Stunning design combines with an edgy, inspirational life story; let us see more.

LIGHTSURFING

LIVING LIFE IN THE FRONT OF MY MOUTH

Marrus’ debut chronicles her artistic development through allegorical paintings and anecdotes of living life to the fullest.

In her bid “to become the lead character of my own story,” Marrus moved to New York City for a comic book apprenticeship, where she worked in a small animation studio, doing background inking for Valiant and serving as creative director for Gor graphic novels. All along, she struggled with loneliness and insecurity, resenting the “Hammer of Financial Rationality,” aka the fact that artists need day jobs. She spent two years becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, but that was her last brush with the real world. Finally, she boldly decided to wear an “avatar”—an “idealized fantasy” of herself (thus dropping her first name)—and earn a living through art by taking pieces on the road to sell at Renaissance festivals, where she also does body painting. Her memoir cleverly intersperses diary entries, dreams, poems and photographs with humorous yarns, such as trying to toilet-train kittens and tan a deer hide in her tiny apartment. A self-deprecating tone still makes room for sincere words of encouragement: “Happiness comes from living life now, being aware of what you have that brings you joy and peace, and focusing on that.” Most pages also feature a sample of the author’s striking, symbolic artwork, sketches and full-color reproductions, many of chimeras and hybrid creatures, with motifs of eyes, lips, hands, feathers, deer, dogs, cats, carousels or circuses, as well as vaginal and phallic imagery. Her titles for chapters (“Hey, I Needed the Money”) and paintings (“Chainpigs”) are equally intriguing. The most arresting piece, “When the Crotch Rules the Mind in the Quoilyn Garden of Lust, Narrated,” is a Bosch-like nightmare of sex and madness. These more provocative aspects of Marrus’ work—including photographs of her seminude modeling and descriptions of experimentation with drugs and S&M—may alienate some readers. As Marrus admits, “traditional galleries haven’t known what to do with me,” for her works are “visual metaphors for things that are difficult to put into words.”

Stunning design combines with an edgy, inspirational life story; let us see more.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Kissena Park Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

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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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