A pleasantly quirky volume, sprinkled with humorous observations and attractive photos.

LIVING A COLOURFUL LIFE

A New Zealand author offers a collection of photographs and verse.

Valentine makes her debut with this slim volume that showcases 15 of her color photos, each of which is overlaid with inspirational or motivational verse. For example, the author writes over a photo of a sculpture by the shoreline: “FREEDOM—To live, To explore & To be yourself. Be Open to the possibilities.” Each of the photo pages is followed by a brief piece revealing something about Valentine’s travels and adventures—vacation cruises, her time spent working in England, a couple of unfortunate liaisons. Readers learn that early on she built a career as a makeup artist in the movie and television industries, but discover nothing about her professional endeavors following that. Yet one poem toward the end gives a glimpse of her complicated ancestry: “Descendants of a royal Polynesian King / it’s my duty to learn of my privileged upbringing.” Valentine writes of her eclectic experiences with joyful abandon in this whimsical collection. Here she describes the two years she spent working in London: “I made heaps of money, travelled through Europe, and got to try cocaine—just a taste. I joined a vampire society group and wore gothic clothes, gained another tattoo.” The photos themselves are rather lovely scenic images that convey a sense of tranquility—primarily flowers, shorelines, and intriguing bits of architecture. While sharing only snippets of her life, the author nonetheless comes across as a happy rebel, endearingly self-deprecating even while exuding a sense of confidence: “As I see life, have no regrets. Play safe. Try everything at least once, within reason.” Some readers may find the text overlays a bit intrusive, making the photos appear more like greeting cards than works of art, and reminding them of the small volumes of photos and musings often found at bookstore checkout counters. Yet the overall effect is to create a moment of calm, a call to pause for reflection.

A pleasantly quirky volume, sprinkled with humorous observations and attractive photos.

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5434-0799-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: XlibrisAU

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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