Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson



Review: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Bryan Stevenson
Spiegel & Grau
2015

I missed this one in its original offering, but I am glad to have discovered it in paper.   Yes, this is about justice and mercy from a lawyer’s own experience and practice.  A single case serves as the base story line for this book, but there’s plenty of others interspersed as well.  This reads as well as most recent fiction, but it’s true and with endnotes too.  

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionStevenson originally worked with death row inmates primarily in the Alabama prisons.  If you are from Alabama I’ll tell you now it isn’t a pretty story of the legal system in that state.  Not only in the days gone by, but also in more recent times.  Other states take some hits too, so he didn’t single just Alabama out.  And they aren’t all in the South. This book has been compared to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  It does carry a sad resemblance. 

What the author is attempting to do, however, is to bring to the forefront some issues with the justice system in the USA that need the light of day on them.  We all know that there’s stuff that has happened, but for me I wasn’t aware of the frequency and breadth.  And it isn’t just a minority issue.  But before your hair burns too far down, he’s not a total far, far left progressive as far as his treatment of his story.  He is wants the reader to see justice dispensed with mercy as the title suggests.  That’s what we all want to see happen and he has taken up cases that were brought to his attention in service of that credo. His original involvement had to do with the reviews that death row inmates apparently are entitled to have before their execution.  Something that some were not able to obtain and his career grows from that point.

It’s worth your time to read.  I learned about some practices that I didn’t know existed in our legal system.   I imagine you will also.

I received this book form the publisher in return for a review.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal, Compiled by Amie Carlson



Review: Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal
Compiled by Amie Carlson
Tyndale House Publishers
2017


I have become a believer in the adult coloring books, an admission that will sway my opinion of this book.  Coloring books in general require me to stop, slow down, and relax.  Add a time to consider what a Bible verse says and things are good.  Very good, in fact.  That’s what this journal is about.  

Tranquility describes this journal well.  The introduction page says tranquility is a state of calmness, peacefulness, quietness, serenity.  Sounds wonderful already.  Just typing those words felt good.  The book has small drawings on nearly every page that may be colored, a few lines (or more) to use as the reader sees fit, and a short paragraph to encourage some prayer.  

The overall size doesn’t exceed a child’s book.  No giant designs to labor over.  One a day would require probably less than 30 minutes time each.  You can fit this into your schedule without rearranging your life totally.  

The cover is my only nit and it’s just an unusual combination of a board cover and a paper cover.  But, that helps protect the inner pages if you are one to carry it wherever you go.  

If you haven’t tried a coloring book yet, this one would be a great place to start.  Gentle, thoughtful, and just a nice set of pages to help you to tranquility.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review: Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World for Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles Julia Kay, editor



Review: Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World for Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles
Julia Kay, editor
Watson-Guptill Publications
2017



What a great little book to thumb through!  I’m an admirer of art more than an artist.  Had to put that disclaimer up first, but admirers have a bit of role in the making of art, too.  Kay assembled the work of quite a few folks who used several different mediums and approaches for this one.  Each page was a new scene for me. Art on a phone?!  New kind of crayons? Yep, that can happen.  And as I read through the comments from her and those that presented their work here I found ideas I hadn’t seen before, products used I’d not heard of, and some down to earth advice from bunches of people. 

The publishers used some nice paper and printing for this collection, and that added to my enjoyment.  I like books that feel like books and images that reveal marks from the artists as they worked.  I enjoyed the variety of styles as well as the mediums too.  Realistic to abstract is what I call it.  I’m sure some of you could be much more specific as to that last evaluation, though.

I’ll keep this one around and browse it again.  It’s fun, informative, and who knows might even set of a spark or two of inspiration for me.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.