Kingdom – Norman McCloskey

Kingdom is Norman McCloskey’s third landscape photobook based in Kerry. He started with Parklight in 2013, followed by Beara in 2018, and now in 2022, Kingdom. I have all three gorgeous books.

Every detail of Kingdom is beautiful, from the textured cover and lino cut style image of Skellig Michael to the paper and colour reproduction and tonality.

All books feature the grandeur and beauty of Kerry, it is a wonderful tour around a picturesque and dramatic county, that is well worth a visit if you are in the Country.

Santa – Where to find him

This is a list of places where you can find Santa on the net.

http://www.santaknowsme.com/

This site allows Santa to send personalised letters to children.

https://www.portablenorthpole.com/en/

This site allows Santa send a personalised video to children.

http://www.hellosanta.com/

Does your child want a video call from Santa? If so, this is the site for you.

http://www.noradsanta.org/

This is great on Christmas Eve, it helps you track Santa’s movements.

https://santatracker.google.com/#village

If you would prefer to track Santa on Google Maps.

https://www.youtube.com/user/santatelevision

Santavision.

Santa is on Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/northpolehq

Santa’s Facebook page.

‘Photography through the Pandemic’ by 35mmc

This is a book that I supported. on Kickstarter as it was put together by a group of photographers that I know (35mmc). Sadly, before the project was finished one of the photographers, John Whitmore died. This book was dedicated to John after his death, and the profits are going toward helping support his daughter.

The fifty photographers who feature in this book have four pages in which they introduce themselves and their work, as well as displaying some of their images. The wide variety of styles and subject matter is fascinating, from nature to street scenes from cyanotypes to panoramics, people to a typology of snails, and multiple exposures to architecture, this book has it all.

It is a great addition to my photo book collection. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in every element of this project, you have done a superb job.

‘Offshoot Exhibition 2022’ by the Members of Offshoot Photographic Society

This is a photo book that my camera club, Offshoot Photographic Society, put together from the images that we had on display over six weeks in the 2022 Exhibition in the Lexicon Library in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. This is the first time we have made a book and we thought that it would be a nice memento of the exhibition for those photographers who took part.

We are very lucky to have a Graphic Designer, Taryn Barling from YoYo Design as a member of our club, and she designed and put this book together. Thank you, Taryn!

‘The Ink Black Heart’ by Robert Galbraith

This is the sixth book in the Strike series by Robert Galbraith.

I read this book in one day, I started in the morning and read until I fell asleep late in the night, it is impossible for me to read these books slowly and I always end up with a type of reading hangover when I finish the next installment of the Strike Series.

This title like the others in the series was a very clever mystery that kept pulling me through the story from the first page.

Robin Ellacott doesn’t know what to do with a frantic co-creator (Edie Ledwell) of a popular cartoon that she has never heard of and dismisses the case. This is until the same woman is found dead, at which point Robin and Strike get pulled into the mission to uncover what actually happened to Edie.

The answer seems to be based on who or what is Anomie? However, things are never that simple and with a complex web of aliases, interests, and family conflicts to deal with, Robin and Strike find that this case stretches their skills.

‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This riveting novel grabbed my attention on page one and held it until the very end. It is a wonderful story about old Hollywood, love, fame, glamour, and scandals.

The main subject and protagonist of the story is the almost forgotten Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, famed beauty and actress, who wants to get her undistilled truth out in the public domain. Evelyn chooses an unknown magazine writer, Monique Grant to write her biography, which covers the turbulent times of the 1950s to the 1980s.

Monique is told about ambition, friendship, and forbidden love, her seven husbands, and it becomes clear over time why Evelyn wanted Monique to write the book.

This is a very enjoyable book, I found myself sometimes forgetting that it was a novel and treating it like a work of nonfiction. I found it to be very informative and believe that it sails closer to the truth than some people may wish.

‘Comdians’ by Steve Best

This stunningly curated and designed book is gorgeous. My photo of the cover does not portray the cover properly as it is deep black and the word Comedians is very subtle.

This is both a beautiful photo book and as a comedy fan, it is a wonderful snapshot of the present English comedy scene. It has rapidly become one of my favourite photo books. I love the layout and tonal range of the images which are all black and white.

The author is a comedian and a photographer, which is how he gained access to behind the scenes of comedy shows. It took Steve Best years to get this collection of images together, each image has the comedian’s name and the year the photo was taken written underneath each image.

I can highly recommend this book to both photography and comedy fans.

‘The Panda, The Cat and the Dreadful Teddy’ by Paul Magrs

This is one of those gift books that you frequently receive at Christmas or for your birthday. It is a parody of inspirational quote books that you see, it is the story of three friends who are trying and sometimes managing to live their best lives.

One quote from the book is “nothing beats kindness” said the cat. “Gin does” said Panda.

I also love the illustrations in the book as they perfectly match the tone of the book.

‘The Storyteller’ – Dave Grohl

As a fan of Dave Grohl, this is a book that I have been looking forward to for years. I loved his Mothers book ‘From Cradle to the Stage’, and have always hoped that Dave Grohl would write a book like this. The author has managed to tell some of the lesser known or completely unknown stories of his life while managing to avoid certain controversial subjects.

The name of the book is perfect because Dave Grohl is a great storyteller, any interview with him is entertaining, as he has a certain energy, an appreciation, gratitude and joy for every facet of his life that seeps through the pages of this book. This book is not laid out like a normal autobiography, in so far as, it doesn’t follow a linear fashion. The Author has made it clear that he and his publishing team would decide on what stories they wanted to tell and that is why this is a collection of short stories rather than a traditional narrative autobiography.

There are a lot of highlights to be in the stories in this book, in particular, I love the Joan Jett story, the one about the after award ceremony dinner, as well as the one that explains the effect of playing for President Obama had on the author and band.

One of the main messages from this book is that the Author is still amazed by the opportunities and experiences that his life has offered him. This is one of those books where I had to portion my time with it, as the temptation was to read the whole thing cover to cover in one sitting. I was delighted to hear Dave Grohl say in an interview that this was his first book, so guess who needs more bookshelf space for Dave Grohl books? The way he and his team have designed this book means that there could be a lot of books to come.

I can understand why he wants to put his voice out into the public about his life, as I have read a couple of other books on him and Foo Fighters, and it makes sense that he would want to put out his version of his life, in an effort to keep some control over imaging.

Marian Keyes Writing Prompt 2

The writing prompt that Marian gave her participants on the 15th of January was: “He got to his feet and his shadow moved over her, while drops of cool water fell from his body onto her hot skin”. The idea behind these prompts is that Marian would like people to write 500 words inspired by the prompt. Marian does not want people to overthink it, but, would like people to get in touch with their subconscious and write whatever comes to mind. I am not attempting them in order given, but in the order of inspiration. This is my attempt for this prompt.

Tilly had been travelling around Asia alone for the last couple of months, as she had finally made the time to do something interesting, other than watching a film on a Saturday night with a takeaway. Tilly had been to some of the countries in this region, which had given her a taste for more, so here she was, on a rare day off from day trips to here, there and everywhere. It was a typical day in Asia for this time of year, hot, humid, and blue skies as far as the eye can see.

Tilly was lying on her stomach, reading a book, listening to music, and enjoying an icy cold drink, it was a truly wonderful day. Her brain was distilling all the information that she had been given over the last few weeks as well as all the wonderful sites she had seen.

It was not unusual for people to look at her when they realised that she was travelling alone and seemed to be having a great time without a travel companion. The number of times Tilly had been asked the questions, are you on your own? Why are you on your own? Is it safe for a lone female to travel on her own? It bored her to tears to have to answer these questions. However, she was amused when people were taken aback by her response ‘because I want to’.

However, just because Tilly travelled alone, did not mean that she wasn’t careful and hyper aware of her surroundings. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a man from the far end of the pool, perfectly dive into the water, with barely a splash, it appeared to her that he swam the length of the pool underwater. Eventually, he got to Tilly’s end of the pool, pulled himself out of the pool, got to feet, his shadow moved over her, but, Tilly thought he was going to pass her and make his way to the bar, however, the drops of cool water feel from his body onto to hot skin and he wasn’t moving away. Tilly turned around to ask the man what was he doing, standing over her and watching her like that, as she did, she was surprised to see the familiar, sparkling eyes and easy smile of an old friend. JAMES! she excitedly squealed, what are you doing here?!

Tilly sat up to make space for her friend to sit on her sun lounger, James sat beside her and started talking.