Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Precocious kids" reading material "Plotted"

Plotted: A Literary Altas by Andrew DeGraff, with essays by Daniel Harmon (Zest) - llustrator DeGraff has created a collection of maps that are paired with essays by Harmon (Super Pop!), illuminating classic works of literature in fun and appealing new ways. Through these intricate and inventive illustrations, DeGraff seeks to create visual representations for some of his favorite works that "provide a sense of contour—sometimes literal and sometimes metaphorical." Many of the stories depicted are from classic works of children's literature (such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Wrinkle in Time), and all are plotted intricately with vibrant colors. DeGraff also includes sophisticated renderings from the works of Shakespeare, Kafka, Borges, Homer, Austen, and Verne. Some representations are maps in the common sense, with DeGraff tracing the movements of Odysseus around the Mediterranean, Scrooge and company around London, or Hamlet et al. through the rooms of Elsinore castle. Some feature diagrams, such as the depiction of the Pequod from Moby-Dick, while others are more abstract, making this a complete, rewarding package for bookworms of all ages.

The Lake House ( looks good)

The Lake House by Kate Morton (Atria) - Bestselling storyteller Morton (The Secret Keeper) excels in this mystery set against the gothic backdrop of 1930s England. In Cornwall, the wealthy Edevane family prepares for its annual midsummer ball at Loeanneth, their isolated estate. That night, teenager Alice Edevane is lingering near the nursery when someone kidnaps the cherished Edevane son, Theo; despite a lengthy investigation, he is never found. The story moves forward to 2003 London, where Det. Sgt. Sadie Sparrow is suspended after speaking to the media about a missing-person case, recently closed, that haunts her. Sparrow seeks refuge with her grandfather in Cornwall. On her first morning run there, she finds the now-dilapidated Loeanneth mansion deep in the woods. Curious, Sparrow peers through the windows into tumbledown rooms abandoned in haste long ago. She begins to investigate the 70-year-old Edevane case with help from the Cornwall locals, including a retired copper who was there in 1933 when Theo disappeared. Morton’s plotting is impeccable, and her finely wrought characters, brought together in the end by Sparrow’s investigation, are as surprised as readers will be by the astonishing conclusion.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Five Came Back, Mark Harris, a wonderful peek at the culture and history of the time...

Five Came Back, by Mark Harris

My tears helped close the book 

Maybe I am one of the oldest reviewers, so my perspective is different. Stories and happenings in this book affected me as a child, even the greatest movies. I was there, alert and watching the adult world.  I knew of Ford, Huston, Wyler, and Capra...I knew lots of things a child should not or might not have known, but I was a reader and loved the movies.

 Deeply affected as a child by this monstrous happening, I was and am stil able to cry over the
 event.  Eventually, I wrote two books, about the culture and the war, before and after 1941 and
 1945 from that childhood point of view. 
The generations since, can only try to understand what it was like. it is very hard to capture
the collective consciousness of the time.  Mark Harris himself, may not have experienced it, and
may never really know it, like someone who lived it, but , he captured the era brilliantly.
The directors infused us with patriotism,  through news shorts that were shown in movies at the 
Saturday matinee, as well as the adult times. We were right and we were going to win the war.
I could once again feel that patriotism that ran through our veins , adults and children alike.  
Our loved ones, would come home!

My uncles came alive again as the Directors moved through the war with the different branches
of the service and when the war ended our family was one of the lucky ones.  Everyone came home, 
even two of them wounded as young men. Harold Russell, was our hero in my hometown of Framingham, Mass., near where he lived.  I even knew who he was and had seen him, in awe, at least once. 

Filming the atrocities of war so we could see it on the big screen on Saturday matinee made us all aware of the tremendous sacrifice of life.  For what?  For one man to rule the world , I often 
thought .

It was the pictures of the souls in the death camps that raised the hackles! The final sickening 
straw!  How , why ?  The damage done to Director George Stevens who saw  photographed ,
and experienced, was so real and profound . I visualized once again those horrors.  One can only
imagine the soldiers who stepped up to soothe, calm, and comfort the barely living survivors who
 rose from among stacks of dead bodies. I screamed once again inside me at the utter horror of evil men who walked the earth with us.

The horrid cruelty of the Japanese toward their  prisoners and the Red Cross, came back to me and I remembered asking Mom and Dad and myself, why the Emperor got away with this ? Harris answered 
that question after all these years.   I still think the Emperor should have done something to 
stop the war and should have paid a price for not doing that. 
Through the lives of five men , the war came back and though these men were older than me by 39
 plus or minus years , we shared a common collective consciousness .  I wonder if this is proof 
 of that collective consciousness and how we make our world?  I know none of us wanted war, but
 once we were in it we all were in it to win.  Yes, when it was over we "had enough." 
A great narrative, stirring and so enveloping about the time including the investigation into 
Communism in Hollywood and more are all there.

Yes, a few tears peeked out as I closed the book for the last time and put the era back to sleep 
in my mind , but not before I had made comparisons about the rise of Hitler with the rise of
 terrorism. History is repeating itself !

My tears helped close the book 


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Isnt it Romantic Michael Feinstein

This is probably my favorite , just listen to the voice, the arrangement and see if you agree....beautiful presentation......  the qulity of his voice is perfect....

Wow! Michael Feinstein reviews THE B Ben Yagoda. in New York Times Book Review 2/15/2015

What a pleasant surprise, because I happen to think that Michael Feinstein has "it" as a musician.  What a treat to find he had written  a review of this book that talks about the great music we had from the 1920's to the 1950's, which I love and blog about on my other blog, Madlyn Fafard , Lifes a Blast!

The loss of the great music of the past was a combination of the bosses, and the artists, of the time, and I remember the arrogance of some of my friends, which probably reflected the opinion of others.  I happened to love all types of music, and if I said that I loved a country song, I was considered a country bumpkin by my Northeast friends...( back when we were teens), and who would listen to to opera?  Who liked jazz...?
Boogie Woogie was not everyone's cup of tea either.....we all asked for it...!

But, what woke me up back then was Les Paul and his new sound....that is when I finally realized that the piano was on the way out and the guitar was on the way in as the instrument of choice, never dreaming that the piano would never again eclipse the guitar.  ( at least it seems that way)

If you want to know what went on in the music world of those days, and the advent of the 1960's music...which never leaves me either because suddenly, I was caught in the music of the a party one night and I was in love with music again....

If you check my blog there were great singers in the 60's that get little credit, like Don Cherry, he had a wonderful voice, I played his records over and over.... Billy Eckstein was still around, ohhh!  great singing and of course Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn.... and jazz was catching on more and more, and lives big time today in my world....

Thank you for the review Michael Weinstein....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thank You For Arguing by Jay Heinrichs

5.0 out of 5 stars Great tool for politician and especially for teachers!, January 28, 2015
By madlyn fafard (Florida, USA)
This review is from: Thank You For Arguing, Revised and Updated Edition: What Aristotle, Lincoln, And Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
This is a perfect book for teachers to build a curriculum around, it can be used in a six grade classroom and on up... to combine subjects with English lessons, it can be used for team work, and to bring alive History.

The book is brilliant in teaching youngsters points that will stay with them all their lives, such as...." wait til late in a meeting ( or a discussion) then speak in the tone of a reluctant conclusion (implying that sheer logic not personal interest compels you)" Often 6th graders can not wait to have you call on them, teaching them the value of being heard at the end is priceless.

Another lesson is learning "there is virtue in moderation", straight from Aristotle. In this way, hopefully adressing an argument that points out there are reasonable people on both sides of the fence that hold a 'moderate opinion'.

Today with so many professors asking for people to let their voice be heard, we have lost moderation, and gained more than peaceful demonstrations. None of us want that, so I suggest that not only grade school teachers consider building classes in rhetoric from a book like this, but even college professors, so we can learn to "get along" instead of building up more rage, and dislike for each other with who has the loudest voice, or the biggest following who can block a road or ransack a neighborhood.

The book is excellent for politicians,it explains how Barack Obama was able to captivate his audience with his speeches.The average reader and or teacher will use it as a bible to accomplish the skills needed.

Jay Heinrichs should be visiting our colleges and giving some of his great examples.