Inside the World of Comic Books by Jeffery Klaehn Summary
With the popularity of comic book properties at an all-time high, the time is right for a collection of essays and original interviews devoted to all things comic book. As well as essays on contemporary issues and trends associated with comic books and comic book culture, this diverse collection also features original interviews with top comic industry professionals. From visionary writers and artists, to award-winning editors and publishers, interviewees include: Joe Quesada, artist, writer, and Marvel Comics editor-in-chief; Victor Lucas, creator, producer, and co-host of the award-winning Electric Playground; Steve Englehart, acclaimed writer for Marvel Comics and DC Comics; John Romita Sr, legendary Amazing Spiderman artist and Marvel Comics art director; Steve Niles, writer of 30 Days of Night, Dark Days, and Wake the Dead; Eric Searleman, Viz Media editor; Chris Warner, Dark Horse Comics senior editor; Scott Allie, writer and Dark Horse Comics Conan editor; Norm Breyfogle, acclaimed Batman artist. Addressing the role comic books play in reflecting the mood of popular culture, essay topics include: comic book fan communities; comics in relation to cinema and video games; the issue of censorship, in particular, of horror comics; comic book content and social attitudes of the 1950s and 1960s; detective comics of the 1970s; and women collectors and the image of women in comic books, in general.
Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit? by Steve Lowe,Alan McArthur Summary
If you hate: loft living; bar-clubs; Tony Blair; chick lit; global warming sceptics; Keane; loyalty cards; IKEA; Kabbalah; bling and Richard Curtis... ... then you need IS IT JUST ME OR IS EVERYTHING SHIT? - an encylopedic attack on modern culture and the standard reference work for everyone who believes everything is shit. Which it is. This book is for the large percentage of the population interested in saying NO to the phoney ideas, cretinous people, useless products and doublespeak that increasingly dominate our lives. This book is designed for everyone who thinks they may have mislaid their soul in a Coffee Republic. Never before has there been a book so completely full of shit. This very funny, well-informed, belligerent rant of a book adds up to an excoriating broadside against consumer capitalism that the authors hope will sell loads of copies.
Agnes de Mille by Kara Anne Gardner Summary
This book explores the Broadway legacy of choreographer Agnes de Mille, from the 1940s through the 1960s. Six musicals are discussed in depth - Oklahoma!, One Touch of Venus, Bloomer Girl, Carousel, Brigadoon, and Allegro. Oklahoma!, Carousel, and Brigadoon were de Mille's most influential and lucrative Broadway works. The other three shows exemplify aspects of her legacy that have not been fully examined, including the impact of her ideas on some of the composers with whom she worked; her ability to incorporate a previously conceived work into the context of a Broadway show; and her trailblazing foray into the role of choreographer/director. Each chapter emphasizes de Mille's unique contributions to the original productions. Several themes emerge in looking closely at de Mille's Broadway repertoire. Character development remained at the heart of her theatrical work work. She often took minor characters, represented with minimal or no dialogue, and fleshed out their stories. These stories added a layer of meaning that resulted in more complex productions. Sometimes, de Mille's stories were different from the stories her collaborators wanted to tell, which caused many conflicts. Because her unique ideas often got woven into the fabric of her musicals, de Mille saw her choreography as an authorship. She felt she should be given the same rights as the librettist and the composer. De Mille's work as an activist is an aspect of her legacy that has largely been overlooked. She contributed to revisions in dance copyright law and was a founding member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a theatrical union that protects the rights of directors and choreographers. Her contention that choreographers are authors who have their own stories to tell offers a new way of understanding the Broadway musical.
A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind by Robert A. Burton, M.D. Summary
What if our soundest, most reasonable judgments are beyond our control? Despite 2500 years of contemplation by the world's greatest minds and the more recent phenomenal advances in basic neuroscience, neither neuroscientists nor philosophers have a decent understanding of what the mind is or how it works. The gap between what the brain does and the mind experiences remains uncharted territory. Nevertheless, with powerful new tools such as the fMRI scan, neuroscience has become the de facto mode of explanation of behavior. Neuroscientists tell us why we prefer Coke to Pepsi, and the media trumpets headlines such as "Possible site of free will found in brain." Or: "Bad behavior down to genes, not poor parenting." Robert Burton believes that while some neuroscience observations are real advances, others are overreaching, unwarranted, wrong-headed, self-serving, or just plain ridiculous, and often with the potential for catastrophic personal and social consequences. In A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind, he brings together clinical observations, practical thought experiments, personal anecdotes, and cutting-edge neuroscience to decipher what neuroscience can tell us – and where it falls woefully short. At the same time, he offers a new vision of how to think about what the mind might be and how it works. A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind is a critical, startling, and expansive journey into the mysteries of the brain and what makes us human.
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe by Steven Novella Summary
'A fantastic compendium of skeptical thinking and the perfect primer for anyone who wants to separate fact from fiction.' Richard Wiseman, author 59 Seconds 'Thorough, informative, and enlightening... If this book does not become required reading for us all, we may well see modern civilization unravel before our eyes.' Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry In this tie-in to their popular 'The Skeptics Guide to the Universe' podcast, Steven Novella, along with 'Skeptical Rogues' Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella and Evan Bernstein explain the tenets of skeptical thinking and debunk some of the biggest scientific myths, fallacies and conspiracy theories (anti-vaccines, homeopathy, UFO sightings, and many more.) They'll help us try to make sense of what seems like an increasingly crazy world using powerful tools like science and philosophy. The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is your guide through this maze of modern life. It covers essential critical thinking skills, as well as giving insight into how your brain works and how to avoid common pitfalls in thinking. They discuss the difference between science and pseudoscience, how to recognize common science news tropes, how to discuss conspiracy theories with that crazy colleague of yours, and how to apply all of this to everyday life. As fascinating as it is entertaining, this page turner is your essential guide to seeing through the fake news and media manipulation in our increasingly confusing world.
On the secret place, a book of daily devotional meditations by Alexander Smellie Summary
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EUrrgh! by Mark Leigh Summary
What's wrong with Europe? Ignoring the fact that the EU is a grotesque, officious money sucking totalitarian machine that devours national sovereignty and pukes out unwanted, unwelcome and intrusive legislation, there's a whole variety of other reasons including: Shops that open at 10am and close at 4pm - with a two-hour lunch break in between. Oompah bands. Restaurant staff with the manners of a gibbon and the sense of urgency of a sloth. Parisians. Police forces who are the bastard offspring of the Gestapo and the Stasi. The whole concept of 'mañana. 'National costumes that are as preposterous as they are pointless. Polish spelling. Drivers who view speed limits as targets rather than warnings. Yodelling. Bouzouki music. Street signs that are a homage to small typography rather than an actual guide to your location. Donkey abuse. Women who act under the misguided idea that armpit hair is remotely sexy. The 24hr clock. Using a comma as a decimal point. Father Abraham and the Smurfs. Eurodisco. Eurozone. Eurotrash. Eurovision. Anything else preceded by the word 'Euro' (apart from Euro sceptic). The Cheeky Girls. This is less of a guidebook and more of a warning...
The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck Summary
The “marvelously funny” and much-loved humorist explores the perils of suburban living in this New York Times bestseller (Vogue). For years, the Bombecks have heard rumors of a magical land called Suburbia where the air is clean, the grass is trimmed, and children don’t risk getting mugged on their walk to school. After watching their friends flee the city for subdivided utopias like Bonaparte’s Retreat and Mortgage Mañana, Erma and her family load up their belongings and cry, “Station wagons . . . ho!” But life on the suburban frontier is not as perfect as they had hoped. The trees are stunted, the house is cramped, and there’s no grass at all. But the Bombecks will make do, for they are suburbanites now—the last true pioneers! This ebook features an illustrated biography of Erma Bombeck including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.
Teach Us to Sit Still by Tim Parks Summary
"Teach Us to Sit Still is the visceral, thought-provoking, and inexplicably entertaining story of how Tim Parks found himself in serious pain, how doctors failed to help, and the quest he took to find his own way out. Overwhelmed by a crippling conditionwhich nobody could explain or relieve, Parks follows a fruitless journey through the conventional medical system only to find relief in the most unexpected place: a breathing exercise that eventually leads him to take up meditation. This was the very last place Parks anticipated finding answers; he was about as far from New Age as you can get. As everything that he once held true is called into question, Parks confronts the relationship between his mind and body, the hectic modern world that seems to demand all our focus, and his chosen life as an intellectual and writer. He is drawn to consider the effects of illness on the work of other writers, the role of religion in shaping our sense of self, and the influence of sports and art on our attitudes toward health and well-being. Most of us will fall ill at some point; few will describe that journey with the same verve, insight, and radiant intelligence as Tim Parks"--Provided by publisher.
The Skeptic and the Rabbi by Judy Gruen Summary
As Judy Gruen walked down the aisle and into her Orthodox Jewish future, her bouquet quivered in her shaky hand. Having grown up in the zeitgeist that proclaimed, “If it feels good, do it,” was she really ready to live the life of “rituals, rules, and restraints” that the Torah prescribed? The Skeptic and the Rabbi is a rare memoir with historical depth, spirituality, and intelligent humor. Gruen speaks with refreshing honesty about what it means to remain authentic to yourself while charting a new yet ancient spiritual path at odds with the surrounding culture, and writes touchingly about her family, including her two sets of grandparents, who influenced her in wildly opposite ways. As she navigates her new life with the man she loves and the faith she also loves—surviving several awkward moments, including when the rabbi calls to tell her that she accidentally served unkosher food to her Shabbat guests—Gruen brings the reader right along for the ride. Reading this wry, bold and compelling memoir, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and when you’re finished, you may also have a sudden craving for chicken matzo ball soup—kosher, of course.
The Works. Containing Interesting and Valuable Papers, Not Hitherto Published. With Memoir of the Author, by Thomas Roscoe by Jonathan Swift Summary
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A Skeptic's Guide to Writers' Houses by Anne Trubek Summary
There are many ways to show our devotion to an author besides reading his or her works. Graves make for popular pilgrimage sites, but far more popular are writers' house museums. What is it we hope to accomplish by trekking to the home of a dead author? We may go in search of the point of inspiration, eager to stand on the very spot where our favorite literary characters first came to life—and find ourselves instead in the house where the author himself was conceived, or where she drew her last breath. Perhaps it is a place through which our writer passed only briefly, or maybe it really was a longtime home—now thoroughly remade as a decorator's show-house. In A Skeptic's Guide to Writers' Houses Anne Trubek takes a vexed, often funny, and always thoughtful tour of a goodly number of house museums across the nation. In Key West she visits the shamelessly ersatz shrine to a hard-living Ernest Hemingway, while meditating on his lost Cuban farm and the sterile Idaho house in which he committed suicide. In Hannibal, Missouri, she walks the fuzzy line between fact and fiction, as she visits the home of the young Samuel Clemens—and the purported haunts of Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, and Injun' Joe. She hits literary pay-dirt in Concord, Massachusetts, the nineteenth-century mecca that gave home to Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau—and yet could not accommodate a surprisingly complex Louisa May Alcott. She takes us along the trail of residences that Edgar Allan Poe left behind in the wake of his many failures and to the burned-out shell of a California house with which Jack London staked his claim on posterity. In Dayton, Ohio, a charismatic guide brings Paul Laurence Dunbar to compelling life for those few visitors willing to listen; in Cleveland, Trubek finds a moving remembrance of Charles Chesnutt in a house that no longer stands. Why is it that we visit writers' houses? Although admittedly skeptical about the stories these buildings tell us about their former inhabitants, Anne Trubek carries us along as she falls at least a little bit in love with each stop on her itinerary and finds in each some truth about literature, history, and contemporary America.