Book Review: The Curse of Kali by Guido Henkel

For a fun romp through a pseudo-Victorian England murder mystery, you can’t go wrong with The Curse of Kali.

There’s enough tension and fast paced action, I read the book in a single afternoon. A gothic feeling pervades the story and just to alert parents, violence is involved. It is a murder mystery, after all. “Kali” will especially appeal to teens or adults with a taste for supernatural horror, but think “X-Files” rather than “Friday the 13th.”

There’s a heroine who literally kicks more butt than the hero detective, Jason Dark, a revenge-driven not-quite-ghost, a murderous Hindu statue, hopping vampires (a true Chinese legend and ultra creepy) and more.

For instance, there’s the somewhat gratuitous appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. By “gratuitous,” I don’t mean I didn’t enjoy their cameos. I did. I would have preferred that the characters continued to put in appearances throughout the book, which they don’t. Yet it was still delightful to see them and agree with the other characters’ assessments of Holmes.

The book does have some minor points to quibble over, though most readers won’t care. There were a few moments when I stubbed my reader’s eyes on anachronisms, but hey, there are vampires. There is no reason to expect total historical accuracy in a story when you know to expect supernatural or science fictional elements.

If you or your teens enjoy mysteries or the supernatural, this is a must-read and I can’t wait to read the sequel, “Fu Man Chu’s Vampire.” Stay tuned for my interview with the author, Guido Henkel.

Confession Time

Well, you should probably expect an ongoing series on the subject of change and self-improvement. I’m in desperate need of both.

First, I have really sinned – or at least transgressed – against God, myself, my family, employers, you name it – by becoming addicted to multi-tasking. A study came out awhile back that no matter what your personality profile might say, no human being honestly multi-tasks well. Some do it better than others, but none of us do it well. However, the more we attempt to do it, the more it raises serotonin and dopamine levels in our brains. In short, we need the high of multi-tasking the more we try to do it. I do it far worse than others, and I’ve tried to pick up speed at that.
It’s worse than Keanu Reeves telling Sandra Bullock to speed up the subway train in order to jump the tracks. (I’m assuming you’ve seen “Speed.”) Hello, Keanu. The train’s jumping the tracks no matter what speed it’s at because the track ends and the brakes are out. The subsequent wreck should have killed both characters. Fortunately, they live in Hollywood Physics Land. I don’t. My trip into muli-tasking mania has made my life a disconnected Hell on Earth. So I’m slowing the train down in increments. Trying to break my addiction to so many stimulants in slight waves, rather than going cold turkey. And I’m trying to remember to pray more instead of relying on those stimulants.
What stimulants could she possibly be taking? Easy. They’re called email (msn and google accounts), this beloved blog, facebook, twitter, the list goes on. And on. And on.
More on this topic later. So who’s with me? Addicted much?

Changes Are A-Comin’

I had an epiphany this morning, thought I can’t say it hasn’t been a long time in coming. It has. There will soon be changes to this website in preparation for the next phase in my career. I don’t want to go into too much detail yet as I know how I work and recognize that this will probably take longer than I want it to. However, I will say I intend to launch something new and say goodbye to something old this year. I dislike changes, but I think it will be for the best and it has become a resolution.

What about you? Have you made any resolutions? Do you intend to?

Gita Wolf: The Art of Book Making

I’ve taken pieces of this from one of Shelf Awareness’s articles last week. Here is the link to the original article, which has more information and pictures than I was interested in saving and uploading here.

The eye-catching titles and artwork from Tara Books is utterly amazing and even more so to those of us who know how big publishing houses work versus Tara’s production. “I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail” is based on a 17th-century poem and illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti in the traditional Gond style from central India. It is gorgeous. But that’s not what makes the book amazing.

What’s so special about Tara books is, they’re handmade. Gita Wolf’s “The Very Hungry Lion,” painted in the Warli style from western India, has sold more than 49,000 copies, all of which were made one at a time. Tara also recycles misprints as “flukebooks.” These are unique notebooks (none are identical) for $11.99. Can we say early Christmas shopping? I thought we could.

Tara books and Gita Wolf are on a mission to save the art of bookmaking. Together with her collective of artisans, Wolf is establishing a Center for the Book Arts in Chennai. The center will house a gallery, a bookstore and work space for artists. Makes me want to move to Chennai.

The Great Race, coming in June 2012, by Nathan Kumar Scott,will use the Mata-ni-Pachedi painting style from Gujarat. It is the first time this style of artwork will have ever been seen in a book format. In the future, Tara Books plans to work with artists in Mexico’s Mayan community and presumably other ethnic peoples.

For obvious reasons, Tara Books titles have won the Bologna Ragazzi Award twice. Tara is not about the mass production of reading material, but about the art of each book. When books are made with such love and devotion, they become cherished items. In a world that’s increasingly widening the gap between those who are educated (or financially capable of education) and those who are not, what can be more important than cherished knowledge and thought?

I LOVED this whole concept. What about you?

Merry Christmas!

Sorry, folks, no post this week, but MERRY CHRISTMAS!