Review: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 2 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Wirrow

 

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Looper, 500 Days of Summer) made a big splash with The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories – so now he’s back with volume 2! One of the most ingenious and successful projects to come out of Gordon-Levitt’s online creative coalition hitRECord – an international collaboration of artists and writers – The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 2 offers more quirky, delightfully small, ingeniously illustrated haiku-like tales, proving once more that the universe isn’t made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories. The best things do come in small packages. (From Goodreads.)

Personal Take: After being charmed by the first volume, I couldn’t resist ordering the second, and just like the first, it was utterly irresistible to go through. The one-page stories, the impeccable pieces of artwork, and seeing how the collaboration works, it all makes this project so unique and necessary for other creatives and humans in general.

There isn’t much to describe this book other than it is filled with happiness, and that everyone who wants a shot of it should read it.

Audience: Older audience, for understanding abstract emotions.

Rating: 

Other recommendations: I’ve read and reviewed The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume 1, and will be reading Volume 3 soon!

Review: Very Good Lives by J.K Rowling

 

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force. (From Goodreads)

Personal Take: I’m always get excited when my favorite authors impart wisdom to graduating students, and then their speech gets viral on the internet. And if we’re really lucky, we get the speech printed in a visually appealing way, where we can peruse it at our leisure during our darkest moments. At least, that’s how I feel when I find these printed speeches. Much like Neil Gaiman’s speech Make Good Art (one of my favorite speeches), Rowling’s speech is both light, wonderful, insightful, and at some level, personal. I think she should be one of the most notable role models to graduates that nothing always goes according to plan, and that failure can be a stepping stone.

She also touched on the perceptions of entering the job market, and the metrics in which people are valued: something not a lot of people think widely about, or if they do, fall into the trap of how to measure themselves.

I truly believe that this book should be given away in bulks to graduating students all over the world to both comfort and set the tone for what to expect.

Audience: Everyone, but especially graduates.

Rating:

Other recommendations: Really, there’s no need to list down what J.K Rowling is known to write: the Harry Potter series, as well as the Casual Vacancy.

Review: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories (Volume 1) by Joseph Gordon Levitt and wirrow

From hitRECord, the immensely popular open collaborative production company, and its founder, Golden Globe-nominated actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, comes The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1.
The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories.
To create The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known within the hitRECord community as RegularJOE–directed thousands of collaborators to tell tiny stories through words and art. With the help of the entire creative collective, Gordon-Levitt culled, edited and curated over 8,500 contributions into this finely tuned collection of original art from 67 contributors. Reminiscent of the 6-Word Memoir series, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1 brings together art and voices from around the world to unite and tell stories that defy size. (from Goodreads)

Personal Take: I bought this as a gift for a few of my friends: birthdays or as a token to cheer them up, and they’ve raved about it so much that I had to get a copy of it myself. And gosh, did I love the stories. It’s a whole combination of sorrow, happiness, hopefulness, witticism , comedy and more– all the human thoughts and emotions woven together in a string of words and art.
If you love illustrations and and small sentences that pack an emotional punch, this is the book for you. It’s a must.
Audience: There are a few stories that are geared towards adult understanding, so I would definitely say older teens and adults.
Rating: 
5stars
Other recommendations: The awesome thing about this book, or series– is that it’s serialized. So I have about two other volumes to get through!

Review: The Names Upon the Harp by Marie Heaney, illustrated by P.J Lynch

Ireland’s premier talents join forces to create a definitive collection of tales from one of the world’s greatest folkloric traditions. Included in this emotionally stirring anthology are renowned Irish legends such as “The Birth of Cuchulain”, “Oisin in the Land of Youth”, and “Finn and the Salmon of Knowledge”. The stunning illustrations combined with the clean, spare text make this book a gift for every book-lover’s shelf.

Personal Take: I consider this book to be one of the treasures I brought back from my trip to Ireland. I mean, the land is rife with historical and mythical stories, including faeries, which is a genre that dominates books now. Even though one could consider it a children’s book, older readers can read between the lines and tell there’s more to these stories. It’s bloody, gory, but beautiful and tragic at the same time.
What I also loved about it is that the stories were sort of in chronological order. Characters would be introduced, and even though they were the center of the next story, they would still make an appearance.
The added bonus was the breathtaking illustrations in the book. It was just beautiful to gaze at and imagine what these heroes and villains were going through.
If anyone is interested in Irish folklore and mythology, I suggest this book as an intro.
Audience: Young teens right up to adults would enjoy this.
Rating: 
5stars
Other recommendations: Even though Marie Heaney collaborated with her husband on the (the illustrator!), she also wrote other Irish mythology/folklore books. One I’ll be reading sometime this year is Over Nine Waves: A Book of Irish Legends. Check out her other books!