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1. Watch A Roundtable with Oscar-Contending Animation Directors and Producers

A 40-minute video roundtable with six feature film directors and producers contending for an Oscar this year.

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2. 2015 Challenges: Birthday Month Reading Challenge

Host: You, Me, and a Cup of Tea
Name: 2015 Birthday Month Reading Challenge (sign up here)
Dates: January - December 2015
# of Books: 12
Note to self: remember to leave links to reviews on her linkies post. 

January:
February:
March:
April:
May:
June:
July:
August:
September:
October:
November:
December:

Ideas for each month:
January
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Wilkie Collins
February
  • Charles Dickens
  • Victor Hugo
  • Mo Willems
March
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Lois Lowry
April
  • Margaret Oliphant
  • Anthony Trollope
  • Beverly Cleary
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • Ngaio Marsh
May
  • Jerome K. Jerome
  • Pat Frank (Alas, Babylon)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
June
  • Dorothy Sayers
  • Thomas Hardy
July
  • Josephine Tey
  • Erle Stanley Gardner
  • Candice F. Ransom
  • Joan Bauer
August
  •  Georgette Heyer
  • Orson Scott Card
  • E. Nesbit
  • Kenneth Oppel
  • Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • P.L. Travers
  • Diana Wynne Jones
September
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Agatha Christie
  • Roald Dahl
  • Gail Carson Levine

October
  • Julie Andrews Edwards
  • Karen Cushman
  • Lois Lensky
  • Shel Silverstein
  • Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
  • Katherine Paterson
November
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Astrid Lindgren
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Mark Twain
  • George Eliot
  • L.M. Montgomery
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Neal Shusterman
December
  • Avi
  • Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Mercer Mayer
  • Rex Stout
  • George MacDonald

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Happy Thanksgiving from the Royal Dinosaur Family!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Royal Dinosaur Family!


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4. Step-by-step Guide to Assigning Free ISBNs for ebooks through CISS

CISS is the Canadian ISBN Service System that’s f […]

The post Step-by-step Guide to Assigning Free ISBNs for ebooks through CISS appeared first on aksomitis.com.

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5. Red riding hood- a start.

Yes- delivering pizza to grandma-

Another experiment- not quite finished.
The trouble with unfinished watercolour it seems is that they look 'broken'. There are bits I like though- just need to finish it and try again with what worked.


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6. Comic: Being Thankful

 

I've decided that the girl's name is Keiko.  Haven't come up with a name for the baby yet, though.

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7. Free ebooks Review: Ring on Her Finger by Lisa Swinton



Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.


About the Book

What happened in Vegas should stay there, not follow Amanda home, newly wedded to the man who broke her heart.

After celebrating college graduation with her friends in Las Vegas, Amanda St. Claire wakes up with a terrible hangover and a ring on her finger. Her day gets worse when she finds out she's married to rich playboy Blake Worthington—the guy she has loathed the past four years. Amanda convinces Blake to legally terminate the marriage and they both return home like nothing ever happened. That is, until Blake shows up on her doorstep and Amanda has to come clean with her family.

Together for better or worse while the legalities are cleared, Amanda reluctantly plays along, but then the unthinkable happens---she finds herself falling in love with Blake.

Can they overcome the past? Or will it end their future before it even starts?

Buy the Book


Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

There were a couple of things that kept this book from being a 5-star for me. First, I want to start off with the things I liked.

Amanda's and Blake's past played a huge role in their present interactions and also brought new meaning to the "put your past behind you" adage. The contrast between their families was well done and made me grateful for the family I do have.

What I didn't like was how long Amanda held on to her grudge/stubbornness. Granted, I do know/have known people who are "stubborn as a mule" before, but I think it was just a little bit overdone and got to be very irritating.

The other thing was how Amanda was in denial or reality even after getting a good slap of it. That also annoyed me.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, especially for those who are looking for "clean" romances.

0 Comments on Free ebooks Review: Ring on Her Finger by Lisa Swinton as of 11/25/2014 10:02:00 PM
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8. 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Books

Design book gift guide

Here it is, our annual book gift guide! Below you will find over 30 titles from our favorite publishers. Included are our top picks for illustration, graphic design and typography. Enjoy!

 

 

Kid’s Books

Alphabetics

Alphabetics

Alphabetics

 

Alphabetics: An Aesthetically Awesome Alliterated Alphabet Anthology
By Patrick and Traci Concepción / Illustrations by Dawid Ryski
Published by Gestalten
64 Pages

C is for cat? D is for dog? Not in this book! Here, Colossal Cornelius captures his companions with his camera and Daisy the diver dares a death-defying dip with dinosaurs. In Alphabetics, each of the alphabet’s twenty-six letters is depicted with an awesome alliteration—not to mention an illuminating illustration—that will captivate and stimulate young minds.

Available at Amazon, Gestalten and your local book shop.

Kiddie Cocktails by Stuart Sandler

Kiddie Cocktails

Kiddie Cocktails
By Stuart Sandler / Illustrations by Derek Yaniger /
Published by Korero

112 Pages / Hardcover

Calling all junior mixologists ! Check out the coolest-ever collection of fabulous drink recipes in every flavor and style under the sun – sharp and tangy, smooth and sweet, fizzy but never flat, crisp and fruity, or rich and creamy – all minus the hooch ! Surprise your friends with a Kosmic Kooler, get the party started with a Dream Punch, or cruise to Hawaii with a Little Pink Pearl. You’ll also find tips on setting up your own kiddie cocktail bar – with advice on choosing everything you’ll need to make your cocktails look as amazing as they taste ! The entire book is lavishly illustrated by the internationally renowned artist Derek Yaniger.

Available at Korero Press and Amazon

 

 

Best Book in the World by Rilla Alexander

Best Book in the World by Rilla Alexander

The Best Book in the World
By Rilla Alexander / Published by Flying Eye Books

If you found the best book in the world, would you stop reading? Could you stop reading? If you had homework to do, or dinner to get through, could you put the book down? On a train to the zoo or on a flight to Kalamazoo, would that break the spell? If in a forest you walked, while scary monsters stalked… would that be enough? If every animal in the land were to be led by a big band, in a grand parade in your honour made… would you put the book down?

Join Rilla Alexander for an unforgettable and magical tale that encourages children to read.

Available at AmazonFlying Eye Books and your local book shop.

 

Illustration

Mary Blair - Magic Color Flair on grainedit.com

Mary Blair - Magic Color Flair on grainedit.com

Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair
By John Canemaker / Published by the Walt Disney Family Foundation
176 pages / Hardcover / 10″ x 12.25″

By John Canemaker, the companion catalog to The Walt Disney Family Museum’s 2014 special exhibition with the same name Magic Color Flair the world of Mary Blair. The authoritative collection of Blair’s lifework, including her precocious early paintings, concept art from her Disney days, and the wildly wonderful artistic innovations of her later life. With an introductory essay by exhibition curator and Academy Award-winning John Canemaker, this indispensable book is a bold, lively look into the work of an equally bold and lively artist, whose invaluable influence and keen eye helped shape some of the world’s favorite Disney experiences.

Available at Amazon and The Walt Disney Family Museum Shop.

 

This is the World - Miroslav Sasek

This is the World - Miroslav Sasek

 This is the World: A Global Treasury
By Miroslav Sasek / Published by Universe
 234 Pages / 9.1″x12.6″

A compilation of abridged versions of M. Sasek’s most popular children’s travel books. From London to Hong Kong, Sydney to San Francisco, readers will delight in this charming journey through the world’s great cities. With deft strokes of his paintbrush and a witty voice to match, master illustrator and storyteller M. Sasek captured the essence of the world’s major capitals and brought them to life for an entire generation of young readers. Now, more than fifty years later, those same readers are passing these stories down to their children and their children’s children, and Sasek’s This is series has officially reached iconic status. Collected here for the first time in one affordable volume are some of Sasek’s most beloved adventures.

Pre-order at AmazonRizzoli and your local book shop.

 

 

John Alcorn: Evolution of Design

John Alcorn: Evolution of Design

John Alcorn: Evolution by Design
By Moleskine
288 Pages / “9 x 11.5″

A never-before released overview of one of the most versatile designers of the 20th century, replete with revealing essays and several hundred images spanning over 4 decades, from the artist’s formative years to his untimely death at age 56. Containing an extensive account of Alcorn’s vast creative output, from posters, book illustrations, painting, advertising and design – accompanied by personal anecdotes and critical essays – the intricacy of his illustrations, the magic of his psychedelic imagery and the elegance of his execution unfold with every turn of the page.

Available at Amazon and Moleskine

 

Worse Things Happen at Sea

Worse Things Happen at Sea

Worse Things Happen at Sea

Worse Things Happen at Sea
By Kellie Strom / Published by Nobrow
20 pages / 5.6″x9.1″

Inspired by tales of mythical sea creatures and the tall stories of doomed voyages passed down from sailor to son, Strøm brings us a rich tapestry of wonderment. Historical ships are attacked, enveloped and engorged by monstrous creatures surfacing from the deepest depths of the darkest oceans. Covering 20 panels each measuring 13.8cm x 23.5cm the image unfolds in front of you like a foreboding fable from the cracked lips of an old sea captain.

Taking over two years to create, the faux engraved colour separation style used for this project has been a departure from his two previous picture books, both illustrated with full colour acrylic paintings. In both techniques Strøm wrestled with creating detailed immersive worlds while also trying to preserve some of the immediacy of the original physical art.

Available at AmazonNobrow and your local book shop.

 

Loris Lora -  Eventually Everything Connects

Loris Lora -  Eventually Everything Connects

Loris Lora -  Eventually Everything Connects

Eventually Everything Connects
By Loris Lora / Published by Nobrow Press
24 Pages

What is the link between Alfred Hitchcock and Charles and Ray Eames, or illustrator Mary Blair and actor Steve McQueen? In Eventually Everything Connects Loris Lora makes all the creative connections so you don’t have to. Explore the movers, shakers, and shapers of the arts in the Californian modernist movement in Nobrow’s hardback Leporello format.

Available at Amazon and Nobrow Press

 

Ed Emberley book

Ed Emberley book

Ed Emberley book

Ed Emberley
By Todd Oldham and Caleb Neelon / Published by Ammo Books
288 Pages / 12″ x9″

Ed Emberley shies away from calling himself an artist and instead likes to say that “he draws pictures for a living.” Now in his eighties, Ed Emberley is a Caldecott award-winning children’s book illustrator and writer who has been creating original books since the 1960s. He has written and illustrated more than 100 books and is perhaps best known for his beloved how-to-draw books for kids such as: Ed Emberley’s Big Green Drawing Book, Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces, and Ed Emberley’s Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, and many others.

These simple and straightforward books, first published in the 1970s, have encouraged a generation of kids to take the drawing process step by step. Contemporary working artists today often cite Ed Emberley as a beloved early inspiration in their development as artists. By encouraging kids to draw using just a few simple shapes, Emberley has made drawing and creating accessible to everyone. As Emberley likes to say, “Not everyone needs to be an artist, but everyone needs to feel good about themselves.”

This definitive monograph on the wide repertoire of Emberley’s life’s work has been beautifully put together by Todd Oldham and Caleb Neelon. Highlighting work spanning more than five decades, this gorgeous and comprehensive book celebrates the talented and prolific life of Ed Emberley.

Available at Amazon, Ammo Books and your local book shop

 

 

Ed Emberley book

Ed Emberley Signed Limited Edition with Print
Cloth hardcover with slipcase

Available at Amazon and Ammo Books

 

Illustrative Branding by Victionary

Illustrative Branding by Victionary

 

Illustrative Branding: Smashing illustrations for brands
Published by Victionary
256 Pages 

From delightful packaging, to tongue-in-cheek restaurant setting guarded by outlandish cartoons or serene naturescapes, all contributes to the whole of the brand experience, some even lure consumers into collecting tactile applications of the brand.ILLUSTRATIVE BRANDING takes you on a beguiling journey through nearly 100 stellar projects and in-depth case studies of illustrated identities conceived for eateries, fashion labels, skincare products, enterprises, and many more.

Available at  Victionary and your local book shop.

 

 

Typography

Type Plus by Unit Editions

Type Plus by Unit Editions
Type Plus
Edited by Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook / Published by Unit Editions
320 Pages / Paperback

Type Plus investigates the practice of combining typography with images to increase effectiveness, potency and visual impact. Today, graphic designers use type in partnership with graphic elements in ways that turbo charge meaning and impact.
By focusing on a host of contemporary practitioners from around the world, Type Plus creates a picture of a new dynamism in typographic expression. The era of type as a passive, semi-invisible holder of meaning is long gone.Book includes interviews with Non-Format, TwoPoints.Net and Erik Brandt.

Available at Unit Editions

Neu Alphabet - Wim Crouwel

Wim Crouwel: New Alphabet
Edited by Paolo Palma. Preface by Wim Crouwel. Text by Kees Broos, Max Bruinsma, Piet Schrueders.
Published by SHS Publishing
144 Pages / 10″x13.5″

Released in 1967, Wim Crouwel’s New Alphabet was a typeface inspired by the limitations of the data displays of the period. Since it uses only horizontal and vertical strokes, with 45-degree corners–Crouwels wanted to adapt typography to the new technologies, rather than vice versa–New Alphabet contains several characters that are impossible to decipher without contextual inference. Consequently, the typeface was widely deemed to be too extreme at the time, and Crouwel himself qualified it as largely a theoretical exercise–”over the top and never meant to be really used.” Despite its initial controversy, which even extended to the newspapers, New Alphabet has since attained the status of a design classic, being perhaps most famously used on the cover of Joy Division’s legendary single “Atmosphere” and the group’s compilation Substance. In this volume, author Paolo Palma examines the history and legacy of Crouwel’s typeface.

Pre-order at Amazon.com, artbooks.com and your local book shop.

Typorama

Typorama: The Graphic Work of Philippe Apeloig
By Alice Morgaine and Ellen Lupton/ Edited by Tino Grass / Published by Thames and Hudson
384 Pages

This book, published to accompany a major exhibition at the Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris, surveys and explores the entirety of Apeloig’s graphic design process and philosophy, reproducing posters, logos, visual identities, books and animations, and analysing the influences that fuel his work.

Available at Amazon, Thames and Hudson and your local book shop

 

Design

100 Years of Swiss Design on grainedit.com

100 Years of Swiss Design on grainedit.com

100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design
Edited by Christian Brändle, Karin Gimmi, Barbara Junod, Christina Reble, Bettina Richter, and Museum of Design Zurich
384 Pages / 8.7″x 12.9″

100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design takes a fresh look at Swiss typography and photo-graphics, posters, corporate image design, book design, journalism and typefaces over the past hundred years. With illuminating essays by prominent experts in the field and captivating illustrations, this book, designed by the Zürich studio NORM, presents the diversity of contemporary visual design while also tracing the fine lines of tradition that connect the work of different periods. The changes in generations and paradigms as manifested in their different visual languages and convictions are organized along a timeline as well as by theme.

Available at AmazonLars Muller, and your local book shop.

 

Neue Grafik on grainedit.com

Neue Grafik on grainedit.com

Neue Grafik on grainedit.com

Neue Grafik on grainedit.com

Neue Grafik on grainedit.com

Copies are available at Lars Muller.

 

 

Manuals  2 by Unit Editions

Manuals  2 by Unit Editions

Manuals 2 
Edited by Tony Brook, Adrian Shaughnessy  / Published by Unit Editions
432 Pages

Manuals 2 features a mix of 20 outstanding American and European design manuals. Each is photographed in exquisite detail and accompanied by meticulous descriptions of their physical make-up.

Featured manuals include IBM, Westinghouse, Canadian Rail, Bell, Knoll, PTT, Montreal Olympics and Dutch Police. Manuals 2 also comes up to date, incorporating contemporary manuals for RAC and First Direct. Many of the manuals are designed by the masters of 20th-century identity design: Lester Beall, Paul Rand, Allan Fleming, Total Design, Alan Fletcher, Otl Aicher, Studio Dumbar and North.

Available at Unit Editions

Uncomprising Expression - Blue Note book

Uncomprising Expression - Blue Note book

Uncomprising Expression - Blue Note book

Blue Note : Uncompromising Expression
By Richard Haves / Published by Chronicle Books
400 Pages / 8.5″ x 11 7/8

Published for Blue Note’s seventy-fifth anniversary, this landmark volume is the first official illustrated story of the label, from 1939 roots to its renaissance today. Featuring classic album artwork, unseen contact sheets, rare ephemera from the Blue Note Archives, commentary from some of the biggest names in jazz today, and feature reviews of seventy-five key albums, this is the definitive book on the legendary label.

Available at AmazonChronicle Books and your local book shop.

Paul Rand - Thoughts on Design

Thoughts on Design
By Paul Rand / Foreword by Michael Beirut / Published by Chronicle Books
96 Pages /  6 7/20 x 7 3/4 in

One of the seminal texts of graphic design, Paul Rand’s Thoughts on Design is now back in print for the first time since the 1970s. Writing at the height of his career, Rand articulated in his slender volume the pioneering vision that all design should seamlessly integrate form and function. This facsimile edition preserves Rand’s original 1947 essay with the adjustments he made to its text and imagery for a revised printing in 1970, and adds only an informative and inspiring new foreword by design luminary Michael Bierut. As relevant today as it was when first published, this classic treatise is an indispensable addition to the library of every designer.

Available at AmazonChronicle Books and your local book shop.

 

Rolf Muller on grainedit.com

Rolf Muller on grainedit.com

Rolf Muller: Stories, Systems, Marks
Edited by Jens Muller  / Published by Lars Muller
128 pages / 5 ¾ x 8 ¼ in

This book is the first monograph dedicated to the designer Rolf Müller who is known above all for his design of the visual identity of the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Shortly after graduating from the famous Ulm School of Design, his former professor Otl Aicher entrusted him with this work, which set new standards in international design. In parallel, he established his design firm Büro Rolf Müller in Munich. On the basis of selected projects, the book attempts to sketch the mentality and methods of his design

Available at AmazonLars Muller and your local book shop.

HfG Ulm on grainedit.com

HfG Ulm on grainedit.com

HfG Ulm: Concise History of the Ulm School of Design
Edited by Jens Muller / Published by Lars Muller
128 Pages / 5 ¾ x 8 ¼ in

The Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm) ranks among the world’s most important institutions of the 20th century in modernist design. Its founders Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill wanted to contribute to the shaping of a new and better world after the terrible experiences of the Nazi regime and the Second World War. The meaning of design today cannot be understood without considering the developments at HfG. That applies not only to the design of appliances and communications, but also to the profession of designer, design education, methodology and design theory—ranging from the relationship between design and science up to the question of what relationship design should adopt with art and crafts, or business and society. This massive impact of the HfG is all the more astounding, considering that it existed for only 15 years, from 1953 to 1968. This book provides a contextual and broadly illustrated history of the HfG Ulm.

Available at AmazonLars Muller and your local book shop.

 

Human Logo book

Human Logo
Published by Counter-Print
132 Pages

‘Human Logo’ is a collection of people-based logos categorised in sections such as bodies, hands, hearts, eyes and faces. The book contains over 300 logos from some of the world’s leading design companies such as; Wolff Olins, Pushpin Group, Hey, Chermayeff & Geismar, Berger & Föhr and many more.

Available at Counter-Print

 

Criterion Designs

Criterion Designs

Criterion Designs

Criterion Designs

Criterion Designs
By Eric Skillman / Published by Criterion
306 Pages / 10″x13″

The most exciting names in design and illustration today apply their talents to some of the most important and influential films of all time. This volume gathers highlights from designs commissioned by the Criterion Collection, featuring covers, supplemental art, and never-before-seen sketches and concept art plus a gallery of every Criterion cover since the collection’s first laserdisc in 1984. From avant-garde experiments to big-budget blockbusters, cult favorites to the towering classics of world cinema, the depth and breadth of what film can be is on display in these striking images. Whether painstakingly faithful re-creations or bold re-imaginings, the stunningly diverse designs collected here offer new ways for cinephiles and design aficionados alike to engage with the world’s greatest filmmakers.

Available at Amazon, Criterion and your local book shop.

Alex Wollner

Alex Wollner: Brasil Design Visual
Edited by Klaus Klemp, Julia Koch, Matthias Wagner K. Foreword by Antonio Grassi, Marta Suplicy, Matthias Wagner K. Text by Klaus Klemp, Julia Koch, Malou von Muralt, René Spitz, André Stolarski, Alexandre Wollner.
Published by Wasmuth
324 Pages / 10.5″x10.25″

Alexandre Wollner (born 1928) is one of the most important and successful graphic designers of the second half of the twentieth century. He played a prominent role in the artistic, cultural and economic foundation of postwar Brazilian design and is today one of South America’s most acclaimed figures in graphic design. Upon returning to Brazil from his studies in Europe, together with Geraldo de Barros and others he inaugurated Form-Inform, the first design consultancy in the country. Despite his great influence and popularity in South America, Wollner remains relatively unknown abroad. Alex Wollner: Brasil Design Visual remedies this oversight, presenting an extensive catalogue of the designer’s oeuvre. This handsome book showcases more than 100 works by the artist and focuses on the strong influence of the Ulm School of Design where Wollner studied between 1954 and 1958.

Available at Amazon, Artbooks.com and your local book shop.

Jurriaan Schrofer book

 

Jurriaan Schrofer: Graphic Designer, Pioneer of Photo Books, Art Director, Teacher, Art Manager, Environmental Artist
By Frederike Huygen. Edited by Jaap van Triest, Karel Martens
Published by Valiz
424 Pages

The Dutch designer and polymath Jurriaan Schrofer (1926–1990) was one of the defining figures in European graphic design in the 1950s–70s. Working across all genres, from public relations brochures to interior design, and from magazines to advertising and alphabets, Schrofer is particularly regarded as a pioneer in the field of photo books and experimental typography. During the 1970s, he also became involved with government art policy and environmental art, and was an especially active force at the Association of Graphic Designers. The design historian Frederike Huygen describes his work as “research into perception, visual effects and the optical illusion of perspective: or the interplay of letterform, pattern and meaning.” This monograph tracks Schrofer’s career through a set of thematic chapters: his public relations brochures for various corporations; the photo book designs; his work as a cultural ambassador; advertising design; interior design; art policy and education; typographic experiments; and his art works. This monograph provides a full survey of Schrofer’s career.

Available at Amazon, Artbook.com and your local book shop

 

 

Books on Japan

Books on Japan 1931-1972
By Yoshiyuki Morioka / Published by BNN
208 Pages

In this book 100 propaganda magazines, published between 1931 to 1972, are introduced. The front cover and middle page of each magazine is introduced by year along with a brief overview. By “propaganda magazines” we mean such magazines promoting political, military and cultural ideas as is represented by the magazines NIPPON (Nihon Kobou) and FRONT (Tohosha). Also included in these 100 magazines is tourist guides, export product catalogues, world fair catalogues and Olympic brochures. In such “propaganda magazines” published by the government or large companies generous budgets were provided for such publications. Accordingly, many persons who have contributed greatly to the history of Japanese photography and graphic design are introduced. (For example in NIPPON such persons as; Yonosuke Natori, Takashi Kono, Fumio Yamana, Yusaku Kamekura, Goro Kumada, Ken Domon and Shihachi Fujimoto. In FRONT such persons as; Tatsuo Hayashi, Hiromu Hara, Seiichi Tagawa, Ihei Kimura, Yoshio Watanabe and Hiroshi Hamaya). As a result, by looking at the graphics in these magazines one can see how the world currents in graphics have been arranged to form a unique Japanese modernism. A look at the news photos and advertisements in these magazines vividly illustrates Japan’s evolution over this time span. The people who lived, the cities that existed and the thoughts that were prevalent at that time are all extensively recorded. Even though time has passed the vitality of these times can still be felt.

Available at Amazon, Stout Books and your local book shop.

Wolfgang Weingart

 

Weingart: The Man and the Machine

By Susan Knapp, Michael Eppelheimer, Dorothea Hofmann / Published by Karografik

96 Pages

The Advanced Class (Weiterbildungsklasse) was a post-graduate program for graphic design, first launched in April 1968 at the Basel School of Design in Switzerland. In 1999 the program was removed from the school’s curriculum, as it did not meet the requirements of the new European university system. For over 30 years, more than 420 students from 35 countries refined their skills and developed a network of designers, artists and teachers.

Wolfgang Weingart was one of the reasons why many design students came to study in Basel. He lectured about the program all over the world and his posters became well-known throughout the design community. Allowing his students to unfold in their own way, he proved to be a master in taking so many different individuals and cultures under his wing. Mr. Weingart’s work as a teacher and visiting lecturer has not only strengthened his students as graphic designers, but has also played a decisive role in modern typography and design.

The collection of 77 statements is boldly illustrated with photos of Mr. Weingart, portraits of the individual students and work from his teaching. And for the first time ever published, an essay by Dorothea Hofmann explains how the Advanced Class came into being at the Basel School of Design. The establishment of the program in 1968 was preceded by nearly two decades of continuous refinement of an educational model developed by Armin Hofmann, with support from Emil Ruder and the City of Basel’s Department of Education.

Available at Stout Books and Karografik

 

Modernism

Cape Cod Modern

 

Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape
By Peter McMahon, Christine Cipriani and forward by Kenneth Frampton
Photos by Raimund Koch / Published by Metropolis Books
272 Pages

 

Available at Amazon, Artbook.com and your local book shop

 

Hand in Hand: Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman

Hand in Hand: Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman

Hand-in-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, and Woodcarvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman

By Dan Chavkin and Lisa Thackaberry / Published by Pointed Leaf Press
240 Pages

Hand-In-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, Woodcarvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn & Jerome Ackerman is the first monograph of the artists whose oeuvre was critically influential and is now seen as the epitome of California mid-century modernism. With a preface by Jonathan Adler, the book tracks the couple’s careers in the decorative arts from their beginnings to the creation of Jenev Design Studio and its eventual shift to ERA Industries, as well as their involvement in every prestigious California Design exhibition from 1954 to 1976.

Available at AmazonPointed Leaf Press and your local book shop.

California Moderne - Edward Fickett

California Moderne - Edward Fickett

California Moderne - Edward Fickett

California Moderne and the Mid-Century Dream – The Architecture of Edward H. Fickett
By Richard Rapaport / Published by Rizzoli
272 Pages

A dazzling presentation of the mid-century modern California style, offering a fresh perspective on the work of this influential yet widely unknown figure.

Available at Amazon and Rizzoli

Who Built that Modern Houses

Who Built that? Modern Houses: An introduction to Modern Houses and their Architects
By Didier Cornille / Published by Princeton Architectural Press
84 Pages

Who Built That? Modern Houses takes readers on a fun-filled tour through ten of the most important houses by the greatest architects of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Beginning with a brief biographical sketch of each architect, illustrator Didier Cornille uses a light touch to depict the various stages of construction, paying special attention to key design innovations and signature details.

Available at Amazon, PA Press and your local book shop.

 

Business

Monocle Guide to Business

The Monocle Guide to Good Business
By Monocle / Published by Gestalten
304 Pages

The Monocle Guide to Good Business is a book for would-be business leaders, start-ups, and established companies that feel it’s time for some new ideas. It’s a book made to be used. Write in its margins and turn over the corners of its pages. But don’t expect management speak or miracles for untold riches. This is not a book about staging a revolution. Rather, this is a book about doing things well—from how you run the show to the pens you buy. And even about taking your dog to work.

Available at Amazon, Gestalten and your local book shop

 

Broken the book
Broken: Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work
By Nate Burgos and Stephanie Di Biase

This book addresses the challenges of toxic work environments and other barriers to getting things done.

Available at Design Feast

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.
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9. …continuing ramblings about muses and inspiration and finding stories, I give you: Erato, the muse of love poetry (warning: this page is fairly messy and filled to bursting with words)

muse-five


Filed under: journeys, love, poetry, songs

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10. Doctor Leonard McCoy and Star Trek (link)

Star Trek needs the Doctor!  (I didn't realize they'd been ignoring him.)  Check out this interesting article from Tor.com: Please Pay Attention to Doctor McCoy Now

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11. I Accidentally Read a Gayle Forman Book

by andye I Was HereBy Gayle FormanHardcover: 288 pagesPublisher: Viking Juvenile (January 27, 2015)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Cody and Meg were inseparable. Two peas in a pod. Until . . . they weren’t anymore. When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—

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12. Marginal

Corner of the page doodle


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13. When bad things happen to good characters



Last week I got to visit a school in my neighborhood to talk about my book, The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya. The kids had excellent questions about parrots and muffins and writing. One boy wisely chose to email me. He knew that his question would spoil part of the story for others. And so, if you haven't read the book ...... please be advised.

SPOILER ALERT!    (I've always wanted to say that.)

With his permission, I'm going to share his emails to me and my answer.

Hello, 

My name is Johnny and I'm nine years old. 

I loved your book! I really loved the adventure Zeno was on and how he had to fly over the Atlantic Ocean. I also liked when Alya climbed the six steps. There was so much tension and excitement.

I was hoping Zeno and Bunny would stay friends. I know sometimes characters die in books, so I was just wondering why you chose him to die?

Thank you, 
Johnny C.
Hi Johnny,

I'm glad that you loved my book. But I'm really grateful that you asked me such an important question. I had to think a lot about why I chose to let Bunny die.

First, I wondered did any of the characters really have to die? I think the answer to that is yes. If a book is realistic, then the events that the author describes should have real consequences. I think that Zeno's dangerous journey over the ocean is more exciting because you knew that bad things really might happen. Without real risks and real dangers,  his accomplishment wouldn't mean as much.

Hawks do kill pigeons. They don't do it to be cruel. They do it because they need food. I think you can accept that the hawk would attack a bird. But you want to know why did that bird have to be Bunny?

I could have let the hawk attack a different pigeon. But Zeno is so selfish, he wouldn't have helped anyone except Bunny. All of Zeno's adventures teach him important lessons. First he learns that a friend needs to fight for a friend. But he won't really learn how important that friendship is until he loses Bunny. Zeno has to learn the hard way.

If Zeno hadn't learn those lessons, he wouldn't have been there to help Alya when she needed it. That would have been sad too.

Like you, I hoped that Zeno and Bunny would stay friends. I do know that Zeno remembers everything that Bunny taught him. And, in that way, Bunny lives on.

Thank you again for asking me such a great question.

Sincerely,
Jane Kelley



Hello,

Thank you for writing back to me. What you said made a lot of sense because Bunny was such a good friend and Zeno cared for Bunny and when Bunny died, it changed Zeno and made the story better. It was sad, but I realize why it had to happen.

I can't wait to read your other books.

Sincerely,
Johnny C.





I am grateful to Johnny for letting me share his thoughts on my blog. I'm lucky to have a reader who is willing to journey with my characters, over the Atlantic Ocean or up the six steps to a Brooklyn brownstone. And willing to think about why those journeys are important.

I'm humbled to be reminded that my characters matter to my readers. Writing novels for kids is a privilege––and a responsibility. Sometimes bad things have to happen to good characters––but there better be a very, very, very good reason.

(Thank you, Eliza Wheeler, for your amazing drawing of Zeno and Alya.) 

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14. Sisters and Brothers at Luna Station

“Sisters and Brothers,” my post in honor of the UN commemoration of the international day to end violence against women is up at Luna Station Quarterly.

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15. I'm On Tour! Enter To Win A Copy Of My Book!




Book Tour

Hi everyone:

Good News! The day is finally here. My book tour begins today. Please complete a raffle through BK book tour and win a chance to get a free e-book of Ignition: AN Educator's Journey. Good luck everyone!





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16. This Weekend in Dublin: Irish VFX & Animation Summit

The second Irish VFX + Animation Summit will take place this weekend in Dublin, Ireland.

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17. Garden notes, Thanksgiving week 2014

photo (48)

Faded: the sunflowers. They’re drooping in sad-Charlie-Brown fashion all along the side wall. They amuse me.

In bloom: yellow daisies, masses of them. Pink geraniums, always. Orange zinnias, still going strong. Sweet alyssum and snapdragons, recently added. (The summer alyssum crop, grown from seed, carpeted a corner of the yard all summer, then went brown and weedy. We missed them and put in a few nursery plants to tide us over until the next batch of seeds comes up.) Bougainvillea, small but promising. Lavender, keeping the bees busy. Basil, because I forgot to pinch it off.

In fruit: Tomatoes! Hurrah! I moved them to the front yard this year and voila, they are producing abundantly.

But overshadowing all of these by a mile: the renegade pumpkins. Last year (Halloween 2013) we had one jack-o-lantern and two smaller uncarved pumpkins. These got left alone when we tossed the melting jack-o-lantern. (That’s what carved pumpkins do in Southern California. They dissolve on the stoop.)

The two little pumpkins became a quiet science experiment during the course of the year. One was partly under a bush and retained its integrity for months. The other, in full sun, decomposed rapidly. All of us enjoyed comparing their progress during our comings and goings from driveway to front door.

By July, the shaded pumpkin had joined its mate in the circle of life: its skin crisped and cracked like old, brittle paper. Seeds spilled out everywhere. Did I pay them any mind? I did not.

In August, we noticed sprouts. Not only at the site of the departed pumpkins, but also along the side wall near the sidewalk.

photo (49)

By October, we had vines. Big sprawling vines with huge leaves, trailing all across the lawn and beyond. We had to keep kicking them off the sidewalk back onto the grass lest they trip up passersby.

And now, two days before the final pumpkin holiday of the year, we have (at last count) a crop of six young pumpkins of modest size in various shades of green and yellow. Not orange. No, not quite orange yet.

pumpkin

I figure they’ll be ripe in time for Christmas.

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18. Oscar Isaac Lands Villain Role In X-Men: Apocalypse

Yeah, at first I read "Oscar Pistorius".  I come from another century!

After landing a role in ‘Star Wars VII’ it looks as though the up and coming star will be heading to the ‘X-Men’ universe… as he takes the title role in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’.


X-Men: Apocalypse - Oscar Isaac lands villain role


Not content with nabbing a role in the galaxy far, far away it looks as though Oscar Isaac is determined to conquer modern geek culture. And now the actor has reportedly signed up for the upcoming ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ as the movie’s big, bad villain.

According to Variety, the 35-year-old Guatemalan-born American actor has nabbed the role of Apocalypse in the upcoming ‘X-Men’ sequel.

“Oscar Isaac will be playing the titular comic book villain in 20th Century Fox’s ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’,” they revealed. “[Bryan] Singer has described the upcoming ‘X-Men’ film, which is expected to feature all cast members including Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy, as the most destructive movie in the franchise.”

Of course, Apocalypse has already taken to the big screen in a post credit teaser after the recent ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’. But while the scrawny-looking mutant was busy with his newfound pyramids, it looks likely that he’ll bulk up a bit for the upcoming sequel.

“‘Apocalypse’ will have more of the mass destruction that ‘X-Men’ films, to date, have not relied upon,” said Singer in a recent interview. “There’s definitely now a character and a story that allow room for that kind of spectacle.”

Reportedly taking place during the 80s, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ will feature younger versions of the classic ‘X-Men’ characters. And while it seems that ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ has found its villain, the hunt is apparently on for a young Cyclops and Jean Grey.

But will they be able to conquer the mighty Apocalypse? For now, we’ll have to wait and see. Although, if Isaac has to go up against Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, I don’t fancy his chances.

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ heads to cinemas on 19 May 2016.

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19. January Magazine Seventeen Years Young


You know how LinkedIn sends you those nets asking you to congratulate someone on a work anniversary? It can be pretty silly, because it will include anything on your résumé. Even if you say you're a freelance writer, for example, it will ask people to congratulate you on the anniversary of the day you posted. It's not done by a human being and computer programs can't tell the difference.

But this week I was asked to congratulate Linda Richards on 17 years running January Magazine and I really must. It is a fabulous review web site, which also has articles and  news about books and writers. You can follow it by email.


Some years ago, I was writing my first online reviews for a publication called Festivale Online. It was a good publication while it was going, but suddenly, without warning, it disappeared and the editor was out of contact with her contributors,not replying to emails.

Well, I liked my free books and being published. I had been receiving stuff from publishers.  My sister was receiving January Magazine by email, so I contacted Linda, asking if I could review for her. She sad yes, but that she couldn't supply the books. She lives in Canada andI live in Australia. I said that was fine; as long as I had somewhere to publish my reviews I had access to publishers.

So began a long, happy relationship that continues to the present. I don't send as many reviews these days as I used to, because most of them appear here, though I do share my reviews between our two web sites. And I still send her a "best of" post each year as she asks for one.

It has been a lot of fun and I've had some great experiences. Who can forget the morning I visited Allen and Unwin to collect the final Harry Potter book, then read all day to meet Linda's deadline? Because she is in the northern hemisphere I could email her early Sunday morning to say I'd be a couple more hours and she could reply that this was fine, she'd check her email again after dinner(it was still Saturday night there).  And then there was the time I reviewed a book about the Hildebrandt Tolkien calendars for JM. I had a lovely email from one of the artists thanking me for having given his nephew such a nice review. Not only that, but Caspar Reiff of the Tolkien Ensemble, which does wonderful albums setting Tolkien's songs and poems to music, offering me a review copy of the latest, which I had been wanting but unable to find in the shops here!

In a way, JM is the reason for this blog. Linda does it all herself from somewhere rural in Canada(she once told me there was a bushfire raging in her area). Sometimes my reviews hadn't been published after weeks and weeks. So I thought it best to publish things here when I hadn't heard; the publishers supplying me would want to know the review was up. Of course, The Great Raven has become a lot more than a review zine, as you know, though it is handy that I can be more flexible, since JM only publishes reviews of new books and I sometimes review classics or things that have been around for a bit longer than JM's one year limit.

But if it weren't for Linda Richards and January Magazine, The Great Raven might not exist. So here's to you, Linda! Long may January Magazine run!

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20. Impending

The highway signs flashed “High Alert!
Tomorrow, don’t be driving.”
The day before Thanksgiving,
There’s a winter storm arriving.

So traffic crawled and inched along
Much slower than just slow
‘Cause everyone was on the road
To beat the coming snow.

You’d think that Martians had attacked
Or that the world was ending
When all that fuss is for some weather –
Lousy, but impending…

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21. 2015 Challenges: Hard Core Re-reading Challenge

Host: You, Me, and a Cup of Tea
Name: Hard Core Rereading Challenge (sign up here)
Dates: January - December 2015 (books started before January do not count)
# of Books: Level 5; 50+ Rereading Coma
Note to self: check back to see about review linkies. MUST, MUST, MUST add links to reviews to the linkies.

What I (Actually) Reread
1.
2.
3.

What I Plan On Rereading: 

Georgette Heyer Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
  1. Devil's Cub
  2. These Old Shades
  3. Frederica
  4. Venetia
  5. Civil Contract
  6. Sprig Muslin
  7. Black Sheep
  8. Masqueraders
  9. Cousin Kate
  10. Convenient Marriage
  11. False Colors
  12. Talisman Ring
Elizabeth Gaskell Novels I Want to Reread in 2015:
  1. Ruth
  2. Wives and Daughters
  3. North and South 
Anthony Trollope Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
  1. Lady Anna
  2. He Knew He Was Right
  3. Belton Estate
Charles Dickens Novels I Want to Reread in 2015:
  1. Our Mutual Friend
  2. Bleak House
  3. Oliver Twist
Wilkie Collins Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
  1. Woman in White
  2. Armadale
  3. Man and Wife
Mystery Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
  1. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
  2. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
  3. Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout
  4. The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout
  5. Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers
  6. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers
  7. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
  8. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
  9. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
Historical Novels I Want to Reread
  1. Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
  2. London by Edward Rutherfurd
  3. Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
  4. Gone with The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    Science Fiction Novels I Want To Reread in 2015
    1. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
    2. Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card
    3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
    4. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
    5. Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
    6. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
    7. Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
    8. Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov 
    9. Babylon 5: To Dream in the City of Sorrow by Kathryn M. Drennan
    10. Babylon 5: The Shadow Within by Jeanne Cavelos
    11. Bablyon 5: In the Beginning by Peter David
    12. Babylon 5: Legions of Fire: The Long Night of Centauri Prime by Peter David
    13. Babylon 5: Legions of Fire: Armies of Light and Dark by Peter David
    14. Babylon 5: Legions of Fire: Out of the Darkness by Peter David
    Fantasy Novels I Want to Reread in 2015
    1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    2. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
    3. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
    4. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
    5. The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
    6. The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan
    7. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
    8. A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
    9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
      Children's Novels I Want to Reread in 2015 (I'm sure I'll be adding *more* to the list.)
      1. Welcome to the Grand View, Hannah by Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
      2. You're the Best, Hannah by Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
      3. Love From Your Friend, Hannah by Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
      Dr. Seuss Books I Want to Reread in 2015
      1. 1937 -- And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street
      2. 1938 -- The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
      3. 1939 -- The King's Stilts
      4. 1940 -- Horton Hatches An Egg
      5. 1947 -- McElligot's Pool
      6. 1948 -- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
      7. 1949 -- Bartholomew and the OObleck
      8. 1950 -- If I Ran The Zoo
      9. 1953 -- Scrambled Eggs Super
      10. 1954 -- Horton Hears a Who
      11. 1955 -- On Beyond a Zebra
      12. 1956 -- If I Ran the Circus
      13. 1957 -- How The Grinch Stole Christmas
      14. 1957 -- The Cat in the Hat
      15. 1958 -- The Cat In the Hat Comes Back
      16. 1958 -- Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
      17. 1959 -- Happy Birthday to You
      18. 1960 -- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
      19. 1960 -- Green Eggs and Ham
      20. 1961 -- The Sneetches and Other Stories
      21. 1961 -- Ten Apples Up On Top (Theo LeSieg)
      22. 1962 -- Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
      23. 1963 -- Dr. Seuss's ABC
      24. 1963 -- Hop On Pop
      25. 1965 -- Fox in Socks
      26. 1965 -- I Wish That I Had Duck Feet (Theo LeSieg)
      27. 1965 -- I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew
      28. 1968 -- The Foot Book
      29. 1969 -- I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today and Other Stories
      30. 1970  -- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
      31. 1971 -- The Lorax
      32. 1972 -- Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now
      33. 1972 -- In A People House (Theo LeSieg)
      34. 1973 -- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are
      35. 1974 -- There's A Wocket in My Pocket
      36. 1974 -- Great Day for Up
      37. 1974 -- Wacky Wednesday (Theo LeSieg)
      38. 1975 -- Oh, The Thinks YOu Can Think!
      39. 1975 -- Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo (Rosetta Stone)
      40. 1975 -- Would You Rather Be A Bull Frog (Theo LeSieg)
      41. 1976 -- Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him (Theo LeSieg)
      42. 1977 -- Please Try to Remember the first of Octember (Theo LeSieg)
      43. 1978 -- I Can Read With My Eyes Shut
      44. 1979 -- Oh Say Can You Say
      45. 1980 -- Maybe You Should Fly A Jet (Theo LeSieg)
      46. 1981 -- The Tooth Book (Theo LeSieg)
      47. 1982 -- Hunches in Bunches
      48. 1984 -- The Butter Battle Book
      49. 1986 -- You're Only Old Once
      50. 1987 -- I Am Not Going To Get UP Today
      51. 1990 -- Oh, The Places You'll Go
      52. 1995 -- Daisy-Head Mayzie
      53. 1996 -- My Many Colored Days
      54. 1998 -- Hooray for Diffendoofer Day
      55. 2011 -- The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories

      © 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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      22. The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing for Children's Book Authors




       
      It's difficult for any writer to get published by a traditional publisher, whether you write for adults or for children. That's why more writers than ever are turning to self-publishing. But before you jump on the bandwagon, especially if you write for children, it's helpful to find out more about self-publishing.
      Check out the recent post by guest blogger Sangeeta Mehta on publishing expert Jane Friedman's blog. Mehta, a former acquiring editor of children's books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster who runs her own editorial services company, interviewed agents Kate McKean and Kevan Lyon for answers to key questions on self-publishing children's books.
      Here are some highlights:
      Kate McKean: “The anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, however, is that the more titles a self-published author has up, the more visibility they can possibly garner.”
      Kevan Lyon: “I do believe that YA writers probably have an edge over middle grade writers in the indie publishing world.”
      Kate McKean: “For picture book writers, the cost of producing the book is one hurdle, and distributing it is another bigger hurdle.”
      Kevan Lyon: “Self-publishing a full-color print picture book can be very expensive with little room for a profit margin, especially without distribution.”
      Click here to visit Jane Friedman's blog for the complete post.
      What do you think about the pros and cons of self-publishing? Please share your experiences.
      Hope you enjoyed this post! To be notified of future updates, use the subscription options on the right side bar.


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      23. Kind of bandersnatchy rough image

      On the super absorbent  handmade paper .

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      24. “The French Laugh At The British At Angouleme –We’ve No Comics Industry!”



      And So They Might


      And that is a quote, baby.  Not from one person but several including some comic professionals from the UK who will not repeat those words in public because “I just do not want the grief that follows saying that!

      Oh, yes. On the old CBO I got the reaction to writing things like this but not just off the top of my head for controversy but fully backed up by facts and statistics.  I once suggested that all UK comic bloggers add a banner to their sites: “Let’s Revive The UK Comic Industry” and the reaction?

      I was told I had “a Saviour complex” and a lot worse.  “Oh, so YOU are going to come and save us all?!!”  Really nasty things were written and not just on CBO but on comic blogs and forums.

      Let me make this clear (because ALL the postings and responses were kept –a full file of all this is with a solicitor “in case”): I was being attacked because I suggested all of us in UK comics get together and try to rebuild the comic industry as best we could.

      At that point I realised that the main problem was that we never really had an industry anyway –the comics business was so crooked that it used to be known to tax people as “the double cooked books with triple layer mud”.  Distributors were no better and often acted in collusion with publishers.

      Once the fan-boy got into comics that was it.

      But I was asked why I do not include the Small Press as the new comics industry?  Well, I believe that I have written before that it is but it does no real good. It is a dilettante comics industry.

      Someone just Googled “Dilettante Comics” to see if they are collectibles.

      Now I know people do tend to misconstrue my words even though I try to make them clear so hold on to your lederhosen.

      I began drawing as a youngster.  In school I edited the school magazine Starkers The Magazine That Tells The Naked Truth which was in…1971/72?  The title came from the Deputy Head, Mr. Wright –an ex-RAF man and one of the most popular teachers at Greenway Boys School.  I do know that there was/is a magazine by that name from London(?).  Never seen it and I did an internet search recently and cannot find reference to it.  I am positive that I did see it advertised in publications such as Fortean Times (in the old days).

      Anyway, one of the school secretaries complained and it was stopped at printing and burned.  Also, the rather pompous religious Head Master disliked immensely that I called it a “zine” –it was NOT a magazine and I kept saying it was a “little magazine –a zine”.

      I later did lots of other work with newsletters, magazines, printers and from the late 1970s on, the Small Press world of fanzines.  I have a big collection of Small Press publications –poetry, prose fiction/sci fi as well as fanzines and comics.  Unlike today, the 1980s saw people from all over the UK exchanging their zines and if anyone needed a strip to fill a page or so everyone chipped in.  This was in letter writing days –no internet and phone calls were too expensive.

      Also, we all knew comics.  Whether UK weeklies or the US comics from Marvel, DC, Charlton or the rather obscure companies.  And, of course, we all had our Alan Class comics.  Strange to think how many of us were into horror movies and particularly some of the classic black and white movies.  Then again, we were working in a black and white medium.  I was very happy when I also discovered a great many zinesters were fans of Orson Welles because of his masterful use of angles, shadows and the B&W medium.

      In other words we were a community without internet and only after the Westminster Comic Marts and other one day events became more popular in the 1980s did any of us meet up.  There is a term you don’t hear these days –“marts” that were, basically, a hall full of people selling comics and zines and creators meeting up.  Going to the Westminster Marts was fun but we must have looked odd: meeting in a corner or on a staircase feeling different types of paper we drew on.  Checking out each others pencils,  pens (one typo and a letter “i” there and I could put a whole new slant on things!), brushes, sniffing inks and pens –checking which were alcohol based or whatever because certain pens combined with certain papers or boards could be very messy. Most of all we talked.

      Apart from one or two incidents involving certain people I was never once accused of throwing anyone out of a window or into the Thames.  There were no witnesses. Understand?  NO….WITNESSES.

      Most of us were starting work in comics or already working in the medium.  We knew about our subject.  Everything except earning big money!

      Mastering a photocopier not to mention paste-ups, removing ghost-lines and so on was not something you had a choice in.  It was what you had to learn if you were in comics.

      In the mid-1990s computers started appearing and before you knew it everyone new who came along was thinking they were going to produce and get rich from a Teenage Mutant Turtles or Blade Runner rip off.  And the ‘new pros’ –well some were quite open about using tracing paper to draw their comics.  In the huge stack of news zines and papers I have there are some true horror stories about this.  Stick figures as “a genuine artistic comic medium”…..no, I really never did throw that man in the Thames though he deserved to be.

      And it only got worse.  Once the wave of mostly untalented creators vanished they were replaced by those arty farty elitists who believed that only European comics –Bandes Dessinee matter and that everything else was purile.  Those people had been around in the 1980s and we used to call them “bow-tie *******” (this is a family site).  Here is the problem, though. These people only considered Franco-Belgian BD (must NOT call them “comics”!) legitimate.  Spain and Italy had comic industries and though Germany had a small industry that mainly reprinted Franco-Belgian and US comics Bastei Verlag at least had their books going to more than a dozen European countries.

      Alan Clark and the late Denis Gifford –particularly Denis- were nastily mocked and their work looked at as “low interest” because, unless it was The Beano, The Dandy, The Eagle were any other publications or creators not in those comics of any worth? Denis had a life long love of comics which the alcohol and dope loving new creators didn’t like.  Despite the lies and rumours I can tell you that Denis did receive and read Small Press publications –including mine.

      People who were “names” in the 1980s continued to hang on in though, and I find it funny, they become media comic luvvies but you go to a Small/Alternative Press event and mention their names and you get blank looks!  But, if as “media luvvies” they get to pay their rent, eat and enjoy life good luck to them. I have no problem with that.

      Now while comic Expos –the new “Marts”-  are popping up all over the country it has to be said that, say, 90% have no interest in the Small Press and have never seen a SP comic –and if they have they probably grimaced the same way their mothers do when they find that “odd stain” on the bed sheets (ladies I ask you to submit your own comic slob image).

      One comic geek –because TV programmes such as The Big Bang Theory have made comics “hip” and everyone wants to be known or called a comic geek.  Bless, they’ll tire of it after a while.  And everyone is a new comic collector spending money on the ‘cool’ comics that many do not read and a few think that because they were conned  into paying huge amounts for a comic featuring a character(s) from new movies –which they find out are NOT the movie characters- they think will make them rich one day….when every other one of the THOUSANDS of copies of that comic suddenly turn to dust!

      Comics toys, cosplay (including those with no knowledge or interest in comics) and TV/Movie merchandise are their world. Honestly, real old style comic fans are driven away from events and their passion by hugely inflated prices of comics and event entry fees.

      Then we have the SP/AP people.  Never heard of Stan Lee (other than “Is he that old guy –the character from The Big Bang Theory?”.  Never heard (NEVER) of Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko.  John Romita snr (notJnr) or John or Sal Buscema?  Gene Colan? John Byrne?  No.  “Oh, they made a comic out of that Avengers film?” –it’s at this point that I usually fall to my knees (which hurts) and raise my fists to the heavens and scream out “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!” and some ***** says “Mr Khnan from the TV comedy series? Why –is he okay?”

      Honestly, I make a point of talking to these people and most, let’s face it, are at the oldest in their mid-30s so have never known UK comics other than the horrendous merchandise crap with toys attached.  Big names in UK comics –John Cooper? No.  Mike Western?  No.  Terry Hooper-Scharf?  “Didn’t he used to be held hostage somewhere?”  Yes. I have a beard so I’m mistaken for Terry Waite. 

      WHAT THE ***** DO YOU MEAN “WHO?”!!!

      Well, I suppose at least he kept the handcuffs and radiator.

      But these people move in their own little circles.  I never realised that until I started name checking with people.  Some people in zines today do go to various events outside of cliques.  Our own Paul Ashley Brown –doyenne of the Bristol, London and he’s even known outside the UK.

      I’m that man on the hill The Beatles sang about.  “Who are the Beatles? What man –Stan Lee?”  Do   not   try    my   patience……..grrrrrrrr

      At events you note that exhibitors, if I may call them that, have their own entourages.  Their friends and others go to their tables and talk, buy a zine, talk….Twenty tables in a room with twenty different groupings of mates who might –might- look around and possibly buy things.

      These SP/AP people are producing their own comics or zines (some really do have no idea their books are classed as comics!) without having read comics.  Some may have seen what friends have produced and decide to have a go.  Others may have seen something about European comics.  A good few start at art college.  But they have no knowledge of the history of comics and I have genuinely had these young folk say “Well, when did they start comics -1970s or 1980s?”

      So we have an ever increasing number of SP/AP events around the UK –in London Dimitri Pieri is a human dynamo at organising events-  but most are independent of one another and some have no knowledge of the other events.

      I meet the occasional creator who knows about comics but to a limited degree because, again as I found out from personal experience, most were not born until the 1980s (by which time the UK comic scene was dead) so if they are “doing comics” it is in the US format.  These days I just introduce myself –“I come from the comics world of another century and you may call me…..Methuselah!”

      You are getting some of these nuggets of gold, aren’t you?

      Most AP/SP people have been to Art School/college or whatever –some are still students and others have full time jobs.  The idea –if it is ever there as anything more than a dream- is to make zines, have fun and if you sell a copy or two –great! Very few actually get to go on to make a living out of their work and when I’ve asked about this in the past I get a furrowed brow and “make a living out of it? “ and they look at me oddly or laugh –and I am fully clothed.

      Independent Comics are the same in a way.  A LOT of vanity publishing –you should neverpay any publisher to have your work printed.  If it is that good, even if they don’t pay: they should shoulder the costs.  But I did wonder how the same publishers could attend one event after another throughout the year while claiming thay they do not sell enough books to earn a living or pay their creators?  Some do make money but there are a lot of gullible creators out there.

      Here is the thing and I observe these things because “its what I do”: the Indie publishers are the same as the AP/SP people.  True most hope for that comic that is going to make them huge sums of money but they, too, have their groupies/entourages who do follow them to events.

      You see, Print On Demand (POD) makes it possible for anyone to publish their own comics.  Good quality production in both hardback and paperback.  For Indie/SP/AP there is the buzz of seeing the books printed.  Books with your work in.  You don’t even have to learn all the old skills just use your computer –even print limited runs of zines on your own printer.

      Do I get a buzz from publishing my books? No.  It’s hard work and I do it to try to make a living.  At events I tend to be the only person who is doing so professionally. The fact is that everyone else is doing this as a past time because they like doing it and have paying jobs so the “tomato ketchup on toast” meal is something they don’t have to face. 

      Do you know that back in the 1980s I regularly went without food for days?  Usually three to four days and a maximum was six days –publishers didn’t care because they tried to hold back your earned cheque as much as possible (Fleetway/Egmont owe me over £5,000 from the 1990s but I’ll never see that!).  Trick is that you drink fluids and when you get food eat lightly.  The idea of a slap-up meal after days of no food is dumb because you will be spending a lot of time in the toilet afterwards!

      I’m meandering in my textual …..what am I writing? I should make notes.  And before you ask: NO, printing off copies of bank notes on your printer is no good.  Shops do not accept them and they are illegal….that’s what the police told me.

      You pay £25 for a table.  Sell one zine or nothing but you’ve had a good day and met your mates blah blah blah.  Really?  That £25 loss cuts into me. 

      The attitude is not a professional one it is an amateur one. I like a lot of these people I meet.  Some are really lovely.  But they are dilettantes.  Nothing wrong with the attitude but it creates a major problem.

      You see, if those attending events just go to see their friends and buy their books but do not look around at other tables, maybe a glance of a few seconds, then the people who are selling books to make a living are not.   You carry that over to a hundred events a year, small or large, then you are talking about many thousands of people who, were they more widely interested in comics as in the “old days”, would be looking around, checking other tables and books out (most will not even lift a book off a table let alone look inside) and chatting with creators they do not know.  These days they do not.

      And at a comic event you will find “dilettante fan” who only goes for cosplay but not to buy books.  Or the “Nuevo geek” who is only after the “cool” Marvel or DC comics or the merchandise collector.
      “Comics” has splintered into factions –one not knowing the other.  In the 1980s/early 1990s, we would buy our Marvel and DCs at a mart or convention but we would also check out and buy SP books.  None of the factions really knows of one another or cares.  Its not “their scene.”  If all of those factions did combine we would have one hell of an industry in the UK.

      But that will never ever happen.

      The comics background and mindset is now gone and comic ‘geeks’ make fun of or stick up their noses when the SP/AP is mentioned and vice versa.  Totally and utterly ridiculous.

      Try to make a living out of comics in the UK gets you no real respect. 

      So maybe those French BD people have a point –except they are also suffering from a stuffed shirt attitude.  For decades BD publishers and collectors have looked down their noses at the “poor relations” publishing US comics in French or original French books as now published by Hexagon Comics.  They just ain’t arty.  But the huge success of movies tied to Marvel and DC has made a few BD publishers sit up and take notice because there is nothing more “arty” than the smell of money.  So now they repackage some BD to take advantage and make money from this.

      At least, though, they do have a comics industry.  And I so wish Germany would wake up and get in on the act.

      For the UK the dilettantes –however sweet- have taken over and it has killed us.

      A more happy, warm ending to a miserable depressing posting?

      Okay.  A butterfly.  Let’s smash a butterfly on a wheel (5 kudo points to whoever got that 1980s music reference).


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      25. Mini-Reviews: Short Form (Congratulations, By the Way, The Reason I Jump, and Evil Eye)

      From Goodreads:
      Three months after George Saunders gave a graduation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.
      This is, honestly, another addition to the list of short motivational books that people publish and promote around graduation time in order to make some money.  You can find the full text online or even watch Saunders deliver the actual speech, but I am a total sucker for gift books, especially when I can get them from the library.  I'm also a sucker for Saunders, so of course this immediately went on my holds list as soon as it was available.

      I loved the message and the idea of finding ways to be kind to everyone in every situation.  It's a good, very short read, and I'd recommend finding a copy to look through.  It's not going to take you more than half an hour tops and it's full of great thoughts and brilliant writing.  As far as spending $14 to own a copy - I'd stick to picking it up at the library, unless you're enough of a Saunders fan that you just have to own everything he prints (which is totally acceptable).  

      You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.
       
      Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.
      This one may be pushing it as far as being considered short form, but I need to fit it in somewhere and I think this is the closest I've got.  It IS a very short, very easy to read book.  I think I read it in just one sitting over the course of an hour or two, if that long.  It's set up as a series of very short (half a page to three page) essays answering questions that Naoki and his family are commonly asked about autism.

      For a book that was written using an alphabet grid, this is amazingly well done.  The translation is also flawless.  I understand that some reviewers see this as a sign that the book isn't really written by Naoki, but I refuse to accept that autism means someone can't have a well-developed interior mind and life.  It's beautiful and enlightening and you need to read it.

      Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most prominent writers of her generation, and she is fearless when exploring the most disturbing corners of human nature. In Evil Eye, Oates offers four chilling tales of love gone horribly wrong, showing the lengths people will go to find love, keep it, and sometimes end it.
      It's hard to come up with much to say about this one that isn't covered by "four novellas of love gone wrong."  There's a reason Joyce Carol Oates is known for her short fiction - most of the time it's amazing.  This is a great example of a collection that I found riveting and disturbing in all the best ways.  If you're a fan of the darker side of things, Gillian Flynn style, this is a good collection to pick up.  

      0 Comments on Mini-Reviews: Short Form (Congratulations, By the Way, The Reason I Jump, and Evil Eye) as of 11/25/2014 7:54:00 PM
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