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1. The Bone Clocks

With the sweeping global vision and ability to sum up whole eras of time that he's become known for, along with a fascinating dose of fantasy, The Bone Clocks is David Mitchell's most enthralling and illuminating novel yet. Gorgeously written, bracingly intelligent, poignant, and occasionally very funny, The Bone Clocks is one of my favorite [...]

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2. The Look of Silence - Venice Film Festival 2014

THE LOOK OF SILENCE by Josh Oppenheimer
(Venice, Italy) THE LOOK OF SILENCE is the riveting companion film to Josh Oppenheimer's Academy Award-nominated 2012 documentary about the 1965-66 genocide in Indonesia entitled, THE ACT OF KILLING, which I have not yet seen. It is not necessary to see The Act of Killing to appreciate The Look of Silence, which stands alone.

On screen, Adi Rukun, the protagonist of The Look of Silence, who is an optician by trade, watches scenes from The Act of Killing in which members of the civilian militia enthusiastically reenact how they chopped off people's heads, slashed open their stomachs and chests, cut off their penises, sliced their throats, drank their blood, and then threw them in Snake River, all with the intent of cleaning the country of "communists." Adi's older brother, Ramli, was one of over one million victims; the difference between Ramli and the others who were slaughtered is that Ramli's death had witnesses.

Adi's parents today
Adi was born after his brother's murder when his parents were middle-aged; they are now both in their 100s. His mother is still wracked with sorrow over the death of Ramli; his father is blind and senile. The Indonesia genocide has been propagandized and covered-up -- to this day, the survivors have been terrorized into silence.

Oppenheimer's 2012 documentary The Act of Killing helped to break the silence. The Look of Silence goes further when Adi confronts those responsible for his brother's murder, not with anger, but with a deep desire to understand their motivation. Adi is not out for revenge: he wants to know why the family he grew up in is so traumatized and afraid. He wants the killers to acknowledge what they did, and to apologize, so the entire country can move forward. His story represents more than one million other Indonesians.


I don't know what is more astonishing -- that Oppenheimer actually got the killers -- who are still in power in Indonesia -- to boast about their acts on camera, or that they seem to feel absolutely no remorse whatsoever, and seem to have acted with complete impunity. It is as if they literally have been brainwashed to believe they have done something wonderful -- they giggle and laugh as they describe their sadistic murders. There is nothing normal or human about it.

Oppenheimer said:

"I did not know if it was safe to approach the killers, but when I did, I found all of them to be boastful, immediately recounting the killings, often with smiles on their faces, in front of their small grandchildren. In this contract between survivors forced into silence and perpetrators boastfully recounting stories far more incriminating than anything the survivors could have told, I felt I'd wandered into Germany 40 years after the Holocaust, only to find the Nazis still in power."

This time, I agree with all the reviews.

The Guardian:

The Look of Silence: Act of Killing director's second film is as horrifically gripping as first

Joshua Oppenheimer's stunning follow-up to 'The Act of Killing' shifts focus to the victims of Indonesia's communist purge.

Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to 'The Act of Killing' revisits Indonesia’s mass murders of the 1960s and the outer reaches of human evil

Joshua Oppenheimer's film about Indonesia’s mass murders of the Sixties is a shattering voyage into the jungle of human nature

Joshua Oppenheimer
At the press conference, the last question Oppenheimer was asked was what his plans were for the future. He was evasive. Also, earlier, Oppenheimer had not answered a journalist who asked him if he thought he could have made the film in the United States -- he is an American based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has pushed the US to acknowledge its role in the genocide. I, too, was curious what his answer would be, so I asked him after the conference (due to time constraints.) I said, "Josh, you didn't answer the question. COULD you have made this film in the United States?" Oppenheimer seemed genuinely bewildered. "Did I get asked that? Maybe that's the answer to the last question. Maybe that's what I'm going to do next."

Ciao from the Venice Film Festival,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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3. Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks (Action Movie) Trailer

nice bit of enjoyable fun!

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4. New Portfolio Piece

I have this James Taylor song on my ipod which is one of my favorites, so simple, beautiful and uplifting. I was on a long road trip listening to it and this picture popped in my mind. The lyrics were ripe for illustrating. Here is the song...


Close Your Eyes
"Well, the sun is slowly sinking down, the moon is surely rising. 
This old world must still be spinning round, and I still love you!
So close your eyes. You can close your eyes it's alright. 
I don't know no love songs. I can't sing the blues anymore, 
but I can sing this song, and you can sing this song when I'm gone!
Well, it won't be long before another day, and we're gonna have a good time. 
No one's gonna take that time away, and you can stay as long as you like!
So close your eyes. You can close your eyes it's alright. 
I don't know no love songs. I can't sing the blues anymore, 
but I can sing this song, and you can sing this song when I'm gone!"



and here is my illustration...

 
(click to see enlarged)



detail

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5. A Kephart is the first American to scale Mount Kilimanjaro


From my cousin Libby, earlier today, this bit of family history, posted on the Cornell University news site. I didn't know this. I probably should have. I find it especially interesting today, as I finish reading the new Matt Higgins book Bird Dreams: Adventures at the Extremes of Human Flight, a magnificent chronicling of the men (and women) who choose to jump from planes, buildings, antennae, and cliffs, some wearing nothing more than flying-squirrel-shaped suits.

What people will do. What they can do. And apparently Leonard Kephart, my grandfather's brother, chose to scale Africa's great mountain all in a hunt for new glasses, and clover.
Aug. 30, 1927 Leonard W. Kephart, Class of 1913, is the first American to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. He was in Africa on a search for new grasses for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kephart took four days to reach the peak, slogging through snow-covered gravel the last day. The climb was not entirely without scientific reward, reported the Cornell Alumni News (Nov. 10, 1927). Kephart discovered three new varieties of clover on the expedition.
Leonard (pictured standing with my grandfather and great aunts (and Laura Mack)) was one of his six children born to Horace Kephart, the librarian-turned-outdoorsman who helped found the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I've written about Horace here. But just moments ago, I found this lovely biography on the Horace Kephart Alaska Center Weblog.

I learn so much from those who do history well.

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6. LOGO MAGIC



TRYING
TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK?

ANY LUCK?
NO!


Then, allow me lend you my
Magic Wand.
 

 PS:
You'll need to supply the imagination yourself. 

I see so many of the same writers flashing the same book covers on Facebook,
Google+ and elsewhere. My DELETE button works overtime - I'll bet yours does too.

Then there are those that think reams of words are better.
Their covers are followed by mountains of text.

DELETE!


Wanna learn some MAGIC?
Wanna get attention for that book and cover?
Wanna halt that reflex delete?


The MAGIC WORD 
is 
"Snipping Tool"from Microsoft


Now you are ready to  
LINE UP, COPY, PASTE, RESIZE, JUGGLE AROUND, ADD
BACKGROUND, TEXT BOX, PAGE COLOR AND BORDERS.


All this magic gives you a JPEG that is awesome.
You can SNIP anything from anywhere on the web - the whole page,
a picture, or only the exact part you want to use.


Snipping Tool Magic
lets you present your books in different ways on different days.
TOGETHER - SEPARATELY - WITH TEXT or WITHOUT.

REMEMBER
One memorable LOGO is worth 10,000 chunks of text!






TRY "SNIPIT"

IT'S AWESOME!


******************
Books for Kids - Skype Author Visits
Manuscript Critiques
http://www.margotfinke.com 
*******************



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7. Last weekend for the Pop-Up Shop + Surprise Gifts!

Last weekend to visit the Le Petit Elefant Summer Shop, with surprises & silliness in store.
Wow, August flew by quickly! I can't believe the end of the month is already here! I'm so grateful for all the lovely folks who visited, from high school friends, long-time customers, Instagram followers, and people who just stumbled upon it on their way to Mrs. Field's cookies. THANK YOU for all the support & love!! I've had such a wonderful time running my very first pop-up shop, and fingers crossed, this won't be the last one this year (I'll keep you all posted ;).

In keeping with my promise, I'll have a couple new items debuting on Friday, and a really REALLY fun, surprise, parting gift for my customers this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (August 29-31). 
Remember those origami fortune tellers? Well, if you spend $35 or more, you get to have your fortune told, revealing your FREE surprise gift. It could be a free original illustration, a tote bag, a coupon for the online store, a limited edition print... who knows! Come by for the final weekend, say goodbye and leave feeling like a kid again :).

Le Petit Elefant Summer Shop

Pop-Ups by SJ Made
at Westfield Valley Fair
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95050

M-F 10am-9:30pm
Sat 10am-9pm
Sun 11am-7pm
Immediately after the pop-up closes, I'm heading east for my last two fairs of the summer, Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago and Brooklyn. I hope I'll see you there. I'm bringing the tote bags! :)

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8. At the Track

So here I am in Saratoga,
Quite a lovely place,
But visitors must do their part
And watch the horses race.

The weather was cooperative;
The seats were in the shade.
The thoroughbreds looked just the way
That racers are portrayed.

Such fun it was to place a bet
And root with all my might.
Though winning was the icing,
I enjoyed each single bite.

I love the town of Saratoga - 
Hope that I'll come back;
But if I do, then once again
You'll find me at the track.

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9. In the swing of things...



I'm afraid that projects and deadlines have kept things quiet on the blog lately.  And an especially beautiful Colorado summer has meant most of my free time has been spent outdoors.

The SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A. was amazing and inspirational and a bit overwhelming. It's taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things.  Meg Rosoff was especially wonderful, as was the writer's intensive.  And it's always great to see old friends and to meet new ones!

There has been the tiniest bit of fall in the air the last few days.  I really love fall... a season of cozy cardigans and crock-pot dinners, of change and of quieting down.  This coming autumn holds new book projects as well as a new adventure for my husband and I (which I'll tell you more about later).

I hope that you're enjoying the last days of summer and that you're in the swing of things.

I'll see you again soon! :)

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10. Alvy Ray Smith, Glen Keane, and Tom McGrath To Headline VIEW Conference

The VIEW Conference, which is the largest computer graphics event in Italy, has announced the line-up for its 15th annual conference, which will take place October 14 to 17 in Turin (Torino), Italy.

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11. Free Ebooks From This Site

If you take a look at the side of this page, among all the links to my reviewing policy and such, you'll find some things I've ebooked for you and put on Dropbox. I don't know how long it has been since anyone downloaded any of them - it's too easy not to notice stuff on the side - but there's some good stuff there. There are free samples from two of my books. There are some of my published stories. There is a book of interviews with the likes of Juliet Marillier and Marianne De Pierres, Charlie Higson and Mark Walden and Melbourne writer Gabrielle Wang and CBCA judges Tehani Wessely and Miffy Farqharson. There's a little book of student writing so you know what good stuff is happening in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

Help yourself! And do let me know what you think.

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12. The secret to doing it all!

What happens when you try to be a mom and a wife, and have a full time PR job and write a book a year?

It ain't pretty.

But there is one secret. You will at times be a crappy writer, a crappy mom, a crappy housekeeper, a crappy cook, a crappy wife, and a crappy exerciser. The secret is to make sure you rotate your area of crappiness.


When I still had a day job, I was on the go constantly, and as a result, I often left my brain behind.

Housekeeping
In the flipper of flapjacks part of my life, I became a not very good housekeeper or cook. I learned you can clean pretty much any area of the bathroom with a wet piece of toilet paper. When she was three, my daughter told me we didn't have to pick up the living room, that we could simply "step over" stuff. This became my new mantra. And when it came to cooking, there was the time I made my famous cinnamon rolls and grabbed the chili powder instead of the cinnamon. Did you know you can wash dough?

Hooray for Literacy!
I basically spent a good part of my life playing catch-up, never quite hearing what anyone said. I was always multi-tasking. I was in the middle of doing something else about a dozen years back, when I was asked to attend an event. I was in the process of saying no, when she mentioned it was for adult literacy. My imagination caught fire. Now here was an event I could get behind: adults who had just learned to read. I said yes and immediately went to work preparing my talk. When I showed up, I was surprised to find 200 people. All of them looked middle class. I mentally berated myself for stereotyping folks. As I looked around the room, I was thinking, "Wow! Just a few weeks ago these folks couldn't even read a street sign." There was a bookseller there, and I was concerned that all of the books she had were novels. I asked why she didn't have some smaller, less intimidating books. This was about five minutes before I was to go on stage to address the crowd. I had my speech all planned out, one that praised their courage. The bookseller looked at me like I was nuts. The event, she explained, was part of the library's summer reading program. Any adult who checked out six books over the summer was eligible to come. It encouraged adults to read. So there I was, with a stack of index cards addressing the completely wrong issue.

Keys, keys, who's got the keys?
In the first three years after my first book was published:

  • I lost my keys.

  • I left them in my car.

  • I drove my ancient Subaru, which had optional four-wheel drive for use in the snow, in four-wheel drive at freeway speeds, and wondered why it was handling funny.

  • I drove back from the mall, complaining loudly to my daughter about people who drove cars that obviously needed a tune-up, when finally my daughter pointed out to me that the bad burning smell was coming from our car. I had left the emergency brake on.


Panties in a twist
On DorothyL, a listserve for mystery fans, there was a big argument a few years back. One person accused another of getting their panties in a twist. Others chimed in with different versions of this (in England they say "knickers in a knot"), while some felt it was a rude thing to say at all. In the middle of all this I was having one of those crazy days I often had. All day I had the nagging sensation that something was wrong, but I wasn't sure what it was, and I didn't have time to think about it. About three in the afternoon I was in the restroom when I glanced down between my legs. There was a tag in the crotch of my panties. A tag that is normally on the side. I realized I had put my underwear on sideways that morning. I had one leg in a leg hole, one leg in a waist hole, and one leg hole around my waist. Which was why I wasn't comfortable.

But looking down I did realize one thing. It is possible to get your panties in a twist.

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13. life sketch

a short time sketch on a very (and i mean VERY) cheap paper with a Cretacolor 6B graphite bar.

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14. WS studioarts: a gathering of my husband's art

Ceramics. Photography. Graphic Arts.

This is the work my husband does.

This summer, Bill has brought all of that together in a single web site, which I have the privilege of launching here.

Some of our clients will recognize some of the images. Our pottery friends will recognize the pots. Our dancing friends will find themselves inside Bill's magical 3-D imagery. My niece will find herself in the image above, reading a book that is called Small Damages.

The site is like a gathering. I hope you'll take some time to explore it.

The link, again, is this.

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15. Hardy Har Har

Almost two weeks ago now I started reading Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. I’ve not ever read Hardy before. I know! I have seen a movie version of Tess a very long time ago, does that count? Anyway, whenever I’ve mentioned Hardy on this blog over the years I’ve gotten two reactions:

  1. He’s sooo good, you have to read him!
  2. He’s really depressing so be prepared

The so good and the really depressing even come from the same people, implying that depressing does not mean a bad book. So when I began Far from the Madding Crowd I was expecting a really good book that is also a downer. Maybe it’s me, or maybe this is Hardy’s only non-depressing book, but I’ve been laughing while reading it. Laughing a lot. This I did not expect and was confused at first, worried perhaps I was misreading or something. But no, Hardy is funny. How can this not make you laugh?

Oak sighed a deep honest sigh—none the less so in that, being like the sigh of a pine plantation, it was rather noticeable as a disturbance of the atmosphere.

Or this:

‘Come, Mark Clark—come. Ther’s plenty more in the barrel,’ said Jan. ‘Ay—that I will, ’tis my only doctor,’ replied Mr. Clark, who, twenty years younger than Jan Coggan, revolved in the same orbit. He secreted mirth on all occasions for special discharge at popular parties.

Or that one man in the neighborhood is known only as “Susan Tall’s husband” because he has no distinguishing characteristics of his own. I find myself giggling every time Susan Tall’s husband shows up, which isn’t often enough if you ask me, but I suppose you have to play lightly with that joke or it will wear itself out too quickly.

It’s not like Hardy’s humor slaps you in the face, it is pretty subtle most of the time. It doesn’t make me laugh out loud but it does make me grin. I’m far enough along to know there is trouble ahead for Bathsheba, but I’m not sure that it will be enough to turn everything depressing. Am I safe to put my hanky away or should I keep it in reserve?


Filed under: Books, In Progress Tagged: Thomas Hardy

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16. Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters

Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters
Author: Howard Binkow
Illustrator: Taillefer Long
Publisher: Thunderbolt Publishing
Genre: Children
ISBN: 9780982616598
Pages: 32
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Howard B. Wigglebottom and his friends are competing in the Pup Scouts Good Manners Competition in five days. Their skills need a lot of improvement, so Howard hires Ms. Owlee as the team’s coach. She reminds them that they need to think, “I care,” and good manners will come naturally. After practicing their new skills, the team does well in the competition. But more importantly, they have learned how to be polite to others.

Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters is suitable for classroom use, with discussion topics presented at the conclusion. Although this is more of a lesson than an actual story, kids will giggle over the animals’ bad manners in the beginning, and learn from their new and better behavior.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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17. The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Viking Childrens, 2014


There is no stronger bond than....what?  Daisy isn't sure about her life anymore.  She remembers her family and the memories they shared, the little brother that came into her life, the music, her parents' laughter.  Although those same memories exist today, it's a completely different dynamic, especially when the entire family's loyalties are put to the ultimate test.

Daisy has friends, and she has a boyfriend.  She's musically gifted (more like a prodigy) and has been asked to attend prestigious schools and academies.  Her grades are good and her parents allow her to go out, but it's all dictated by her little brother Steven, who is autistic.  While their mother takes care of him most of the time, she also needs time away.  Their father works long hours and comes home worn out, taking on the night time rituals, including the wrestling match that is more common than showers now. They all walk on eggshells, afraid to make any sudden moves, noises, or modifying a different routine that will spiral Steven into an outburst.  No longer a child, Steven has gotten stronger and while his autism was more controlled when he was little, it has now become dangerous.  When Daisy comes home one day, she sees what Steven's unintentional outbursts did to her mother. It wasn't an easy decision and one that wracked her parents longer than Daisy knew, but it's now come to a point where her mother doesn't feel strong enough to help Steven.  Something had to give, and Steven will be leaving soon. 

A part of Daisy wants to be happy.  She can have her freedom back.  This could mean sleepovers at her house, going out on dates without such stringent time limits, going to music camps, playing her trumpet in the house instead of the basement.  But Daisy is also struggling with the change.  How could her parents want to do this to their only son?  How could she have helped more to prevent this?  What could her parents do more of so Steven can stay home?  It's an emotional battle that only Daisy can fight, and it will be the most difficult one she's ever had to.  Can the family survive this huge change in their lives when Steven has been in their lives creating the familiar habits they are now accustomed to, or will they fall apart over this controversial decision that will make each one of them re-evaluate what their roles in life and family are?

Stasia Ward Kehoe writes a beautiful novel in verse about a topic that seems to only capture lurid headlines without looking at the entire situation a family goes through.  Daisy is the character in limbo throughout the story by trying to have as normal a teen life as possible while also holding the reins of responsibility of taking care of a teenage boy whose autism is creating an unsafe situation he isn't even aware of.  Kehoe writes about this emotional stage of life from all perspectives while being able to fluidly create a centrifugal force that isn't Steven, but is Daisy's life, before, during and after. This is a novel unlike any other and one that should be on YA shelves.  Recommended.

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18. Inarticulate Speech of the Heart Considered

If you overlook the financial calculations involved in recording, selling and buying, it becomes difficult to assess the worth of a piece of music to anyone. Music, no matter what kind, is valuable in itself. It can transcend time, language and cultures. Van Morrison’s album, ‘Inarticulate Speech of the Heart’, is a collection of original songs which celebrates the spiritual side of people. It isn’t a bunch of songs dedicated to the description of a relationship between two people, but a demonstration of the creative spark, a recognition of the muse and a long range point of view of the human race. Not a love song to be found. Few will go to the trouble of locating, buying and listening to the cd, alone, through to the end, perhaps in their favourite writing space, but if they did. If they did, they would find background music, muted, to create by, or upbeat songs to which to dance a jig or with which to hum along. To each their own, choosing the music to background their writing, some preferring music with no lyrics, some no sound at all. But for those who like a little music in the background, this album has everything. The instrumentals are similar to some of Mark Knopfler’s creations. It would be a waste of time for me to try to describe each song in detail. That’s why Van Morrison wrote and recorded them. In fact, the album has a release date of 1983. It’s over 20 years old and it’s the first time I’ve looked closely at it. Except for the cover which is clever and beautiful. The songs can lighten up a room and pull one’s self out of self centred thoughts or draw one into deep contemplation. They can raise one’s spiritual eyes for a moment. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it will take two or three plays of this disc for others to appreciate it. I don’t know and delving analytically into it isn’t what I usually do. I just know that it’s nice to have it on in the background when I’m rereading what I’ve written the day before or when I’m checking out websites. These songs which I know by heart often start me off writing before I switch to lyricless jazz. It also helps with broken hearts, hangovers and situations of loneliness.

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19.








The cover reveal for my new novel. I don't know if this is the shortest novel in the world but it is certainly a quick read. I hope it gives a feel for the longer version.




The 2-Minute Novel: UTOPIA, IOWA by Brian Yansky

Here is UTOPIA, IOWA, from the first few pages to the last (with a few parts left out). It should take you about two minutes to read.  You can fill in the missing words yourself and/or wait to read the whole story,  300+ pages, which comes out February 10, 2015.

11.     I learned a lesson that day: Real revolution needs more than creamed corn.

22.     But I wondered if skewed priorities were a bad thing—which was probably just further proof I had them.

33.     I was already dealing with detention, the start of senior year, and all kinds of questions about my future. I didn’t need a dead girl, too.

44.     “What do you think, Mr. Bell, is true love real?”

55.     “Nathaniel says The Matrix is like Philosophy for Dummies…”
That sounded like Nathaniel.

66.     “Does the Banshee always mean death?” Whisper Wainwright asked.

77.     Penny was a fortune-teller. She also had a nursery. She was very good with plants and visions of the future. It was a small town; a lot of people needed more than one talent to get by.

88.     She had many gifts/curses but she didn’t like to be specific about what they were.

99.     “…something dead—dead and old and very powerful—was controlling her. But here’s the really spooky part.”
“That wasn’t the spooky part?” I said. “That sounded like the spooky part.”
           
110. He had a glass eye that saw much further than his natural one.

111.  Ash softened…”Just don’t take your dead girls out on me…”

112. She told me she needed a friend not another boyfriend. Numerically this was true, but…

113. Next to Ishi the king looked small and weak. All the same Ishi would be dead before he took one step if the king felt threatened.

114. “A dream,” the detective said…He reminded me of Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive (1993…)

115. The next morning Mom and Dad didn’t fight. It was worse. They were polite.

116. She wasn’t fooling me. I knew she was using some kind of reverse psychology. Still it’s kind of disconcerting to have your mother advise you to hold up a bank.

117. The dead wanted to forget they were dead. It was best for everyone if they didn’t.

118.   “You must eat your mortal’s heart,” the king says.

119.  It was not at all The Breakfast Club (1985…)

220.  Love is madness.

221.  “The dead don’t bleed,” I said, trying to reassure her.

222. My fourth mistake was not riding away after I called the police.

223. I liked to think of myself as the loner-outsider type (See Cool Hand Luke and Junoand about a million other movies) but maybe I was just socially challenged.

224. “I’m so tired of this small town,” she said.

225.  Sometimes she could be a very irritating witch.

226. Gram drank her potion and gave a few drops to Captain Pike.

227. “A monster’s got her,” Amanda said.

228. The bell rang.

229. Thanks to Silence of the Lambs (1991…)

330. Ash drove us over to the Cowboy Guru’s house…

331. “It’s a place that was and can never be again,” he said. “Now you be careful. The young should never want the past more than the future.”

332. The Princess Bride, I think.”
“That’s a great one,” I said.

333. “Hollywood,” she said.

“The stuff dreams are made of…” (Maltese Falcon, 1941)

3        THE END

UTOPIA, IOWA is about a small town where the supernatural meets the natural. There’s some murder and mystery and mayhem in this novel. Ghosts and other creatures and humans abound.  Some funny moments. Some sad. At heart, it’s a story about a boy who wants to write for the movies and his struggle with leaving all he knows (family, friends, hometown) to pursue his dreams. Long version-300+ pages available FEB 10, 2015: Candlewick Press.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22747808-utopia-iowa

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20. Artist of the Day: Stevie Lewis

Today we look at the work of Stevie Lewis, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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21. ‘The New World’ Turns Novel Into Digital Experience

Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz, winners of the Webby & SXSW Interactive Awards for their digital novel The Silent History, have a new digital novel out from Atavist Books that pushes the boundaries of the published word.

The story and the user experience of The New World  reflect the digital experience. The book tells the tale of a tragic love story between two doctors. The storytelling concept was conceived in cyclical structure, and is comprised of three cycles. Readers can swipe between pages and follow the story in different directions based on how they swipe. The reader reads through Cycle #1 and when they are finished, the content page reappears revealing Cycle #2.

Content-wise the story in Cycle #2 moves backwards in time, as readers swipe in the opposite direction. Readers might get the sense that the book has ended with Cycle #2, but once they have completed the text, Cycle #3 appears. This section of the book is read scrolling downwards.

 

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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22. Friday Feature:


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Summary:
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

My thoughts:
The opening of this book hooked me right away. Amelia doesn't remember her life or her death, yet she keeps almost reliving her death, waking up in the murky water that took her life. She's stuck in between life and death and can't seem to move on. Then when Joshua almost dies in the same river, she tries to summon all her strength to save him, which isn't easy considering she's dead. By some twist of fate, he sees her and she's able to save him. The two form a bond right away, which is understandable since she did save his life. He's even accepting of the fact that she's a ghost.

But as Amelia finds comfort in Joshua, she finds torment in another. Eli is a spirit like Amelia and he knows about her death. Eli tries to manipulate Amelia and get her to become something she isn't willing to be. I loved her struggle with Eli and how Joshua was able to help her just as much as she helped him.

This was a very enjoyable read.

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23. Kirby... Warhol,... Warhol... Kirby.

Here's the final art I did for the Jack Kirby tribute show at The Piranha Shop in Seattle's Pioneer square tonight! It starts at 6pm... come see if you are in the area! :D 



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24. #646 – Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses by Chris Raschka & Vladimir Radunsky

Alphabetabumx

Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses

written by Chris Raschka
Photography collection by Vladimir Radunsky
New York Review Children’s Collection        10/01/2014
978-1-59017-817-1
Age 4 to 7        80 pages
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“An ALPHABET book?
“An ALBUM of old photos?
“We named it ALPHABETABUM.

“Here celebrated artist and author Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka put a delightful new old-fashioned spin on the alphabet book. Radunsky has selected portraits off children from is spectacular collection of antique black-and-white photographs. Raschka has given the children names and written deliciously teasing rhymes about them. The result is ALPHABETABUM, a book of letters and pictures to which readers will happily return to again and again both to look and to learn.”

Opening

[A picture of a young girl in a short dress with a sash.]

                   “Aa
Awkward Agnes Alexandra
Shows her ample ankles
Although her knees are grander.”

Review

Vladimir Radunsky writes, “If these photos were taken in the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth centuries, then the children in them could have been our great-great-great grandparents! So we have an extraordinary chance to see what our great-great-great grandparents looked when they were children.”

There are 26 photographs of children of varying ages in Alphabetabum; the first original book from New York Review Children’s Collection (all others are reprinted classics). I looked closely at the eyes after reading Radunsky’s thoughts that one of these could be a great-great-great-grandparent, aunt, or uncle. I have never seen any pictures of my parents as children, so seeing what they might have worn captivated my attention as well.

alphabetabumworkaround.indd

Some of the portraits are comical, like young Baby Beulah Bridget who wears a huge white bow upon her tiny head. The bow is too big for her small head and looks to topple at any moment. From the clothing, it is obvious these children are from all over the world. One young boy, named Quiet Quentin Quint, wears long white pants under a black pair of knickers with an ornate jacket and cummerbund. Atop his head is a stocking cap (today, we call these skullcaps) and leans on a cricket bat. Quentin is a serious child.

The photographs in Alphabetabum range from the casual to the formal, though it would not have been a casual friend taking the casual picture. In all cases, the person behind, or next to, the lens would have been a professional photographer. Photographs back then took quite a while to develop and many people had to hold that smile for several minutes. In today’s instant world, I wonder if such portraits are possible.alphabetabumworkaround.indd

Alphabetabum is an interesting and quite curious ABC book. It is really more for older kids and adults, not the young child trying to learn their ABC’s, though it could be done. These ABC’s are for those who love poetry, old photographs, and funny verses that try to define the child based on their clothing, they way they pose, and maybe a smile or lack thereof. The names are all alliterated and interesting. I like Alphabetabum because of it’s quirkiness and because I love old photos and photography. I don’t think you need to have those interests to find Alphabetabum worth your time. Alphabetabum will become endearing, leading you to want to share this unusual ABC picture book.

ALPHABETABUM: AN ALBUM OF RARE PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEDIUM VERSES. Text copyright © 2014 by Chris Raschka. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Vladimir Radunsky. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York, NY.
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Buy Alphabetabum at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryNew York Review of Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Alphabetabum HERE

Meet the author, Chris Raschka, at his twitter:   https://twitter.com/ChrisRaschka

Meet the photography collector, Vladimir Radunsky, at his website:    http://www.vladimirradunsky.com/

Find classic children’s books at the New York Review Children’s Collection website:  http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/childrens/

The New York Review Children’s Collection is an imprint of New York Review of Books.   http://www.nybooks.com/

Also by Chris Raschka

If You Were a Dog

If You Were a Dog

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Give and Take

Give and Take

 

 

 

 

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Also by Vladimir Radunsky

Advice to Little Girls

Advice to Little Girls

Hip Hop Dog

Hip Hop Dog

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

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Review HERE

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: ABC Book, alliteration, children's book reviews, Chris Raschka, classic photographs from early 20th century, formal portraits of children from long ago, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York Review of Books, poetry, Vladimir Radunsky

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25. Adding Depth

Adding more scenes is not the same as adding depth to your story. 

http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2014/07/adding-depth-to-your-stories.html

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