Saturday, 20 March 2010

Book review: Serious Drawings

By Marc Johns
Published by teNeues

When life gets too serious, this is a great book to have at hand. All you need to do is randomly open a page and you will find a smile spreading across your lips!

If the title could be misleading, the picture on the cover will reassure you that the adjective associated to these drawings is not to be taken literally. The men and the strange creatures that populate the world of Canadian artist Marc Johns might never be found smiling but they actually help us not to take life too seriously.

Fashion, consumerism, religion… nothing is off-limits for Marc Johns and his drawing tools!

Divided between ink and watercolour drawings on paper and drawings on yellow sticky notes, we find two-headed men, pipes that are trying to quit smoking, advice on how to wear antlers, hovering people and oddly-shaped creatures with their own dreams and fears. Not to mention flying moustaches and beards that grow pretty much anywhere!

Simple and terribly communicative, you will become addicted to the dry wit of these drawings. Seriously!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Competition time: 3 copies of This is Where I Leave You

For a chance to win a copy of This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper simply follow me on Twitter and RT my competition-related message.

For one extra entry become a follower of this blog too!

Three copies available. The competition ends on March 18th at 14:00 GMT. Winners will be chosen at random and contacted on the same day.

If you missed my review of the book, please click here:

Book review: This is Where I Leave You

By Jonathan Tropper
Published by
Orion Books

Jonathan Tropper, bestselling author of How to Talk to a Widower, returns with a book that explores all the facets of family life – marriage, divorce, love and compromises being only a few of them.

A death in the family is the starting point of the narration, the reality that the reader is plunged into from the opening line. Although bringing with itself sadness for the loss of a loved one and, possibly, regrets for things done - or not done - in the past, death in this book is not a dark event looming over the living. It is rather an opportunity to come together.

Siblings Judd, Paul, Wendy and Phillip are informed by their exuberant mother that the unexpected last wish of their non-religious father was for them to sit Shiva. That means that, rather than leaving the house as soon as possible after the funeral - which was certainly what each of them was planning - they will have to spend seven days together in the same house, behaving like a family.

They reluctantly oblige and, with them, they each carry their own problems in the house.

Judd is angry at his wife for cheating on him and then confused as he learns that she is pregnant with their baby. Paul has a grudge against Judd for something happened a long time ago and is under pressure from his wife, who wants to conceive at all costs. Wendy, with three children, a workaholic husband and a former childhood sweetheart reminding her of what could have been, is contented but not satisfied with her life. And Phillip, the youngest brother, is desperately trying to grow up but not realising that having a relationship with someone older than him is not necessarily the right way.

Seven days full of friction, moments of sweetness, bouts of anger and frustration, secrets revealed and the constant attempt to make sense of life and put some order into it.

This is Where I Leave You is about the importance of family ties. And about how difficult it is to value them. A beautifully witty and engaging book that will put a smile on your face… when you aren’t laughing out loud!