Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Golden Ratio by Gary Meisner

book cover
The Golden Ratio
by Gary Meisner

ISBN-13: 9781631064869
Hardback: 224 pages
Publisher: Race Point Publishing
Released: October 23, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The Golden Ratio examines the presence of this divine number in art and architecture throughout history, as well as its ubiquity among plants, animals, and even the cosmos. This gorgeous book features clear, entertaining, and enlightening commentary alongside stunning full-color illustrations by Venezuelan artist and architect Rafael Araujo.

From the pyramids of Giza, to quasicrystals, to the proportions of the human face, the golden ratio has an infinite capacity to generate shapes with exquisite properties.

With its layflat dimensions that closely approximate the golden ratio, this is the ultimate coffee table book for math enthusiasts, architects, designers, and fans of sacred geometry.

My Review:
The Golden Ratio is a look at phi and if it really is found in art, architecture, and nature as much as is claimed. The author started with a history of the development of phi and how it relates to pi. I enjoy math, but the author didn't spend much time explaining phi at a common person's level, so his points and formulas were sometimes lost on me. I assume the target audience is mathematicians and such who already understand how phi is used.

The author then talked about how the Golden Ratio has been used and can be found in things like art, architecture, nature, logos and even at a molecular level. He talked about his Golden Ratio finding software and how this has been used to examine art, architecture, etc., to see if the Golden Ratio really is found. He would show a picture of the object with these ratios overlaid as outline-only boxes of different colors.

Unfortunately, the boxes often weren't clear either due to overlaps (several boxes starting along the same line but only one color being shown) or the box's line color blending in with the background color. He strongly made the point that the Golden Ratio was found in these things. But unless he explained the starting and ratio points in the text (and sometimes he did), I often couldn't clearly see what the boxes were showing and so couldn't appreciate the full impact. Perhaps these boxes will be easier to see in the printed book. While a lovely book, I felt like I wasn't understanding enough of what was explained or shown in the book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Wanamaker's Temple by Nicole C. Kirk

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Wanamaker's Temple
by Nicole C. Kirk

ISBN-13: 9781479835935
Hardback: 288 pages
Publisher: NYU Press
Released: Oct. 23, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
How a pioneering merchant blended religion and business to create a unique American shopping experience. Remembered for his store’s extravagant holiday decorations and displays, Wanamaker built one of the largest retailing businesses in the world and helped to define the American retail shopping experience. From the freedom to browse without purchase and the institution of one price for all customers to generous return policies, he helped to implement retailing conventions that continue to define American retail to this day.

Wanamaker was also a leading Christian leader, participating in the major Protestant moral reform movements from his youth until his death in 1922. But most notably, he found ways to bring his religious commitments into the life of his store. He focused on the religious and moral development of his employees, developing training programs and summer camps to build their character, while among his clientele he sought to cultivate a Christian morality through decorum and taste.

Wanamaker’s Temple examines how and why Wanamaker blended business and religion in his Philadelphia store, offering a historical exploration of the relationships between religion, commerce, and urban life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and illuminating how they merged in unexpected and public ways.

My Review:
Wanamaker's Temple talked about John Wanamaker's business career, some things that influenced him and he cared about, and the new business practices that he instituted. The author also looked at how Wanamaker changed his business practices to reflect his religious beliefs. In addition to teaching Sunday school and donating money to Protestant causes, he wanted to influence people through his stores. He believed he could lift people up through beautiful architecture, music and religious art on display at his stores, decorating his stores for religious holidays, and educating his young, poor employees who had to work rather than go to school. This education included the basics as well as manners, fitness, and a work ethic. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting look at the time period, though I got the feeling that the author mildly disapproved of Wanamaker.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Sustainable Home by Christine Liu

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The Sustainable Home
by Christine Liu

ISBN-13: 9780711239692
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
An inspirational and practical guidebook to maintaining a more environmentally friendly household. Christine Liu takes you on a tour through the rooms of your home – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living area, garden – offering tips, tricks and step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. Whether its by making your own toothpowder, growing your own herb garden or upcycling old pieces of furniture, there are numerous ways – both big and small – to make a difference. Make small changes on an individual level to make a difference.

My Review:
The Sustainable Home is aimed at people who want to be more environmentally friendly in their behavior but don't know where to start. It's basically a collection of suggestions about simple ways to reduce how much waste you produce, minimize what you buy, and support more sustainable practices. The author went through the main rooms in a house plus briefly discussed work and eating out. She talked about things like buying food at a farmer's market, using natural light when you can, unplugging electronics when you aren't using them, growing house plants or a garden, recycling, buying used, and composting. I had expected more DIY projects from the book description, but there were only a few recipes and DIY instructions. While a decent book if you're new to this and don't want to be overwhelmed, it was much too basic for me. I've been doing most of her suggestions for years.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Paint, Play, Explore by Rae Missigman

book cover
Paint, Play, Explore
by Rae Missigman

ISBN-13: 9781440350283
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: North Light Books
Released: Sept. 4, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Mixed-media artist Rae Missigman identifies herself as a "mark-maker." With an adventurous, anything-goes attitude to expressing herself, she is just as likely to use a celery stem, a sewing machine or a cardboard tube as she is a brush, a palette knife or her own hands. Missigman helps you discover those marks that define you as an artist, and weave them into your art in new and interesting ways. Through page after page of creative exploration, you'll become a collector of tools--traditional and unconventional mark-makers that will become an extension of your unique voice.

You'll become a tinkerer as you recycle and repurpose, striving to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. You'll become an explorer as you draw with your non-dominant hand, create "blindly" using resists, stamp with your own handcrafted organic ink, and follow other creative prompts to widen and shape your artistic world.

My Review:
Paint, Play, Explore is an art book where the author encourages the reader to try a large variety of tools, mediums, and materials to make unique marks. She suggests a variety of tools to try (from brushes and pencils to leaves and cardboard tubes) and marks to make (finger marks, circles, dots, lines, and more). But she basically tells people to experiment on your own and record your observations in a journal. There wasn't a lot of guidance--or, as another reviewer described it, she provides exercises in chaos. It's more suggestions to stimulate you to think of new things to try in your own painting play and exploration.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.