Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘book review’

Pumpkin…a book review.

This is such a cute book.  Kids will love it, as will adults who love animals.  Pumpkin fell out the nest during a wind storm and had a broken leg.  The story continues and she ends up living her very best life with her two sister rescue dogs, who had been horribly abused.

This is a joyful and playful book, with Pumpkin and her sisters, snuggling and playing.  She does’t climb because she thinks she’s a dog so stays on the ground with them.  LOL

The photographs are full page and adorable.  It’s very sweet.

Beth, I think you would love this for the kids.  The love just comes right off the page and teaches that we are all pretty much the same, except that Pumpkin washes her food.

You can see the inside photographs on Amazon.  Not a lot of writing, just a lot of fun and cuteness.

Book review…

This is a well made book.  Dense, heavy and honest.

At first I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling weird while reading it and then I realized that it was because Judy was telling the truth, about herself, her life, and the male dominated world of art.

Sh doesn’t make excuses for men or the critics. She names names, calls things what they are.  She’s loud and forward.  She knows who she is, deep down inside. She does the work.

The press tried to destroy her, men and women alike.   But she never gave up.  She was misunderstood and attacked by critics who were afraid of her work, as she sometimes was herself, because of its strength and power.  Many just didn’t have the ability to see what she was saying through her art and were threatened by it.  Some still are.

Often broke she kept going. Struggling, but working and spreading feminism wherever she went.

There is a happy ending.  That’s unusual for a woman artist.  The fact that she has been recognized while she’s still alive is kind of amazing.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in art, feminism, the art world, critics, the erasure and destruction of female artists, the prejudice and sexism attached to everything, and a spirit that just would not lay down and die.  Judy Chicago is an example of one who made it, in spite of those who tried to destroy her.

Book review…Believe Me


I’m a fan.  Love Eddie.  Listen to his CDs and watch his shows on DVD.  Having typed that…I couldn’t wait to finish the book, and I never found the jazz chickens.  That’s probably my fault, since I did start skimming and skipping pages near the end.  The end seems rushed, while almost three hundred pages are about his childhood.

It’s not a bad book, it’s just excruciatingly detailed in parts.  Way too much detail about his time in school from the age of four, and when he’s older.  Too much on how to fly a plane.  There are many footnotes, and not your regular ones either…descriptions and explanations of people and incidents.  Some of he footnotes are quite long. They break up the main story. like two different stories on one page.

I’m not sorry I read it…I would just like to cut some of the bits out and smash the rest together so that it flowed better and didn’t waste time on the unimportant parts that were already well described.  Needed an editor.

His mother’s death, when he was four, or five, has colored his entire life and with good reason.  After her death he, and his brother, were put into boarding schools and that’s where they stayed.  His father traveled 3/4th of the year so their life went from happy family to isolation and nothing overnight.

The book was interesting.  He’s a nice person and I love his humor.  But it’s slow going a lot of the time. I bought the book at a going out of business bookstore sale.  Another one bites the dust as Freddie would say.  I was so excited to read it.  And, if you’re a fan, you might want to read it as well.  He had a difficult life but made his dreams come true.  He never stops trying and he’s a fantastic stand-up.  I just watched DRESSED TO KILL on DVD.  He’s great.

Book review…


This is a beautifully made book.  Heavy, nice paper, every page filled with artwork. It’s a normal size, but very short book because it’s written as you see in on the cover, in typed strips.  The story describes our system/way of life, that doesn’t work, from the point of a kid who can’t understand why things are the way they are.

It’s like poetry in motion, with an important point.  It’s difficult to live, when things don’t make sense.  Interesting book you may want to check out.

Just finished reading UN/MASKED…review

I’m a big fan of the Guerrilla Girls.  Have all their books, etc., seen them in person.  They are wonderful and do great work exposing the terrible discrimination against women in the arts.

But this book is about domestic violence, by a well known male movie star, William Hurt.* Battering is putting it mildly.  It’s about Donna Kaz’s life as a playwright, actor, and many other things, including, being his “girlfriend.”  It’s about how she lied to herself about the violence, and gave up parts of her life for the man she loved…the man who beat her.

It’s also about the Guerrilla Girls, but that part is small in comparison.

I bought the book because of the Guerrilla Girls, so was disappointed that the majority of the book was not about them.  But all in all, The book is an indictment of how much women are left out of the art world…completely.  How things are set up to make sure women do not get noticed and are never given a chance to show their work.

If you’re interested in any of these subjects, this is a well written and good book to read.

*She never mentions his last name in the book.

ALL THE COLORS OF LIFE, by Lisa Aisato…a book review

I could hardly wait for this book to come out.  I received it yesterday.

It’s a coffee table size book and the author/artist, Lisa Aisato is one in a million.  The artwork is incredible.  The book is touching, funny sweet and so very beautiful.  Few words.  Sometimes just two on one page.  The pictures are full page wonders.

The book goes from birth, through childhood, teens, young adult, adults and aging.  It covers every feeling in a watercolor.  A face, a look, a memory.  She captures life through her paintings.

I highly recommend this book.  Really.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  It would make a wonderful gift to yourself, or to someone you care about.  🙂

HUMANS…book review

This arrived yesterday and I read the whole thing.  I loved HUMANS OF NEW YORK and HUMANS OF NEW YORK/Stories.  Didn’t like LITTLE HUMANS at all, but I was excited to see that there was a new book.

The photographs are wonderful but I can’t recommend this book to anyone other than those looking for more misery in their lives.  There are some cute kids among the pages and a couple of nice stories but for the most part it’s a book about broken dreams, loss, death, sickness, hopelessness and abject poverty.  I felt terrible after I was finished it.

There are a few longer stories, which I didn’t like, or finish.  I like the short blurbs, and the stories of New Yorker’s were still the ones that didn’t make me feel like there was no hope left in the entire world.  War, rape, dreams that it was too late to catch,   Women held prisoner by their culture and the men around them, abuse, hunger, constant work, scrounging for money.  Divorce, sick kids, and death, always death.  It’s about kids being physically and mentally abused, orphans being physically and mentally abused, kids wondering what the point is, living on the streets, just so much hopelessness.  So many horrible parents, adults, and governments destroying so many lives.

So, unless you want to read about the horror around the world, which actually makes New York look like a piece of cake, don’t read this book.  Aside from a couple of happy people, the book made me feel as if there’s no reason to ever believe that happiness can possibly exist.  It’s a terrible world, everywhere.  The things we do to each other are so horrific and destructive…and deadly.

And when the younger people talk about their dreams, you want to look away, knowing that they don’t have a chance.  And all the while, girls fighting to just be able to leave the house.  Forced marriages, terrible things.

Depressing.  Very depressing.

BOOK OF THE YEAR? Really? Why? (review)

***** for Artwork
*  content

The artwork is wonderful.  Sweet, charming, seemingly simple and adorable.

The only reason the story isn’t ridiculous is because it’s about a boy with animals.  I don’t think anyone would buy this book if it was written about people.

Message:  Asking for help is not a weakness, it’s a strength.  Friends matter.

Better message:  Cake is good, especially if you’re a mole.

It is impossible for me to understand how this book could have been voted BOOK OF THE YEAR for any other reason than its looks/art.

I read the reviews on Amazon and FYI, the book is difficult for many people to read.  For some children, it’s impossible, since cursive is no longer being taught in schools.  The print is blotchy and I can understand why people were complaining.  I didn’t have a problem with it and I’m only mentioning it because other people wrote about it.

All in all, the book can be read in the time it takes to enjoy a cup of tea.  The message is supposed to be gentle and deep but it’s actually silly and trite, for today’s world.  Again, the book is sweet because of the adorable ANIMALS.

This book reminds me of all the signs that are for sale today.  The one’s that tell people that Today is the First Day of the Rest of their Lives, or whatever.  It belongs in a nursery for infants who don’t have to face the bullies on the playground.  It’s a dreamy, utopian kind of message that seems to say, it’s okay to not always be able to do things by yourself and there’s strength in asking for help.  The premise assumes that people don’t already ask for help when they need it.  A lot of people do ask for help, sometimes too much. For those who feel they can’t ask for help, this book won’t solve their problems in any way at all.

Bottom line:  If you want to be happy, hang out with animals.  That’s actually what the book is telling all of us, whether the author knows it or not.




Okay, so…

I spent quite a bit of time with this book.  With the pictures and with the artist, who wrote his thoughts and feelings on some of the pages.  There’s not a lot of writing, but this man doesn’t need many words, you can feel what he’s saying.

Mr. Thorpe is a loving and gentle man.  He feels deeply, you can see that in his work.  His images are are large and bold, vibrant and without detail.  His work is wonderful and, at times incredibly deep.

If you don’t know his art, you may want to look him up.

Okay, so…

i picked up a copy of ON WRITING WELL, by William Zinsser.  A blurb on the cover said, More Than One Million Copies Sold.  I don’t understand why.   I couldn’t read it.  I skimmed through the first couple of chapters and noticed that he didn’t feel the need to include women in writing…the she/her of it all.  He thought “he” was just fine and cutting out an entire gender was no big deal…until…women wrote to him and complained.  So, he revised, feeling that he had to do something to appease women (and sell books).  He still doesn’t like including females, it’s bulky and there are no real rules for how to do it.  I guess his flow gets interrupted.  Anyway, he never once mentioned dropping “he” and just using “she”.  Men do hate that.  They don’t want to have anything to do with “she,” but feel women should be happy to be included in “he.”  Yeah, no.  Men fret and worry about s/he, he or she, him or her, never putting she before he.  See, no matter what, women just seem to get in the way of the good old boys club.  The one with the sign that says:  NO GIRLS ALLOWED.

I wanted to set the book on fire, after reading about his sad s/he dilemma.  Unfortunately, my cauldron wasn’t big enough to hold the entire book and I wasn’t up to tearing it into bits to feed the flames.  Besides, the cat hates it when I dance and cast spells in daylight.  So, another book for the recycling bin.  Maybe it will be turned into Ms. Magazine.  Then his book would finally be inclusive, filled with SHE’S and HER’S.   I’d like that.  Yeah, I’d like that a lot.

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