Book Review – Yoga Minute

Yoga Minute: got a minute? you can do yoga!
Anita Perry
Softcover
2014

 

Not going to lie. The size of this book sort of concerned me.  It’s 8 1/2 x 11, and under 70 pages, so I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into.

The concept is that if you have a minute or two here or there that you can still find time to do yoga.

The beginning is basic yoga breathing.  After that we get into simple stretches, standing stretches, twists, and a few more.  It’s all very basic yoga.

On the plus side, each pose comes with full color photographs of normal people doing yoga in regular settings.  Which is nice.  I think part of the reason a lot of us don’t exercise is because we can’t see ourselves as the people they show us doing it.

There are also photos of the author’s dog, which I totally could have done without since they add pretty much nothing to this book.

 

In all, it’s a great intro to yoga.  If you’re already doing it, you probably don’t need this book.  Still, I’ll give it a 4/5.

 

 

Book Review – Myst: The Book of Atrus by Rand and Robyn Miller with David Wingrove

Title: Myst: The Book of Atrus
Author: 
Rand and Robyn Miller with David Wingrove
Illustrator: 
William Cone
Format: 
Hardcover
Published: 
1995

This computer game tie-in novel gives part of the backstory to the popular (in the 90s) computer game Myst.  Young Atrus is abandoned at birth to be raised by his grandmother Anna.  Fourteen years later Atrus’s father returns to claim him but more as a research assistant than a son.  And his research?  The writing of worlds.

I bought the novels for my brother over a decade ago and have only now gotten a chance to read them for myself.  I’m happy to say that this first of three Myst books pleased me.  The world(s) are inventive, and the characters very human yet larger than life at the same time.

I now have a desire to hunt down the game trilogy and play through.

The story is both mythic and domestic, neither element outweighing the other.  Atrus is a likable if sometimes passive protagonist, but he steps up and acts when the situation calls for it.  This is a fairly clean story, yet with a strong chord of dramatic tension and sophistication of ideas running throughout.

The Myst games themselves were popular in part because they were beautiful with a surreal yet intriguing storyline, and this continues with the book.

I’m not sure it rates with our greatest literary epics, but for a media tie-in, I don’t feel I couldn’t ask much more of it.  It had an appropriate amount of depth without growing heavy handed.  There are perhaps a couple of points where I would like further clarification, but perhaps the other two books in this set will provide the answers I seek.

My rating is a 4.5 which you might round up to a 5, depending on how it fits in and sets up for the next two Myst books.

Book Review – Proud Too Be Weirrd

Title: Proud Too Be Weirrd
Author/Illustrator: Ralph STEADman
Format: coffeetable    Hardback
Published: 2013

Okay, so when I was doing my read through of Roald Dahl just a few days ago, I ended up with a book illustrated by Ralph Steadman, and as I raved, I loved his artwork. So when Mom and I were walking through the library and I saw this book on the bottom of the new books shelf, I immediately swooped down for it.

Mom immediately made several jokes about proper lifting techniques of heavy objects, and once we got to the car, several about how the car would tip over by the weight of it.

Because this thing is big enough that it could *BE* a coffee table if you stuck a couple legs on it.

But onto the book itself.  Ralph Steadman went through his art and arranged it in a book. There’s all kinds of stuff in here – paintings, sketches, whatever.  And lots and lots of commentary.

From the library’s website:

STANDARD EDITION: Iconoclastic British artist Ralph Steadman has been creating editorial and political illustrations for more than five decades. Steadman is revered for his ink-splattered, anarchic, and often shocking drawings. His well-known illustrations alongside the work of literary legend Hunter S. Thompson have long been celebrated and have achieved a cult-like following. Together, Steadman and Thompson’s iconic work has come to be known as Gonzo journalism. Ralph and Hunter first met in 1970 on an assignment from Scanlan’s Monthly magazine to cover the Kentucky Derby. Their 40-year friendship included collaborations on seminal books such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Curse of Lono , as well as numerous articles for Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone , including the George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali fight and coverage of the Watergate scandal. PROUD TOO BE WEIRRD is the ultimate monograph of this creative genius. Steadman’s first-person narrative takes us on a literary and visual journey of his well-known, provocative work and is accompanied by his acerbic wit, heartfelt political views, and unique sense of humor. This must-have book comes in two collectible editions.

 

Before I even had the book home, I had already mentally added it to my Amazon wish list.  And then when I actually looked it up on Amazon, I about had a heart attack at the price tag ($200?! Holy Cow!).

But the art is amazing, the comments are great, and I highly recommend this book.  I’m not even done with it and I’ve already given it a 5/5.  I know it’s a little out of most of our price ranges, so check the library and see if they’ve got it.

Book Review – The Queen’s Dwarf by Ella March Chase

Title: The Queen’s Dwarf
Author: 
Ella March Chase
Format: 
(Paperback ARC for the) Hardcover
Published: 2014

In 1629, the fourteen year old dwarf Jeffrey Hudson is sold by his father to the Duke of Buckingham who in turn gifts him to seventeen year old Queen Henrietta Maria wife of King Charles to join her “Menagerie of Curiosities and Freaks of Nature” where he befriends the giant Will Evans.  This is a historical fiction, so everything in the above sentence is true except for Jeffery Hudson’s age.  His historical counterpart was eight.  In the fictional account, Jeffrey along with performing in masques gets drawn into the world of court intrigue, spying, manipulating, and struggling to do the right thing with a lack of good options.

This is a thick book with lots of little plots twists.  Overall I found it well written and well crafted with a colorful variety of characters.  Historical fiction makes me a little nuts since I spend half the book trying to figure out which parts are actually historical, but Chase includes a note at the end detailing where she took liberties with history.  The rest seemed to hold up to my internet searches.

I brought up Jeffery’s age, because I think I might have enjoyed the book more from an eight-year-old’s fresh perspective than the rather cynical teenage one which narrates the tale.

What I liked about the book is that in Jeffrey it finds an interesting view on an aspect of history that most of us didn’t cover in high school.  He’s the son of a poor dog trainer from a village, so there’s a nice contrast of rich and poor with characters that read like people and not caricatures across the income spectrum.  The possible exception was Buckingham who came off as something of a mustache twirling villain, but there were attempts to give him depth or at least some mixed sympathy.

There are definitely some dark and weighty subjects covered, certainly an adult book, but the details are restrained to what is needed to tell the story.

Overall, I give it a solid 4/5.  There were a few places that felt redundant, the prologue reads like a misleading spoiler (so I might recommend skipping it),  and a couple of the story threads fell flat for me.  Yet, it kept me entertained, and I cared about what happened to the characters.  I think Chase worked well inside her historical confines and managed to make it vivid and alive.

Book Review – The Missing Golden Ticket

TITLE: The missing golden ticket and other splendiferous secrets
AUTHOR: Roald Dahl
ILLUSTRATOR: Quentin Blake
FORMAT: paperback
PUBLISHED: 2010

The missing golden ticket and other splendiferous secrets is a compendium of Dahl facts and excerpts, recipes and more. It includes a deleted chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, little comments he made about each month, and even a quiz.

Here’s the thing. As an avid Dahl person – hey, I warned you – I have two such books on my shelf that aren’t this book. And the overlap is incredible. The stuff about the seasons is all new and exciting, but this exact quiz is in another book, as is the excerpt. I’d rather see bonus content on any other book out there at this point.

So I’ll make this review short and sweet. If you haven’t read such a book about Dahl, I really think you should. Pick one, any one will do. But if you have, you only need to read the one.

3/5

Book Review – The Mildenhall Treasure

TITLE: The Mildenhall Treasure
AUTHOR: Roald Dahl
ILLUSTRATOR: Ralph Steadman
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2000
NOTE: This was originally done as a story for the New Yorker just after WWII. It was redone into a children’s book in 1977.

The Mildenhall Treasure is the true story about a man named Gordon who is asked to plow a field because a man named Ford is too busy to do it himself. When plowing, Gordon finds a treasure trove of Roman silver. Unfortunately, Ford is a greedy crook and he cons Gordon out of it.

There’s not much to say about the story, and since it’s true I can’t really comment about much of the content. I will say that I was aware of the story beforehand, though, and I liked the presentation of this. I would, however, have liked to have actuall names of people and not just “a man named Ford” for the characters at play, but that was the writing style at the time.

Again, not illustrated by Quentin Blake, who did most of Dahl’s stuff, but the illustrations for this are in some cases actual oil painting, and they’re awaesome. I actually sat there wondering which ones I’d want on my wall if I were given a choice.

Still, it’s slightly short of perfect, so 4/5.

Book Review – Heart by Blair Butler & Kevin Mellon

Title:  Heart

Author:  Blair Butler & Kevin Mellon

Format: Paperback

Written: 2012

 

It seems that almost every time I have a new comic to present to the blog that I have read it has come at the recommendation of someone or is associated with a pre-existing love such as Robin or Invincible which both were recommended to me.  Any way it should come as no surprise that Heart came to me by the hands of my comic loving co-worker who got me hooked on Invincible.  Only this time it wasn’t Invincible, it wasn’t even a super hero comic.

 

When my coworker dropped the book on my desk he said, I thought this was good you might like it but it is very different from the norm as it didn’t have any super heroes.  Being the adventurous sort I decided to dive in because 1 it came from my co-worker who tends to be on the money when it comes to book recommendations and 2 it was an Image comic and I am quickly learning that if it is a comic by Image it is going to be something rather good and solid.

 

This was the case with Heart, it was a good story done in a basic black and while style it was clean and sharp and it told the story of MMA fighter who took on the title of “Rooster”.   The story starts with a fight in the middle of his career and shows him barely scrape by with a win before going back to show how he got into MMA fighting and covering the span of his career, showing the heart and commitment it takes to do something like it.

 

I’m not a person who is into fighting of any sort really, I just don’t get into boxing or fighting but it was still an interesting and solid story because to me there was more to the story than just fighting it was about the journey and the emotions that came with it, and I appreciated the read for that alone.  If you are curious about fighting or the world of MMA I think this book is a good read for you if you aren’t maybe not so much.  It was a well done story but not entirely my cup of tea but I can still say in the end I liked the story and I particularly found the ending to be fairly poignant the final image is rather striking to me and speaks volumes.

 

Overall, I would give this comic a 3 out of 5 page review because I wouldn’t go running about recommending this comic to people but it was still a solid good story and if you are looking for something solid and good to read then this might be for you or if you are into the subject matter than I would very much recommend this to be read.

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