Monthly Archives: October 2009

Guest post & book review of Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick


To guest post and review today, we have Rosario Lapus, who is a docent at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I had shown her the book some time ago and she graciously offered to share her thoughts on Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick. I eagerly took her up on her offer. Please welcome, Rosario Lapus, one of my favorite people and my mother!

Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera

This book provides an elaborate and captivating look into the creative process followed by one of the most truly American of artists.

A gifted storyteller, Norman Rockwell made use of photography to expand on a theme and create a realistic setting for his story illustrations. With “props bought, borrowed or rented”, he constructed a scene that was detailed and natural, peopled by neighbors and friends. These scenes were authentic simply because the people were real. He portrayed American life with gusto and great fidelity.

Known as the “kid with the camera eye”, the camera was the instrument used by Rockwell to serve as interface of the eye and the canvas, capturing the nuances and details of a scene which he later edited to reflect his own vision. Much like today’s art director, he created a setting, cut and pasted some parts, then filled them with action and color to obtain the end-result he wanted.

These visual images Rockwell created with the help of the camera resonated with the ordinary American. With titles like: “Merry Christmas, Grandma… we came in our new Plymouth” (1951); “Maternity Waiting Room “ (1946); “Leaving the Hospital” (1954) these domestic vignettes realistically conveyed the excitement, anxiety, and various emotions of people settling into family life after almost a decade of war and deprivation. The automobile, the newest symbol of prosperity, brought a new way of life and clearly captivated him and his audience.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 22, 2009)224 pages.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Thank you so much Rosario for the guest review! And a huge thank you to Anna and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity.

Guest post & book review of Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick


To guest post and review today, we have Rosario Lapus, who is a docent at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I had shown her the book some time ago and she graciously offered to share her thoughts on Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick. I eagerly took her up on her offer. Please welcome, Rosario Lapus, one of my favorite people and my mother!

Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera

This book provides an elaborate and captivating look into the creative process followed by one of the most truly American of artists.

A gifted storyteller, Norman Rockwell made use of photography to expand on a theme and create a realistic setting for his story illustrations. With “props bought, borrowed or rented”, he constructed a scene that was detailed and natural, peopled by neighbors and friends. These scenes were authentic simply because the people were real. He portrayed American life with gusto and great fidelity.

Known as the “kid with the camera eye”, the camera was the instrument used by Rockwell to serve as interface of the eye and the canvas, capturing the nuances and details of a scene which he later edited to reflect his own vision. Much like today’s art director, he created a setting, cut and pasted some parts, then filled them with action and color to obtain the end-result he wanted.

These visual images Rockwell created with the help of the camera resonated with the ordinary American. With titles like: “Merry Christmas, Grandma… we came in our new Plymouth” (1951); “Maternity Waiting Room “ (1946); “Leaving the Hospital” (1954) these domestic vignettes realistically conveyed the excitement, anxiety, and various emotions of people settling into family life after almost a decade of war and deprivation. The automobile, the newest symbol of prosperity, brought a new way of life and clearly captivated him and his audience.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 22, 2009)224 pages.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Thank you so much Rosario for the guest review! And a huge thank you to Anna and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity.

Book Book Blog Tour of Pendragon’s Banner by Helen Hollick


I’ve long been fascinated with King Arthur and am excited to be part of the Book Blog Tour of Pendragon’s Banner: Book Two of the Pendragon’s Banner Prophesy by Hellen Hollick. As the author points out in the notes to her book: “the why, when, how, and where of Arthur himself is individual. I am not expecting anyone necessarily to agree with my telling, but then, this is only an imaginative story. A new retelling of an old, familiar tale.”

The blurb:
“Morgause had set these dark thoughts of foreboding, she was with her high laugh and gloating eyes, Morgause who delighted in nurturing the belief of witchcraft. If you come after me, Pendragon, none of your sons shall live…”

Three years have passed since the mist cleared to reveal the Pendragon Banner triumphant. Arthur is king. But the crown, once won, must be defended.

He is a man about whom legends will be told. With his loyal and fiercely valiant wife Gwenhwyfar by his side, and three sons to his name, twenty-four-year-old King Arthur takes on the burdern of the country battling for its very soul.

But before the harpers sing of glory, before the tales of brave daring and skill, a young man must win his place as the greatest warrior of all Britain…and the greatest king of all time.

Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed Helen Hollick’s retelling of this early part of King Arthur’s life. Unlike the medieval Arthur who seemed focused on the crusades and the older King who would hold festivals and jousts, the Arthur that we meet in Pendragon’s Banner is a young king occupied with winning battles – much of the book is devoted to wresting control of his territory and keeping the land from invaders. Hollick’s Arthur is deep into the work of creating his kingdom. He does not yet have his own castle, his Camelot and his round table is just a glimmer of a thought. He must still go through a great deal before establishing himself as the King Arthur of legend, but we can see from the man that he is in Pendragon’s Banner the king that he will become.

It is easy to care for Arthur, his loyal and skilled Artoriani and his loyal wife Gwenhywyfar. When they face the cunning and treachery of Arthur’s longtime enemy Morgause, it make for a gripping tale and a satisfying read.

Hollick weaves in bits of the Arthurian legend, details of the man that hint at his life and legend as king. Plus, Hollick’s fight scenes are gripping and well done – and as enjoyable as those found in a good Bernard Cornwell tale.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (September 2009), 496 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Thank you so much to Paul and Sourcebooks for this review opportunity!

Book Blog Tour of Star Trek Voyager: Unworthy by Kirsten Beyer


Star Trek: Voyager: Unworthy

The blurb:
Freed with a thought, the greatest menace to humanity, the Borg, are gone, absorbed into the Caeliar gestalt. But are they? Can this deadly menace that has hovered over humanity for decades be truly gone? Might some shadow of the Caeliar remain? The Federation decides that they have to know, and Starfleet is ordered to find out.

The Starship Voyager leads a fleet into a region of space that has lived in fear of instant annihilation for generations: the Delta quadrant, home of the Borg. Afsarah Eden – the new captain of Voyager – is charged with getting answers, to reach out to possible allies and resolve old enmities in the Delta quadrant.

The perfection that was given to the Borg was withheld from Seven of Nine. Left behind, she is living a twilight existence – neither Borg nor human – and slowly going mad. The whispers of the Collective, comforting murmurs she has always known, are replaced with a voice deep withinher that keeps insisting she is Annika Hansen. Chakotay, the former captain of Voyager, offers to help Seven rendezvous with the ships that Starfleet Command has sent into the Delta quadrant, the probable destination of the mysterious Caeliar.

These are not the friendly stars of the Federation; the unknown and the unexpected are the everyday.

Review:
Unworthy is the latest in the Star Trek Voyager series. While I am not that familiar with the Star Trek Voyager novels, I’ve enjoyed watching Star Trek on TV. This latest installment, Unworthy, smoothly portrays the Voyager characters and introduces the new captain of the Starship Voyager, Afsarah Eden. Kirsten Beyer includes enough background that new readers can reasonably follow the story, although I felt that I would have benefited by having read the earlier book.

The characters’ internal conflicts and the tension between crew members interesting and helped move the story along. I was most interested in the women portrayed in Unworthy. Captain Afsarah Eden, Lieutenant Nancy Conlon, B’Elanna Torres as a civilian, and even Seven (Annika) were well developed and nuanced personalities whose issues and conflicts drew me in. Overall, Star Trek Voyager: Unworthy was an enjoyable read – although while reading it, you are aware that it is only part of the larger Star Trek Voyager series.

Publisher: Star Trek (September 29, 2009), 384 pages.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:
Kirsten Beyer is the author of Star Trek:Voyage– String Theory: Fusion, the APO novel Alias–Once Lost, and contributed the short story “Isabo’s Shirt” to the Distant Shores Anthology. In 2006 Kirsten appeared at Hollywood’s Unknown Theater in their productions of Johnson over Jordan, This Old Planet , and Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse, which the L.A. Times called “unmissable.” She also appeared in the Geffen Playhouse’s world premiere of Quills and has been seen on General Hospital, Passions, and the indie feature Stomping Grounds. She has also been featured in several commercials.

A huge thank you to Sarah and Pocket Books for this review opportunity!

Hatchette Audio Book Giveaway of The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships by Robert Feldman


I saw this title and thought that this book might be useful for me! What with all sorts of small conflicts and trying to start my law practice. I was a little skeptical at first, but once I’d listened to an excerpt and read the author’s credentials, I was sold!

I’d like to thank Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring a giveaway of 3 copies of the audio book of The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truth in Relationships by Robert Feldman.

Listen to an excerpt.

About the Book, courtesy of the Publisher:

Deception is a central feature of everyday life. We hear it not only from Presidents (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”), the dean of admissions of M.I.T. (“I have three college degrees”), or the sleazy sales associate at the local car dealership (“This SUV gets terrific mileage!”); we also hear lies from the people we meet and interact with on a daily basis, including our family, friends, colleagues-and yes, the woman ahead of us in line at Starbucks.

The issue confronting us is not whether people lie to us-they do-but how much and why. Just as importantly, we need to consider why we’re so prone to believe the deception we hear from others, as well as the lies we tell ourselves. Finally, we need to explore why we view certain lies as harmless, while rejecting others as manipulative and shameful. Robert Feldman has unique knowledge of how deeply dishonesty is engrained in our everyday lives and broader culture.

About the Author, courtesy of the Publisher:

Robert S. Feldman, Ph.D., is uniquely qualified to write You’re a Liar, But So Am I. A Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and Association for Psychological Science, his research has examined lying and everyday deception for over 25 years. His studies have been supported by grants from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research. An Associate Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he is the recipient of the College Outstanding Teacher Award and was a Hewlett Teaching Fellow and Senior Online Education Fellow.

CONTEST DETAILS

To enter, please share a recent lie that you’ve told.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. For an extra entry, sign up to be a follower. If you’re already a follower, let me know and you’ll get the extra entry as well.
3. For another extra entry, subscribe via googlereader or blogger or by email and let me know that you do.
4. For another entry, blog about this giveaway and send me the link.
5. Leave a separate comment for each entry or you’ll only be entered once.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on November 27, 2009. Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Hatchette Audio Book Giveaway of NurtureShock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman


Thank you so much to Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring the giveaway of 3 audio books of NurtureShock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman.

About the Book, courtesy of the Publisher:

In a world of modern, involved, caring parents, why are so many kids aggressive and cruel? Where is intelligence hidden in the brain, and why does that matter? Why do cross-racial friendships decrease in schools that are more integrated? If 98% of kids think lying is morally wrong, then why do 98% of kids lie? What’s the single most important thing that helps infants learn language?

NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children, we’ve mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, they demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring–because key twists in the science have been overlooked.

Nothing like a parenting manual, the authors’ work is an insightful exploration of themes and issues that transcend children’s and adults’) lives.

About the Authors, courtesy of the Publisher:

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s New York Magazine articles on the science of children won the magazine journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications. Their articles for Time Magazine won the award for outstanding journalism from the Council on Contemporary Families. Bronson has authored five books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do With My Life?

CONTEST DETAILS

To enter, please tell us why you’d like this book.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. For an extra entry, sign up to be a follower. If you’re already a follower, let me know and you’ll get the extra entry as well.
3. For another extra entry, subscribe via googlereader or blogger or by email and let me know that you do.
4. For another entry, blog about this giveaway and send me the link.
5. Leave a separate comment for each entry or you’ll only be entered once.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on November 27, 2009. Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Do you believe in numerology? Book Contest for Seven: The Number for Happiness, Love and Success by Jacqueline Leo


A big thank you to Anna and Hatchette Books Group for sponsoring the giveaway for Seven: The Number for Happiness, Love, and Success by Jacqueline Leo.

I actually signed up to review this book because my younger brother is convinced that 7 is his lucky number. He was born on the 7th of the month in 1977 and has a wonderfully pleasant temperament. It’s because of him that I’d like to find out more about the number 7 and whether it does have any relationship to happiness, love and success.

If you’re reading this, then you must share some of my curiosity.

About the Book, courtesy of the Publisher:
What is it about the number seven that has such a hold on us? Why are there seven deadly sins? Seven days of the week? Seven wonders of the world, seven colors of the spectrum, seven ages of man, and seven sister colleges? Why can we hold seven numbers or words in our working memory–but no more? Author Jackie Leo explores everything about this mystical, magical, useful, and fun number in her new book.

SEVEN REASONS YOU NEED THIS BOOK

1. SEVEN is a tool to improve the quality of your life. It is a way to define time, synthesize ideas, and keep your mind performing at top speed in an era of distractions.

2. SEVEN is culturally significant. It pops up everywhere, structuring our world in ways so fundamental, we notice them only when we pause to look. Across the ages and across cultures, the number has acquired a huge scientific, psychological, and religious significance.

3. SEVEN is intriguing. Why, out of hundreds of recipes in a cookbook, do people return to the same seven, over and over? Why, when asked to choose a number between one and ten, does such a large majority of people choose seven? Why does it take seven rounds of shuffling to obtain a fully mixed deck of cards?

4. SEVEN is influential. You’ll learn how the number seven shapes our thinking, our choices, and even our relationships.

5. SEVEN is practical. Throughout this book are Top Seven lists covering the best ways to get someone’s attention, to build your personal brand, and to put yourself in the path of prosperity and good luck.

6. SEVEN is fun. You’ll encounter surprising facts, intriguing puzzles, and hilarious anecdotes.

7. SEVEN is wise. You’ll hear stories about the meaning of seven from Mehmet Oz, Sally Quinn, Liz Smith, Christina Ricci, and many others.
Artfully designed and full of enough insights to keep you engaged in conversation at the water cooler for years, SEVEN will provoke, enlighten, and amuse.

About the Author, courtesy of the Publisher:
Media guru Jacqueline Leo has held a number of high-level positions in publishing and television. She founded and launched Child magazine in 1986, and went on to be editor in chief of Family Circle magazine and editorial director of the New York Times Women’s Magazine Group, where she launched Fitness magazine. She was senior producer and editorial director of Good Morning America, editorial director for Consumer Reports, and vice president and editor in chief of Reader’s Digest. She is currently director of digital operations for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. She lives in New York City.

CONTEST DETAILS

To enter, please tell us why you’d like this book.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. For an extra entry, sign up to be a follower. If you’re already a follower, let me know and you’ll get the extra entry as well.
3. For another extra entry, subscribe via googlereader or blogger or by email and let me know that you do.
4. For another entry, blog about this giveaway and send me the link.
5. Leave a separate comment for each entry or you’ll only be entered once.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at 7pm on November 27, 2009. Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!