Thursday, April 30, 2015

WHO'S ON TOP: CHILDREN'S BOOKS

TOP 5 CHILDREN'S BOOKS:
PICTURE BOOKS:

1. THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES, by B. J. Novak
2. THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT, by Drew Daywalt. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
3. PRESS HERE, by Hervé Tullet
4. DRAGONS LOVE TACOS, by Adam Rubin. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
5. GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld\

SPOTLIGHT: 
THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES
B. J. Novak
A book with no pictures? 

What could be fun about that?

After all, if a book has no pictures, there's nothing to look at but the words on the page. 

Words that might make you say silly sounds... In ridiculous voices...


Hey, what kind of book is this, anyway?

At once disarmingly simple and ingeniously imaginative, The Book With No Pictures inspires laughter every time it is opened, creating a warm and joyous experience to share--and introducing young children to the powerful idea that the written word can be an unending source of mischief and delight.

WHO'S ON TOP: NONFICTION

TOP 5 NONFICTION:
HARDCOVER:

1. THE ROAD TO CHARACTER, by David Brooks
2. BILL O'REILLY'S LEGENDS AND LIES, by David Fisher
3. DEALING WITH CHINA, by Henry M. Paulson Jr
4. DEAD WAKE, by Erik Larson
5. THE RESIDENCE, by Kate Andersen Brower

SPOTLIGHT: 
THE ROAD TO CHARACTER
David Brooks
I wrote this book not sure I could follow the road to character, but I wanted at least to know what the road looks like and how other people have trodden it.”—David Brooks

With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our “résumé virtues”—achieving wealth, fame, and status—and our “eulogy virtues,” those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed.

Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade.

Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, 

Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade.
Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.

“Joy,” David Brooks writes, “is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.” 

“Joy,” David Brooks writes, “is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.” 

WHO'S ON TOP: FICTION


TOP 5 FICTION:
HARDCOVER:

1. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, by Paula Hawkins
2. THE LIAR, by Nora Roberts
3. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, by Anthony Doerr
4. EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES, by Lisa Scottoline
5. THE STRANGER, by Harlan Coben

SPOTLIGHT:
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SE
Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Monday, April 27, 2015

WHO'S ON TOP: MOVIES


SPOTLIGHT: 

THE AGE OF ADALINE

Movie people have been lapping at the fountain of youth since cinema’s creation, both on-screen and off. That’s no surprise given that cinema confers a kind of immortality on performers even if, as parades of tragically frozen faces attest, it can get confusing for the real people on camera. In Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard,” Norma Desmond so deeply embodies this confusion that she punctuates a banal observation with a pitiful question: “Stars are ageless — aren’t they?” Norma may be a Hollywood tragedy, but the movie brilliantly proves that she’s got the ageless part right. — Manohla Dargis




TOP 10 MOVIES:


  1. FURIOUS 7
  2. PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2
  3. THE AGE OF ADALINE
  4. HOME
  5. UNFRIENDED
  6. EX MACHINA
  7. WOMAN IN GOLD
  8. THE LONGEST RIDE
  9. GET HARD
  10. MONKEY KINGDOM

Disclaimer: All information was gathered from Nytimes.com.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

WHO'S ON TOP: GRAPHIC NOVELS


TOP FIVE GRAPHIC NOVELS:

HARDCOVER:

  1. BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
  2. AVENGERS: RAGE OF ULTRON, by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña
  3. CAN'T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?, by Roz Chast
  4. THE SCULPTOR, by Scott McCloud
  5. SECONDS, by Bryan Lee O'Malley

SPOTLIGHT:

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE

Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
For the first time the Joker's origin is revealed in this tale of insanity and human perseverance. Looking to prove that any man can be pushed past his breaking point and go mad, the Joker attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. 

After shooting and permanently paralyzing his daughter Barbara (a.k.a. Batgirl), the Joker kidnaps the commissioner and attacks his mind in hopes of breaking the man. 

But refusing to give up, Gordon maintains his sanity with the help of Batman in an effort to beset the madman.

WHO'S ON TOP: CHILDREN'S BOOK



TOP FIVE CHILDREN'S BOOK:

PICTURE'S BOOKS:

  1. THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT, by Drew Daywalt. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
  2. THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES, by B. J. Novak
  3. PETE THE CAT'S GROOVY GUIDE TO LIFE, by James Dean and Kimberly Dean. Illustrated by James Dean
  4. I WISH YOU MORE, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  5. DRAGONS LOVE TACOS, by Adam Rubin. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

SPOTLIGHT

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT 

Drew Daywalt. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from coloring all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other. 

What is Duncan to do? Debut author Drew Daywalt and New York Timesbestseller Oliver Jeffers create a colorful solution in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

WHO'S ON TOP: NONFICTION


TOP FIVE NONFICTION:

HARDCOVER:

  1. BILL O'REILLY'S LEGENDS AND LIES, by David Fisher
  2. DEAD WAKE, by Erik Larson
  3. THE RESIDENCE, by Kate Andersen Brower
  4. BEING MORTAL, by Atul Gawande
  5. A FINE ROMANCE, by Candice Bergen

SPOTLIGHT:

BILL O'REILLY'S LEGENDS AND LIES

David Fisher
The must-have companion to Bill O’Reilly’s documentary series Legends and Lies: The Real West, a fascinating, eye-opening look at the truth behind the western legends we all think we know

How did Davy Crockett save President Jackson’s life only to end up dying at the Alamo? Was the Lone Ranger based on a real lawman—and was he an African American? What amazing detective work led to the capture of Black Bart, the "gentleman bandit" and one of the west’s most famous stagecoach robbers? Did Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid really die in a hail of bullets in South America? Generations of Americans have grown up on TV shows, movies and books about these western icons. But what really happened in the Wild West? All the stories you think you know, and others that will astonish you, are here--some heroic, some brutal and bloody, all riveting. Included are the ten legends featured in Bill O’Reilly's Legends and Lies docuseries —from Kit Carson to Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok to Doc Holliday-- accompanied by two bonus chapters on Daniel Boone and Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley.

Frontier America was a place where instinct mattered more than education, and courage was necessary for survival. It was a place where luck made a difference and legends were made. Heavily illustrated with spectacular artwork that further brings this history to life, and told in fast-paced, immersive narrative, Legends and Lies is an irresistible, adventure-packed ride back into one of the most storied era of our nation’s rich history.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

WHO'S ON TOP: FICTION


TOP FIVE FICTION:

HARDCOVER:

  1. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, by Paula Hawkins
  2. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, by Anthony Doerr
  3. THE STRANGER, by Harlan Coben
  4. HOT PURSUIT, by Stuart Woods
  5. FALLING IN LOVE, by Donna Leon

SPOTLIGHT:

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Paula Hawkins

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone GirlThe Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

WHO'S ON TOP: MOIVE


SPOTLIGHT:
PAUL BLART MALL COP 2
You won’t find much offensive in Kevin James’s slick, innocuous vehicle “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.” You won’t find much prompting an emotional reaction in general, so familiar are the jokes and situations. If Mr. James’s character thinks of safety first, so does this movie, to its extreme detriment. — Andy Webster







TOP FIVE MOVIES:
1. Furious 7
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
3. Unfriended
4. Home
5. The Longest Ride
6. Get Hard
7. Monkey Kingdom
8. Woman in Gold
9. The Divergent Series: Insurgent
10. Cinderella

Disclaimer: All information comes from Nytimes.com.



Monday, April 13, 2015

Who's On Top: Movies

SPOTLIGHT:

Furious 7

In a recent interview in Variety, Vin Diesel predicted that “Furious 7” would win the best picture Oscar at next year’s Academy Awards. “Unless the Oscars don’t want to be relevant ever,” he added, though that issue may already be settled. If Mr. Diesel’s prophecy doesn’t come true, it won’t necessarily be a matter of merit. Movies much worse than this lucky-number episode of an overachieving franchise — movies far less sure of their intentions, sincere in their themes or kind to their audiences — have snapped up statuettes. There will no doubt be better movies released in 2015, but “Furious 7” is an early favorite to win the prize for most picture. — A. O. Scott


TOP TEN MOVIES:

1. Furious 7
2. Home
3. The Longest Ride
4. Get Hard
5. Cinderella
6. The Divergent Series: Insurgent
7. Woman in Gold
8. It Follows
9. Danny Collins
10. Kingsman: The Secret Service



Disclaimer: All information was gathered from NYTIMES.com.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Open Mic at the Bard's Town

It's Poetry Month! Did you know that? 

Today I attended an Open Mic night full of poetry and good people. 

 It was at The Bard's Town on, obviously, Bardstown Road. I'd never been there so this was a first time open mic as well as the restaurant. I arrived around 6:20. The show didn't start until 7 but I like to get a good feel of the atmosphere and all.

I ordered me a salad with grilled chicken and a water, but then added a Sprite. I shouldn't have. Lord knows I need to cut down on the sugars (that's a whole other topic). I was quite pleased with the food. The salad looked beautiful and the chicken was juicy and added to the overall experience. Believe me, dry chicken or flavored wrong...it can kill the whole salad.

Looking around, there are only five people in the room at first. A lone gunslinger with a lot of facial hair. He's dressed the part of a writer with his suede jacket and t-shirt. A couple sits in the single booth eating and laughing. A pair of two older women, both donning scarves, drink wine and talk quietly. (I just can't do the whole scarf thing...makes me feel like a turtle.)

There are pictures of Bardstown lined across one wall, a huge picture of a peacock on another, and one single lonely abstract picture in the corner. The abstract art holds my attention for a minute. It's that solitary shadow painted on it that makes me think I like it. The theatre room is not a drab place but the tables and carpet are kind of blah. At least the air is comfortable.

Free Book for the Weekend: Legacy of Disola


Synopsis of Legacy of Disola:
In the desert world of K’ari’Zareth our heroine Disola is born.

Entering the world screaming from her mother’s womb, she is thrust into a world of both mysticism and technology. Overcoming her insecurities and nervousness, she dons the mantel of a warrior. The God of Death has chosen her.

She unknowingly becomes his instrument of destruction as he plots to gain the affections of Tiril another deity he covets.

Thus begins the Legacy of Disola.
The Legacy of Disola is at its core, a story of manipulation.  A woman who was once anxious around crowds, becomes a confident warrior.  A warrior guided by the whims of a deceitful God.
The story of Disola is set in a gorgeous World of vast sand dunes and mechanized cities where the ancient past coexists with the present modern times. The World of K’ari’Zareth is a huge and savage place. Beyond the calm villages and citadel cities; war brews, a war between two empires with very different ideology.

Book Review: His Mind Games

HIS MIND GAMES 
by Rachel Dunning
An inner world of magic and power.
A lover. A night together – their first night.
And then – disaster. He lost his mind, but she knew the truth. She knew.
And so she ran, all the way down to Marfa Texas where she met…the man they call Jack.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I’m Thin Enough, I’m Fat Enough And Doggone It People Like Me.

By: W.G. Muir


I’m not a fan of anything that tells me what is currently trending in some corner of the internet, be it Twitter, Facebook or the homepage of Yahoo. I find such topics that trend are mostly about things that rarely affect the life of the average person. Of course these things are only trending because ordinary people keep clicking on them and sharing them on Twitter, Facebook, and in emails to friends and family. I just don’t understand how so many people can be fascinated about some A-list star’s pitbull had a litter of puppies.  


Because of the trending box I have a topic I wish to rant about. I saw a blurb about a cosmetic company’s attempt at battling body image. Fair enough they are the biggest contributor to this problem. A problem which I believe is wholly manufactured so that some political crusaders can justify their very existence and why news organizations pay them to appear on the airwaves. I know somebody is going to say I am insensitive and that there are teenage girls out there who are struggling to conform with what society tells them is normal.

Interview with the Author: KC McDonald

KC McDonald, Author of the Echoes Trilogy, shares a bit about his writing, his books, and his life. Please make sure to visit his links, support him by picking up a cool new book, and life him on his facebook page. (Oh...and authors just LOVE reviews, so don't forget that too!)

I set out to write a novel at the end of 2011, after writing a couple of short stories. For me, idea generation comes from asking myself what if questions. For example: What if the Hindenburg had been made of marshmallows? Or: What if cats had thumbs? Echoes of Immortality was borne from the question: What if a culinary arts student accidentally cooked an immortality potion? I thought this idea had more merit than the previous two examples, so more questions were asked. How would this character be able to do such a thing? What would be the consequences of this discovery? Once those questions were answered, many more were asked and soon a plot began to develop.
Once the plot became a bit less murky, I began outlining the story (yes, I am a reformed plotter). I outlined the entire story and began writing in December of 2011. About 25K words into the story, I realized it was predictable and would likely not be very satisfying for the reader. So, into the round file with the outline and the transformation from plotter to pantser. Once I made that change, the characters really came to life and began doing things on their own, surprising even me at times.
Echoes Trilogy
Echoes of Immortality, Book One in the Echoes Trilogy synopsis:
Jenna Sims is a culinary student with a secret. While perfecting a homework recipe, she consults an old worn book that belonged to her great-great grandmother and unwittingly cooks up a spell for immortality. Jenna's secret, unbeknownst to her, is that her ancestry comes from a coven of witches. A down-on-his-luck cosmetics company marketing representative finds out about the spell and sets out to steal the book for the recipe, which he thinks would be a hit for the company and allow a reversal of fortune for himself. A period of self-discovery and a short learning curve is unleashed as Jenna strives to protect the family secrets and keep evil from stealing the spell book containing enough power to change the world.

Unearth Book Art

We have all seen the glorious works of art that can be created by Christmas lights on houses. These days they even add tunes and flashing and blinking and strobe-lighting and anything else. (Some houses have even been 'shut-down' due to the over-the-top disruptions to neighborhoods). Earlier this week I found a fantastic artist site that does something similar, only with books.

She cuts and pastes and assembles entire sculptures using books.  I can't imagine how much time this art takes but I would love...literally be in heaven, to see these sculptures in real life. Take a look at this...

Reprinted Art by Su Blackwell

You can visit her website and see more of this amazing artwork. :) It's some pretty nice stuff if you're into that kind of stuff. I know I am!

Cheers,
Michala


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: Crow's Row

Crow’s Row
 For college student Emily Sheppard, the thought of spending a summer alone in New York is much more preferable than spending it i9116028n France with her parents. Just completing her freshman year at Callister University, Emily faces a quiet summer in the city slums, supporting herself by working at the campus library.
During one of her jogs through the nearby cemetery while visiting her brother Bill’s grave, Emily witnesses a brutal killing-and then she blacks out. When Emily regains consciousness, she realizes she’s been kidnapped by a young crime boss and his gang. She is hurled into a secret underworld, wondering why she is still alive and for how long.
Held captive in rural Vermont, she tries to make sense of her situation and what it means. While uncovering secrets about her brother and his untimely death, Emily falls in love with her very rich and very dangerous captor, twenty-six year- old Cameron. She understands it’s a forbidden love and one that won’t allow her to return to her previous life. But love may not be enough to save Emily when no one even knows she is missing.
Original verdict: 

Your Actions Speak Loud

YOOOOO....

I tell you what I want, what I really really want....
so tell me what you want, what you really really want....

Yeah, Spice Girls will live forever (at least in my Ipod.) Probably nothing. Except everything! Because we all want something. And you've told us what you want. 

You are asking, what the hell does Spice Girls have to do with a BRAND NEW FRIGGIN POST on Bitemybook!