Julia Child Rules

julia child rules

Julia Child Rules
Lessons on Savoring Life

Karen Karbo
Illustrations by Mark Steele
skirt!, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, 2013

From the dust jacket: “…Julia Child Rules dissects the life of the sunny, unpretentious chef, author, cooking show star, and bon vivant, with an eye towards learning how we, too, can savor life.

“…{the author} takes us for a spin through Julia’s life: from her idyllic childhood in California to her confusing young adulthood in New York, her years working for the OSS in Sri Lanka, her world-class love affairs with Paris and Paul Child, and her decades as America’s beloved French chef. {The author} weaves in her own personal experiences and stops for import life lessons along the way: how to live by your whims, make the world your oyster, live happily married, work hard, and enjoy a life of full immersion. It celebrates Julia’s indomitable spirit and irrepressible joy, giving readers a taste of what it means to master the art of living.”

Julia Child was an amazing woman and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her life. The author wrote about Julia in a way one might write to a friend about another friend. It is friendly, warm and funny and far from one of those staid, traditional, (and some may say, dry) biographies. It is inspirational and thought provoking, especially with the ‘Rules’ with which the book was tied together. Some of my favorites were: “Rule 1: Live with Abandon; Rule #3: Learn to be Amused; Rule #4: Obey Your Whims; Rule #6: To Be Happy, Work Hard; Rule #7: Solve the Problem in Front of You.” All good rules for any one follow, but the main overall thought is to accept who you are and be that person. Julia knew she would never win any beauty contest but she accepted that fact and was happy and successful anyway. She lived every moment of her life until she lived no more. Her life had just as many valleys and peaks as any of us has, yet she accepted the moments, both good and awful, for what they were and then moved on, still excited about the next step.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for providing inspiration to get out of bed each morning and throw myself fully into my life, savoring it all.

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack, North Carolina Division Chief and Banned Books Librarian

Caveat Emptor

caveat-emptor

Caveat Emptor
The Secret Life of an American Art Forger

Ken Perenyi
Pegasus Books, 2012

From the dust jacket: “Ten years ago, an FBI investigation in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the southern District of New York was about to expose a scandal in the art world that would have headlined the front pages in New York and London. After a trail of fake paintings of astonishing quality led federal agents through a labyrinth of art dealers, renowned experts, and major auction houses, the investigation inexplicably ended, despite the abundance of evidence collected. The case was closed and the FBI file was marked “exempt from public disclosure.”
“Now that the statute of limitations on these crimes has expired and the case appears hermetically sealed shut by the FBI, this book, Caveat Emptor, is Ken Perenyi’s confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off.
“…Caveat Emptor is unique in that it is the first book by and about America’s most talented art forger. And unlike other forgers, Perenyi produced no paper trail, no fake provenance whatsoever; he let the paintings speak for themselves. And that they did, routinely mesmerizing experts in mere seconds.”

This is one of those books that if you read it as fiction or saw it as a movie, you would say ‘that can’t ever happen’. You know the phrase, “The truth is stranger than fiction”? Well, there was never any more truer statement as can be said about this book and about the life its author led (and may still lead). Quite simply, it blew my mind.

Not only is the author incredibly talented – I would say genius/savant level talent – but instinctively aware of what not to do so he doesn’t get caught. Of course, I was truly bothered – no, appalled is a better word – by his lack of basic moral values regarding theft and lying. There was some outright theft but it was more disturbing to me that he spent almost his entire early career lying by omission. He copied great works of art, signed the artist’s name to it but when he offered it for sale – whether to an auction house or a private seller/dealer, he walked up to the line but never crossed it – meaning, he never actually said the painting was by the artist or that he had painted it, just that he had ‘found’ it. It’s a slippery slope he was on and by a measure grace from somewhere he was incredibly successful at it.

The book is very readable – I don’t know if the author is as talented in writing as he is in painting or if he had a ghost writer – but I couldn’t put the book down. He takes the reader through a brief history of the Psychedelic Sixties, the Disco Seventies, the Over Indulgent Eighties, and all the way to the early 2000’s. Forging art was his life and, according to his website (kenperenyi.com) it still is, only he’s upfront with the forgery instead of keeping it hidden. Fascinating, truly fascinating. If you like books about interesting people, read this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because I couldn’t put it down, I just read straight through to the end.

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack

The Photographed Cat

photgraphed-cat

The Photographed Cat:
Picturing Human-Feline Ties, 1890-1940

Arnold Arluke & Lauren Rolfe
Syracuse University Press, 2013

From the book jacket: “With more than 130 illustrations, The Photographed Cat: Picturing Human-Feline Ties, 1890-1940 is both an archive and an analytical exploration of the close relationships between people and their cats during a period significant for photography and for modern understandings of animals as pets. This volume examines the cultural implications of feline companions while also celebrating the intimacy and joys of pets and family photographs. In seven thematic sections, Arluke and Rolfe engage with the collection of antique images as representations of both real and ideal relationships, nothing the cultural tends and tropes that occur. Whether as surrogate children, mascots or companions to women, cats are a part of modern American life and visual culture.
“Entertaining, smart, and filled with a collector’s trove of wonderful images, The Photographed Cat pays homage to the surprising range of relationships we have with cats and offers thoughtful consideration of the ways in which represent them.”

The Photographed Cat is more of a scholarly work than a book of photographs. The photos are really wonderful and I wish there were more of them. While people have changed the way they look, cats don’t ever change. The cat next to the little boy in 1890 looks like the cat sitting next to a child today which goes to show you humans how reliable and faithful we are!!

I will admit that I really didn’t read the book. When my Aunt Sabina picked-up this book from the library, she thought it was a coffee table book. But as I looked at it, I realized I didn’t want to read the “analytical exploration of the close relationships between people and their cats” as much as look at the lovely photographs. From the few snippets I did read the book is fascinating but a bit like reading homework for a sociology course. So, I just mainly stuck to the photographs and enjoyed them a lot.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because the photograph collection is amazing!!

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack

 

If It Fits, I Sits

if-it-fits

If It Fits, I Sits
Cats in Awkward Places

Gallery Books, 2016

From the back of the book, “Anyone who knows cats knows how much they love squeezing themselves into weird, uncomfortable-looking, and unfortunate places. And they do it with such aplomb! Will we ever know why? Probably not. With more than one hundred photos of cats caught in the act, If It Fits, I Sits celebrates the quirky, adorable, no-nonsense spirit of felines everywhere.”

It’s amazing what we felines can get up to, isn’t it? We can get ourselves in the craziest places and in the oddest positions and still be comfortable. This book is full of photos of cats doing just that and some of them are really funny.

I will admit I was worried a little when I saw some of the photos of cats and kittens in outdoor places. I hoped they weren’t strays left to fend for themselves. And that brings up the only thing I didn’t like about the book – that there is no identifiable author and maybe 98% of the photos came from various ‘stock’ sources online. That worries me because with other books, the author/compiler/photographer goes to great length to say no cats were harmed and all the cats were either rescued or adopted. The ones inside are probably fine. But it’s the outdoor kitties where I pause.

Rating 3 out 5 paws only because I worry about the fate of the outdoor kitties in these photos.

if-it-fits-i-sitsReviewer: Simon

 

 

Glamourpuss

glamourpussGlamourpuss
The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs

Julie Jackson
Photographs by Jill Johnson
Chronicle Books, 2009

If you like cats…and even if you don’t, you’ll find this book to be charming! It’s a photography book so it’s all about cats in wigs. No cats were harmed in the making of this book; however, they were coerced with lots of treats!glamourpussb

Here’s what the author says: “Why not introduce a glamorous hairstyle to spark your pet’s imagination while you snap some photos. The world is overcrowded with insulting T-shirts and booties for dogs and fluffy collars for cats that make them look like court jesters. Your fabulous feline is so much better than that, and you both know it.”glamourpussc

So, enough with the words. Let’s just get on with it and show some adorable photos. Make sure you visit the website kittywigs.com for more fun!!!glamourpussd

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because who doesn’t love cats in wigs! (My mom just better not try any on me!!)

jack-loc

Reviewer: Jack

 

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