Sunday, January 1, 2012

Brian Selznick, Alton Brown, Peter Sis, and Calista Taylor

Jan 1 book reviews part two: 

Children and Young Adult
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Another wonderful book from author/illustrator Brian Selznick, done in a similar format to his Caldecott-winning masterpiece "The Invention of Hugo Cabret." I have been waiting months to read this book and devoured it in a few hours. 

The book is set in 1977 and follows Ben, a 12 yr old half-deaf boy who recently lost his mother in a car accident and is currently living with his aunt, uncle and cousins. One night, he discovers a book he's never seen about a museum exhibition called Wonderstruck and inside he finds a bookmark with a note from a mysterious man named Daniel. His mother has never talked about him a
nd even more curious, is the locket he discovers the same night with the picture of the mystery man. Could this man be the father he never knew? The only clues he has is an address to a bookshop in New York City. While this written story is going on, we see another illustrated story from the point of view of Rose, a deaf and mute 12 yr old girl from 1927. While Ben is experiencing things like going to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, so is Rose. Who is Rose and what is her connection with Ben? To figure out this mystery, you must read this amazing story. Recommended for ages 8+, 5 stars. 

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crochet by Cecily Keim
Great resource for beginner crocheters or those that want to brush up on their skills. I have never been good at interpreting crochet shorthand, and I've always been a better visual learner, so this book was ideal for me. It gave you basic and advanced stitches, in addition to techniques, stitch variations, combining stitches, how to follow a pattern, stitch patterns, and troubleshooting. It also shows how to make different shapes/flowers/creatures, blocks and motifs, edgings, and patterns for everything from hats, socks, sweaters, coasters, handbacks and belts. I think I might buy this one. Recommended for all ages, 5 stars. 

Good Eats 3: The Later Years by Alton Brown 
I've loved Good Eats since the beginning, even though it is a bit campy (i.e. the Okra episode). Alton Brown is very informational and scientific though, and I love how that continues through the Good Eats cookbooks. I definitely have marked more recipes in this cookbook than in Volume 1, with recipes like Salted Caramel (my current obsession), Cauliflower Cheese, Mincemeat Pie (one of my hubby's favorite Christmas treats), homemade vanilla wafers for Banana Pudding, Beer Bread, and Meat Sauce and Spaghetti, just to name a few. 5 stars. 

The Weekend Crafter: Crochet: 20 Simple and Stylish Designs to Wear by Jane Davis
A short book on projects you can supposedly finish in a weekend (not sure that would work for me as I'm slow in finishing crochet projects). I did not like most of the patterns, but I did like the Classic Cable Scarf and Hat because the Cable pattern can usually only be done with knitting. 2 stars.

Viridis (Book 1 in the Viridis Series) by Calista Taylor
I would consider the book to be more erotica than romance as some of the scenes were pretty graphic, but I guess you could consider it romance since two of the main characters were wooing each other throughout the book. This was my first ebook for the Kindle.

The story is about Phoebe, who during the illness of her now-dead sister, tried to create an herbal cure for her. The end product was Viridis, an herbal elixir that heightens one's senses and has become the hit of London among the elites that come to Phoebe's club to enjoy themselves. She runs the club with her brother Gabriel. She gets an unexpected visit from Seth, an inventor she used to be in love with who left her over a year ago to help the Cause (whose objective is to help the poor of England against the Crown). Meanwhile, there has been the murder of one of Phoebe's clients, Lord Niles Hawthorne. Inspector William, a newly minted detective is on the case and trying to find his connection to the SS (her Majesty's Secret Service). Will William find the killer and why the young lord had been murdered? Will Phoebe ever find true happiness? To find out, read Viridis. Can't wait to read book 2! Five stars.

The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis

I had never heard of this epic poem before reading this book, but I picked this up because I heard that the author/illustrator was coming out with this illustrated graphic novel version, and it sounded intriguing. The original 4,500 word poem was written in 12th century Persia by Sufi mystic Farid Ud-Din Attar. Peter Sis named his poet in the story Attar after the mystic.

Attar, a poet, turns into a bird and confers a meeting of all the birds in the world to discuss the problems of the world. He believes that in order to find the answers of how to solve all the world's problems, the birds must take a long journey to find Simorgh, the true king. Thousands of birds set off but only a few make it to the end. What they discover in the end surprises them.

While I didn't understand all of the journey to meet the king, I got the gist of everything. What really made this book was the brilliant illustrations, which more completely explained the parts of the poem that were difficult to understand. I also really loved the thick paper he used too. 4 stars.

The Big Book of Weekend Crochet by Hilary Mackin
I've been looking for a project to do, but everything I've found is out of my talent range or really ugly. Most of the designs in here are okay, but once again, the sizes are small and I'm not skilled enough to enlarge it to my size. Also I don't think you could actually finish this in a weekend unless you were working nonstop. I did like the casual jacket, the kid's fisherman sweater (pictured on front) and the rainbow blanket. 2 stars. 

No comments:

Post a Comment