THIRTEEN LUNATIONS

A CELEBRATION OF TIME

A cheerfully personal, if occasionally obscure, perspective on the complexities of Earth and beyond.

Marin offers a loosely autobiographical meditation on space, time, and other subjects.

The author explains that she does not particularly care for the Gregorian calendar; her main critique is that it has “very little to do with what the moon is up to.” In this work, Marin details a more moon-centered (or “luni-solar”) calendar. In this version, there are nine days in a week, mostly with names linked to planets (Vensday, for example). In the pages that follow, the author develops her calendar and presents a smorgasbord of other material concerning seasons, traditions, and the solar system. There are also personal reflections, such as notes on a trip the author took to Glastonbury in the early 2000s. Marin shares various dreams she’s had, including one that she has thought about for 30-some years, in which a being with red hair took her into another world. Both astronomy and astrology are given great attention: The author discusses how Saturn’s rings are divided into seven sections, and the reader learns about concepts like “Saturn Return,” which occurs when “Saturn occupies the same sign it did at a person’s birth.” This wide breadth of material sets the book apart from, well, most books—the reader is taken on a seasonally inspired journey that offers recipes, poems, and more. The free-wheeling nature of the text is buoyed by the author’s upbeat attitude, such as when the reader is encouraged at the beginning of one recipe to “Have fun!” Yet some points prove to be perplexing—Marin’s account of her trip to Glastonbury can be confusing. A number of topics, such as quotations from Robert Coon and mentions of a hostel called Black Sheep, are thrown at the reader in rapid succession; these passages may require re-reading to fully grasp what the author is conveying. Yet taken altogether, the many small pieces of the work add up to a unique and engaging whole.

A cheerfully personal, if occasionally obscure, perspective on the complexities of Earth and beyond.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2023

ISBN: 9798987775400

Page Count: 336

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2023

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A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

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The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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