Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: "Migrant Mother" by Don Nardo

Migrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great DepressionMigrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great Depression by Don Nardo
Coughlan Publishing, 2011
64 pages
Review copy courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I love most about history is the people and the study of the everyday. What better way to connect with someone (sometimes) long past than an image, be it a tapestry, a painting or a photograph.

Migrant Mother tells the story of - and reveals the human faces - behind one iconic photograph, taken at a time when America (and the entire world) was dealing with a period of turmoil subsequently known as the Great Depression. While the focus of the book is on the lives of two women - the one featured in the photo and the one behind the lens - both during the time of the image and beyond, it also briefly details the effects of the Great Depression on families and the land.

The text is interspaced evenly with lots of images, as well as sidebars on a variety of topics. Nardo has also included a brief timeline, a list of additional resources, a glossary of terms, source notes, a bibliography, and a complete index.

Migrant Mother is an excellent resource for both the children it was written for and for adults. Anyone interested in the history of this particular image, as well as an introduction to the Great Depression and the effects it had on a single family, will benefit from flipping through this book.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thoughts on "Hatter M" by Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier and Ben Templesmith

Hatter M (The Looking Glass Wars Graphic Novels, Volume 1)Hatter M by Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier; illustrated by Ben Templesmith
Looking Glass Wars series (gn), book 1
Teen Graphic Novel
Automatic Pictures, 2008

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to reading this...but was just a little disappointed. It was more violence and less plot - and I didn't care for the illustrations (just not my cup of tea). I seem to be hit or miss for graphic novel adaptations of books...more miss than hit, unfortunately. I have the second volume and plan to read it while I have it (borrowed through my library's interlibrary loan department). Who knows, maybe it'll get better?

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: "From First Draft to Finished Novel" by Karen S. Wiesner

From First Draft To Finished Novel: A Writer's Guide To Cohesive Story BuildingFrom First Draft To Finished Novel: A Writer's Guide To Cohesive Story Building by Karen S. Wiesner
Writers Digest Books, 2008
272 pages

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I originally purchased this book first, and almost immediately ordered the one before it (First Draft in 30 Days), before I read either one - I'm glad I did. (They've been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for over a year and a half - if not two - now...shh ;)

My first impressions of First Draft in 30 Days were more positive than my first impressions of From First Draft to Finished Novel. I found this book more...clunkier; it didn't flow as well (though I thought the metaphor concerning house building as equal to writing was appropriate). I did like the story plan checklist and examples, as well as the proposal guidelines and examples.

Maybe I need to be in that certain position (of turning an outline into a manuscript) for this book to jive. At the moment, I'm sorry to say, it doesn't.

Also published at Goodreads

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thoughts on Double Crossing by Carolyn Keene

Double Crossing (A Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery, #1)Double Crossing by Carolyn Keene

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How do you rate nostalgia? I read (most of) this series as a preteen/teen and absolutely loved them. Now, as I re-read them in (roughly) numerical order, I'm finding them really...corny. But I can see why I enjoyed them at that age - and I can see how they shaped my future (and current) reading choices.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Her Royal Spyness (Royal Spyness Mystery, 1) by Rhys Bowen

Title: Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen (2008)
Author Status: new author
Series Status: new series
Rating: 4 stars
Would I read this author again: I've already placed the second book in the series on hold...
Personal Reading Challenge(s): 1st in a Series, 100+

My ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. Thirty-fourth in line for the throne, I am, as they say, flat broke. When my brother, Binky, cut off my meager allowance, I bolted from Scotland - and my engagement to Fishface (I mean, Prince Siegfried) - for London, where I have:

a) built a fire in the hearth - entirely on my own, thank you very much

b) fallen for an absolutely unsuitable Irish peer

c) made a few quid housekeeping incognita, and

d) been summoned by the Queen herself to spy on her playboy son

Less than thrilled with this last bit, I'm wondering what to do when an arrogant Frenchman - who was trying to swipe our family estate! - winds up dead in my bathtub. Now, my new job is to clear my very long family name...

My Thoughts:  Loved it! Funny, slightly romantic, lots of character development, historical (but certainly not stuffy!), very cozy. Figured out the "bad guy" half way through, though my reasoning was slightly off... ;) I do have an issue with the cover - Georgie has reddish-blonde hair! Can't wait to read the rest of the series!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Till Death Do Us Bark (43 Old Cemetery Road, 3) by Kate Klise

Title: Till Death Do Us Bark by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise (2011)
Author Status: favourite author
Series Status: returning
Rating: 4.5 stars
Would I read this author again: definitely!
Challenge(s): Support Your Local Library

When a shaggy dog arrives at Spence Mansion, Seymour is overjoyed. His adoptive parents, Ignatius B. Grumply and Olive C. Spence, are less enthusiastic - especially when Secret, the dog, begins barking all night long.

Is it possible Secret just misses his old companion, the late Noah Breth, whose children are fighting like cats and dogs over their father's money? Or does Secret have a secret that, in the end, will make the entire town of ghastly howl with delight?

Books, Blogging and a New Game Plan...

Not "The Journal", but a journal...
After a loooong hiatus from book blogging, I've come back with a new plan in mind.  And the push came from something very simple:

I found a journal.

It's an honest-to-goodness, leather-like-bound, black journal with lovely cream-coloured, soft-to-the-touch pages. While I've scribbled in journals for most of my life, I'm devoting this one exclusively to books read. I'll always have a pen in hand, but have to a share a computer (so I'm more likely to write, rather than type!).

Thus, my plan is this: simplify and read.

I'm focusing less on blogging (and reviewing) and more on reading (which is the point, really - at least for me).  The journal will be used as my review space (entries which, I hope, will make it onto the blog, but that's still in the future), while the blog will be my "database" (for the most part - there are always exceptions).  It will house my lists (I do like me some lists ;) as well as containing the briefest "review" entries (basic details, synopsis and a personal rating) and "author pages" (for favourite authors, containing links and book lists).  I was inspired, in part, by A Girl and Her Books, as well as the number of books I having piling up - begging to be read!

Thanks for reading!