Day: September 30, 2013

Review of ‘Releasing the Words’ by Rhonda Kronyk and Friends

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There are tons of books on the market about writing; about all aspects of the craft. Some of them are useful, and some of them are . . . well, less so. I should know, I own scores of them in both categories.

When I received a free copy of Releasing the Words: Writers on Writing by Rhonda Kronyk and 11 other writers; a book of short essays on how to get beyond writer’s block and get words onto paper, I was a bit concerned that I’d bitten off a morsel that I would be hesitant to chew. Most of the books I have on writing are written either by well-known authors, or by individuals who have worked for some time as editors. Believe it or not, several of the not-so-useful books on writing that I’ve read, were written by authors of note.

Could, therefore, a group of relatively unknown writers have penned a book that would impress me? Well, surprise, surprise; they did. The fact that these essays that show how writers just like you and me have overcome that thing writers fear most – writer’s block – make it all the more valuable for journeymen scribes. It’s not a perfect book. There are a few formatting errors that need fixing, like chapters running into each other, and the quotes from famous authors, done in bold face text that is larger than the book’s body text, tend to overshadow the essays.

Minor things that a little judicious editing could fix. It’s still a book worth reading. I give it two and half stars for the editing problems, but then I’ll add that other half-star for the useful information it contains.


Review of ‘The Itinerant Photographer’ by Max Allen

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If your interests tend to wildlife and beautiful scenery, and you happen to be either a photographer, or a photographer wannabe, I strongly suggest you get a copy of The Itinerant Photographer by Max Allen. Allen is a wildlife biologist and self-taught wildlife photographer, and in this book he has compiled a collection of wildlife (animals and scenery) photographs taken throughout North America during a five-year period of wandering. Along with some really awesome pictures, he has included a narrative, not only describing his subjects, but giving details on how the photos were achieved.

A short book, but chock full of entertaining pictures and extremely useful information; it’s like an introductory course in wildlife photography. As a bonus, it showcases the natural beauty of our land, and is a great boost for conserving nature for the enjoyment of future generations.

Four stars for a great book, and since Allen divides his time between North America and New Zealand, I look forward to his photographic documentation of the flora and fauna from down under as well.



Daily Prompt: On the Road

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If I could pause time and go anywhere in the world, where would it be? The Daily Prompt: On the Road sets one heck of a challenge, and it’s one that I can’t really take a run at with just one photograph, because there are so many places that have made an impression on me. Here, though, are some photos from my stay at Chautauqua Institution in New York this past summer: