New EMRO Reviews

My latest reviews for Educational Media Reviews Online are now available.

Adelante

Adelante is a touching portrait of how one Catholic parish adapted to the changing demographics of their community. Noam Osband’s film documents how an influx of Mexican immigrants invigorated a traditionally Irish church that had slowly been losing parishioners. Although brief mention is given to some members of the community who resent the immigrants, the overall tone is uplifting as the church members depicted in the film are welcoming and willing to adapt their traditions to those of the new parishioners…read more

More Than the Rainbow

More Than the Rainbow focuses on taxi driver turned street photographer, Matt Weber. Dan Wechsler’s film chronicles Weber’s history of shooting street scenes in New York City. Weber provides an interesting and affable centerpiece for a film that quickly transcends this straightforward narrative…read more

Shored Up

Focusing mainly on the New Jersey and North Carolina shore lines, Shored Up examines the troubled relationship between nature and those who want to build beach homes and communities. Taking Hurricane Sandy as a starting point, Ben Kalina’s film traces the history of shore development with an emphasis on the more recent trend of building expensive homes in flood and erosion prone areas…read more


February Reading Update

2015 has gotten off to a great start. I read five books in January and three in February, so I’m already eight books toward my goal of 36 for the year.

As an Amazon Prime member, I am able to get a free Kindle book each month via their Kindle First program and, for the most part, I have enjoyed the ones I’ve gotten around to reading. However, I haven’t been keeping up and have a bit of a backlog of titles, so when February rolled around, I decided I would read my Kindle First selection right away. I chose Emily Bleeker’s Wreckage. Unfortunately, this has been the weakest book I’ve gotten through the program and one of the most disappointing books I’ve actually bothered to finish.

The premise of people getting stranded on a desert island has certainly been attempted before but the inherent drama of the situation is undermined here because we are introduced to two of the survivors early on as they agree to participate in a TV interview. We know they get off the island right from the start. This reveal is allegedly justified because there are secrets about what happened on the island which are slowly revealed during the interview process, but these secrets are so obvious that there is no tension. Basically, I finished the book because I was hoping that the big reveals weren’t so obvious but, alas, they were. Neither of the two survivors wanted to do the interview and their rationale for doing so was unrealistic.

The characters are thinly drawn and borderline unbelievable, especially those of Kent and the TV interviewer. The interviews never felt plausible and really undermined the story. Here’s hoping for better luck next month.

The second book I read was Walter Mosley’s What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace. No two ways about it: this is must reading. Although Mosley addresses this 2003 memoir/essay to an African American audience, any thoughtful person will be rewarded by reading this work.

What Next is Mosley’s response to the tragedy of 9/11. He focuses on how the events affect the African American community and how they could react. But his pleas for a better world, although idealistic at times, are relevant to everyone. It’s interesting and to read this 12 years later after seeing how, in many ways, the world has moved further from his idealistic goals.

Finally, I read White Space Is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually Through Graphic, Web & Multimedia Design (2nd ed). It lives up to the promise of the title and provides a great overview of issues to consider in graphic design. My only complaint is that it went into photography and videography which felt out of scope. They were short chapters and didn’t do justice to those complex considerations and felt like they were tacked on to beef up the text. But that’s a minor complaint. Overall, I got a lot out of White Space Is Not Your Enemy.

January 2015 Reading Update

January 2015 Reading Update

I finished eight books by the end of February:

  • The Golden Compass
  • The Subtle Knife
  • The Amber Spyglass
  • The Best American Essays of 2014 (ebook)
  • I Know I Am, But What Are You? (library book)
  • Wreckage (ebook)
  • What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace (library book)
  • White Space Is Not Your Enemy (library book)




February Round Up

Because I often write in various places, I’ve decided that I would like to create an index of sorts every month to help keep track of what I’ve done where and of other things I’ve been working on. So for February 2015:

On SuperPlus Eats:

So, not much on the blogging or publishing front, but as I mentioned in my January Round Up, I have some other writing projects in the works and my efforts went toward those.

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I finished a draft of my novella, Every Day Is Gravy, and started a serious proofreading effort. I also finished another revision of one of my Las Vegas Stories and began a revision of another one. Although I am pleased with the progress I made with these stories, I really don’t want to ignore this blog in the process. Here’s hoping for a better balance in March.