Monday, April 25, 2016

The Last Painting of Sara DeVos by Dominic Smith

This story interweaves plot lines from 3 time periods:  -- 1600s Netherlands - where Sara DeVos has become the first woman admitted as a master painter to a guild, --  1950s NYC - where the only known painting attributed to Sara DeVos is stolen from Marty DeGroot and replaced with a skillfully done forgery, and 2000s Sydney, Australia - where Ellie Shipley, celebrated art historian and museum curator, realizes that both the original DeVos and the forgery Ellie did are on their way to the exhibition at her museum.

This book grabbed my interest quickly, and painted compelling sketches of the lives of its characters.  I highly recommend it!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Color Concrete Garden Projects by Nathan Smith and Michael Snyder

When first picking this book off the shelf I thought it might be a great new adventure for my creative side. After reading the book, I think I don't have the tools or location to tackle these kind of projects. It also looks to be hard on the hands and I believe the finished projects look heavy. The authors and creators are male. I loved the modern, yet rustic, look of the finished projects. I was especially drawn to the planters, the tabletop candle holder, and the concrete sphere. I would definitely use these styles in my garden and home. After thorough examination I will have to let someone else create these wonderful, solid forms. Perhaps I will buy some from an enterprising artisan some day.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Star Wars - Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

So, you have been watching Star Wars - The Force Awakens and you are wondering where all of the wreckage on the surface of Jakku comes from - you know, the ships and star destroyers that Rey and others are scavenging for credits?  Well, if you read Claudia Gray's Star Wars: Lost Stars, you can find the answer.
Even though Lost Stars is found in the young adult section, it is a good read for all ages of Star Wars fans. It is also a read that once you start, you will want to tackle it straight through to find out just where it is taking you.
The book follows the lives of two children from two different backgrounds - a boy, Thane Kyrell, and a girl, Ciena Ree. They meet as young children and end up enrolling in the Imperial Academy together. Once exposed to the workings of the Empire, Thane drifts from its teachings and becomes a part of the Rebellion. Ciena remains loyal to the Empire. The book follows them through school and then as they cross paths during the major events of Star Wars IV, V and VI, eventually reaching the surface of Jakku where we encountered Rey several years later when The Force Awakens premiered last November.
The book is action-filled, and, very much a love story. Still, any mushiness in countered by the explosions of ships and the pursuit of the "bad guys", whoever they might be revealed to be.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri, translated by Ann Goldstein

In this autobiographic bilingual book, Lahiri explores the parallels between language and identity, reflecting on her parents' and sometimes her sense of belonging among the U.S., India and Italian cultures. Lahiri chronicles her journey in acquiring the Italian language.  She fell in love with Italy when she visited Florence with her sister after college and was determined to learn the language.  Besides years of discipline and hard work, she even moved her family to Rome for three years in order to fully immerse herself and her family in the country and culture. She only allowed herself to read, speak and write in Italian.  Despite having mastered the language, Lahiri still feels the occasional inadequacies.  Anyone who has studied a foreign language will understand her struggles and triumphs of the process.