Stacking the Shelves: August in Books

August 29th, 2015 12:00 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Thank you @PrimeBooks for the copy of Ghost Summer: stories by @TananariveDue!

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Book mail from @DuttonBooks (The Courtesan) and Blogging for Books (Q&A a Day for Creatives).

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Sonia Manzano – who recently retired from Sesame Street, where she portrayed Maria for 44 years (!) – has a new memoir coming out, and Scholastic Books sent me a copy!

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I was lucky enough to discover the Kickstarter for Among the Shadows before it closed (for a change!), and received my e-copy this month (yay!). Goodreads currently has five copies up for grabs (hint, hint).

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tweets for 2015-08-28

August 29th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture–and What We Can Do about It, Kate Harding (2015)

August 28th, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

An Insightful, Sometimes-Snarky, Surprisingly Readable Interrogation of Rape Culture

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss. Obvious trigger warning for rape.)

I’ve been a fan of Kate Harding’s ever since her days blogging at Shakespeare’s Sister (now Shakesville). I think I first caught wind of her latest project, Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture–and What We Can Do about It, more than a year ago, and have spent the interim occasionally checking the book’s Amazon listing, where the publication date seemed to creep further and further away. And it’s no wonder: every month brings with it a new development in the national conversation about rape and rape culture.

As Harding explains in the Author’s Note:

When I sold the proposal for this book in 2012, I foolishly agreed to finish the manuscript in six months, because my agent, editor, and I agreed that rape culture was having a moment, as it were. News of the Steubenville, Ohio, gang rape case was picking up steam, and the memory of Missouri Representative Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” gaffe was fresh in all our minds. Sexual violence was suddenly a popular topic, but – based on national conversations about rape in the 1970s and 1990s that started strong and dissipated quickly – we feared that if we waited too long, this book might be released to a public that was already over it.

The bad news is that it took me way longer than six months to finish the manuscript. The good news – amazingly, wonderful, really sort of mind-blowing news actually – is that years later, Americans are still walking seriously about rape and rape culture.

Asking for It is a welcome addition to the conversation: smart, witty, and surprisingly enjoyable. Well, not enjoyable, exactly – that’s not quite right – but Harding’s sometimes-snarky tone and penchant for calling bullshit as needed make for a slightly less depressing read.

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tweets for 2015-08-27

August 28th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2015-08-26

August 27th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Wolf Wilder, Katherine Rundell (2015)

August 26th, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“Stories can start revolutions.”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss. Mild trigger warning for sexual harassment of a minor.)

Humans, on the whole, Feo could take or leave; there was only one person she loved properly, with the sort of fierce pride that gets people into trouble, or prison, or history books.

[A] wolf who cannot howl is like a human who cannot laugh.

Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a dark and stormy girl. She was wild in spirit and loved fiercely; and no wonder, for she was raised in the company not of humans, but of wolves. They were her friends, her teachers, her pupils, her family – her (almost) everything. And, at the tender age of twelve, this girl and her half-tame friends would go on to lead a revolution.

Feodora Petrovich and her mother Marina live in the Russian wilderness, not too far from Saint Petersburg. Though they’re the only humans for miles, they’re hardly alone – not exactly. The Petrovich family has been wilding wolves for centuries – since the days of Peter the Great, in fact.

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tweets for 2015-08-25

August 26th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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August 25th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition, Bryan Peterson (2015)

August 24th, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Useful for Beginners and Pros Alike

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free book for review through Blogging for Books.)

Originally published in 1988 and revised in 2003, the third edition of Bryan Peterson’s Learning to See Creatively is all-new, completely rewritten and re-illustrated, with a brand new section on Photoshop. This is my first Peterson book but, judging from some of the other reviews, he seems to be a well-known and respected photography author and instructor.

And it’s easy to see why: Learning to See Creatively is accessible and well-written, with a positive, can-do attitude and plenty of helpful illustrations and activities to help get those creative juices flowing. Peterson frequently includes photos of the same subject, taken from multiple angles and perspectives and with different composition and framing, to give the reader an idea of what works – and what works better. (His eight-photo spread of the Dutch windmill is my favorite use of this technique.) There’s a decided emphasis on personal vision with creative exercises to help you find your own.

The book’s divided into five sections, which you can either browse or read straight through. “Expanding Your Vision” challenges the reader to think about what you see – vs. what your camera sees. There’s also an excellent primer on choosing the right camera lens for the job. The “Elements of Design” introduces us to line, shape, form, texture, pattern, and color, exploring how they work in harmony – and how we can best coax them into working for us. “Composition” covers everything from the basics (horizontal vs. vertical orientation; the rule of thirds; contrast) to more advanced topics (working your subject; breaking the rules). Last but not least are the chapters on “The Magic of Light” (direction, color, overcast and rainy days) and “Photoshop.”

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tweets for 2015-08-23

August 24th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

This Week in Pictures: Peanut Butter Milestones

August 23rd, 2015 7:00 pm by Kelly Garbato

– SUNDAY –

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Other than it being my mom’s birthday, not a whole lot going on today. After a week off, Rennie and Mags resumed swimming; the light exercise helped to loosed up Mag’s joints. I think maybe we overdid the confinement by a day or two. Post-swim, we hung out in the bedroom while Shane vacuumed. Next best thing to leaving the house entirely. That sucker is loud, yo!

 
– MONDAY –

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Rise and shine, lazybones!

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Experimenting with the special effects on my cell phone camera, which I have only just now discovered after three months or so. These are cartoon-mood-cartoon, I believe.

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tweets for 2015-08-22

August 23rd, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 22nd, 2015 8:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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Since hitting my thirties, I’ve kind of soured on chocolate. Well, not soured, exactly (Go Max Go bars are the bomb!) … but my chocolate cravings have grown more and more sporadic. I prefer matcha cupcakes over chocolate, and plain ole vanilla ice cream to chocolate obsession. But this week I was struck with a hankering for chocolate chip cookies that just couldn’t be ignored. (I blame it on the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies I made for the dogs. They seriously smell good enough to eat, carob chips and all.) And not just any old chocolate chip cookies, either – but soft, chewy, so-moist-they-just-might-be-underbaked chocolate chip cookies like you’d find in the bakery.

Enter the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur – which, incidentally, might be the very last chocolate chip cookie recipe I had left to try from this particular book. (Make ALL THE COOKIES!) The featured picture strongly resembles Wegman’s bakery cookies – I worked there in college, and coveted all their baked goods which I couldn’t have because LACTOSE – so my hopes were high.

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And this recipe? VERY CLOSE to what I wanted. This even though I was missing one of the ingredients (blackstrap molasses; Shane reminded me several hours after the fact that we still have an unopened jar of homemade molasses given to us by our neighbors for Christmas; doh!) and had to defrost some applesauce on the stove before I could even get started (it’s always going bad otherwise; grrrr!).

The recipe’s easy enough, although my genius plan to dole out the dough using a tablespoon-sized melonballer was a bust. The dough proved way too sticky for its dinky scraper, and it shows in my misshapen cookies. That’s okay! They’re still delish.

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tweets for 2015-08-21

August 22nd, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

The Suffering by Rin Chupeco – Excerpt & Giveaway!

August 21st, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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The Suffering

By Rin Chupeco

September 1, 2015; Hardcover ISBN 9781492629832; Trade Paper ISBN 9781492629849

Book Info:

Title: The Suffering

Author: Rin Chupeco

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Praise for the Suffering:

"Rin Chupeco's
The Suffering is a horror lover's dream: murders, possessed dolls, and desiccated corpses. I cringed. I grimaced. You won't soon forget this exorcist and his vengeful water ghost."

–Kendare Blake, author of
Anna Dressed in Blood

“Chupeco deftly combines ancient mysticism with contemporary dilemmas that teens face, immersing readers in horrors both supernatural
and manmade. The Suffering is a chilling swim through the murky waters of morality.”

–Carly Anne West, author of
The Bargaining and The Murmuring

Summary:

Breathtaking and haunting, Rin Chupeco’s second novel is a chilling companion to her debut, The Girl from the Well.

The darkness will find you.

Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and
started death as an avenger, she’s groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan’s suicide forest, Okiku’s justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price…

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tweets for 2015-08-20

August 21st, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2015-08-19

August 20th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre, Nancy Kilpatrick & Caro Soles, eds. (2015)

August 19th, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

There’s a piece by 16-year-old Margaret Atwood! Eeep!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. Trigger warning for rape and other forms of violence, as well as transphobic and homophobic bullying and suicide.)

I consider myself a bit of a Poe fangirl. Not to the tune of being able to reenact entire scenes from The Tomb of Ligeia or keeping a raven as a pet; but as in the first (and only!) gift my father every personally picked out for me was a leather-bound collection of Poe’s complete works (I’m vegan now, but I keep it around for sentimental reasons) and I might, one day, name one of my rescue dogs Annabel Lee. It’s fair to say that I’m interested, but not obsessed.

So when I spotted nEvermore! in Library Thing’s July batch, it was Poe’s name that grabbed by attention – but Margaret Atwood’s that really sealed the deal. If I’m a bit of a Poe fangirl, then I’m freaking Annie Wilkes when it comes to Atwood. I exaggerate, but not by much.

Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles, nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre features twenty-two stories that are inspired by Poe; contain elements from Poe’s oeuvre; and/or are retellings of his stories. Some are more modern takes on Poe, while others employ similar language and have the same weirdly sinister vibe. If you’re a hardcore Poe fan, probably you’ll get more out of the stories than the casual or non-fan; there’s a lot of name-dropping, as well as references to real, historical events from Poe’s life. However, I wouldn’t limit the audience just to those familiar with Poe; many of the stories are solid enough to stand on their own. Bonus points: Each story is prefaced with a brief introduction by the author(s), for added context.

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tweets for 2015-08-18

August 19th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2015-08-17

August 18th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato