Book Review: FIERCE: The History of Leopard Print

TITLE: FIERCE: The History of Leopard Print
BY: Jo Weldon
PUBLISHED BY: Harper Design, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPubishers
ISBN: 978-0-06-269295-5
Review copy provided by author

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This book is dedicated to “the BIG Cats, the people they INSPIRE, and the people who work to preserve their lives and HABITATS.” But it’s intended for all you wild things out there who love to wear leopard print. It’s a historic study of the vivid, spotted fur of a beautiful beast whose strength and independent nature inspired women, who are usually the downtrodden, powerless members of society, to be strong and fearless too.

Being a livelong lover of leopard print myself, I have worn it in every way possible. My favorite loafers and sneakers are leopard print; so is a well-worn pair of high heels, along with one of my mock turtleneck tops, a short-sleeved blouse and a pair of stretch pants. Of course I have a leopard print nightgown, and a sleepshirt, as well as pajamas. I also have a leopard print bra, for which I have yet to find matching undies. I laugh to scorn the conventional notion that women over fifty shouldn’t wear leopard print. I’ve worn it more often since I turned fifty. I use it as an accessory, to set off my favorite clothes. I don’t think I’d have the nerve to wear head to toe leopard print, though certain celebrities, from Peg Bundy of “Married With Children” to Pat Benatar, who regularly performed in a leotard or catsuit, are not shy about doing so.
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Book review: “Do You Want to Know a Secret? The Autobiography of Billy J. Kramer

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET? THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BILLY J. KRAMER
BY: BILLY J. KRAMER with Alyn Shipton
PUBLISHED BY: Equinox Publishing 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78179 361 9
Review copy sent by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

The British Invasion didn’t just bring The Beatles to our shore. It also brought a great many young British bands eager to follow in their footsteps. Some went on to become big stars, like The Rolling Stones and The Who. Some were one hit wonders who just came and went. But one enduring presence was a lad who befriended the Fab Four when they were all just aspiring young musicians in Liverpool. His name was, and is, Billy J. Kramer.
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Book review: The World Beyond Your Head

The World Beyond Your Head
By Michael B. Crawford
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374292980
Review copy provided by the publisher

Review by Ginger Mayerson

I mostly liked and agreed with about the first half of Matthew B. Crawford’s The World Beyond Your Head (WBYH). We do live distracted lives in a distracting commerce driven world. I like part about jigs: how master craftpeople have optimal jigs for what they’re creating. But in this messed up world we live in, most people are not master craftpeople and the jig is something we work in. He quotes an old saying about assembly lines on page 34: “Cheap men need expensive jigs; expensive men only need to tools in their toolbox.” I suppose that applies to office workers, too, and there wasn’t much positive or constructive in this book for anyone but skilled craftspeople who never have to leave their workshops.
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Book review: The Lost Tribe of Coney Island

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island
By Claire Prentice
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, by arrangement with Amazon Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-544-26228-7
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

One of the advantages to living in Brooklyn, only a short subway ride away from Coney Island, is that you get to be a frequent visitor to the Coney Island Museum, located right above the Freak Bar on Mermaid Avenue, where they show movies on Saturday nights in the summertime (classics and B-movies, plus cinema suitable for MST3K fans). They also have private shows and book signings. One of these was held in December 2014, where a charming lady named Claire Prentice debuted her new book, “The Lost Tribe of Coney Island”. Being familiar with the Freak Show around the corner from the Freak Bar, I thought this book was about another of the curious peoples exhibited there. So I coaxed my husband to buy me a copy as an early Christmas present.
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Book review: The Church of Mercy

Church of MercyThe Church of Mercy
By Pope Francis
Published by Loyola Press, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8294-4170-3
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This slender philosophical book is a collection of speeches by Pope Francis, dating from April to November 2013. My impression of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is that he is a good, kind man with a genuine faith in God, and a genuine interest in the welfare of the poor, not just in saving their souls, but their bodies as well. He proves this in Part Eight, Chapter 30 of his book, “The Cult of the God of Money”, in which he deplores the wastefulness of this throwaway culture of ours and the rampant consumerism that leads to so much waste: “This culture of waste has also made us insensitive to wasting and throwing out excess foodstuffs, which is especially condemnable when, in every part of the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families suffer hunger and malnutrition…Let us remember well, however, that whenever food is thrown out, it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry!” Continue reading “Book review: The Church of Mercy”

Book Review: Zombie Nation: From Folklore to Modern Frenzy

Zombie Nation: From Folklore to Modern Frenzy
By E.R. Vernor
Published By: Schiffer Publishing LTD, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4450-3
Review copy sent by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

The popularity of zombies has yet to wane, as seen by the recent debut of the movie “World War Z”, based upon the book by Max Brooks. Brooks also wrote “The Zombie Survival Guide”, a tongue-in-cheek survival manual for those who believe the Zombie Apocalypse will soon be upon us. But “Zombie Nation” is a serious, non-fiction book about zombies in legend, literature, movies and TV. I found it to be as entertaining as Brooks’ book, though not as funny.
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Book Review: My Beloved World

My Beloved World
By Sonia Sotomayor
PUBLISHED BY: Borzoi Books, a division of Knopf/Random House, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-307-59488-4
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This has been one of the most refreshing reads I’ve had so far this year. And the year is just getting started! It’s not often that I get to read about one of my own making good. Justice Sotomayor is a Puerto Rican home girl from the Bronx, with a background similar to my own, but whose ambition and drive took her to the top of the legal profession, a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. The closest I got to the legal profession is typing form letters for lawyers at my civil service job. I could plead poverty, but the plain truth is that I just didn’t have the brains and gumption to qualify for all the grants and scholarships she got to attend both Princeton and Yale Law School. When I look at all she managed to accomplish during the same period that I was struggling to survive after graduating from high school, all I can do is shake my head and mutter “Damn, she’s good!”
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Book review: Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid

Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid
The Simple Truth to a Complicated Relationship
By Howard J. Morris and Jenny Lee
Published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009
ISBN: 9781439109748
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

Oh boy, talk about Venus and Mars! This literary labor of love was written by a co-habiting couple in Hollywood, both writers of popular TV situation comedies, both divorced, both crazy about each other, but not so crazy about the little differences between men and women that keep popping up whenever they try to have a serious discussion.
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FTC = WTF?

Reviewers, please read. (The post, the pdf is optional.)

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
16 CFR Part 255
Guides Concerning the Use of
Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

This so vague; all I can get out of it is that, after December 1, 2009:

a) we must disclose in every review of anything whether we got it for free or paid for it ourselves

b) no more links, affiliate or otherwise, to where to buy it.

I think there are fines for non-compliance, but I’d have to read it again to be sure. I hate reading this stuff. If anyone wants to take a crack at it and post in the comments what you think is important in this stupid document, be my guest.

I think the new review headers will look like this:

Title
Creator
Publisher
Copy supplied by publisher
or
Copy purchased by reviewer
ISBN

Grrrr.

Comic Review: Bound By Law?

Bound By Law?
By Keith Aoki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins
Published by Duke Law School, Center for the Study of the Public Domain
ISBN-10: 0974155314

Review by Kris

The law is a confusing thing. And more money that can be made, more laws are created to protect that information. In Bound By Law? we are introduced to documentary filmmaker Akiko. She wants to create a documentary about New York City. But with copyright protections, trademarks, and rights to the public domain can Akiko walk this field full of landmines unscathed?
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Book reivew: Up Till Now, The Autobiography

Up Till Now, The Autobiography
By William Shatner with David Fisher
Published by Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, New York
ISBN: 0312372655

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

What can one say about Bill Shatner that hasn’t been said already by so many? Hero, ham, hack, has been, he’s been there, done that, and gotten the tee shirts. He was the first captain of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE in the never ending story of Star Trek, whose five year mission was cut short by two years, yet who lives on in eternity through syndication. He was T.J. Hooker, a good cop who made Los Angeles a little safer every week and always managed to get in a chase scene, as well as a little gratuitous exposure of female flesh. He was the host of Rescue 911, true stories of people who survived disasters, who never dreamed that one dark night he’d have to live through one himself when he discovered his third wife had drowned herself. And most recently he was Denny Crane of Boston Legal, whose appetite for sex and guns could never equal his affection for his young protégé Alan Shore, who was his willing partner in legal mayhem every week, helping him to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
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Book Review: Porn Nation

Porn Nation: Conquering America’s #1 Addiction
Written by Michael Leahy
Published by Northfield Publishers
ISBN10: 0802481256
ISBN13: 9780802481252

Review by Chad Denton

As with my review of a left-wing anti-pornography book, Getting Off, I am somewhat conflicted about what I should write in this review. However, it’s not because of the difficulties of critiquing a heartfelt screed, but the fact that this book, “Porn Nation”, which offers an approach to pornography from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from “Getting Off”, carries the sincere testimony of a recovering porn addict, its author Michael Leahy. It’s not quite as in-depth or devestating as the film Auto Focus (or as it was known to me for a while, “that film about that ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ guy”), which could very well be the most disturbing and realistic exploration of sex addiction out there in American cinema, if not the entire Englsh-speaking world. While Auto Focus was, true to its title, unflinching and unapologetic, “Porn Nation” is very much written in a distinctly conservative fashion, attempting to achieve a friendly intimacy with the reader but avoiding any truly salacious details, which, maybe appropriately enough, sets a tone for the entire book.
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