Brilliant Book Titles #168

because i am furniture

Blurb: 
Anke’s father is abusive to her brother and sister. But not to her. Because, to him, she is like furniture– not even worthy of the worst kind of attention. Then Anke makes the school volleyball team. She loves feeling her muscles after workouts, an ache that reminds her she is real. Even more, Anke loves the confidence that she gets from the sport. And as she learns to call for the ball on the court, she finds a voice she never knew she had. For the first time, Anke is making herself seen and heard, working toward the day she will be able to speak up loud enough to rescue everyone at home– including herself.

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The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could accomplish all you want to do in 365 days, in just 12 weeks? That was my hope when I picked up The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. However this book is more about setting specific goals every 12 weeks and committing fully to them to see results. This book is probably more useful for a leader in a company trying to bring about organisational change but it does have some benefits for the regular reader.

The whole idea of the book is that when we have an entire year to work on a goal we tend to procrastinate as we think we have plenty of time in the future to reach our goal. Even if we make little progress in the first few months, we convince ourselves that we can make up the difference in the final months. Instead, when we are dealing with a goal over 12 weeks – we don’t have that kind of wiggle room and when something (or someone) isn’t working we are forced to address the problem straight away.

One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was how the authors viewed greatness. We tend to think that it’s only when we reach our goal that we have achieved greatness. The authors explain that you achieve greatness when you choose to do something and follow through. Someone like Michael Phelps didn’t suddenly become great when he won his Olympic medals. He was great for all the practice he put in beforehand. This is something that we can all take inspiration from.

However, one issue I have with the argument in the book is on the topic of accountability. The authors argue that ‘Accountability is not consequences; it’s ownership’. Accountability is not having someone watching over checking in with you. Instead it’s taking personal ownership of your actions. To me, this is great in principal but where most people struggle. I think some people need outer accountability in order to reach their goals. That’s why organisations like Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous are so successful. People need that check-in as accountability to stay on track. I don’t think the authors make a convincing enough argument that people are strong enough to be their own accountability.

My overall thoughts on the book is that I like the idea of focusing on one particular goal over a short period of time to help spur some momentum. However I think the book could have gotten the point across in a long article rather than having to write an entire book on it. At times it’s a little repetitive. I’d recommend this book to any boss who is trying to make their workplace more productive.

Vlog Like a Boss by Amy Schmittauer

vlog

Anyone who has an interest in blogging, will probably have thought about starting a vlog – I know I have! But vlogging can be a daunting business. It means putting yourself in front of the camera, warts and all!

So to help me get over my fear of starting a vlog, I picked up Vlog Like a Boss by Amy Schmittauer. Amy is the vlogger behind Savvy Sexy Social on YouTube and is a vlogging machine. If anyone can teach you about vlogging, it’s Amy.

My first impressions of the book when I bought it were good. It’s a fairly simple read, not too long so you could definitely read it over the weekend.

The book is well laid out. She starts off by talking about her own YouTube journey. This provides a great lesson to any blogger/vlogger out there that wants to get on the radar of someone better known in their niche. Amy was able to get a major influencer – Gary Vaynerchuk to notice her, just as she was beginning to grow her channel. Being creative is more of an asset than having huge numbers when you are starting out.

Amy goes through the three fears that people have when they start vlogging – 1) Fear of the Gear, 2) Fear of Personality, 3) Fear of ROI. When I tell bloggers that they need to embrace, the common excuses I hear are – “Oh I don’t have a proper camera”, “I hate how I look and sound on camera”, “I don’t have a nice place to film”, “I don’t think I have anything to vlog about” etc. If you nodded your head to any of those comments, Amy’s book will set you in the right frame of mind. There is a quote that I love from the book, it gives me hope and inspiration. “You don’t build a portfolio and a career of over 1,000 videos waiting for conditions to be perfect”. This is the mindset you need to embrace when you start doing video.

Another useful section of Amy’s book is how she breaks down the formula for videos. If you are struggling with structuring your videos, this will help you know exactly what the elements are for a great video. It’ll also provide you with a checklist so you never miss anything.

Overall, I think this book is great for anyone who is a complete newbie to vlogging. If you’ve been vlogging for a while, this book might not be as useful. However if you’ve been vlogging but struggling to grow your audience, this book will help you identify what might be going wrong.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here

Brilliant Book Titles #167

first as tragedy
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb: 
In this bravura analysis of the current global crisis following on from his bestselling Welcome to the Desert of the Real, Slavoj Zizek argues that the liberal idea of the end of history, declared by Francis Fukuyama during the 1990s, has had to die twice. After the collapse of the liberal-democratic political utopia, on the morning of 9/11, came the collapse of the economic utopia of global market capitalism at the end of 2008. Marx argued that history repeats itselfoccurring first as tragedy, the second time as farceand iek, following Herbert Marcuse, notes here that the repetition as farce can be even more terrifying than the original tragedy. The financial meltdown signals that the fantasy of globalization is over and as millions are put out of work it has become impossible to ignore the irrationality of global capitalism. Just a few months before the crash, the worlds priorities seemed to be global warming, AIDS, and access to medicine, food and water tasks labelled as urgent, but with any real action repeatedly postponed. Now, after the financial implosion, the urgent need to act seems to have become unconditionalwith the result that undreamt of quantities of cash were immediately found and then poured into the financial sector without any regard for the old priorities. Do we need further proof, iek asks, that Capital is the Real of our lives: the Real whose demands are more absolute than even the most pressing problems of our natural and social world?

Brilliant Book Titles #166

what we talk about when we talk about love
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
This powerful collection of stories, set in the mid-West among the lonely men and women who drink, fish and play cards to ease the passing of time, was the first by Raymond Carver to be published in the UK. With its spare, colloquial narration and razor-sharp sense of how people really communicate, the collection was to become one of the most influential literary works of the 1980s.

Even the Dead by Benjamin Black

even-the-dead-cover

Pathologist Quirke works in the city morgue, watching over Dublin’s dead.

A car crashes into a tree in central Dublin and bursts into flames. The police assume the driver’s death was either an accident or a suicide, but Quirke believes otherwise. –His gut tells him something doesn’t add up

Meanwhile Quirke gets involved in the trail of a missing woman- and becomes drawn into the shadowy of Dublin’s elite-corrupt politicians, Church Politics and stolen babies.

It leads him to a long-buried conspiracy that involves his own family.

Quirke is an endearing hero of Dublin of the 1950s-wet, cold, foggy, sinister-is evoked with harsh realism and nostalgia.

This was a real page turner-a beach read for the brainy! Recommended.

“At the heart of Even the Dead is an insidious plot….the hero Black never worries about letting the plot dangle, breathing lovely, rich emotion through these pages with his unhurried, reflective prose….You linger over his descriptions.”—Chicago Tribune.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

 

5 New Musical Theatre Books to Watch Out For

Broadway General Manager: Demystifying the Most Important and Least Understood Role in Show Business (21 Sep 2017)
broadyway general manager

An Insider’s Guide to the Business Side of Show Biz

Broadway General Manager is a fascinating, insightful, and entertaining glimpse into the normally closed world of theatrical general management. Penned by veteran Broadway insider Peter Bogyo, readers will gain an appreciation and understanding of what the business half of show business is all about.

For the first time ever, gain backstage access to the fast-paced and glamorous world of Broadway. Broadway General Manager is an invaluable resource that examines actual production and operating budgets for a Broadway show and shares contracts for award-winning actors, directors, and designers, all of which are analyzed extensively. Also included are in-depth discussions on such topics as:

  • How to get started as a general manager
  • Negotiating contracts
  • How the producing entity functions
  • Programming the box office
  • The issues related to hiring employees
  • Binding insurance
  • Financial overview
  • Maintaining the run of a show
  • What to do when sales start to slump
  • Closing a show
  • And much more

Laced with humorous insights and personal anecdotes, Broadway General Manager will delight both the average theater lover as well as individuals with a serious interest in commercial arts management.

Life Is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like a Star by Tim Federle (26 Oct 2017)
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From the author of the hit cocktail books Tequila Mockingbird and Gone with the Gin comes a guide to getting ahead in life, love, and leadership-Broadway style! Before Tim Federle became a beloved author (his award-winning novels include Better Nate Than Ever, which Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda declared as “highly recommended” in the New York Times), Tim worked in the showbiz trenches as a Christina Aguilera back-up dancer, Radio City Polar bear, and card-carrying chorus boy on Broadway. Along the way, he discovered that the hard-earned lessons he was learning onstage could be applied to his life, too. Life is Like a Musical features 50 tips and anecdotes, with chapters such as “Let Someone Else Take a Bow,” “Dance Like Everyone’s Watching,” and “Save the Drama for the Stage.” This charming and clever guide will appeal to all ages and inspire readers to remember that they’re the stars of their own life story.

Dear Evan Hansen: Through the Window by Steven Levenson (21 Nov 2017)
dear evan hansen
Winner of 6 Tony Awards!
The official behind-the-scenes book of the new hit musical.
A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Both deeply personal and profoundly contemporary, DEAR EVAN HANSEN is a new American musical about life and the way we live it.
The book-produced by Melcher Media, the team behind Hamilton, Wicked, Rent, and many more-tells the story of the musical from its conception nearly a decade ago to the Broadway stage. From developing the idea to writing the show, composing, casting, and rehearsals, DEAR EVAN HANSEN appeals to fans far and wide offering them the opportunity to continuously revisit the show, and for those who haven’t seen the musical, reading the book will make them feel like they have.
Filled with interviews with the cast and crew, original behind-the-scenes photography, a deeper look into Evan’s fictional world and the visual world of the show, unreleased lyrics, and of course the libretto, as well as reflections on the creators own formative memories from their adolescence as it relates to the show’s themes, and important examinations of how we present ourselves online and mental health, DEAR EVAN HANSEN is a beautifully produced, thoughtful, and uplifting book.

Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical Is Restaging America’s Past (30 Mar 2018)
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America has gone Hamilton crazy. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical has spawned sold-out performances, a triple platinum cast album, and a score so catchy that it is being used to teach U.S. history in classrooms across the country. But just how historically accurate is Hamilton? And how is the show itself making history?Historians on “Hamilton” brings together a collection of top scholars to explain the Hamilton phenomenon and explore what it might mean for our understanding of America’s history. The contributors examine what the musical got right, what it got wrong, and why it matters. Does Hamilton’s hip-hop take on the Founding Fathers misrepresent our nation’s past, or does it offer a bold positive vision for our nation’s future? Can a musical so unabashedly contemporary and deliberately anachronistic still communicate historical truths about American culture and politics? And is Hamilton as revolutionary as its creators and many commentators claim?Perfect for students, teachers, theatre fans, hip-hop heads, and history buffs alike, these short and lively essays examine why Hamilton became an Obama-era sensation and consider its continued relevance in the age of Trump. Whether you are a fan or a skeptic, you will come away from this collection with a new appreciation for the meaning and importance of the Hamilton phenomenon.

All That Jazz: The Life and Times of the Musical Chicago (1 May 2018)
all that jazz
In 1975, the Broadway musical Chicago brought together a host of memes and myths ― the gleefully subversive character of American musical comedy, the reckless glamor of the big-city newspaper, the mad decade of the 1920s, the work of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon (two of the greatest talents in the musical’s history), and the Wild West gangsterville that was the city of Chicago itself.

The tale of a young woman who murders her departing lover and then tricks the jury into letting her off, Chicago seemed too blunt and cynical at first. Everyone agreed it was show biz at its brilliant best, yet the public still preferred A Chorus Line, with its cast of innocents and sentimental feeling. Nevertheless, the 1996 Chicago revival is now the longest-running American musical in history, and the movie version won the Best Picture Oscar.

As author Ethan Mordden looks back at Chicago’s various moving parts ― including the original 1926 play that started it all, a sexy silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, a talkie remake with Ginger Rogers, the musical itself, and at last the movie of the musical we see how the American theatre serves as a kind of alternative news medium, a town crier warning the public about the racy, devious interior contradictions of American society. Opinionated, witty, and rich in backstage anecdotes, All That Jazz brings the American Musical to life in all its artistry and excitement.

 

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

three little wolves

Are you up for having a taste of an unconventional version of the classical fairytale “The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf”? Οnce upon a time, there were three little wolves who set to building their sweet little home. And they would have built it, to our great astonishment, if it wasn’t for Runi-Runi, the mischievous pig who would go to any lengths, from using hammers to wires and dynamite, in order to torpedo every single attempt of the three little wolves.

In his picture book “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig” (aimed at children from the age of 3+ , but also highly recommended, believe it or not, for adults… ), Eugene (Eugenios) Trivizas (a sociologist-criminologist born in Athens, Greece, in 1946) reveals his great storytelling skills and his ability to invest the symbol of the wolf with a new understanding, other than the wide-spread stereotype of a lone bad wolf versus a domestic pig.

As far as our younger readers are concerned, the world is as magical, as funnily terrifying and terrifyingly funny, with a big bad pig in the picture!  Trivizas deftly reverses the classical fairytale roles, offering one of the most hilarious moments in his story: a wolf enjoying his bath amongst lotuses, a house upon a hill made out of …. (guess what?), and the best part of all? Trivizas is saving it for last!

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #165

the lost language of cranes
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Owen and Rose are facing serious challenges to their married life of routine and monotony as New York City grows and changes around them. They spend most Sundays apart; while Rose buries herself in crosswords and newspapers, Owen visits gay porn theaters. But when they discover they may lose their apartment and their son, prompted by his new relationship, reveals his homosexuality, their lives cannot continue as they were. Owen and Rose are forced to confront not only their son’s revelation but also Owen’s latent homosexuality.

Poignant and lingering, this is a tale of love and relationships, secrets and unspoken desires.

Brilliant Book Titles #164

love in a cold climate
You can reserve a copy online here at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Love in a Cold Climate is the sequel to Nancy Mitford’s bestselling novel The Pursuit of Love.

‘How lovely – green velvet and silver. I call that a dream, so soft and delicious, too.’ She rubbed a fold of the skirt against her cheek. ‘Mine’s silver lame, it smells like a bird cage when it gets hot but I do love it. Aren’t you thankful evening skirts are long again?’

Ah, the dresses! But oh, the monotony of the Season, with its endless run of glittering balls. Even fabulously fashionable Polly Hampton – with her startling good looks and excellent social connections – is beginning to wilt under the glare.

Groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, fearsome Lady Montdore, Polly instead scandalises society by declaring her love for her uncle ‘Boy’ Dougdale, the Lecherous Lecturer, and promptly eloping to France. But the consequences of this union no one could quite expect . . .

Love in a Cold Climate is the wickedly funny follow-up to The Pursuit of Love.

‘Entirely original, inimitable and irresistible’ Philip Hensher, Spectator