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M. Hyman "Artist at large" RSS Feed (Seattle, WA USA)
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I Will Never Forget: A Daughter's Story of Her Mother's Arduous and Humorous Journey through Dementia
I Will Never Forget: A Daughter's Story of Her Mother's Arduous and Humorous Journey through Dementia
Price: $2.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional read, April 6, 2014
This book describes the challenges and struggles of a woman who is taking care of her mother as her mother suffers through dementia. It is a loving story, looking at many different life events within the family ... the mother's childhood, the author's childhood, and various key life events, all in the backdrop of her mother's increasingly worsening dementia. Having had a family member who suffered through this, the book struck close to home.

What I particularly like about the book is its emotional honesty. You see the author's struggles, guilt and challenges as she faces the decline of her mother, and how she faces someone she knows and love who is slowly shifting as the disease takes hold. I also like how the author weaves the past and the present in together to give a sense of who her mother was as well as the overall family dynamic.

This book isn't scientific. It doesn't focus on medicine or disease or sociology. It is really a diary of an ordinary person in an ordinary time who is going through a journey, and the many challenges she faces along the way. It is part a tribute to her mother, but more, a way to help others dealing with a similar situation, not by pointing out what to do, but by sharing and bonding.

The writing style is open an honest, but could use some editing.

Altogether, it is a good read. We don't want to think about this topic, but we know it is there. I admire the author opening up her heart and struggles to share with others who are going through this.


Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less
Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, easy to read, April 6, 2014
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There are a lot of bad management books on the market, filled with windy pomposity. At first, I figured a 200 page book about being brief might be one of them, but fortunately the author addresses that early on. This book is fairly decent, discussing why it is better to be succinct in presentations. He gives a number of examples ranging from executive pitches, to job interviews and strategy rollouts. The book is broken up with cartoons and asides.

It is a fast read, and has some good advise. One of my favorite features is the super short summaries and conclusions, that give a good example of the techniques in practice. I also liked the suggestion of holding meetings with people standing up, as a way to avoid endless useless chit chat.

The book has practical advice and guidelines and a number of case studies.

I read the book while needing to reduce a 60 minute presentation to under 3 minutes, so it was timely.

Pluses:
Raises good points
Will make you think about your presentation styles
Succinct case studies
Fast and easy to read

Cons:
Sometimes the author stresses his journalism background more than I care to hear
Could use a few scratch sheet examples showing a process of reducing information (there are a few but could use more)
Could use some more details... sometimes the author talks more about his clients positions (big cheese general) than how the techniques were implemented


Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers
Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers
by Tim Halloran
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.26
56 used & new from $13.71

3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting parts, but not strong enough, April 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is tough to write a good branding or marketing book, especially without pictures. This book takes an interesting twist by looking at branding as a relationship between a product and a customer (standard), but it casts it as a relationship between two people, thus looking at romance, dating, break ups and so forth. It is an interesting start to the book, based on observations of the author while working at Coke, where people described the products with strong emotional terms. Thus, the lead off was interesting.

Much of the middle of the book, however, I found to be hum drum. There are case studies in every chapter, but i would have liked more of them. Perhaps some before and after illustrations or charts, perhaps some information on what was considered and failed, perhaps some negative cases.

I found the case studies about Dos Equiis and the Atlanta Falcons quite interesting, but really would have liked a lot more detail about Coke versus Pepsi. It was covered towards the end, with an interesting discussion of why Coke Zero was dropped, but that could have used more information.

In short, some interesting case studies, but i would have liked more depth in the studies, and a bit less of the relationship language.


The Rose of Fire
The Rose of Fire
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Quick fun, March 26, 2014
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This review is from: The Rose of Fire (Kindle Edition)
This is a very short novel that provides back story to the Shadow of the Wind series. This book is quite unlike any of the other books, and is really more of a somewhat magical short story that will lead you wondering how it fits in to the overall series. It is useless stand alone... if you haven't read at least two of the other books, you will be instantly lost and uninterested in the twisted tale, but if you know and love the characters from his other stories, you will be intrigued and left wondering.


The Prisoner of Heaven
The Prisoner of Heaven
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Another beautiful book by Zafon, March 26, 2014
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This is another beautiful book by Zafon, taking a look at a different part of the history of the intertwined characters. Given that it is a novel, I won't cover the nature of the story, other than to say it is lovely to encounter the same characters again and see other aspects of their lives.

As the third book in the series, it doesn't have the same immediate sense of wonder of Shadow of the Wind. I think that book remains the most magical of the three. But Zafon is a fantastic writer and he weaves complex tales that drag you along for a ride.

I did find it a little tough at first, in that it has been over a year since I read Angel's Game so it took a bit to remember some of the characters, and the book has a different pacing than the others, not darker per se, but faster in some sense, and less surreal.

As with the other books, it will leave you wanting more.


The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today
The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable, March 26, 2014
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I really enjoyed this book. It takes a rollicking tour through various science related to our bodies, and particularly to many things that we don't know involving the complex interactions between our bodies and the bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms, and other critters that cohabit our bodies with us. The book poses a number of interesting questions and conjectures, such as what does our appendix really do? what are the side effects of our elimination of so many creatures? did our fear of predators drive evolution in surprising ways, such as did our innate fear of snakes drive our vision?

there are many interesting questions and explorations posed in the book. altogether a very fun and interesting read.


The Fifties
The Fifties
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable, broad, March 26, 2014
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This review is from: The Fifties (Kindle Edition)
I very much enjoyed this book. Having grown up in the late 60s/early 70s I had a very different, TV like view of the 50s, and this book covered a broad swath of material -- entertainment, politics, international relations, business, home life -- and so much more, that I didn't know about. It gave me a much broader appreciation of the complexity and turmoil of the time. McDonalds? Tract housing? McCarthyism? James Dean? That is just a brief touch of what you will find in the book.

The book is long. Very long. In fact, i wasn't able to finish it on a long international flight. But, it is broken up very nicely into a series of vignettes, each with great detail and personality. Thus, although you will take a long time to finish the book, you will be entertained and learn throughout.

I highly enjoyed it, and would gladly read a similar book by the author on the 60s. Or the 70s...

Well worth reading for an American History buff


Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
Price: $8.02

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, March 26, 2014
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As a divorced father of two teenage girls, I was looking for advice to help cope with a myriad of issues. On the one hand, I really liked the importance the book places on the role of the father. it is often easy to assume, especially in a condition of divorce, that one's daughters don't apply any sense of purpose to their father. This book does an excellent job of emphasizing the critical roles that fathers play. I also liked the importance stressed on establishing boundaries and roles.

On the other hand, I would like more statistics and a broader range of anecdotes. The author shares many stories from within her realm of experience ... for example of Christian doctors performing charity work in third world countries.. and while heart warming, I would have liked more stories from a mix of backgrounds, religions, family setups, and so forth.

The book certainly takes a strong stance of fairly conservative Christian views. There is much value in that, but it isn't always applicable and to me, at least, pigeon holed some of the advice.

I've tried some of the techniques (who knows if they will have any impact), but it certainly will not be the last book I read on the topic, and I don't think I will find it to be the one that is best for me.


North Korea: State of Paranoia: A Modern History
North Korea: State of Paranoia: A Modern History
by Paul French
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $93.56

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, detailed, but slow..., March 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a very thorough examination of the history and politics of North Korea, focusing primarily on the economic and military system, the problems of the planned economy, and the economic and political interactions between North Korea, the US, Russia and China. It looks at the hold on power of the Kim family, and how they have driven the political philosophy that guides North Korea, as well as the focus on the military.

While the book covers a lot of material, unfortunately it wasn't a good fit for me, in that I find I am much more interested in history books that show events through people and personalities, and this was much more focused on facts, figures and economic problems. There is really only one defector who is covered in the book, and only glancingly, yet his story and to an extent those of American politicians, are the only people involved with any character behind them. I would have strongly preferred more personality, and thus found the book Nothing To Envy much more interesting than this book, in that it showed much more about the actual lives of North Koreans.

Good in its depth and coverage, but far more academic in tone than I had hoped for.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2014 7:13 AM PDT


Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris
Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris
by Steven E. Levingston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.31
70 used & new from $12.37

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable historical murder mystery, March 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A woman and her abusive lover murder a man for money, then flee the country. A dogged detective overcomes political fights between the big city police and the rural police to identify a mysterious decaying body. And a serendipitous series of events in a love triangle leads to the arrest of the perpetrators. Ripped from the headlines...

But it isn't a new CSI episode, it takes place in turn of the century Paris, with primitive investigation tools, lots of intrigue, an international chase, and a trial that revolves around a defense of innocent due to hypnotism.

The book is quite fun, and a fascinating study of investigation, crime and defense. It is well written, easy to read, and a very enjoyable history book, that makes all the characters come alive, without resorting to fictional plots and dialogs.

Well researched and good fun... well worth reading.


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