Book Review: Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / March 27, 2019

Zuleikha by Guzel  Yakhina (translated by Lisa Hayden) is a novel about a Tartar widow who has been exiled to Siberia in the 1930s.  This book was the winner of the Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award and the Russia Big Book literary prize, as well as being short listed for the Russian Booker Prize.

Guest Post: Fictional Schools want YOU!
Latest Posts / March 26, 2019

That’s right, School Smart are recruiting for the world’s best fictional schools and we want you to attend. Reminiscing back to our school days we have fond memories of writing with smelly gel pens and collecting the latest stickers. The most exciting moments from our school years were competing in the egg and spoon race on sports day or dancing at the end of term school disco. But we couldn’t help imagine what it would be like to receive a Hogwarts letter in the post or take part in the scare games. What if we actually lived in the fantasy world and could choose which fictional school to attend? That’s why we’ve created school posters to show just what could be in store at each fictional school. So from Hogwarts all the way through to Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, there are plenty of fictional schools ready for your attendance.

Book Review: The Volunteer by Salvatore Scibona
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / March 25, 2019

About: The Volunteer by Salvatore Scibona is a generational saga, spanning about 100 years in which the effects of the Vietnam War are felt. Mr. Scibona is an award winning American author and writer of short stories.  432 pages Publisher: Penguin Press Language: English ISBN-10: 0525558527 My rating for Books – 5– Buy The Volunteer from Amazon.com* More Books by Salvatore Scibona* Thoughts: The Volunteer by Salvatore Scibona is a man’s novel. A book about men, the intimate relationships of one to himself, fathers and sons and how the traumatic effects of one generation affect the next, and even the one after that. This is a sprawling story, which moves through geography, culture, and time in a deliberate, yet non-linear manner. The author allows us to see how men see themselves, and how the mind works allowing the characters to wander outside of themselves into places which do not exist. The theme of disappearing seems to be a constant throughout this  novel. Vollie seems to always try to disappear, he runs away to the Marines, shamed by his parents’ illiteracy, disappears from a secret government job, and even his family, but he always finds out, sometimes too late, that his disappearing act was often a decades long illusion. Vollie’s…

Fun Facts Friday: Randolph Caldecott
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / March 22, 2019

Randolph Caldecott (22 March, 1846 – 12 February, 1886) was an artist and illustrator, mainly of children’s books, from England. Born in Chester, Mr. Caldecott was the third of 13 children. Caldecott worked at a bank, but went to the Manchester School of Art. Once he knew he could make a living with his art, he moved to London (1872). After only 2 years, Mr. Caldecott was already known to be a successful magazine illustrator. The Royal Manchester Institute exhibited the works of Mr. Caldecott in 1869 and the Royal Academy in 1876. In 1877 Mr. Caldecott was commissioned by Edmund Evans to illustrate two Christmas books (The House that Jack Built and The Diverting History of John Gilpin). The two Christmas books were so successful that Evans commissioned the artist for two books every year until Mr. Caldecott’s death. The original colored printing woodblocks can be seen at St. Bride Library in London. Suffering all his life from poor health, probably from a child hood illness, he used to travel to warm climates during the winter. Caldecott passed away before he was 40 years old in Florida, during an unusually cold winter. The Caldecott Medal for the “most distinguished…

Graphic Novel Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 3: The Truth by Greg Rucka
3 Stars , Fiction , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / March 18, 2019

About: Wonder Woman Vol. 3: The Truth by Greg Rucka (illustrated by Liam Sharp) is a graphic novel which continues the story of Diana of Themyscira search for the truth about herself. This graphic novel collects issues 13, 15 17, 19, 21, 23, 25 of Wonder Woman. 176 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 1401271413 My rat­ing for Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: The Truth  — 3 Buy Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: The Truth from Amazon.com* More Books by Greg Rucka Thoughts: I was looking forward to finding out what’s happening in this story arc and how it ties to the whole Rebirth “event” where the Watchmen’s smiley button might (or might not?) have something to do with it.  Unfortunately Wonder Woman Vol. 3: The Truth by Greg Rucka (illustrated by Liam Sharp) does not answer that question, and even somewhat confuses it more. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but let’s just say the mystery of the smiley button remains well intact. This volume picks up right where Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One ended, Diana has never been back at Themyscira, never visited her mother, and keeps losing her grip with reality.  The storyline puts away our heroine…

Fun Facts Friday: Lady Augusta Gregory
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / March 15, 2019

Lady Augusta Gregory (15 March, 1852 – 22 May, 1932) was a folklorist, drama writer and theater manager from Ireland. Books by Lady Gregory* She was born as Isabella Augusta Persse in Roxborough, County Gallway. Her husband, Sire William Henry Gregory, was a neighbor who had served as a member of Parliament and governor of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Lady Gregory only began her literary career after her husband’s death. The couple’s only son, Robert Gregory (born in 1881) was killed in World War I serving as a pilot. She was a lifelong friend of poet William Butler Yeats. Robert Gregory’s death inspired the poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death”, by Yeats. Lady Gregory traveled to Egypt, Italy, Spain Ceylon and India. In 1899 Lady Gregory, along with Edward Martyn (a neighbor) founded the Irish Literary Theater. Lady Gregory stayed in the theater as an active director until retiring in 1928 due to ill health. George Bernard Shaw once described Lady Gregory as “the greatest living Irishwoman”. Books by Lady Gregory* Zohar – Man of la Book *Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

Book Review: How to Know the Birds by Ted Floyd

About: How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding by Ted Floyd is a book which intends to inform novice and enthusiasts alike. Mr. Floyd is the editor of Birding Magazine and, of course, an avian aficionado himself. 304 pages Publisher: National Geographic Language: English ISBN-10: 1426220030 Buy How to Know the Birds from Amazon.com* More Books by Ted Floyd* More Books from National Geographic*   Thoughts: I know next to nothing about birds, sometimes I wish I knew more, especially when out in nature with the kids. Not to worry though, that doesn’t happen very often. But I always enjoy learning new stuff. How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding by Ted Floyd consists of short, readable sections on many types of bird. It is clear from the writing that the author is not only knowledgeable, but also very enthusiastic about every word printed. I was expecting an off-the-shelf bird watching field guide, with pictures, stats and identifiers – but this is not this type of book. Instead I got a memoir / guide, which allowed me to appreciate birds more than I ever thought would be possible for me. For a…

Book Review: None of the Above by Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton

About: None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators by Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton is a non-fiction book about the experiences of Mrs. Robinson who has been involved in this humiliating and undignified event. Mrs. Robinson. After several years, Mrs. Robinson, whose appeal is still pending, is able to talk about this issue. 256 pages Publisher: Beacon Press Language: English ISBN-10: 0807022209   My rating for None of the Above – 4 Buy None of the Above from Amazon.com* More Books by Shani Robinson* More Books by Anna Simonton* Thoughts: I like to point out right off the bat that I am a cynical man. I don’t believe everything I read, and if I do I check it with a several reliable sources. Most of the time. I’m also a big supporter of public education. None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators by Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton was an interesting as it was informative, it actually tells two stories though. One that of Mrs. Robinson who was charged as one of the…

Graphic Novel Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One by Greg Rucka
5 Stars , Fiction , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / March 11, 2019

About: Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One  by Greg Rucka (illustrated by Nicola Scott) is a graphic novel which retells the origins of Wonder Woman, and her first year as a protector. This graphic novel collects issues 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, an 14 of Wonder Woman. 168 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 1401268803   My rat­ing for Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One — 5 Buy Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One from Amazon.com* More Books by Greg Rucka Thoughts: when I first picked up this issue I thought to myself “why do we need another origin story?”, usually the retelling are boring and rehash old mythology without bringing anything new to the table. I’m glad to say that Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One by Greg Rucka (illustrated by Nicola Scott) kept the origin story fresh and interesting, I was actually very surprised. I thought the way the author introduced the Greek gods, in animal form handing gifts to Wonder Woman to more the story along, was very imaginative, but bordering on stupid. I’m glad it was just a short part and move the story light years ahead instead of dragging on though. I thought the…

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