Friday, February 26, 2010

The South Park Episode Guide, Volume 1 Seasons 1-5 Book Review

The South Park Episode Guide, Volume 1 Seasons 1-5 Book Review

About the Book: Since its debut in 1997, South Park has been one of the best loved, most watched, and intensely controversial shows on television. The animated series about four 4th graders—Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny—has perennially been a critical triumph and a regular ratings monster. And it boasts an enormous legion of diehard fans who would kill (Kenny) to get their hands on this book.


Inside you’ll find entertaining, informative, and colorful descriptions of each episode of South Park from Season 1 through 5. Each episode is presented on a full-color spread featuring detailed plot descriptions, character sketches, celebrity-guest rundowns, dead-body counts, pointless observations, insider information, unexpected trivia, memorable quotes, colorful screen grabs, and much more.


Our Take: We love South Park here at the Legion.  The show has been on the air and causing mischief since 1997, and still going strong.  Anyone that has seen it knows that no celebrity or social subject matter is off limits.  They do a great job of not taking sides, but mocking all extremes on every issue.

When I first heard about these episode guides, I wasn't quite sure what the point was.  I mean, you can look up any episode guide on the net, right?  Well, not like this one you can't.  This isn't just some episode guide...this is an all-out, in-depth look at the first five seasons of the show.

Each episode is given two pages of summaries, trivia, behind the scenes tidbits and graphics.  For example....one of my personal favorite episodes "Gnomes".  It aired during season two as the 17th episode.  The book tells us the body count for the episode, pop culture references, memorable quotes, pointless observations, character debuts and several paragraphs about the actual story.  In this episode it tells us as a pointless observation that "The band Toto performs at a Prop 10 rally.  A costumed character named Camel Joe, used by Harbucks to drum up business with kids, is a thinly veiled reference to Joe Camel.  This is the first time that Token is actually referred to as "Token".  Up to this point, he has just been a background character.  The logline for Tweek Bros. Coffee is "30 Years of Tweekers." 

The book is so very in-depth and a perfect gift for any fan.  Its a good birthday gift or a nice thing to just pick up for yourself.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com or The Running Press Website

The Lovely Bones Book Review

The Lovely Bones Book Review

About the Book: Once in a generation a novel comes along that taps a vein of universal human experience, resonating with readers of all ages. THE LOVELY BONES is such a book -- a #1 bestseller celebrated at once for its artistry, for its luminous clarity of emotion, and for its astonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world.


"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, THE LOVELY BONES succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.

The major motion picture version of THE LOVELY BONES, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Saoirse Ronan is scheduled for release on December 11, 2009.

Our Take: I know that this is a book that I should've read many years ago.  My wife read it long ago and we discussed it, but I had forgotten about the Lovely Bones, until I heard about the recent movie being made.   I don't know why I avoided it, I guess the subject matter was a bit heavy.   Reading about the death of a child, especially in a brutal fashion, isn't my idea of fun.  That being said, I do think that this book serves a greater purpose, especially to those that have experienced loss.

This book is about connections more than anything.  The victim, a young teen girl named Susie Salmon, is murdered by her neighbor Mr. Harvey in the beginning of the book.  From that point on she becomes a fly on the wall, watching her loved ones deal with her death in the coming years.  She has to watch her family struggle and fall apart emotionally, all the while she is longing for things she missed out on in life.  I have never in my life read such an emotionally poignant piece of fiction.  This story takes you through a rollercoaster of emotion.  Its a wonderful story of grief and acceptance, and it can really give you a good healthy perspective on appreciating the ones that you love in your life.  All too often we take our lives for granted.

I have to highly, HIGHLY recommend this book.  Read it before you see the film if you can.  If you've already seen the film, read the book.  Its even better.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com or The Hachette Book Group Website

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Am Ozzy Book Review

 I Am Ozzy Book Review

About the Book: "They've said some crazy things about me over the years. I mean, okay: 'He bit the head off a bat.' Yes. 'He bit the head off a dove.' Yes. But then you hear things like, 'Ozzy went to the show last night, but he wouldn't perform until he'd killed fifteen puppies . . .' Now me, kill fifteen puppies? I love puppies. I've got eighteen of the f**king things at home. I've killed a few cows in my time, mind you. And the chickens. I shot the chickens in my house that night.

It haunts me, all this crazy stuff. Every day of my life has been an event. I took lethal combinations of booze and drugs for thirty f**king years. I survived a direct hit by a plane, suicidal overdoses, STDs. I've been accused of attempted murder. Then I almost died while riding over a bump on a quad bike at f**king two miles per hour.

People ask me how come I'm still alive, and I don't know what to say. When I was growing up, if you'd have put me up against a wall with the other kids from my street and asked me which one of us was gonna make it to the age of sixty, which one of us would end up with five kids and four grandkids and houses in Buckinghamshire and Beverly Hills, I wouldn't have put money on me, no f**king way. But here I am: ready to tell my story, in my own words, for the first time.

A lot of it ain't gonna be pretty. I've done some bad things in my time. I've always been drawn to the dark side, me. But I ain't the devil. I'm just John Osbourne: a working-class kid from Aston, who quit his job in the factory and went looking for a good time."


Our Take: Alright, listen.  I don't like Ozzy's music.  I don't.  I won't lie to you.  Its not that I'm not into rock or metal..I am.  Its blasphemous to speak out against the Ozz-Man...but I always have.  What turned the tide for me was the reality show 'The Osbournes'.  I tuned into this show week after week to watch the odd, but loving family that Ozzy and Sharon had raised.   The show made me absolutely fall in love with Ozzy and his family...it even made his music sound better.  Go figure.

When I saw that Ozzy was writing a book I was confused.  Ozzy can barely speak through his thick accent, how is he ever going to communicate?!  He managed, thankfully, and the result is a book thats full of great and cheeky memories from his lifetime.  I wasn't convinced until I heard Ozzy on the Howard Stern Show and he pulled off a great and honest interview with the rocker.  I just found myself yearning to learn more.

He takes us all through his childhood as a poor boy on the streets of the industrial town of Aston in England.  He recounts amusing stories of embaressment, bullying, childhood delinquincy and even abuse from teachers at school.  You learn very quickly what made Ozzy who he is today...a short attention span, an intense fear of growing old and dying in Aston doing factory work and the escape that he felt he needed from his impending life.  He took that escape so far, in fact, that he actually managed to escape it!

Ozzy takes us through a hilarious and sometimes disturbing journey into the presesent day. Through Black Sabbath..his solo years and even the Osburne's tv show.   This is a must for any Ozzy fan.  Even if you're a non-fan like me..this is still a very interesting and fun read! 

Where to Buy: Amazon.com or the Hachette Book Group Website

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Android Karenina Final Cover Art!

I'm a bit late in posting this up, but a few weeks back Quirk sent over the final cover art for their June release Android Karenina!

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters coauthor Ben H. Winters is back with an all-new collaborator, legendary Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and the result is Android Karenina: an enhanced edition of the classic love story set in a strange new world of robots, cyborgs, and interplanetary travel. 

Further info about this release can be found on the Quirk books site: http://www.quirkclassics.com/index.php?q=quirk-classic-4

Watch for more on this title soon here on Book Legion!

The South Park Kit: Dude, Sweet Review

The South Park Kit: Dude, Sweet Review

About the Kit: South Park has built a remarkably large and loyal fan base since its debut in 1997. Now for the first time ever, fans can get their hands on the official South Park Kit and all its cool contents. Kit includes:

• Goth Kids coffee mug
• Towelie microfiber computer cloth
• Terrance and Philip movie poster
• Warning: Manbearpig! poster
• Vote Douche and Vote Turd campaign pins
South Park Word Magnet
The Ultimate South Park Fan Trivia Quiz book

Our Take: This kit is comprised of both very good and very bad items.  Allow me to explain....firstly and most importantly we should focus on the book.  There is an ultimate trivia quiz book packed into the set.   This book has page after page of obscure South Park trivia.  Its very thorough, well put together and a fun read. 

The kit has a few very positive items, like the Goth kids mug.  If you've seen the goth kids episode, then you realize how funny this is.  If not, well, then you need to see it!  Trust me.  Also, the Towelie computer cloth and the magnets are very cool.

The set does have a few downsides.  Its not that these are actually bad things, they're just not that interesting to maybe an average fan.  The Manbearpig poster is kind of obscure, even for South Park fans.  I would've much rather had just a poster with a ton of the cast members on it, but thats just me.

Overall, a great set. This one makes a very affordable and fun gift.

How to Buy: You can get this item on Amazon.com or on the Running Press website

Che: A Graphic Biography Book Review

Che: A Graphic Biography Book Review

About the Book: A symbol of counterculture worldwide, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is one of the most, if not the most, recognizable and influential revolutionary figures of the twentieth century. From the pages of history textbooks to silk-screened T-shirts at Urban Outfitters, his mythologized face is positively unavoidable. But what, exactly, does this glorified image stand for?

Our Take: He has already been plastered on t-shirts and band stickers for decades, and now Che Guevara has become a comic book super star!  The question does beg from many people, who is Che?  Why is he so important?  This book takes great strives to answer those questions.

The writing in the graphic novel is obviously not as extensive as it could be in an all-out book, but I've read my share of comics books both in childhood and adulthood and this one stacks up nicely.  It is respectful and does justice to the source material and is careful to stay unbiased on the subject.

Now, the just as important aspect in a graphic novel....the artwork.  I'm an artist myself and I'm rather particular about such things.  I have to be honest, I wasn't impressed by the art in this title.  The drawings of Che look enough like him, but they're very basic and uninteresting.  It would've been nice to see someone with either more skill or a unique style take a shot at it.  Still, it is good enough to make the book an enjoyable read.

Che: A Comic Biography is a great way to get a young person or someone interested in comics to read something real.  Che's story is one of humanity and struggle and independance and it should be shared with all generations.

How to buy: You can get this title on Amazon.com or the Hill and Wang website

The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created "Alice in Wonderland" Book Review

The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created "Alice in Wonderland" Book Review

Book Synopsis:  A new biography of Lewis Carroll, just in time for the release of Tim Burton’s all-star Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll was brilliant, secretive and self contradictory. He reveled in double meanings and puzzles, in his fiction and his life. Jenny Woolf’s The Mystery of Lewis Carroll shines a new light on the creator of Alice In Wonderland and brings to life this fascinating, but sometimes exasperating human being whom some have tried to hide. Using rarely-seen and recently discovered sources, such as Carroll’s accounts ledger and unpublished correspondence with the “real” Alice’s family, Woolf sets Lewis Carroll firmly in the context of the English Victorian age and answers many intriguing questions about the man who wrote the Alice books, such as: • Was it Alice or her older sister that caused him to break with the Liddell family? • How true is the gossip about pedophilia and certain adult women that followed him? • How true is the “romantic secret” which many think ruined Carroll’s personal life? • Who caused Carroll major financial trouble and why did Carroll successfully conceal that person’s identity and actions? Woolf answers these and other questions to bring readers yet another look at one of the most elusive English writers the world has known.

Our Take: We've always been interested in the enigma of Lewis Carroll, but with the new Disney/Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland sequel coming to theaters in March 2010, our excitement is really amping up!  This is a perfect time to release this very insightful and interesting book on the truth behind the mystique of Lewis Carroll, and St. Martin's Press did just that!

The full-size hardcover book has a very attractive dust jacket (see above) and gives a very crisp presentation visually.  The text is easy to read through and doesn't get too wordy.  It would be easy to get overly verbose with a period character like Carroll, or to give in to pressures to seem deeper than one is to gain credibility, but the author does a very nice job of speaking to you directly and in simple terms.

This isn't just a re-hash of older biographical tributes.  The Mystery of Lewis Carroll actually has new things to say and new revelations, such as his bank account that was found in the archvies of Barclay's Bank.  The records of the account sheds new light on the various charitable contributions that Carroll was responsible for, which are vast, generous and compassionate.  This book paints the picture of a man that is often misunderstood, and therefore should be read.  We highly recommend this title.

How to Buy: You can get this hardcover book on Amazon.com or on the St. Martin's Website

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials Book Review

Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials Book Review

About This Book: By its nature, do-it-yourself sewing is environmentally friendly. In Sewing Green, Betz White takes stitching to an even higher level of sustainability, presenting 25 projects made from "repurposed" thrift-store and back-of-the-closet finds and organic fabrics.

White’s whimsical yet practical designs include an apron constructed from men’s dress shirts (and a wallet from the shirts’ cuffs!), a soft blanket pieced from secondhand cashmere sweaters, and even a tote bag refashioned from used Tyvek envelopes. Along the way, White dispenses tips on everything from how to deconstruct old garments for reuse in new creations to how to wrap gifts with resusable fabric scraps instead of paper.

Inspiring profiles about well-known leaders in the eco-stitching movement are sprinkled throughout, and a complete resources section helps crafters make eco-smart choices. With Sewing Green, today’s sewers will be fashioning handmade heirlooms and sustaining traditions for generations to come.

Our Take: We've been through a lot of sewing books in our day.  My wife is a seamstress and she creates a lot of her own clothing by re-using and re-making old clothing, so we felt that this book might be of interest.  We werent' prepared for just how amazing and innovative it was going to be!

This book not only teaches one how to sew some creative projects, but if has a large focus on actual repurposing.  One great example is a sunshade made from Capri Sun fruit drink pouches and a picnic blanket made from old vinyl tableclothes.  The author even goes as far as to include paterns in the back of the book for your use!

In a day and age when we're all not only trying to be green, but to save a few dollars, this book is well worth the investment.  It can help you to recycle and re-use all sorts of old household items to make new and useful ones.  Its absolutely amazing and unique.  This book would make a great gift for anyone of any age. 

Where to Buy: Amazon.com or on the official Abrams site

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The South Park Guide to Life Book Review

The South Park Guide to Life Book Review

About the Book: Since the first episode aired on Comedy Central in 1997, South Park has proven to be one of the most socially relevant and downright hilarious television shows of all time. No series skewers pop culture and politics with more effective wit and wisdom than South Park—from dysfunctional family life to bad manners to the entire country of Canada, for the residents of this tiny town, no subject is sacred or taboo!
A regular ratings monster and Emmy-winner, South Park is also an unlikely source of advice on all facets of life. Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny along with the rest of the town offer hilariously twisted insights and questionable counsel on topics such as teamwork, spirituality, and the opposite sex. South Park Guide to Life is a much anticipated collection of colorful illustrations and original lines from the show. Great for grads and fans alike!

Our Take: Are you a South Park fan?  If you've seen the show, you probably are.  Oh, maybe you don't like to admit it so much, but you laugh..admit it!   Here at Book Legion we're unabashed fans of the juvenille humor of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny!  This novelty book, 'The South Park Guide To Life', is not only affordable, but its fun.

This book offers still shots from the show with some of the funniest quotes from its various characters.  Its a straight-up comedy book.  No unnecessary text, just quote after hilarious and inappropriate quote!

Its one of those thats great to have sitting around in the restroom..on a coffee table..or even in the car for when you're bored and need to kill a little time.  Its a great pick-me-up to have on your desk at work when you want to lighten up. 

Where to Buy: Amazon.com or the Running Press Site

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sports Illustrated Kids Book Series Review

Sports Illustrated Kids Book Series Review

Reading Levels: Ages 3-8


About the Books:
Battle for Home Plate: Justin and Carlos have played on the same baseball team since their T-ball days. But this season, the friends are forced to play on rival teams. Carlos makes new friends on the field, and Justin is left in the dust. When their teams face each other in the final game of the season, Justin and Carlos aren't even speaking. The game comes down to one run, and Carlos rounds third. What will happen when the former best friends collide at home plate?

Full Court Pressure: Star defensive player Zack Fuller is in a tough spot. His new Panthers teammates don't trust him. The players on the Bulldogs, his old squad, think he's a traitor for leaving. When the two teams face each other in the playoffs, Zack has to guard his former best friend. To make matters worse, the Panthers captain refuses to pass the ball to Zack. Caught between a Panther and a Bulldog, and in serious foul trouble, Zack will have to find a way to play through the pressure.

Kickoff Blitz: Tou Yang is the smallest kid on his football team, but he plays like a giant. Tou's job is to dash down the field and smash the ball carrier on kickoffs and punts, and he does it well. When the Bandits come to town, an old enemy on the other side of the line goes out of his way to bring Tou down. Darren cuts corners and plays dirty. Will Tou be able to overcome his gridiron bully, or will Darren send him to the sidelines?

Point-Blank Paintball: Peter and Noah Eccleston are identical twins, so it's no surprise they make the perfect paintball teammates. But when Coach Patterson offers them a chance to compete for a single spot on his elite paintball team, the brothers turn on each other. With markers blazing, the twins cut down the competition with ease. But when they finally face off against each other for a point-blank shootout, who will be the first to pull the trigger?

Reality Check: When he's playing hockey, Ricky Holder hits hard and never holds back. During a scrimmage, Ricky plays rough and injures his own team's top scorer. Ricky's father is proud of him, but his teammates ditch him because of his dangerous checks. Ricky tries to ease up a little, but his teammates won't forgive him, and his father is mad that he's not giving 110 percent. Can he fix things before the state's toughest team comes to town?

Skateboard Sonar: Matty Lyons is a top-notch skateboarder who can do all the coolest tricks. His moves are even more impressive since he's blind. But not everyone is a fan of the talented grinder. During the state's biggest skating competition, former champion Bing Hawtin mocks Matty, saying that a blind kid has no chance to win. But Matty knows something Bing doesn't . . . seeing isn't everything.

Our Take: Ok, let me start out by announcing that I am NOT a sports fan.  I'm not into sports...not a sports person whatsoever.  You may have guessed this by the fact that I run a network of nerdy websites.  I mean, I review books....what'd you seriously expect, right?  Here is the thing with these releases from Capstone Kids....they rock, plain and simple.  Why?  Read on....



I gave this stack of books from Capstone and Sports Illustrated Kids to my own children and they went nuts!  They too aren't into sports, but these aren't books for jocks.  These are extreme sports and the focus is really on the characters and story.  The sports hobbies are really just a backdrop.  They're fun and interesting and not at all geared just towards jocky kids.

We wanted to feature this series and bring them to your attention, whether you're a librarian, teacher or a parent, these titles should be in your possession!  They can be purchased in hardback library binding or softcover.


Where to Buy: The Capstone Publishing Website

Dolor: Chrissy Book II Review

Dolor: Chrissy Book II Review
Written by: Rick Florino
Art by: Kristel Lerman

Book Synopsis: Rob is having a really bad day.
After getting stood up by a date, he leaves the Dolor Mall during a blizzard. As he's walking into the storm, a car suddenly sideswipes him out of nowhere, speeding off and leaving him covered in blood. Awakening in the hospital, Rob finds out from Officer Caleb Taylor that he's in way more trouble than he thought. However, things get really strange once Rob's kidnapped from the hospital by someone too perfect and beautiful to trust?

Our Take: I've been into graphic novels my entire life.  Its a passion of mine, so when I see an indie book series out, like this Dolor, I stand up and take notice.

When I first see this book, the cover stands out with credibility as something taken very seriously by author Rick Florino.  When you delve into the book you're greated by a plethora of text.  I can pick up a comic and whip through it in five minutes, but not this book.  Its got so much dialogue and story that it really gives you your money's worth.  The look and feel really reminds me of the original Crow graphic novel, which was an independant masterpiece of it's era. 

The artwork by Kristel Lerman is fantastic.  Her pencils are crisp and stylized.  They aren't computer altered or touched, they're real and imperfect and thus perfect.  I'm an artist myself, so I'm very particular about such things and I was impressed.

This second book in the Dolor series is not only a fun read, but its a fantastic and twisted look into an entirely new world!  I highly recommend it.

Where to Buy:  www.BookOfDolor.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dc Super Heroes Wonder Woman Animated Book Series Review!

Dc Super Heroes Wonder Woman Animated Book Series Review! 

Book Synopsis: WONDER WOMAN, the AMAZON PRINCESS, battles for peace and justice around the globe. With her amazing strength and intelligence, and armed with the LASSO OF TRUTH and bulletproof silver bracelets, this fearless champion is the world's greatest female super hero.

Our Take: There have been a lot of takes on Wonder Woman over the years, the most recent of which was the fantastic Dc Universe Wonder Woman animated film.  What Capstone Kids has done is create a series of books under their Dc Super  Heroes banner for the Amazonian princess that closely resembles her 'Timm-Verse' version in the now defunct Justice League/Justice League Unlimited
 show.  The series has already included Batman and Superman titles, both featuring their Timmverse animated versions, although theirs is less JL and more from their individual animated series. 

The Wonder Woman titles feature a lot of action, as Wonder Woman battles her most famous foes, like Cheetah, and takes part in the Amazonian trials!  This is a great series of books for any Wonder Woman fan, and its perfect for the kid in your life too.  I know that my daughter is really into Wonder Woman.  She feels like its a part of the Dc Super Hero universe that she can relate to.    These four new titles are sure to please.  I'd recommend them for easter basket gifts...Valentine's Day presents..birthday gifts or just for the heck of it.  Books are never a bad gift and this is a great way to get your kids into the characters that they will read as full-fledge comics later in life.  Its also perfect for Wonder Woman collectors who, lets face it, don't get a lot of new exciting product.  We highly recommend!

How to Buy: You can get this entire set on the Capstone Kids site.

Jake Stays Awake Book Review

 Jake Stays Awake Book Review

Book Synopsis: Jake can’t sleep. He climbs into bed with his mom and dad.  Now Jake’s parents can’t sleep.  Even the dog is awake.  This family needs a good night’s rest. Where can they sleep?  The answer will delight and reassure children and their (sleep-deprived) parents!

Our Take: This is one of two Jake books.  There is also a 'Jake Goes to School'.  This title is written and illustrated by author Michael Wright.   This hardcover kids short tale is about a little boy named Jake that just can't fall asleep.  He decides to join his parents in bed and insanity ensues, eventually ending in Jake making peace with sleeping on his own.  This title is not only helpful for parents trying to push bedtime independance on their kids, but its theraputic for parents that have a difficult time with their transitioning child.

The book is illustrated completely by computer, likely using Adobe Illustrator.  The colors are pure and vibrant and the book honestly doesn't need hand-drawn illustration to get the point across (though we do always give extra points here at Book Legion for actual artwork in a kids title!).

We definately recommend this one for any parent of a 1-5 year old.  Hopefully your 6 year old or above is already in their own bed full-time...for your sake! Jake Stays Awake is an absolute delight...fun for kids and a great guide for parents.

How To Buy: On the Feiwel & Friends Publisher Site or Amazon

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Concerning E.M. Forster Book Review


Concerning E.M. Forster Book Review

About the Book: A major reassessment of the great English novelist

This impressive new book by the celebrated British critic Frank Kermode examines hitherto neglected aspects of the novelist E. M. Forster’s life and work. Kermode is interested to see how it was that this apparently shy, reclusive man should have claimed and kept such a central position in the English writing of his time, even though for decades he composed no fiction and he was not close to any of his great contemporaries—Henry James, Ford Madox Ford, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce.

Concerning E. M. Forster has at its core the Clark Lectures that Kermode gave at Cambridge University in 2007 on the subject of Forster, eighty years after Forster himself gave those lectures, which became Aspects of the Novel. Kermode reappraised the influence and meaning of that great work, assessed the significance of Forster’s profound musicality (Britten thought him the most musical of all writers), and offered a brilliant interpretation of Forster’s greatest work, A Passage to India. But there is more to Concerning E. M. Forster than that. Thinking about Forster vis-├ávis other great modern writers, noting his interest in Proust and Gide and his lack of curiosity about American fiction, and observing that Forster was closest to the people who shared not his literary interests or artistic vocation but, rather, his homosexuality, Kermode’s book offers a wise, original, and persuasive new portrait not just of Forster but of twentieth-century English letters.

Our Take: Author Frank Kermode takes us into a world of intense intellectual banter as he takes on the subject of author E. M. Forster.  The first part of the book are basically transcripts of Kermode's Cambridge University lectures on the subject.  He then goes into a variety of topics about Forster's strenghts and weaknesses, in true literary critic fasion.

If you're not instantly familiar with Forster's name, you may recall his work 'A Passage to India'.  This novel is a primary focus in the rest of the book, as Kermode gives his own critique and criticisms of Forster's work.  He does into his weaknesses as an author and his strenghs.

If you're interested in or already into E. M. Forster, this book will interest you greatly.  If you've never heard of him, but you enjoy literay analyzation, you may be interested in this title as well.  Its a good read.

How to Buy: You can get this hardcover book on Amazon.com or the Farrar, Straus and Giroux Site

Youth in Revolt Book Review

Youth in Revolt Book Review 

About the Book: The hilarious, take-no-prisoners novel about a cynical, sex-obsessed teenager's pining love for an intelligent girl– now a major motion picture from Dimension Films starring Michael Cera

SIX MONTHS IN THE LIFE OF THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS TEENAGER

Youth in Revolt is the journals of Nick Twisp, California's most precocious diarist, whose ongoing struggles to make sense out of high school, deal with his divorced parents, and lose his virginity result in his transformation from an unassuming fourteen-year-old to a modern youth in open revolt. As his family splinters, worlds collide, and the police block all routes out of town, Nick must cope with economic deprivation, homelessness, the gulag of the public schools, a competitive type-A father, murderous canines, and an inconvenient hair trigger on his erectile response–all while vying ardently for the affections of the beauteous Sheeni Saunders, teenage goddess and ultimate intellectual goad.


Our Take: When this book came out back in the mid-1990s I had heard of it, but never picked it up.  I find that rather sad now, because as it turns out it would have appealed to me more back then even than now.  It may have even been theraputic.

Obviously you've heard of this film by now, thanks to the highly publicized film starring Michael Cera (Juno).  A lot of uproar has existed around this book from parents about how appropriate it may or may not be for a teenager to actually read.  Our feeling is that its actually great for them.  It discusses things like masturbation, sexual fantasy and aggression in hilarious and relatable ways.  I think that so many authors miss the mark when trying to relate to a teenager, but it seems that C.D. Payne really understands the teen male psyche and can get inside their heads.  Your teenager may laugh and relate to this title and honestly to find anything a teenager can relate to is a miracle, isn't it?

What if you're not a teenager?  Is this book for you?  Of course it is.  While this book can appeal to teens, its not necessarily meant for teens.  We were all teenagers once and I think that there is enough accessibility in this story to draw almost anyone in.   The book is written in the form of journal entries, so it can be a little hard to get used to the format at first, but once you get into it you'll wish the book was longer!

...and you get your wish, because C.D. Payne wrote a sequel to the book called 'Revolting Youth' and we'll be posting a review of that soon.  We highly recommend this title.

How to Buy: You can get this one on Amazon.com or on the Broadway Publishing Site

New Dc Super Heroes Superman Animated Book Series Review

New Dc Super Heroes Superman Animated Book Series Review
by Capstone Kids

The Book Series Overview: It's the newest, coolest offering from Stone Arch Books -- DC Super Hero chapter books, featuring the world's greatest superheroes. SUPERMAN, the MAN OF STEEL, defeats aliens and supervillains, and rescues LOIS LANE and JIMMY OLSEN. BATMAN, the DARK KNIGHT, prowls the shadowy streets of GOTHAM CITY with his partner, ROBIN THE BOY WONDER, putting fear into the hearts of the bad guys. These new stories, with original art by DC illustrators, will captivate young readers and give them glowing examples of bravery, loyalty, and true heroism.

Our Take: We've spotlighted all of the Dc Super Heroes Batman books from Capstone kids so far, with glowing praise.  Its easy to get on our good side when you're making 'Timm-Verse' era product.  Well, in that tradition now they've moved onto making Superman titles, based on the 1990s Timm designs from Superman: the Animated Series!  And honestly, we couldn't be more pleased!   I make my kids watch the old shows, because we don't have any decent new DC Comics cartoons, so this is the artwork they're used to in these books.  It makes perfect sense for them. 

The stories in the titles are great, they come off like a storybook version of the show, much how the accompanying comic books used to do.  You could go to the comic shop and buy the Superman or Batman animated comic and rather than re-hash the show it would give you further adventures to bring you into the animated universe.  There are some great quality stories here, even one written by our pal and comic writer Matthew K. Manning!

These come in library binding hardcover and softcover versions.  The hardcover are significantly more expensive around $19, while the softcover is only $6.  I'd recommend the hardcover versions for collectors, and we know there are a ton of you Superman collectors out there.

We highly recommend these for parents and collectors.  They're fun to read and my seven year old can read them to me.  You have to read with your kids, you may as well give them something cool!

How to buy: The Official Capstone Site - you can buy them all in a group or individually if you search on their site.  They also have both library binding hardcover and cheaper soft cover versions available!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vegan Lunch Box around the World Book Review

Vegan Lunch Box around the World Book Review


Book Synopsis: Vegan Lunch Box Around the World offers a delicious array of meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free lunches that will take you on an adventure across the globe. The book includes balanced international and regional American menus with 100 recipes from Ratatouille to Moroccan Tagine, New England Chowder to a Japanese Bento Box. With quick and easy recipes, fruit and veggie ideas for even the pickiest eaters, and an allergen-free index, Vegan Lunch Box Around the World is essential for every family raising healthy kids—and for anyone who packs a lunch.

Our Take: Its funny how the perception of vegan and vegetarian food has been changing over the past few years.  It used to be that only extremely passionate vegans would be into it and most people thought of it as inedible garbage.  Its been revelealed over the past few years, as a health consciousness sweeps back over the nation, that vegan food is not only delicious and can open up your otherwise limited taste palet, but its also very healthy.

In the middle of this expolosion has been an escalation in the amount of vegan cookbooks.  How does one decide which to use?  Well, we found a great one here in the Vegan Lunch Box Around the World.  I've eaten vegan for many years.  I'm not a strict vegan, but I'm a vegetarian and I eat vegan as much as possible.  I find the variety of tastes to be delicious and exciting.  When my wife and I cracked open this new book of recipes from all around the world, I wasn't sure what to think.  What we found were international recipes that promote health and well-being.  Its so easy for kids to get stuck into a rut, but with a book like this you can expand their minds about what taste is and really give them a nice variety of foods.

It does take some time to cook most of the recipes in this book.  The title Vegan Lunch Box may have you thinking it'd be like making a school lunch, and thats just not so.  It does take some preparation time the night before, but its well worth it to ensure that your children are well-fed and healthy.  While everyone else is eating hamburgers and chicken nuggets, yours can be delighting in cuisine that will enrich their body and their mind.  The habits we gain in childhood stay with us our entire lives, so now is the time to learn.

This book is great on many levels.  It not only has exotic recipes, but it also carries a lot of allergin-free cooking information.  You don't need to have children to enjoy this cook book, anyone can make and enjoy these recipes.  They would also be great to make yourself for taking to work!  We highly recommend this one, its unique and really stands out from many of the other vegan books on the market.

You can own this book today

Links: Da Capo Press
 

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