Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review | 0 comments

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Corman and Shana Knizhnik

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 227
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Nearly a half-century into being a feminist and legal pioneer, something funny happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the octogenarian won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg made her name are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute. In a class of its own, and much to Ginsburg’s own amusement, is the Notorious RBG Tumblr, which juxtaposes the diminutive but fierce Jewish grandmother with the 350-pound rapper featuring original artwork submitted from around the world.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers a visually rich, intimate, unprecedented look at the Justice and how she changed the world. From Ginsburg’s refusal to let the slammed doors of sexism stop her to her innovative legal work, from her before-its-time feminist marriage to her perch on the nation’s highest court—with the fierce dissents to match—get to know RBG as never before. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

My Thoughts:
I have admired Ruth Bader Ginsburg for years. I enjoyed the Notorious RBG Tumblr from its early days. When this book was published I quickly bought a copy. Since then Justice Scalia passed away and the Supreme court became more of a battle between the major two political parties than ever before.

I was needing to read something positive and uplifting. The day after the Womens’ March seemed like the perfect time to pick this one up.

I loved it. I admire RBG even more than I did before. She has a brilliant legal mind and great sense of humor.

The book isn’t a traditional biography. It tells her story through a series of episodes from her life. It ends up being a very entertaining read. She was and is a pioneer in the legal battles for gender equality and civil rights. The accomplished many firsts for women. She also had a long, loving marriage that was truly a partnership.

There are plenty of photos throughout the book as well as some great annotated excerpts from some of her legal work and her Supreme Court opinions and dissents.

I highly recommend this.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Louise Penny | 6 comments

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny narrated by Robert Bathurst
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny narrated by Robert Bathurst

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #12 in the Armand Gamache (Three Pines) series
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 13 hours, 32 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.
Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.

Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.

The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.

For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.

My Thoughts:
I didn’t enjoy the previous book in the series quite as much as I had enjoyed the others. It was still good but just not quite what I had come to expect from Louise Penny. I am happy to say that with this twelfth book she is back up to the standard of the earlier books.

In fact, I thought this was one of the better books in the series.

There were several mysteries going on. Who killed the professor? Why did Gamache do some of the things he did? What is the story behind the map found in the bistro? And is there a connection between Armand Gamache and Amelia Choquet?

Penny doles out the clues in bits and pieces throughout the book and the final few chapters were quite satisfying.

I was happy to see parts of the story take place in Three Pines so the regular recurring characters were involved.

Robert Bathurst had big shoes to fill when the narrator of the first ten books passed away. This is the second one I’ve listened to him narrate. He does a great job of voice characterizations. I always knew who was speaking before it was mentioned.

These books can work as standalones but you’ll understand the ongoing stories if you start from the beginning with Still Life.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Fables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 2 comments

Fables, Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill WillinghamFables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #17 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 17 is a compilation of issues 108-113 of the comic series
From the back cover:

And a child shall lead them

The fearsome Mister Dark is dead, killed in a kamikaze attack by the only entity even colder than himself: The North Wind, King of the Frozen Wastes, Ruler of the Cardinal Winds — and Bigby Wolf’s deadbeat dad.

Now, with Bigby having renounced any claim to the throne, one of his cubs must take up the crown — and he and his wife Snow White must watch as the North Wind’s servants subject their children to a series of trials to determine who will reign supreme.

Meanwhile, winds of change are blowing in other lands as well: the once-winged monkey Bufkin’s impromptu revolution against the new ruler of the Pan Ozian Empire is gaining unexpected allies; Rose Red’s reconnaissance team finds good tidings at the Farm, just in time for Christmas; and in Castle Dark the former Nurse Spratt waits for the return of the Fables with bated breath — and sharpened blade.

My Thoughts:
I’m glad to move on from Mr. Dark. This volume has a couple of major story lines. I really enjoyed the one that focused on Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s children. One of them will take over in their grandfather’s place as the king of the North Wind. The children are subjected to a series of tests to determine which of them is the rightful heir. It’s a bit odd and fun but also a tad bit dangerous.

The second major story involved Bufkin and his crew traveling through Oz. I usually enjoy Bufkins adventures but this time around it just didn’t click with me for some reason. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy those parts of the book as much as I did the rest.

In addition, there are a couple of shorter stories. I really enjoyed Rose Red’s version of A Christmas Carol.

The artwork throughout was wonderful. The majority is by Mark Buckingham. He’s done most of the Fables series and I always enjoy his work The final issue is done by several artists and the variety of styles works well with the series of short tales that are not part of the main ongoing story line.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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As You Wish by Cary Elwes – Audio Edition

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden narrated by Cary Elwes and others

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 7 hours, 1 minutes
Narrated by: Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Rob Reiner, Wallace Shawn , Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, and Danny Burnstein
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

My Thoughts:
This one is partially Trish’s fault. She was talking on twitter about how much she was enjoying this audiobook. As a huge fan of the movie The Princess Bride that was just the minor little nudge I needed to purchase this,

I have lost count of how many times I have seen the movie and quotes from it are a routine part of our conversation. Hearing Cary Elwes talk about his experiences during the making of the movie is an absolute delight.

He narrates most of it but there are bits and pieces here and there where his co-stars, Rob Reiner, Bill Goldman and others involved in the movie added their comments to his book. Many of these people narrate their own comments. Danny Burnstein narrates for others.

I was only a few chapters into the book when I insisted that The Hubster listen to this foo. I downloaded it to his phone and he has been enjoying it just as much as I did. I cannot wait for him to finish the book so that we can watch the movie again.

There are lots of wonderful stories about the making of the movie and Elwes tells these stories wonderfully. I’m not going to spill a lot of what he shares but I will say that Andre the Giant was clearly loved by all the cast. Billy Crystal is a nightmare when you must keep from laughing. Robin Wright’s first day on the film involved her dress catching on fire. Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did all the sword fighting themselves and spent months practicing and learning from experts.

If you are a fan of the movie, then you will enjoy this book and I highly recommend the audio edition.
Check out this video on the Simon & Schuster website.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Chris Roberson, Comics | 0 comments

Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus
Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #2 in the Fables Cinderella spinoff series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume is a compilation of issues 1-6 of the comic series and Fables #51
From the back cover:

Fashionsita, socialite—spy?

Hey, if the shoe fits…

She poses as a haughty socialite in glass stilettos by day—and okay, sometimes by night. But Cinderella is actually Fabletown’s master spy. Tasked with doing jobs too dirty and deadly for the average Fable, Cindy’s faced down dangers from a dozen worlds and lived to tell the tales (over cocktails in a hot tub, if you’re lucky).

But every secret agent has one annoyingly ruthless archnemesis, and Cindy is no exception. Back in the Big ’80s, Cindy encountered her dark mirror, a rogue American Fable, who was in league with the mysterious Shadow Fabletown. Cindy thought she’d destroyed her rival years ago. But when a powerful magician turns up dead and another seeks her help, Cindy’s hunt for her old enemy begins anew.

From the frigid back alleys of Russia to the steaming desert, Cindy will follow the clues down the blood-flecked yellow brick road and risk everything she’s got—including her secret identity—to solve the crime and finally get revenge on Sliver Slipper.

My Thoughts:
Cinderella and her secret work as a spy has long been one of my favorite parts of the Fables series. I’m glad she got her own spinoff series even though it’s only two trade paperback volumes worth.

As with the first Cinderella volume the title is a play on a James Bond movie title. Some of Cindy’s adventures are much like the Bond stories. I think Cindy could take James Bond though.

The current case finds Cindy taking on an old nemesis she thought was dead. Through flashbacks the history of their meeting and confrontations over the years.

It’s a fun spy story with lots of winks and nods to the spy movie genre.

The final volume is a repeat of a previous issue in the Fables series featuring one of Cinderella’s spy missions. It was fun to revisit.

Roberson does a good job of adding to the fables world created by Bill Willingham.

The art by Shawn McManus is bold and interesting and conveys the actions well. The flashbacks have a bit of a sepia tone to them to distinguish them from the bolder colors of the current story.

If you haven’t explored the world of Fables you should.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Nov 11, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham
Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #16 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 16 is a compilation of issues 101-107 of the comic series
From the back cover:

This Looks Like A Job For… The Super Fables!

Evil stalks the borders of Haven! Fed by fear and driven by darkness, Mister Dark has risen, more powerful than ever! Soon, the Fables’ defense will fall, and the day of doom will be upon them!

But lo, there shall come… the F-Men!

Assembled by the great and powerful Ozma and the wise and wheelchair-bound Pinoccho (don’t worry, his legs work fine — he just wants to look the part), these fabulous Fables will combine their powers to form a team-up to end all team-ups!

Every super-heroic personality will be represented: Big strong guys! Guys in cool armor! Miniature people who can bounce around inside the bad guy’s ear canal! That one girl who can fly! Even a roguish, hairy anti-hero with claws: Bigby Wolf himself! Together, they will overcome their fear and defeat Mister Dark once and for all!

Or maybe they’ll all die horribly within seconds. What do you think this is, a super-hero comic.

My Thoughts:
I’ll confess. I have been ready for the Mr. Dark story to be over for a couple of volumes. This time the Fables are making their last stand. Again.

The difference this time is that they’re approaching it a little differently. Avengers style before Marvel made the movie. Whether they’re successful or not I won’t say but it was an adventure. There were scary parts and there were funny parts and there were plenty of riffs on the superhero comic genre.

Bigby Wolf and his father The North Wind are forced to face their past and their fractured relationship. It was tense but again, I’m not spilling the outcome.

The first issue was unrelated to the main story but might be setting up some new places and characters for a future storyline. I always enjoy stories with Bufkin the formerly flying monkey.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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