.  It is well worth your while!

download (1)This little book is filled with fantastic tips for would-be freelance writers.  Everything from how to interact with editors to what types of pieces editors look for is covered.  The book is short and to the point.  There is no fluff.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is even thinking about diving into the freelance world.  It is guaranteed to not be a waste of time!

 

19. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Marsha, NonFiction, Reviewer

I Work at a Public Library: A collection of crazy stories from the stacks by Gina Sheridan, 157 pages, read by Marsha, on 11/07/2014

downloadOne word:  Hilarious! You don’t have to have worked at a library to find this book funny.  Anyone who has worked with the public will be able to relate to the stories found within this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and even went to Ms. Sheridan’s Tumblr site, iworkatapubliclibrary.com for more stories.  The things that happen in public amaze and astound me even though I have worked with the public most of my career.  People never cease to amaze me.  Enjoy!

download (1)Let the hilarity ensue!  This humorous look at one person’s life is as funny as it is interesting.  I am not a dog owner, but I could still relate to the chapters about life with her dogs simply from knowing other people who live with dogs.  The chapters on depression, while also funny, are very poignant and hit close to home for anyone who suffers from or knows someone who suffers from depression.  I would recommend this book just for those chapters alone.  At times, I felt like the author had stepped out of her life and into my own when she was describing the “flawed coping mechanisms” part of the book.  It will definitely make readers giggle even if they don’t see themselves in the events the author is describing.  I couldn’t get enough of this one.  Hope she publishes a second!

22. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction

What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund, 419 pages, read by Marsha, on 10/13/2014

downloadThis delightful book makes the reader examine more closely what we visualize as we read.  When reading a character description, this book suggests that we don’t see an image as fully as our imagination allows us to think we do.  Mendelsund uses several examples of character descriptions from literature to demonstrate this.  The author also tells us that some of what we visualize is as much from behaviors or nonphysical characteristics of the characters as it is from descriptions of physical traits.  I found this book to be an absorbing read, difficult to put down.  The graphics and illustrations included in the book fit the text nicely.  Readers will never see their characters the same way again!

15. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction

The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature's Greatest Monsters by Andrew McConnell Stott, 434 pages, read by Marsha, on 10/15/2014

vampyreThis tremendous volume tells the full stories surrounding the night Lord Byron challenged his companions to write ghost stories during a foggy, stormy night in Geneva, Switzerland.  That now famous night led to the creation of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Vampyre by John Polidori.  Reading much like a good novel, the book dives right in, explaining why Byron was exiling himself to Switzerland, how he came to hire Polidori as his physician, as well as why Claire Claremont, Mary Godwin (Shelley), and Percy Shelley were also travelling that way.  The book also details the aftermath of that night, ending with an epilogue that explains each of their deaths.  It is a long and very twisted story, the facts of which seem hard to believe at times.  However, the author has faithfully documented each of his facts, once again proving that the truth is stranger than fiction.  It is nice to see a nonfiction book turn out to be such a page turner.  It was difficult to put down.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Romantic period, poetry, or Gothic fiction.

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.

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!

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.

27. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction

Evolution of a Missouri Asylum: Fulton State Hospital, 1851-2006 by Richard L. Lael, 252 pages, read by Marsha, on 08/27/2014

downloadThis text provides a lot of basic information about the formation of the asylum in Fulton as well as present day status and everything in between.  Very informative if the reader is interested in some of the politics surrounding the state hospital throughout history.  Lael gives a lot of factual information, including patient statistics.  However, I feel that the book is lacking in one very important aspect: the lives of the patients who lived/live there.  In order to give an accurate history, this reviewer feels that conditions within the asylum should have been included, not just what was happening on the outside.  Though the author makes note of three patients who lived there, this is a very small and seemingly insignificant portion of the book.  An interesting read, but not what this reviewer was looking for.  So many of the treatments used were just glossed over or barely mentioned.  This is, then, truly only a PARTIAL history of this facility.

21. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Marsha, Memoirs, NonFiction, True Crime · Tags: ,

Last Day On Earth: a portrait of the NIU school shooter by David Vann, 184 pages, read by Marsha, on 08/21/2014

Hard to read, but absolutely fascinating, this book not only tells the story of a school shooter, but also is written by someone who considered it before his life got turned around.  The parallels between Vann and Kazmierczak’s early lives are staggering.  The line between mass murder and living a normal life is surprisingly easy to cross, a point brought up by the author.  Anyone interested in true crime, psychology, sociology and related fields will find this book difficult to put down.  It brings a very human element to a seemingly otherworldly type of crime.  Very informative.

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

Dreamscapes: creating magical angel, fairy, and mermaid worlds in watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, 176 pages, read by Marsha, on 08/19/2014

download (1)This is a fantastic book for the beginning fantasy watercolorist with information on faces, hands, feet, and everything in between.  It also has beginning watercolor instruction for those not well-versed in it already.  I absolutely loved this book and plan to add it to my personal collection soon.  It was exactly what I was looking for!

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.

21. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags: ,

10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters by Vicki Stiefel and Lisz Souza, 166 pages, read by Marsha, on 08/03/2014

downloadA fun read for knitters everywhere.  While the secrets are not necessarily new revelations to those of us knitting for awhile, the book brings humor and good-hearted advice to the craft.  Some of the patterns are truly delightful and I can’t wait to knit them up.  I ended up adding this book to my personal collection because I just enjoyed it that much.  Sit back with a cuppa and read Stiefel and Souza.  You won’t regret it.