"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1


Books to movies.  As far as the transition from book to movie, this one is a hit!  Possibly the best in the series thus far, Breaking Dawn part 1 has left an impression on me... I have to see it again!  Don't you love it when that happens?  You have just seen the movie, but you have the strongest desire to view it once more?  This is one of those!

"You are cordially invited to the event that will change everything...."


Beginning with the wedding invitation, Breaking Dawn scintillatingly continues the saga of Edward, Bella and Jacob.  Opening scenes include a variance of emotions from worry, joy, and anger in response to the wedding invitation.  Bella (Kristin Stewart) walks arm in arm with her father down the aisle in the forest clearing.  She wears a gorgeous white gown with a solid bodice and cutwork lace revealingly open in the back just beyond her waist and fitted perfectly to her figure with a small train skimming the ground behind.  In her hair, the veil is held in place with a comb of vintage nature adorned with blue jewels.  Something old, something new, something blue.....  The groom, Edward (Robert Pattinson) waits in a black tux with the priest at the head of the aisle.  Former classmates and family are seated on willow benches adorned with white blossoms, an extensive vampire representation abides.



"No measure of time with you will be long enough....but we'll start with forever."

Marrying a vampire is deadly enough but what about having his baby?  (Sorry if you haven't read the book or seen the movie yet.)

"That's impossible..."

Did Kristen Stewart really lose all that weight or is this the trick/magic of photo editing?  From emancipation during pregnancy to death, Bella endures to bring forth precious life but not without the rising threat of the wolf clan.  Will Jacob carry out the sentence of death?  Can Edward save Bella?

The dramatic effects are getting better with each movie.  However, the wolf scene wherein the clan communicates via telepathy is a bit corny.  It just doesn't come off as authentic.  If you have seen the movie, do you agree?  Makeup on some of the actors still is too heavy.  Alice's and Bella's looks fine now but Dr. Cullen and his sons look far too pasty.  I keep hoping the makeup artists will find a solution for that while still projecting the vampire bloodless face image.

While others in the audience maneuvered to the exits, during the credits, my companions and I stayed to watch.  If you didn't stay, let me tell you, you missed an additional scene.  Span to Italy, to the Volturi as they receive the wedding announcement.  So, is the trouble with the Cullen clan then over?  Or has it just begun?  Dun dun dun dun.......  When is part II scheduled to be released anyway?  November 16, 2012! The waiting is far too prolonged for the conclusion of one of the most dramatic books-to-movies series, don't you agree?  Looking for the Christmas audience, I'm sure, but why not May or June?  Hype, hype, hype!


Holiday Movie Season Begins Today

Holiday Movie Season Begins Today There are a few movies premiering for the holiday season and many are based on books. Click on Holiday Movie Season Begins Today to read more. Have you read any of these books this year?

Top Twenty Gift Suggestions for the Book Lover by thesavvyreader.ca


  1. Click on the post title to go to the Savvy Reader site where you may read the Top Twenty Gift Suggestions for the Book Lover!  It's time for Christmas ideas and the Savvy Reader gives you a good start!

Top Ten Books of 2011 From Amazon.ca

Sisters Brothers
by Patrick Dewitt



A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.  (Amazon.com)

In the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition. (Amazon.com)




The Art of Fielding:  A Novel
by Chad Harbach


At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment--to oneself and to others. (Amazon.com)




IQ84
by Haruki Murakami and Jay Rubin

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers. (Amazon.com)














What It's Like to to Go to War
by Karl Marlantes

In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war. Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings—from Homer to The Mahabharata to Jung. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.
Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as acclaimed as a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone—soldier or civilian—interested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience. (Amazon.com)






Half Blood Blues
by Esi Edugyan



Berlin, 1939. The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young trumpet-player Hieronymus Falk, declared a musical genius by none other than Louis Armstrong, is arrested in a Paris café. He is never heard from again. He was twenty years old, a German citizen. And he was black.


Berlin, 1952. Falk is a jazz legend. Hot Time Swingers band members Sid Griffiths and Chip Jones, both African Americans from Baltimore, have appeared in a documentary about Falk. When they are invited to attend the film’s premier, Sid’s role in Falk’s fate will be questioned and the two old musicians set off on a surprising and strange journey.


From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world as he describes the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that led to Falk’s incarceration in Sachsenhausen. Half-Blood Blues is a story about music and race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art. (Amazon.com)

(Amazon.com)



The Marriage Plot
by Jeffrey Eugenides

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives. (Amazon.com)














The Cat's Table
by Michael Ondaatje

In the early 1950s, an 11-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the “cat’s table”—as far from the Captain’s Table as can be—with a ragtag group of “insignificant” adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury. But there are other diversions as well: One man talks with them about jazz and women, another opens the door to the world of literature. The narrator’s elusive, beautiful cousin Emily becomes his confidante, allowing him to see himself “with a distant eye” for the first time, and to feel the first stirring of desire. Another cat’s table denizen, the shadowy Miss Lasqueti, is perhaps more than what she seems. And very late every night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner, his crime and his fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever.

As the narrative moves between the decks and holds of the ship and the boy’s adult years, it tells a spellbinding story—by turns poignant and electrifying—about the magical, often forbidden discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage.  (Amazon.com)







Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values. (Simon & Schuster)



Steve Jobs admitted that "everything he did correctly had required a moment when he hit the rewind button.  In each case he had to rework something that he discovered was not perfect.  "If something isn't right, you can't just ignore it and say you'll fix it later," he said.  "That's what other companies do." And that way of thinking is what helped differentiate him from others, and Apple from other companies.  

Regardless of your opinion of the man, the product, or the company, Steve Jobs, the biography, is a book you really should read.  It is enlightening and will make you think, contemplate, and appreciate the great minds of our time. 





Hot Art
by Joshua Knelman

The Thomas Crown Affair meets The Devil in the White City in this fast-paced, character-driven story that breaks open the secrets of international art theft

A major work of investigative journalism, Hot Art is also Joshua Knelman's tale of the young reporter chasing a story idea that turns out to be a globe-trotting mystery, filled with cunning and eccentric characters: art thieves who threaten and then befriend him, gallery owners who avoid him, FBI agents and senior detectives who tolerate him, and art lawyers who embrace him in their ongoing fight to sound the alarm about the disturbing secrets of art dealership vis a vis the black market and how it is exploding around the world, unchecked and unregulated.

Knelman befriends the slippery Paul, a skilled art thief, and Donald Hrycyk, who works on a shoestring budget in downtown L.A. to recover stolen art. Through alternating chapters focusing on Paul and Don, the story of a thief and a detective unfolds, in the process revealing the dramatic rise of international art theft. And in a surprise ending, Knelman learns that corruption can appear in the unlikeliest places. (Amazon.com)





----Are any of these on your reading list?----









Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: Hot Water by Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons

Hot Water
Author:  Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Published:  November 2011
Pages: 288
Genre:  Thriller
ISBN 978-1593156848


Source:  I was provided a copy of Hot Water by Leyane Jerejian of FSB Associates for review on this blog.  This does not influence my opinion nor this review.



From the publicity company:  No stranger to balancing an intensely demanding work schedule with the stresses of keeping her family together, AJ Palladino now faces another challenge: she is leaving her young son home with her ailing parents so that she can travel to the site of a new case involving a nuclear power plant in peril. And it will take all her skills to keep her cool while the action and tension build to a fever pitch.

Colleton River, a new, one-of-a-kind nuclear facility designed to create medical isotopes with the potential to save millions of lives, has recently been plagued by a series of unexplained mishaps. The accidents have caused the locals to protest the plant, drawing the attention of an anti-nuclear protest group as well as several home-grown terrorists who sense an opportunity to sow fear and chaos. The plant’s owner, Owen Grandel, has traveled from South Carolina to West Virginia to personally ask AJ for help. AJ knows she’s going to have her hands full investigating the accidents and calming the situation at the plant. What she doesn’t foresee is her simple business trip turning into disaster, with her family coming apart at the seams in her absence—and her young son disappearing. While AJ tries to find her missing child, she also discovers what caused the “accidents.” Soon the plant begins hurtling towards nuclear catastrophe, with AJ stranded at ground zero. But can she save her son, herself, and the community—and prevent a nuclear meltdown before it’s too late?


As you can tell when you read my preview post, Hot Water moves quickly, capturing the reader's attention from the very beginning.  Erin Brockovich is a master at writing a quick paced thriller.  

The author's attention to detail in research is evident as, in Hot Water, Colletin River, a nuclear facility, is in dispute with the people of the area and a religious group.  AJ is hired to quiet the storm (pun intended, see further into the book), so the owners might attract investors from Japan and abroad.  But they cannot court these investors with the protestors so visible in the news and around the facility.  Though this isn't typical work for AJ and her business partner Elizabeth, the proceeds from success would be sufficient to supply financial stability for AJ and her son David and for the business she and Elizabeth run.  Feeling like she is selling out, AJ reluctantly accepts the job which, in a short period of time, not only endangers her but could be the death of several thousands of people, a modern day apocalypse.  

I couldn't put this book down!  As the hours of the night drew late, I reluctantly had to set it aside so I could function the next day at work but the moment I was able to I delved in again.  The only complaint I have is that the author writes in the first person, in AJ's voice, and then in the third person as well.  It is not always a smooth transition as at one point in the novel, the narrator speaks of AJ while just before AJ was narrating.  Though there is a break in the chapter, signified by a symbol, I found it rather odd to read it that way.  Other than that, I absolutely loved it!  Hopefully Erin and CJ are fast at work on the next AJ Palladino novel, so their avid fans, me included, will have their thirst for adventure satisfied soon!

Rated 4.5/5



Preview: Hot Water by Erin Brockovich with C.J. Lyons


Hot Water by Erin Brockovich: Chapter 1
By Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons,
Author of Hot Water
Summer in the mountains of West Virginia has a magic of its own, like a fairy tale come true. For me, it was a fairy tale paid for with blood.
It was August. After five months back home in Scotia (population 864) I'd just about gotten used to folks looking away from me and mumbling about how I'd gotten the man I loved killed and almost got my dad and son killed and just about drowned the entire valley in toxic sludge.
"That's AJ Palladino," they'd say, crossing to the other side of the street as I passed, in case I rubbed off on them. "Yeah, that AJ Palladino."
I ignored them. Didn't much care what people said about me as long as they didn't take it out on my nine-year-old, David. And, I have to admit, Scotia did treat David like the hero his dad had once been. They embraced him despite his two disabilities (or abilities, depending on your point of view): having cerebral palsy, which left him mostly wheelchair-bound, and being a genius.
Despite the town's acceptance of him, David still wasn't so sure about Scotia. He was hit hard by the death of his dad. I tried everything, even enrolled him in some online courses. Stuff I didn't understand but he was interested in, like the Phonology of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century. He'd bury himself in them, working like a fever, finishing a semester's worth of material in a few weeks, and then would promptly slide back into boredom and despair.
Given my family's tendency for obsessions -- addictions, really, holding on too hard, too long -- I was more than a bit worried.
My friend Ty Stillwater, a sheriff's deputy K-9 officer, and his partner, Nikki, a beautiful Belgium Malinois, finally broke David free from his mourning.
Ty somehow found a way to make wheelchair accessible every mountain adventure that a boy could love. He and David would leave at first light and show up again for dinner at my gram's kitchen cov­ered in battle scars. Once, Ty took David rafting down the New River, and they came back half-drowned, sunburned, and sporting matching black eyes that they refused to tell us how they got. They would burst into laughter every time they caught sight of each other.
I loved hearing David laugh but couldn't help but worry each time he left. For too many years I'd raised David alone, and it was difficult getting used to sharing him with others who loved him as much as I did. Not to mention the fact that I was and am a total control freak, especially about David. But I suffered in silence­ -- David hates it when I try to rein in his independence.
Besides, I was busy enough with work to take my mind mostly off David's scrapes and bruises and poison ivy. My new business partner, Elizabeth Hardy, the legal half of our consumer advocacy firm, turned out to have a gift for negotiation, so our first few cases ended quickly and happily for our clients and were profitable for us. All in all, summer felt enchanted, magical.
Even the weather cooperated. The storm clouds that gathered every afternoon remained empty threats. They'd scowl down at Scotia, then scurry away to dump their rain elsewhere.
But sooner or later, the storm has to break and you're going to get soaked.
Which was how I came to be yelling at the man in the Armani suit.
I knew it was an Armani suit because I'd dealt with enough of them when I'd worked in D.C. Not sure how they did it, but it seemed as if every suit jacket had an attitude sewn into the lining: money can buy anything.
Well, it wasn't buying me.
Elizabeth and I hadn't risked everything -- including our lives­ -- to start this advocacy firm just to be dictated to by a guy who happened to have enough money to indulge his taste in designer suits.
Armani guy's name was Owen Grandel, and he'd flown all the way up from South Carolina to consult with Elizabeth and me. He was in his late thirties, trim in that personal-trainer executive way, with a shaved head that focused your attention on his dark eyes and spray-tan complexion.
He had not come to Scotia to be abused. Or so his expression informed me without bothering with words.
"We aren't in the business of whitewashing a corporation's dirty laundry," I continued, in the mood for a fight and quite happy that Grandel was obliging.
He said nothing. Simply crossed his arms over his chest, leaned his shoulders back, and smiled. The kind of smile you give a preco­cious kid who's acting out and you're tolerating his behavior just because you know how wrong he is.
David hates it when I smile at him that way.
Thankfully Elizabeth stepped between us before I tried to wipe that smile off Grandel's face. We were in the living room of her house -- which doubled as our office space -- and she had just brought coffee on a tray. "I'm sorry, Mr. Grandel, we're out of cream. Will milk do?"
I rolled my eyes as she almost curtsied. Then, while Grandel busied himself mixing and stirring his coffee, finally taking a seat in the Queen Anne chair beside the fireplace, Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder at me with a glare that could have sparked tinder.
Play nice, she mouthed at me, as if! were the one making trouble. She sat down across from Grandel, smoothing her skirt and crossing her ankles like a lady before reaching for her own cup of coffee.
This is why I usually let Elizabeth handle the suits. I'm more of a field person -- get me out there with the regular folks and I'll get to the truth of what's what and who's who and figure out a way to fix things. Then it's up to Elizabeth to cross the legal "t's," negotiate a workable solution for all parties, and collect our paycheck.
So far it's been a pretty good system. Until today.
"I'm not sure that you understand exactly what we do, Mr. Grandel." Elizabeth leaned across the table to snag a sugar cube, her sleeve brushing against his knee.
I barely contained my snort. It was very obvious Grandel didn't understand anything except what his money could buy.
"Oh, but I do, Ms. Hardy." He leaned back and crossed his legs, watching her through half-shut eyes.
When I worked in D.C., I knew men like him. Smooth, charming. Sociopaths. Women would fall all over themselves to do whatever they wanted. Poor sad, he had no idea who he was up against. Elizabeth wasn't like that.
"Which is why I'm willing to pay extra. Above your customary fee schedule."With an elegant flourish of his manicured fingers, he slid a check from his pocket and placed it in front of her.
Elizabeth has a pretty good poker face, but I could tell the amount on the check rocked her. She took a sip of coffee and set her cup down beside the check, ignoring it.
"That's half," he persisted when she didn't leap at his offer. "You get the same when you finish."
''And who decides when the job is finished?"
I stepped forward, unwilling to believe she was even considering.
She glared at me and I froze.
"You do, of course." His voice was a low bedroom purr.
Her mouth twisted as she considered. Then she stood in one graceful movement, taking the check with her. "We need to consult about this."
"Of course," he said with a gracious wave of his hand, as if it were his house, not hers. "Take all the time you need."
I know my mouth dropped open because I felt it snap shut again when she took my arm and dragged me out of the room and across the hall to our shared office in what used to be the dining room. She closed the door behind us, then sagged back against it.
"Holy shit, AJ."
The check dropped from her fingers, flitting through the air on the sultry August breeze wafting in through the open windows, and curled up on the hardwood floor, face down. I picked it up, turned it over.
My face went cold as I read the amount. Counted the zeroes. Five of them. My mind did a back flip -- no, that figure couldn't be right -- then sloshed right side up as I looked again.
Half a million dollars. Which meant a million for the entire job if we took it.
Enough to send David to any college he wanted, to bankroll our company for the next decade, to be able to work on projects that really mattered. Freedom, security, opportunity.
All I'd have to do was betray everything I believed in and let myself be bought.
The above is an excerpt from the book Hot Water by  Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2011 By Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons, author of Hot Water
Author Bios
Erin Brockovich, author of Hot Water, is the real life inspiration behind the Oscar-winning movie that bears her name. Today she continues to perform legal work as a director of environmental research and is involved in consulting on numerous toxic waster investigations. She is active on the motivational speaking circuit, with a thriving lecture series and a television talk show in development. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
CJ Lyons, co-author of Hot Water, is an award-winning medical suspense author of such books as Lifelines, Warning Signs, and Urgent Care. Trained in pediatric emergency medicine, she has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, homicide, and more. She has also worked as a crisis counselor and victim advocate.
For more information please visit http://www.brockovich.com and http://cjlyons.net and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.


This preview was provided by and with the permission of Leyane Jerejian | Publicity Manager for Erin Brockovich, Hot Water.

My review will follow soon.  Hot Water was released for sale November 8, 2011.

Jann Arden Coming to Edmonton (Falling Backwards)

Jann Arden signs her new book Falling Backwards at Chapters on Whyte Avenue,   Edmonton Alberta tomorrow evening (November 24/11) at 7pm.  She will also be in concert here, February 27, 2012 at The Jubilee!






11/22/63 Trailers

Stephen King's 11/22/63 eBook Trailer:



11/22/63 Television Commercial:

The Commercial That Introduced the MacIntosh to the World

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs
Author:  Walter Isaacson
Publishers:  Simon and Schuster
Published:  October 2011
Pages:  656
Genre:  Biography
ISBN 9781451648539


From the publisher:  

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING BIOGRAPHIES OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND ALBERT EINSTEIN, THIS IS THE EXCLUSIVE BIOGRAPHY OF STEVE JOBS.
Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

My thoughts:  It took me three weeks to complete this biography.  Not because I found it slow, no, just the opposite.  Walter Isaacson developed Steve Jobs, the biography, in a meticulous manner that requires full attention and concentration to fully appreciate the genius of the man Jobs was.  I cannot say that I would like Steve, if I had a chance to meet him.  There are far too many incidences of cruelty to others done in the name of honesty that make one shudder to think of the poor soul on the receiving end of his barbed attacks.  Steve displayed a blatant disregard for social norms, parking in handicapped spots, overriding those he deemed not "intelligent" enough to warrant his time or attention.  These behaviours were not new to him as he built the iconic Apple company and became a household name in the process.  Even as a child/youth he exhibited an impatience for ineptitude, an intolerance for others' opinions and a lack of patience and empathy.  There is the mention of the day, as a teenager, that Jobs discovers he was smarter than his parents (adoptive).  The time Jobs insisted they send him to Reed College rather than Stanford which had accepted him and likely had a scholarship for at least part of the tuition.  He knew his parents had saved his entire life for his continuing education, yet he asked for more than he knew they could afford.  He didn't even have the decency to thank his father for the ride to Reed College, acknowledge his parents' sacrifices to send him there, nor allow their presence on campus.  He wanted to be known as parentless.  Years later he told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that he truly regretted how he treated his parents.

Reading of this makes one feel of his callousness and selfishness and it is difficult to see past it.  Did you know that Steve Jobs was forced to leave Apple at one time in his young years?  He started the company with Steve Wozniak but he was immature for the responsibility of leading the growing computer giant.  At this point, Steve Jobs started up NeXT, another computer developer and then went to Pixar where he would become the CEO and be instrumental in bringing to screen such hits as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc.  Then at a time when Apple was floundering Steve found his way back as an advisor, then acting CEO and finally as CEO of Apple.  

At MacWorld in Boston August 1997, Steve Jobs addressed Apple upon his return, stressing the word "we" as he spoke of the future of the company.  "We too are going to think differently and serve the people who have been buying our products from the beginning.  Because a lot of people think they're crazy, but in that craziness we see genius." (p. 322, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson)  (was he speaking only of his loyal customers?)  Jobs made it very clear that "he" and "we" of Apple were one. 

Embracing the "think different" theme upon rejoining Apple, Steve and an advertising team including Clow, Ken Segall, and Craig Tanimoto, created a tone poem, some of which Steve Jobs used in his keynote speech at Boston MacWorld. The original version read:
"Here's to the crazy ones.  The misfits.  The rebels.  The troublemakers.  The round pegs in the square holes.  The ones who see things differently.  They're not fond of rules.  And they have no respect for the status quo.  You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.  About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.  Because they change things.  They push the human race forward.  And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.  Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."  (p. 329, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson)
He refocused the company from a money making endeavour (which it was losing, by the way) back to its origins of designing, engineering and building exceptional products.  With an eye for meticulous detail, a penchant for perfection, and a head for business, he rebuilt his company while developing the iMac, iPod, iPad, iPhone, Apple Stores, iCloud, iTunes, the App Store, and Apple with an eye to the future, foreseeing future trends.

As a  young man, Steve Jobs seemed to predict his short life and felt an urgency to accomplish all that he could in what he deemed would be a short time on this earth.  Years later those premonitions would prove true as he battled pancreatic cancer, had a liver transplant, and cancer again, which proved to be his last battle.  He was at his happiest building his company.  His family was second in his life and for the most part, they realized and accepted that.  It would always be that way.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56.  He will be remembered as a tyrant, a loyal friend, an innovator, a visionary man, a businessman, a husband and father.  Not necessarily in that order.  Whatever you think of the man, you cannot help but admire his accomplishments.  He was a strong personality, a genius, an innovator.  Jobs reflected upon his legacy which Isaacson included near the end of the biography.  I include here a portion which will show you the man and the focus:
"My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.  Everything else was secondary.   Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products.  But the products, not the profits, were the motivation.  Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money.  It's a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything:  the people you hire, who gets promoted, what you discuss in meetings......You always have to keep pushing to innovate.  That's what I've always tried to do -- keep moving.  Otherwise, as Dylan says, if you're not busy being born, you're busy dying.....We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow.  That's what has driven me."
Steve Jobs admitted that "everything he did correctly had required a moment when he hit the rewind button.  In each case he had to rework something that he discovered was not perfect.  "If something isn't right, you can't just ignore it and say you'll fix it later," he said.  "That's what other companies do." And that way of thinking is what helped differentiate him from others, and Apple from other companies.  

Regardless of your opinion of the man, the product, or the company, Steve Jobs, the biography, is a book you really should read.  It is enlightening and will make you think, contemplate, and appreciate the great minds of our time.

Read or listen to an except from the audiobook here.

 <a href='http://video.app.msn.com/watch/video/the-leadership-of-steve-jobs/1dwm5lk52?cpkey=52ed77da-a328-4c1c-9453-59193d2a38b3%7C%7C%7C%7C&amp;src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='The Leadership of Steve Jobs' >Video: The Leadership of Steve Jobs</a>


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Governor General's Awards for Books Announced


The Governor General Awards were started in 1936 by Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir (Sir John Buchan) who was a writer himself with several popular published spy thrillers. Today the tradition continues, with this year's winners announced earlier today.

The winners are:

In Children's Text:
From Then to Now:  A Short History of the World 
Author:  Christopher Moore


Drama:
If We Were Birds
Author:  Erin Shields


Poetry:
Killdeer
Author:  Phil Hall


Non-fiction:
Mordecai:  The Life & Times
Author:  Charles Foran


Translation:
Partita for Glenn Gould
Author:  Donald Winkler


Children's Illustration:
Ten Birds
Author:  Cybele Young


Fiction:
The Sisters Brothers
Author:  Patrick de Witt



Monday, November 14, 2011

Inheritance Author Coming to Edmonton

Exciting news everyone!





Author Christopher Paolini will be in Edmonton for a book signing December 5th at Chapters located in West Edmonton Mall.  Be sure to call the store early to see if tickets will be necessary. Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon, Eldest, Brasingr and the newly released Inheritance (November 8/11).


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Intellectual Wallpaper

A library in the bath designed by Canadian designer Brian Gluckstein

"Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper."

— David Quaimen

Friday, November 11, 2011

The War Horse




Book description from Amazon (ages 9 and up)  YA/juvenile fiction
"In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?"

In Remembrance (Lest We Forget)

In Flanders Fields  by John McCrae   (1872-
1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



(Read the history of this poem here)

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada; the day we honour those who fought and often died to ensure freedom for others.  We remember the veterans of all the wars in ceremonies across the country, and with gratitude think of their sacrifice on behalf of generations unknown.  How truly blessed we are to live in this free land.  Free to worship as we will, to speak freely, to live without oppression.  The soldiers of the past and present, whether the Air Forces, Naval, or Ground Troups, are remembered today and always with humble hearts and thanksgiving.  They are the heroes of the nation. 

 Imagine all the people, living life in peace....(John Lennon).  If there were one wish you could be granted, would it be world peace and freedom?

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