July 12, 2012

12 Precious Anecdotes from Life by Payal Roy

Cherish the small things in life.

Live every day to its fullest.

Do not go without noticing the less fortunate people around you.

Do not take small events for granted, it isn’t only the big things that can change your life.

These little phrases are all a part of the message Payal puts forth in this book. 12 Precious Anecdotes from Life is a story told from the point of view of Anita Maher. Every segment provides a life changing story told by someone who has come into her life. From struggles of greed and gambling, to learning to appreciate nature and its beauty, Payal covers many topics that people go through in their everyday life and struggles that are very much present in our world. This aspect of the story is quite intriguing.

Although the plot itself was intriguing, there are a few points I would like to make that made it a little difficult for me to read. Every reader is different, though. That’s the beauty of books.
I found that in certain places, ten dollar words were used when a one dollar word would work just as well if not better. The saying less is more applies here. It made the sentences run a bit dry in places. The use of a larger vocabulary felt as though it was a bit forced to give the book more of a formal tone. Which brings me to my next point:

The conversations between Anita and her friends felt very formal to me. Almost as if she was always on a job interview. While this may vary from reader to reader, I am not used to reading dialogue in that way, and it took a bit of getting used to.

I also felt as if more time was spent developing the message itself rather than the story line. In some spots it felt as if the story was pushed a certain way in order to make it go along with the lesson. The messages, though, were very clear and thought provoking, which is a major point for many people.

Although the story was told from Anita’s point of view, it seemed to me as if most of the segments were one large story telling piece from the person that segment is about. It seemed like Anita didn’t need to be a character throughout the whole thing. The only time her story line was really present was during the story about the puppies and also the homeless man. She could have been given her own segment, because I feel like her story needs to be told, and maybe at the end it could have been expressed that they were all entangled through the common factor of Anita.

Overall, I think this was a book for people who are very interested in Philosophy of life, which doesn’t necessarily catch my attention, but for those who enjoy the subject would enjoy this novel.

I give this book a 2.5/5 Stars. Philosophy readers, grab a copy. It just isn’t my thing.

For more from Payal,visit his website at  http://musewithcoffee.wordpress.com or http://wonderworld-variety.blogspot.com

Or visit his amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0087OXSS2
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPayalRoy 

July 8, 2012

Confessions of a Community Journalist by Michael Shawn Smith

Most of us have heard the phrase “Never judge a book by its cover.” But I do. I also judge by the book title and genre. I have never been one to read non-fiction books. The remind me of school, and I don’t want to be reminded of school when I am out for the summer. So, when Michael contacted me requesting a review for his book, I agreed but was also thinking, “What did I just get myself into?” I thought I was going to be bored, and it would take me forever to get through, but I was hoping he would prove me wrong.

When I opened the file on my Nook and began reading, my reaction was – WOW. I was completely hooked. From the very first page. It took me a little less than two days to complete.

Michael writes to inform. He infuses his personal experience from over a decade in the journalism business, and also uses examples from others as well. He doesn’t claim to know everything about the profession, and includes the fact that he is still learning himself, because things change every day. His aim with this book wasn't to give an all-inclusive guide to the art of community journalism, but rather (as it seemed to me) his purpose was to create a handbook that was short and sweet. He doesn’t drag on about a subject until it runs dry, leaving the reader begging for the section to be over. He includes a very organized mix of information and examples to help the reader understand what he is trying to say.

The sections are not very long, which make them easy to reference from day to day, and there is also a very useful table of contents at the beginning. You will be able to find what you are looking for without hassle.
Michael’s writing style in this book seemed informal, which is what this type of book needs. Having too formal of a tone will turn readers away right from the beginning. Instead, he takes a more laid-back approach and doesn’t make his opinions appear as facts. He states that some writers, photographers, designers, etc. have different styles than he does, and he doesn’t put down their techniques.

This book is very informative and encompasses a large range of different things a community writer will have to go through. He doesn’t go into long, hard to read details as I mentioned before. So, I believe this is a must-read for anyone going into the journalism field, or even that is already in the journalism field. It is always nice to have a reference book, and since this book isn’t very long, I would suggest just keeping it in a desk drawer and note the pages that you use often.

I give this book a 5/5 and I hope to see it used in Journalism classes in the future.

Personal note: I prefer the use of the pen tool rather than the lasso to cut out images, but what works for one designer doesn’t always work for another!

To hear more from Michael, visit his website! http://mbcommunityjournalist.wordpress.com/

July 7, 2012

My Disjointed Life by Martin Reed

My Disjointed Life is about a young man experiencing his first semester of college. He was never a popular kid, more of a brainiac. He enjoys science and is going into engineering.

Jeep is socially awkward and doesn’t fit in well in social situations. He usually says what’s on his mind – most of the time without meaning to. He also has an inner voice that speaks to him, usually putting him down for being an “idiot”. It brought a lot of humor to the novel which I loved.

As he makes his way through his first semester of college, he has many up and down times involving friends, enemies, girls, family, and extracurricular activities.

The relationships he has with his friends, acquaintances, and significant others are all different in special ways. I will not go into detail on that because it is more fun to read and experience it first hand. 

“Maybe the reason I get stepped on so much by people is because I let them.”

I think all readers can find a little of themselves in Jeep. He is a kind-hearted, yet extremely horny, young adult trying to make sense of life. Things don’t always come easy for him, though.

“The reasons are simple enough, but the truth always comes layered with complexity and consequence.”

Martin Reed did an excellent job writing this novel. It is witty, realistic, and explicit at times, but overall funny and a good, light-hearted read. It was divided up into segments by time. I have never read another book like that, it made it much easier to get through the chapters, because of course I am not a fan of long chapters. So, having that technique as a way to break up the text made it very easy for me to get through.

I found myself actually not wanting to finish the book, because I enjoyed it so much.
I included a few of my favorite quotes from the text in the review above as well.

4/5 Stars! A little slow at some points, but was a very fun read that I enjoyed a lot. 

To hear for from Martin, check out his blog! You wont regret it!

Read ahead for spoilers