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Archive for April, 2017

Book: ‘A Guilty Thing Surprised’ by Ruth Rendell by April 19th, 2017

by on Apr.19, 2017, under Books

A Guilty Thing SurprisedA Guilty Thing Surprised by Ruth Rendell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rendell’s ‘A Guilty Thing Surprised’ begins as a very good mystery but ends with a thud.

Rendell sets up the story in a section of town with a small bundle of characters and proceeds through each forth and back again recording their story. The characters are good and the plotting seems well done. Then Rendell wraps up the last few pages with a weird little messy solution that, seemed to me, a desperate way to end a story differently.

The setting is well done and, otherwise plotted well.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book. 5 out of 5 points.

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Ralph Smith’s Captain Vincible comic strip from 1985 – April 18th, 2017!

by on Apr.18, 2017, under Cartooning

I was getting an ad for my Swampy’s Florida Tuesday post. While pulling the advertisement from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, I came across a Captain Vincible comic strip by my friend Ralph Smith. It’s hard for folks to realize the hundreds and hundreds of strips that are produced and seen for one day and then never seen again. So, here you all can see this one again or for the first time!

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Book: ‘Heartstones’ by Ruth Rendell – April 17th, 2017

by on Apr.17, 2017, under Books

HeartstonesHeartstones by Ruth Rendell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘Heartstones’ by Ruth Rendell is a haunting tale that is brilliantly written. All seems to start well enough, if not a bit off kilter. As the story goes along all turns and turns and turns. Finish this just before bed and you may being turning a lot in bed.

I try to keep my reviews void of any actual story, but have to remark of the change of the main character and what a terrific job Rendell does. i marvel at how Rendell took me from a view of the main character to something else altogether. This book is near towards a horror story and certainly no standard mystery. In that I despise horror or science fiction, which i see as one in the same, and place the rating I have indicates how much this book caught me in it’s writing and plot.

It might’ve been nice if the story fleshed out a bit more. But am certain the book would have far less impact if longer.

A side note of the backward thinking of today: Younger people might have trouble with this book in that psychological problems are at issue. The silly idea that you are what you say you are and one lives only for the moment, that is favored today, would have one leave this book wondering what had happened at the end and not understanding the book at all. A great point of discussion for a book group.

Bottom line: I strongly recommend this book. 10 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Mr. Zero’ by Patricia Wentworth – April 17th, 2017

by on Apr.17, 2017, under Books

Mr. ZeroMr. Zero by Patricia Wentworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This mystery is sure not as complicated as the Ian Rankin I just finished. It’s a nice and easy mystery with better characters than Rankin’s but a light tale.

I like how Rendell played a lot of literary games involving a sheath of various papers in a who’s-got-it fashion. This was written as World War II was well brewing all around her and that influence was evident. The characters involved are all very well written. Especially the dingy Sylvie. I can’t imagine writing someone like her as well as Rendell did. She must have known one just like her. Sylvia added quite a bit of levity to the entire story.

The story is paced well with so much pointing to one as being the bad guy all the while narratively telling us where he really was. Rendell could’ve inverted that effort as someone like Rankin had, but her approach is more realistic and puts the reader in two places at once.

The writing could’ve been stronger at points. Maybe this was a bit rushed. Nevertheless…

Bottom line: i recommend this book. 7 out of ten points.

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Newest Watercolor painting completed. – April 17th, 2017

by on Apr.17, 2017, under Caricatures, Illusration

Among the paintings I’m behind with due to too many difficulties last year is this of Seminole Wars Naval reenactor Kim Ceullers. Kim travels around, in between his work, and speaks and re-enacts various times in 1800s America. He was a speaker for a museum I’ve been involved with. This is a Thank You for his speaking.

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Book: ‘Resurrection Men’ by Ian Rankin – April 15th, 2017

by on Apr.15, 2017, under Books

Resurrection Men (Inspector Rebus, #13)Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my first Rankin novel read. I was concerned the length would have me emerged in another contemporary over written book. The book is over involved with too much character introspection and not enough setting description. But, the whole mountain of words is built up to a peak of a very good conclusion.

The character development is probably the best part of the book. Though there are many, many characters and there are those with very similar names and multiple nicknames that makes the plot hard to follow at times. There is a character list at the beginning of the book, but if that is felt to be needed, maybe some editing should have been done.

The Rebus character is a somber one. Odd that the one thing that gave levity to the character got irritating and, i felt, unneeded, was the soon predictable joshing that occurred throughout. All getting back to editing.

Well, after writing all of this and seeing all of the ‘but’s I wrote of, I want to note this is a good book with lots of nifty parts throughout the book and a satisfying ending so that…

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 6 out of ten points.

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I got a lot of artwork done tonight! – April 14th, 2017

by on Apr.14, 2017, under What's New?

Another extremely productive few hours at Lollicup in Gainesville. Tight pencils for two illustrations, inked another, finished painting another and went from blank board to finished watercolor piece with another.
I’ll post individually along the way.

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I got a lot of artwork done tonight! – April 14th, 2017

by on Apr.14, 2017, under What's New?

Another extremely productive few hours at Lollicup in Gainesville. Tight pencils for two illustrations, inked another, finished painting another and went from blank board to finished watercolor piece with another.
I’ll post individually along the way.

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My work in progress: Ladybug! – April 11th, 2017

by on Apr.11, 2017, under What's New?

My work in progress: Ladybug!
The last few days I’ve been working on the finished versions of the children’s book coming up being named simply, ‘Two Wet Squirrels’. Besides the squirrels is a ladybug observing the story. Here’s the ladybug below.
 
The books should be ready next week and i should have some at the 36th annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair next week. Also a reprinting of the Swampy’s Florida:Dunnellon’ book ready for next week’s Dunnellon Boomtown Days and work for developing the Apopka book.
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Book: ‘It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be’ by Paul Arden – April 11th, 2017

by on Apr.11, 2017, under Books

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To BeIt’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a simply constructed piece of idea way outside the boxes of today. Arden lays out his views of creativity and how best to use it, if it is understood to begin with. Despite the simplicity, there are complex viewpoints laid out and probably should have had a separate book to flesh the ideas out.

The only one I entirely disagree with is that creativity needs no experience, which flies into the face of what creativity is. The more experience of all around one, the more to play with to develop new and more brilliant concepts. My experience has been those lacking knowledge regurgitate the same tired ideas over and over and over again. Yes, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to come up with advertising brilliance, but you do need to be able to think.

Yet, as presented, his view of not needing knowledge to be creative is wrapped up in a sentence that deserved a book.

Something that might lose non-British readers are the use of very British terms, brands and other things. Might need to look up a few mentions from this volume.

Overall this is a different book trying to get folks to think differently and it works well.

Bottom line: I recommend this book: 7 out of 10 points.

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