Book Review: The ABC of Paradise Found

Book: The ABC of Paradise Found

Author: Karen Amanda Toulon and Eric Rhinehart 

Genre: Culture and Ethnic, Art

Review Copy: Reedsy Discovery

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read

The ABCs of Paradise Found is a mesmerizing work of creativity and art that deserves to be on the bookshelf of every connoisseur of all things fascinating. An award-winning journalist, Karen Toulon, and her partner, artist Eric Rhinehart, collaborate on an exquisite collection of words and watercolors. They delicately tiptoe around each other in a waltz of absolute delight, the colors, and brushstrokes in complete harmony with the theme and words. The narration, in its simplicity, tugs warmly at the strings of your heart. The paintings, in their sheer brilliance, pull you into a meditative state of blissful appreciation.

The writer evokes the culture, landscape, cuisine, and society of the French Caribbean islands. We see a relationship blossom between two people as they explore the culture of the Caribbeans and each other. As their awareness of the richness around them and their fondness for each other grow, Karen sketches with words, “You pretend to patiently wait while I select the perfect basket to add to my collection.” Eric complements such imagery with equally glorious artwork.

Each painting draws out the beauty of all Eric saw and felt. The colors spill out in absolute delight and fascination. The stories are pleasant, humorous, and even cover the supernatural myths of the land. You can almost taste the delicacies, and the fruits, dress up for the fete, or roam the old market. When you free yourself from the grip of the words, the colors enrapture.

This talent-laden exposition is a perfect gift or a coffee-table book to possess and cherish. This resplendent book has magical powers to bring the sea and the sand to you. The micro-stories are pure nostalgia and an ode to memories of cherished companionship. From the book jacket to the advanced praise, acknowledgment, and introduction, every piece speaks to the fantastic treasures in this book. Don’t miss a word, don’t skip the art. Savor this book, in whole or in part, several times. 

Book Review: The New Face of Grief

Book: The New Face of Grief

Author: Katie Rössler

Genre: Contemporary, Self-Help, Non-fiction

Review Copy: Reedsy Discovery

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read!

The New Face of Grief is a relevant book because grief is omnipresent in human life. Through the global pandemic, grief is a prevailing emotion. This work aims to help us not to make grief omnipotent in our life.

The author, Katie Rössler, highlights important concepts that we relegate to the background. Grief is not always about death, illness, and separation. Grief abounds in more sub-categories than we realize and accept. For example, a change of location, getting married, or changing jobs may cause grief and it is not just a passing emotion. At the onset, she sets the pace, “The reality, dear reader, is that the journey of grief cannot be rushed.”

The book is full of wisdom, neatly laid down in concise chapters. Initially, I felt the author unnecessarily seemed to justify writing this book because of her personal traumatic experiences. Once you get past that there are real grief stories, too. You find a comprehensive yet deep inquiry into everything within and beyond grief. It touches on ignored topics like humor as a tool to tackle grief, or when grief becomes a family matter.

The New Face of Grief

This book is relevant for those who want to understand and tackle their grief and for caretakers or loved ones to learn how to help a grieving person. While judging and shaming are not expected, telling someone to pull themselves out of “the pit” is also not acceptable. Grief-handling is a delicate and mostly long process that is shrouded in diverse social and emotional inhibitions. However, grief should not be hampered by guilt or the demands to spur back to normal. There are no rules of grief.  

The author addresses important aspects of grief that may lead to addiction, depression, and physical and mental ailments. There is power in “ugly crying” and there are “deeper lessons” in the process of grieving. Part 3 of the book is engrossing as it highlights the manifestations of grief in both physical and mental terms. In the end, she talks about the tools of healing.

This book is a succinct treasure trove of all grief-related questions and challenges. I recommend this as a handbook for yourself and also your loved ones. We cannot face what we do not understand. When we find a simple guide, like in the pages of this book, the journey may feel less lonely and far less intimidating.

Book Review: Monet & Oscar

A young American, the son of an accomplished landscape designer in San Francisco, returns to his country of birth to fight for France during World War I. Recovering from battle scars after the war, he finds himself in the employment of none other than Claude Monet. From here begins an enthralling tale of history, flirtations, love, passion, art, and personal quest.A young American, the son of an accomplished landscape designer in San Francisco, returns to his country of birth to fight for France during World War I. Recovering from battle scars after the war, he finds himself in the employment of none other than Claude Monet. From here begins an enthralling tale of history, flirtations, love, passion, art, and personal quest.

Book: Monet & Oscar: The Essence of Light 

Author: Joe Byrd

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama, Romance, Fiction

Review Copy: Reedsy

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read!

A young American, the son of an accomplished landscape designer in San Francisco, returns to his country of birth to fight for France during World War I. Recovering from battle scars after the war, he finds himself in the employment of none other than Claude Monet. From here begins an enthralling tale of history, flirtations, love, passion, art, and questionable past choices.

A pot-pourri of references to American, Japanese, and French culture merge in a storyline that navigates the life of Monet and Oscar. Japanese wood blocking, landscaping, gardening, Impressionist art to Monet’s illustrious life as a painter, Joe Byrd has written an enchanting historical fiction. The author’s passion for the subject and meticulous research of 30 years gleam through engrossing narration.

The reader must sit back and relish the charms of the cobbled roads along the Seinne, Vernon, Lyon, and Giverny, the fresh sea air, the architecture, the train rides, the walks and picnics, the nostalgia, references to French couture, and the delicate as well as exquisite culinary delights of the time. Monet’s garden is described as “…the best private Garden in France, perhaps in all of Europe.” Amidst all this beauty, we have a young man brimming with questions and an aged, sometimes “gruff” and “grouchy” artist on a journey of reminiscence. 

The book offers insight into people, their hardships, but most importantly about relationships that evolve amidst eccentricities and awkwardness. The characters have a connection that runs far back than they have personally known each other. Intrigue and questions fill the pages. Even halfway through, the conflict and the suspense do not become blunt. Oscar’s passionate liaison with a young lady has a Mills and Boons feel to it. 

I am glad to read this book and recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction and Impressionist art. It reminded me of another of my favorite historical fiction – Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. The chapters flow seamlessly, introducing new characters, adding layers to a fascinating tale, intercepted only by the evocation of picturesque surroundings and the confusion and pining of a lonely, young man. Drama, romance, mystery; you have it all in a well-edited book with eloquent prose. Sample this – “The stalks were months from bowing their heavy heads with the weight of golden grains of harvest time.” Want to read more? Grab your copy.

Book Review: Brainstorming with Da Vinci

The content is succinct and well-structured; all points neatly stand out with appropriate formatting and as lists. Chapters are not overwhelming in length but pack a punch. It is a book for a deep-dive; it is a book for reference. It is the perfect material to quote in your next TED talk or podcast. It will inspire you to brainstorm, making it an effective companion guide.

Book: Brainstorming with Da Vinci: An Entertaining Approach to Lead and Inspire Teams to Generate Big Ideas

Author: Eric Bowe

Genre: Contemporary, Nonfiction, Business Management

Review Copy: Reedsy

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read!

I picked up Brainstorming with Da Vinci for its fascinating title and was not disappointed by my choice. Brainstorming is a term mostly flung around corporate boardrooms and big organisations riding the trend of innovation and acceleration. However, Eric Bowe highlights that brainstorming is not limited to business or science etymology. The term has significance in various facets of life, including poetry, art, and music. 

Leonardo Da Vinci is an appropriate poster boy for the skill of deep thinking and execution, with an eclectic personality and curiosity in myriad subjects. The writer encourages that the medium does not matter and even dreams that fail can be instrumental in success. 

The book premise is how an intellect like Da Vinci may have used brainstorming as a tool in an illustrious and creative career. There are insights into the thinking process and methods of some of the most artistic and adored people we know – Lady Gaga, Mick Jagger, Jay Z, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Carrie Fisher – the list and areas of influence goes on. This lends the book an invigorating and interesting flavor.

The content is succinct and well-structured; all points neatly stand out with appropriate formatting and as lists. Chapters are not overwhelming in length but pack a punch. It is a book for a deep-dive; it is a book for reference. It is the perfect material to quote in your next TED talk or podcast. It will inspire you to brainstorm, making it an effective companion guide.

The writer has put a lot of thought and effort into this work. He has enjoyed the process. Delightful concept names encompass twenty methods and nine guiding principles to make ideas actionable. Want to know what is a “midnight moment” or an “intellectual sherbet”? Have you ever pondered about the optimum number of people in a brainstorming team and session duration? Well, this and much more are available in this brilliant book!

Bowe’s vast experience says that even a bad idea has potential if treated with expertise and indulged with best practices. You may find suggestions and methods that you vaguely know or have used. However, having a host of ideas, neatly laid out in this concise text form, is the effective refresher course you need. Before you capture your next thought, grab this book, and get an insight on how to brainstorm just right.

Book Review: The Eight Crafts of Writing

The Eight Crafts of Writing by Stefan Emunds is a must-have on the bookshelf for anyone who wants a succinct reckoner for basic principles of good writing.

Eight-Crafts-of-Writing

Book: The Eight Crafts of Writing

Author: by Stefan Emunds

Genre: Nonfiction, Contemporary, Writing Craft

Review Copy: Reedsy

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Loved it!

As a writer, this book grabbed my attention with its title. The Eight Crafts of Writing by Stefan Emunds is a must-have on the bookshelf for anyone who wants a succinct reckoner for basic principles of good writing.

Presented in a crisp format, the book provides a comprehensive map to navigate the writing jungle. Writers are often distracted by the tools of the trade, the multitude of best writing practices, advice on, and criticism of the styles. They tend to miss the overall picture. They forget the joy of creating art.

Nuggets of wisdom, easy to recall definitions, and a simplistic view of concepts are the cornerstone of this guidebook. It brings forth brief comprehension of elements of creative writing that we think we know but may not have clarity. For instance, defining a story as a genre or distinguishing a fictional piece from a nonfictional one. It talks about the techniques that convert big ideas into a masterpiece.

I realized the value of this book as I delved deeper. This is not a one-time read. It is reference material; a textbook. Highlight the nuances, make notes in the margins, view the online material, and memorize the definitions. I recommend it as a must-have for every student and pursuer of the craft of writing. Simple diagrams support the narrative. Links to external material like videos and articles enhance the reference power of the content.

Each page will draw you in, as you consume it. It’s virtually a tome because not a word is wasted; not a sentence is vagrant. It’s packed with a punch, a solid dose of learning in every single line. Read the whole book in a go or pick up a section and ruminate. You must also access the website – https://www.eightcrafts.com for additional learning through maps and articles. This is a masterclass in a book!

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