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Michael Pinto "Anime Fan" (NYC, USA)
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John Adams
John Adams
by David McCullough
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.93
127 used & new from CDN$ 1.91

4.0 out of 5 stars McMullough makes Magic, Oct. 26 2002
This review is from: John Adams (Paperback)
David McCullough not only allows you to get to know John Adams, but in addition gives the reader a very good sense of the primitive but proud world that was America in the 18th Century. More than just a biography of Adams you get a very honest portrait of the founding fathers - Washington and Jefferson go from being statues to being real people with flaws - but not in a negitive way, but in a personable way. In fact you almost feel that you are hanging out with John Adams as he lives through the birth of the United States.
While this biography didn't go into the same level of detail that his Truman epic did, you still get a very personal portrait of man from 200 years away. As with Truman the author seems to gravitate to interesting people who get overlooked by history - and in this case he shines a wonderful light. What's also wonderful is that it's as much a biography of Abigail Adams as it is of John Adams. McCullough is also honest in looking at the flaws in his subject, for example showing the mistakes of the Alien and Sedition Acts. But in the process by making Adams more human you feel more sympathy for him.
This is a book that should be read by anyone wanting to get a better idea of what went into the creation of the United States - and what set it apart from other events of the day like the French Revolution. In fact the book shows a wonderful contrast of America and Europe in the 18th Century.

My Jihad: The True Story of An American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Osama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA
My Jihad: The True Story of An American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Osama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA
by Aukai Collins
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.52

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insights, Oct. 20 2002
While there was very little to admire about the author of this book, I must say that it was hard to stop reading it. The author was very involved in the pre-9/11 world of Jihad, so his travels paint a vivid picture of the people and world of this sub-culture. I guess I found it distrubring that one claiming to be inspired by religion would be so obessed with the details of war - and killing people. But I found myself continuing to read this book because it did give me insights into who these people are and why they do what they do.
Instead of seeing a well run secret organization out of a James Bond novel one is pretty surprised how disorganized the terrorist groups can be. I was also pretty surpised to read the accounts of the Russian military and find out how corrupt they could be. In one chapter you find out that the Russian border guards are taking bribes to let in fighters who will be killing their own. Of course on the other side you also read accounts of infighting and sell-outs of the Jihad inspired organizations. To top it off his insights on American intelligence organizations show their efforts in a less than positive light. One hopes that we can learn from these insights and apply the lessons.
I would recommend the book to anyone trying who is trying to get a better idea about the sub-culture of terrorism. While I couldn't agree with the point of view of the author, I found the book a pretty good source for insights into this underground world. Having seen the results of terrorism upclose my feelings are that it's a subject that needs to be explored further.

Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain [ HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN: A BIOGRAPHY OF KURT COBAIN ] By Cross, Charles R ( Author )Aug-15-2001 Hardcover
Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain [ HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN: A BIOGRAPHY OF KURT COBAIN ] By Cross, Charles R ( Author )Aug-15-2001 Hardcover
38 used & new from CDN$ 1.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Heartshaped Box: Bittersweet Bio, Sept. 14 2002
I had low expectations for this book which might have fallen into the trap of being either too fluffy or negative minded. Instead Cross had presented a well researched biography of Kurt Cobain, which while exploring his subject with sympathy also never fails to be honest. The honesty isn't just about the lack of glam associated with being a drug addict, but also gives a bitter raste of the music industry.
Based on a wide range of interviews Cross gives you enough detail where you get a good feeling for Cobain. He also manages to show the differences between the PR and the real person (or Kurt vs. Kurdt). This book brings to life the Seattle music scene of the late 80's and early 90's, a subject that's only starting to be explored by other writers. In the process Cross has created more than a picture of a rock star, but gives future generations a taste of America from the last days of the 20th Century.
The only major flaw in this book is that while it goes into great detail on Cobain, it would be nice if he went into more detail on his friends and peers from the same period (ala Robert Caro). Sadly next to other bios I have read this is a very quick read, however this owes more to the fact that Cobain did die at an early age of 27 than due to editing down for a mass market. After reading the book you still feel that you don't quite know Kurt Cobain, but you do have a much better idea of his life and where he came from.

Some People Can't Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry
Some People Can't Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry
by Julie Lasky
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 31.83

4.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Art, Nov. 30 2001
In a similar manner to Paula Scher and Charles Anderson, one of the main themes of Art Chantry's work is to take old images and give them a twist. While you can see an echo of this look in almost every graphic design award annual today, Chantry has been working in this style since the late 70's. And while many have borrowed his approach, few have been able to imitate it with the same sense of grit, humor, color and power.
True to the title of the book "Some People Can't Surf" there isn't one website design to be found, but that may not be a bad thing as Chantry is a master within his medium. A very large body of work that spans three decades is showcased which includes everything from his very first poster design for a school concert to promotional work for major Hollywood record labels. One pleasant surprise is seeing quite a bit of logo design work which involves the charm and craft of hand lettering. In end Chantry reminds one of a later day Milton Glaser with a punk rock point of view.
At some points the book can become too crammed by trying to jam several posters onto a page by shrinking them down to matchbook size, however the work holds up pretty well under the strain. This volume would be valuable to any graphic designer looking for inspiration or anyone who is a fan of the Seattle music from the 90's.

(un)Fashion
(un)Fashion
by Tibor Kalman
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 1.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Costume Party!, Nov. 11 2001
This review is from: (un)Fashion (Hardcover)
While he was alive Tibor Kalman spent his design career showing that one could find "high art" in the everyday world. (un) Fashion is a wonderful tribute to the life of Mr. Kalman (it can be assume that the driving force behind the book is Maira who is a very talented artist in her own right).
The book has several catwalks of a wide range of people from every corner the planet. Each chapter features a traditional or (un)traditional fashion theme like body art, accessories, tribes, dressed to kill and (un)mentionables. Sometimes a featured photo can make a political statement while others show a slight touch of humor, making for entertaining page turning.
While this book isn't your typical "oversized coffee table" the production and presentation show a respect for quality. Unlike your average overpriced collection of pretty pictures this book will make you think, which is rather novel for a book of so few words. (un)Fashion is the sort of book which you will want to share with friends and family and would be a great conversation starter for any social gathering.

Bold Script Alphabets
Bold Script Alphabets
by Dan X. Solo
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.78
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Select Scripts from Solo, Sept. 2 2001
This review is from: Bold Script Alphabets (Paperback)
This is a great reference work for any graphic designer who likes to have fun. My copy of the book didn't come with the CD-ROM so I can't comment on that aspect of the publication, however the book alone is worth the investment. While the best brush script should be done by hand, this book is the next best thing. Within 100 pages Solo has a nice variety of typefaces, the best of which have that wonderful kitsch feeling.
This book is perfect if you are looking for a groovy sixties or fat fifties script font. However some parts of the collection have a few faces that aren't so great, for example everyone must have a copy or version of "Baloon Extra Bold". But there are a few jems every few pages, so you won't be let down if you are trying to get that fifties classified ad look - or need a script font that looks like it feel off of a Doors album cover.
Professional designers should take careful note of the copyright notice, as you are only allowed to use only six words in any project. While I find this limiting, ... one can't be too let down!

I Ching: A New Interpretation for Modern Times
I Ching: A New Interpretation for Modern Times
by Sam Reifler
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Twist on an Ancient Classic, Feb. 16 2001
The translation of "I Ching" means "book of change", and this specific translation really captures the true spirit of the text. While the introduction is a bit short for those new to the subject, the rest of the book features interpretations which are very sharp and relate to a "western" point of view. Where many I Ching books have a specific focus (like the "Buddhist I Ching" or "the I Ching of Romance") each hexagram has three sets of interpretations which allow you to get a business, relationship or spiritual oriented take on any question. The insights are filled with many current references, and Reifler avoids the trap getting too "new age" or literal about his subject. Don't judge this book by the cover, it's a classic that has now been around for over 25 years. If you already own a translation or two of this book, you may want to think about adding this edition to your library.

Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics (O'Rourke, P. J.)
Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics (O'Rourke, P. J.)
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Far from funny, but Fascinating, Feb. 12 2001
O'Rourke does a great job of showing the relationship between laws, culture and money. He does this by showing how different societies across the globe deal (or doesn't deal) with economics. There aren't complicated charts, just the facts of how everyday people make a living. You can see how socialism does much better in Sweden than in Cuba, or how capitalism works wonders in Hong Kong but bombs in Albania. What I like about the book is that O'Rourke brings a very open mind to the subject, and doesn't get caught up in ideology. In fact he does a rather good job of bringing complex economic theory down to earth so everyone can understand it.
But P.J. falls a bit short in the humor department. When he isn't working it too hard his wit does comes through, but by trying to be "so cool" O'Rourke comes off as a bit dated and dull after a while. I wouldn't mind this so much, but the lame jokes get in the way of some good ideas, and an otherwise rare interesting exploration of economics. However the book is a worthy read, and with some editing might even stand the test of time.

Dreamweaver® 3 For Dummies®
Dreamweaver® 3 For Dummies®
by Janine Warner
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.69

1.0 out of 5 stars Dreaming of a better Dummies Dreamweaver Book, Feb. 11 2001
If you already know something about HTML authoring this book isn't too bad if you want a quick guide to the program. BUT if you are a newbie to creating websites, then this book is a poor place to start. I purchased this book for a friend who wanted to get up and running, and while I know there is no substitute for a human teacher - this guide was a poor textbook at best. The chapters don't explain the basic concepts behind websites, so while the reader can find out how to use Dreamweaver to make frames, tables and CSS - there is little to nothing on what a "dummy" would find useful (example: how to make text a specific color). This book has too much fluff with chapters like "Fulfilling Your Dreams" and "Making It Cool" but very little about the basic lessons a beginner could use.

Journey to Far Side of Sun [Import]
Journey to Far Side of Sun [Import]
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 14.87

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A+ for a B Film from the groovy 60�s, Feb. 3 2001
This film is a low budget cross between James Bond and 2001. Produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, this video is a must have for any fan of the television series Space:1999 or UFO. While the plot (which is right out of a standard Twilight Zone episode) can get a little bit thin, the attention to detail makes up for any flaws. Every inch of the production is crammed with futuristic gadgets, mod furniture and cool looking spaceships, cars and airplanes. You really get to taste a 60's view of the "future" filled with video teleconferencing, x-ray security checks and a space program plagued by budget cuts. Graphic designers will love the look of the opening titles which contrast minimal typography with high tech photography (by the way the titles are the only part of the movie which are sort of in letterbox). Despite wooden acting and a slow editing pace, you will find yourself in love with the look and feel of this film. No it's not a "great film", but there is some nice model work, good art direction and decent music to keep a sci-fi fan entertained.

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