All Power to the Imagination

A COLORING BOOK OF PHANTASMAGORIA FOR ALL AGES

Pozsonyi offers a debut book of coloring prompts for imaginative artists of all ages.

In the absence of any explanation, this project does not immediately suggest itself to be a coloring book. Each two-page spread follows the same layout: the right side is completely blank, while the left contains a black-and-white photograph in the upper half of the page. These pictures are of sections of asphalt and concrete, each marked by an asymmetrical blotch: they are “photographs of stains, detritus and imperfections in the city’s pavements.” Like clouds or Rorschach tests, these blotches suggest different shapes to each person who views them. Pozsonyi means for colorists to try to re-create, on the adjacent blank page, whatever person, animal, or mythical creature they see suggested in the photograph. As the author explains in the foreword: “Unlike traditional coloring books imposing outline images on the colorists, here, the images first have to be invented, prompted by the random patterns in the photographs interacting with the associative skills and metaphoric capacity of the viewer.” The book contains more than 150 prompts, a seemingly inexhaustible parade of stains that hints at any number of possible coloring subjects. While Pozsonyi’s recommendation may sound like more work than the casual artist wants from a coloring book, once the reader gets in the correct mindset, all sorts of fantastic characters and monsters start to emerge from the photos the author offers: alien tripods, giant mosquitoes, fish with legs, robotic ghosts, undiscovered species of bird. The only restriction placed upon the colorists is the size of the page. Beyond that, there are no rules. The fact that the final drawings are the product of found water, paint, and oil stains on paved surfaces adds an extra, creative quality to the experience, proving that the tools for self-expression are already contained within the colorist’s mind and can be released with only a bit of prompting. The rote coloring of prefabricated drawings can be fulfilling, relaxing, and healing, but those looking for a more active, self-guided experience should find hours of stimulation in Pozsonyi’s mysterious stains. An unorthodox but clever innovation for the coloring-book genre.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Blurb

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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