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Gold Gato has commented on (396) products.

The Conquest of the Ocean: The Illustrated History of Seafaring by Brian Lavery
The Conquest of the Ocean: The Illustrated History of Seafaring

Gold Gato, January 25, 2015

This is the kind of book that's going to go places and look life in the face. Well thought-out, firmly bound, classily illustrated with a theme and purpose, this publication takes no prisoners. Sir Francis Drake would have been proud.

Logical layout always captivates me, particularly when the linearity brings a sphere of comfort to the reader. By that I mean that this book is broken up into chronological chapters, going from the very beginning of mankind's first voyages through to the present. Within each chapter, there are also maps which make sense. As one who always was confused about which wind blew which way, this made me very happy. Within each section there are also "spotlights" showing particular ships using detailed craft models or visual explanations of nautical concepts, such as latitude.

Loved this book. Brian Lavery is the Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, a place I always say I will get to and never have. That will now change, as I can't wait to see the place and learn even more about the oceans and the people who have conquered them.

Book Season = Winter (no doldrums here)
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The Merchant of Noises by Anna Rozen
The Merchant of Noises

Gold Gato, January 24, 2015

This is a fun story about a bowler hat-wearing maestro who decides to capitalize on the natural sounds made by nature, such as branches breaking off trees. He opens a shop to build the instruments that make the noises. Next thing you know, Mister Bing has his own factory and a giant billboard advertising his sounds. But he ends up losing one of his sounds! Where is it? Then a competitor shows up with cheaper imitations. What is the Merchant of Noises to do?

I enjoyed this tale and the cute drawings. The book has a 1930s look to it, rather like the B&W Astaire or Crosby flicks, where men wore hats and looked svelte. Kids might like it, too. Another elegant production from one of my fave publishers, David R. Godine.

Book Season = Spring (bing brings the zing)
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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Gold Gato, January 18, 2015

This is a wonderful read. So much information in every area. Bio details on Lincoln and each cabinet member. Information on the pre-Civil War elections. Mary Lincoln's crazed emotions as her sons died. The fine line Lincoln had to walk between the progressive abolitionists and the butt-hurt Democrats. It's all here. Just marvelous.

Most of all, I would recommend this book for any CORPORATE LEADER. Lincoln didn't hire yes-men, he hired the best minds he could find even though the members of the team fought and connived. Lincoln did what was best for the country and his amazing patience and ability to forgive meant he was able to lead a high-performance ensemble. This could very well be the best business book one can read to learn how to be a true leader.

The writing is superb, the transitions are smooth, and the details utterly amaze. Greatness.

Book Season = Year Round (mystic chords of memory)
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The Secret World of Magic
The Secret World of Magic

Gold Gato, January 18, 2015

One of the benefits of collecting illustrated children's books is being able to see their effect on the wee ones. Sitting in the local coffee grinds shop, a child in the throes of the 'terrible twos' was tired and kept screaming, driving customers out the door. Since I was midway through this book, I placed it on the shared counter, so the Screamer could see the artwork. She climbed on top of her chair and stopped screaming. Soon, she was pointing to the Wizards and Selkies and Fairies. Her screams died quickly. The Screamer became enchanted by the book, bringing relief to the rest of us.

Author Rosalind Kerven has collected folktales about magic from different countries and the always great Wayne Anderson brings them to life with wonderful illustrations. There are Tree Women, Wishing Wells, Swan Maidens, and so much more. My favourite was the short piece on spells..."some unlucky children find themselves turned into lifeless things"...I think the Screamer got the hint.

Book Season = Year Round (wish-bones)
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Great Composers by Jeremy Nicholas
Great Composers

Gold Gato, January 15, 2015

Classical music was not exactly my "thing" growing up, but thanks to mentors desperate to shake some knowledge into my limited brain, the great composers now march through my daily life. Alas, while I could happily hum along and do some imaginary conducting, I was unable to elucidate much more. Then this book came along and helped make my musical journey a bit easier.

From Palestrina to Britten (limited to 50 composers), this volume provides a format including biography, picture, notable works, peculiarities, and seemingly for almost all of them, an uneasy death. It's all so easily laid out that I enjoyed finishing one bio and beginning the next. The writing of Jeremy Nicholas is clear and concise. He stays mostly to the facts, but he also gets his own opinions into the pages. For me, the benefit of this book is a better understanding of the great music from the great composers.

Book Season = Year Round (treasure trove)
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