Posts Tagged ‘unique’

Temari Techniques

November 7, 2012

Author: Barbara B. Suess

Title: Temari Techniques A Visual Guide to Making Japanese Embroidered Thread Balls

Genre: Nonfiction

Publish Date: 2012

Pages: 199

Summary: An in-depth study of Temari; embroidered thread balls that are symbols of friendship and good luck in Japan, originally created as toys for young children and now are miniature works of art. Includes their origin, how they were made in the beginning  and to make the balls now, teaches the various embroidery techniques used to decorate them, lesson plans for teaching others in a class setting using the book, and more diagrams than you can shake a stick at. Contains full color photographs and practice projects, as well as how to create your own original designs. Complete bibliography and source guide for gathering materials is included. Includes some Romanji (English characters for Japanese words) in describing the embroidery aspect of the craft, but everything is set forth in plain English. Meant for people of all levels of craftiness, including the complete novice and the expert: the author caters to both in this text.

Headings: 1. Fancy work–Japan 2. Embroidery–Japan 3. Decorative balls–Japan

Appeal: detailed, artistic, informative, exotic, green (recycling), history, arts and crafts, math-based, geometry, unique, toys, accessible

Top Three Terms: Accessible, informative, artistic

Similar Nonfiction:

  • Japanese Sashiko Inspirations by Susan Briscoe (2008) For those who are interested in learning other Japanese techniques, Sashiko is a intricate type of embroidery or quilting completely done with one simple stitch. The motifs used here are also applicable to the temari balls and can also used as home decor. Even if you are just curious, the pictures are a pleasure to look at and may inspire you to try something new.
  •   Japanese Braiding The Art of Kumihimo by Jaqui Carey (1997, spiral bound in 2009) Although originally used as the lacing to samurai armor, kumihimo can be used in home furnishings, jewelry and fashion, much like the other crafts mentioned so far. This little book has all the details on the materials to how to make several of the basic braids, though this is not the end all be all on the topic. Full of diagrams, this is a good place to start.
  • Kanzashi in Bloom: 20 Simple Fold and Sew Projects to Wear and Give by Diane Gilleland (2009) Kanzashi refers to the hairpins worn by geisha, and is also the name given to pretty little flowers made of folded fabric that often make up the decorations for the hairpins. Full color photographs and diagrams teach the novice how to make several kinds of flowers and how to use them. Kanzashi flowers can be used for jewelry and fashion purposes, as well as for home decor. Just about the only book on the topic in English.
  • Bonus Nonfiction: Women of the Pleasure Quarters The Secret History of the Geisha by Lesley Downer (2001). A detailed history of Geisha from those who were and are a part of the ‘flower and willow’ world. Contains photographs and a glossary of terms used by the community. Included because the crafts talked about here also play a role in the culture. Interesting for those who want to really know what the geisha were about.

Similar Fiction:

  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (1997). A fictional memoir of a young girl who is pulled into the ‘flower and willow’ world of geisha and how she tries to live her life. Similar to Pleasure Quarters because of its detail and poignancy. One of the few books on the topic because of the secrecy surrounding the geisha world.
  • The Ronin’s Mistress by Laura Joh Rowland (2011) A fictional answer to  the historical occurrence that was the 47 Ronin is presented in book 15 of the Sano Ichiro mystery series. Another view point on Japanese culture presented through the eyes of men. Replete with detail, readers will be pulled into a forgotten time.
  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (Tyler Translation 2001) The original novel of Japanese court life in the 10th and 11th century. For those who love history with a touch of romance or are curious about another culture.

Name: Jennifer

Jurassic Park

July 30, 2012

Author: Crichton, Michael

Title: Jurassic Park

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1991

Number of Pages: 399 p.

Geographical Setting: Multiple Locations in the United States and Costa Rica

Time Period: 1989

Series: Has a sequel, The Lost World

Plot Summary: In this thrilling, fast-paced science fiction story, a genetic engineering corporation, InGen, successfully clones 15 species of dinosaurs.  Hoping to feature these previously extinct creatures in the greatest theme park of all time in an island off the west coast of Costa Rica, the visionary of the project, John Hammond, brings a group of people to evaluate it, including a paleontologist, Alan Grant, a paleobotanist, Ellie Sattler, an investment banker, Donald Gennaro, a mathematician, Ian Malcolm, a computer system analyst, Dennis Nedry, and Hammond’s two grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy.  While the theme park initially lives up to its fascinating premise, the underlying instability and chaos of the organization are apparent when an employee turns off the park’s power and security grid to steal dinosaur embryos for a competing genetic company, Biosyn.  The action that follows is a nightmarish fight for survival against several Tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptors, and other dinosaurs as every character tries to leave the island alive.  The novel alternates between the points of view of many different characters, although Ian Malcolm and his illustrations often serve as the main narrator and framework of Michael Crichton’s concerns regarding unregulated science and technology. As in many of his novels, Crichton uses clear language and technical details to tell a suspenseful and compelling story about the dangers of bioengineering and people’s desire to use science and math to control nature and the world.

Subject Headings: Genetic Engineering; Clones and Cloning; DNA; Dinosaurs; Prehistoric Animals; Amusement Parks; Business Sabotage; Scientists; Eccentric Men; Billionaires; Islands — Costa Rica; Science Fiction; Suspense Stories; Adventure Stories; Thriller Stories;

Appeal: fast-paced, compelling, dangerous, dramatic, foreboding, menacing, suspenseful, thought-provoking, thrilling, multiple points of view, flawed and recognizable characters, strong and interesting secondary characters, sympathetic characters, action-oriented, cinematic, violent, imaginative, issue-oriented, descriptive, detailed, informative, intelligent, persuasive, scientific, thoughtful, unique, vivid, well-crafted

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: unique, thrilling, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life by Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan is an intriguing book about the politics and legal issues surrounding a real significant dinosaur discovery and excavation.

A Clone of Your Own?: The Science and Ethics of Cloning by Arlene Judith Klotzko is an informative and thought-provoking book about the moral and legal issues and history of stem cell research and cloning.

Blindsided: Surviving a Grizzly Attack and Still Loving the Great Bear by Jim Cole is a fascinating book about a grizzly bear that attacks the author during a trip to Yellowstone National Park and how despite his injuries, he still has empathy for grizzly bears and other animals that are still trying to survive in the wild.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston is an action-oriented, detailed science fiction thriller about Tom Broadbent who receives a journal from a dying man, Stern Weathers, in New Mexico that a murderer and the government is determined to get because of its description of the location of a special completely preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Shock by Robin Cook is a suspenseful and thought-provoking story about two Harvard graduate students Joanna Meissner and Deborah Cochrane, in Boston, Massachusetts, who investigate the use of their eggs at a fertility clinic and in the process, confront firsthand the hazards of cloning.

Esau by Philip Kerr is a fast-paced scientific story about Stella Swift, a paleontologist, who receives a fossilized skull from America’s greatest mountain climber, Jack Furness, and organizes an expedition to the Himalayas to investigate the possible new species that the skull represents.

Stitches: A Memoir

August 10, 2011

Title:  Stitches

Author: David Small

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 329

Geographical Setting: Detroit

Time Period: 1951-1990

Format:  Hardcover

Plot Summary:  This is a gripping memoir written by children’s illustrator David Small. It tells of his childhood in Detroit growing up in a dysfunctional house where member of his family had their own language for dealing with the uneasiness. There was coughing or slamming draws, hitting a punching bag, banging on drums and getting sick. At age eleven a growth is discovered in David’s neck. It takes three years before anything is done about it and what happens after will change David’s world forever. A memorable story that causes you to feel sad and perplexed at these uncaring parents while standing up and cheering for this young man’s fight to survive and thrive. David Small conveys the menacing atmosphere and the challenging youth he faced through his illustrations but the graphic format helps to make the difficult subject matter more readable.

Subject Headings:  Graphic Novel, Memoir, David Small, Children’s Illustrator

Appeal:  engrossing, chilling, dark, stark, uneasy, introspective, domestic, conversational, thoughtful, bittersweet, earnest, foreboding, unique

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: thoughtful, bittersweet and uneasy

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

My Voice: A Physician’s Personal Experience with Throat Cancer by Itzhak Brook MD – A personal story covers three years of the author’s life during which he faced throat cancer and the loss of his vocal chords.

Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrator Talk to Children About Their Art by Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – For any reader of Stitches who would like to learn more about children’s book illustrators other that David Small.

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures: Making Comics, Manga, Graphic Novels and Beyond by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden – If reading Stitches piqued your interest in how a graphic novel is made then this is the book for you.

3 Revelant Fiction Works and Authors:

  The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – A story of a dysfunctional family that will appeal to readers of Stitches. Also it is a memoir. Bleak, uneasy and bittersweet

Once You Go Back by Douglas Martin – A story about a young man trying to find himself despite his dysfunctional family. Poignant, heartbreaking and thoughtful

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – This book would appeal to the reader who enjoyed Stitches due to its dark story and its teen male main character. It also appeals to the reader of a graphic novel due to the stories connection with the found photographs in the book.

Name:  Mary Othic

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

February 15, 2011 Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 1996

Number of Pages: 369

Geographical Setting: London

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: Through assisting an injured young woman, thirty year old Richard Mayhew’s formerly normal life is turned upside down when she introduces him to London Below, an underground version of London unseen by most people. They embark on a quest to find her father’s murderer and along the way he learns of undiscovered personal strengths.  He yearns to return to London Above, but after the adventure below will he ever fit in there again?

Subject Headings:  Fantasy fiction, London

Appeal: accessible, magical, hopeful, unique, candid, darker, lighthearted, suspenseful, quirky, imaginative, mystical

3 terms that best describe this book:  humorous, realistic but fantastic, adventurous

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

  1. Underground by David MacAulay (Illustrations and text about how the Underground system operates.)
  2. The Groundwater Diaries: Trials, Tributaries and Tall Stories from Beneath the Streets of London by Tim Bradford (A travelogue with the same setting as Gaiman’s novel.)
  3. Michael Brein’s Guide to the London Underground by Michael Brein (a guidebook of all of the tube stations.)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (combines magic with normal life)
  2. The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford (deals with a gritty parallel world)
  3. Freedom and Necessity by Emma Bull and Steven Brust (another fantasy novel with crosses worlds)

Name: Laura Melton