Friday, February 28, 2014

The Lonely Book - a book review

                                 This is my quote of the day!

Title:  The Lonely Book
Author:  Kate Bernheimer
Illustrator:  Chris Sheban

Do books have feelings?  Do they have a pulse or a message they deliver in a soft whisper to your mind and heart? I think they definitely do.  Were you ever browsing in the library or your local bookstore,  sorting through titles, when one shouts to you, "Pick me!" You need to hear what I have to say right now about what is happening in your life's journey."  I bet you have. 

This fabulous little book will tickle a book-lovers ears. The illustrations are soft and muted and beautiful to behold.  Much of the setting of this lyrical narrative transpires inside a library with new books arriving daily ...

"The library was busy every day with children looking for books about everything in the world, and the moss-green book about the girl in the forest was often chosen and taken home. Whenever the book was returned, it was placed on the shelf where the newest books lived.  There was a long list of children waiting for the book, and it hardly ever slept at the library."

After many encounters with eager new children wanting to read "the book" eventually the well-loved book became worn and tattered looking and less in demand and then.....completely forgotten.  

"Dropped in a dark corner by a daydreaming child, and not even the librarian found it." Until a dark-haired girl discovered it, rescued it from obscurity, brought it home, and enjoyed its soft whisperings."

Alice accidentally left the precious book at the library, and try as she might both she and the kind librarian assistant could not locate her favourite book.  Then one spoiling ..... You will have to check out the book and find out for yourself.  Did Alice finally find her book?  Where had it been living?  All these are good questions that need answering dear reader.  I know you will be very happy with the ending as all stories should have a happy ending (in my opinion) and everyone should live happily ever after, even if you are a  lonely book.

About the author:

Kate Bernheimer is known as a fabulist vanguard—widely recognized for her role in igniting a contemporary fairy-tale movement. She has publishednovels, stories, children’s books, creative nonfiction, and essays on fairy tales, and has edited four influential fairy-tale anthologies. 

Her most recent book is xo Orpheus: 50 New Myths (Penguin Books 2013), which follows her bestselling and World Fantasy Award winning collectionMy Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales with original stories written upon her invitation.  For these collections, authors invited by Kate revisit traditional wonder tales in diverse styles and affects.
Her 2010 story collection Horse, Flower, Bird is “a collection readers won’t soon forget, one that redefines the fairy tale into something wholly original” (Booklist). Published by Coffee House Press, it includes illustrations by Rikki Ducornet.  A second story collection called How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in 2014 and is illustrated by Catherine Eyde.  A trio of novels about three sisters—The Complete Tales of Ketzia GoldThe Complete Tales of Merry Gold, and the forthcoming The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold—were published in 2001, 2008, and 2011 by one of the US’s oldest independent publishers, the innovative Fiction Collective 2.  Kate’s first children's book, The Girl in The Castle inside The Museum(Random House/Schwartz & Wade Books), was illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli and was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly. She is proud to have published two more children’s books—The Lonely Book (with illustrations by the fabulous Chris Sheban), and The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair (illustrated by the phenomenal Jake Parker)—both also with Random House/Schwartz & Wade Books. Kate has also published fiction and literary nonfiction in such journals as Tin HouseWestern Humanities ReviewPoetry International,Puerto del Sol, and The Massachusetts Review.  Kate’s previous anthologies include Mirror, Mirror on The Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales (Anchor/Vintage 1998), and Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales (Wayne State University Press’s Series in Fairy-Tale Studies, 2008).
In 2005, she founded, and currently remains editor of, Fairy Tale Review, the leading literary journal dedicated to fairy tales as a contemporary art form. With her brother, Andrew Bernheimer of Bernheimer Architecture, she has been co-curating and authoring a series of designs for fairy-tale houses, published with the international magazine Design Observer / Places; they were awarded an AIANY Merit Award in the “Unbuilt” category for the first installation, called “The House on Chicken Feet.” You can see the designs here, and watch for more to come in late 2013. 
If you are especially interested in her aesthetic theories on fairy tales, please check out her recent essay in The Volta and her miniature tour of Orpheus retellings for The New Yorker’s book blog, “Page-Turner"

Kate teaches in the Department of English at the University of Arizona. If you are interested in having Kate lecture on fairy tales or offer a fiction reading or fairy-tale workshop to your students, please contact her via this website.  She tends to book such engagements around a year in advance, with some exceptions of course.

About the illustrator:

 I grew up in Boardman, Ohio and attended Kent State University in 1976.  After two additional years of graduate work, I moved to Perugia, Italy where I worked for a year as a graphic designer and part-time illustrator.  Then it was off to Chicago where I’ve been ever since. Most of the work I do currently is in the children’s book market.

Chris’ work has appeared in PRINT magazine, Step-by-Step Graphics, and numerous Communication Arts Illustration Annuals. He’s been awarded three Gold and three Silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York.

I sketch on tracing paper because I prefer its surface texture over other papers. These rough sketches are usually very small, 2 - 3” tall at most. I find it easier to see the entire composition this way. Once I’m satisfied with the rough sketch, I’ll enlarge it on a photocopier. This also darkens the faint lines of the original. I’ll use this photocopy to make a rough color study. I tape the copy to my desk then paint on it with watercolor and pastel.  I’ll refer to this color sketch when working on the finished art.
To begin the finished piece, I’ll take the photocopied sketch and enlarge it to a comfortable working size, usually about 14 – 18” tall, depending on the amount of detail involved. Using tracing paper again, the drawing is refined at this larger size. Onto stretched (stapled, no patience with tape) Arches watercolor paper, I apply a medium-dark wash of watercolor. The color and value will vary depending on the piece. The drawing is then transferred to the painted paper by rubbing pastel on the back of the refined sketch.  Using Prismacolor pencils, the drawing is slowly built by layering colors atop one another. Watercolor is applied throughout the process for darker areas. Drawing on the rough surface of the watercolor paper results in the grainy, pebbled texture in the finished art.

Book review rating:  8 (fantastic!)

Read on and read always!  Have an amazing day!

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