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Country: Europe, NL, Netherlands
. . . to be able to read and review this masterful and thorough biography.
I grew up with Sesame Street. My wife grew up on The Muppet Show. Our kids watched Muppet Babies. Etc., etc., etc.
This is the biography of Jim Henson -- Muppet Man and creative genius extraordinare that Henson fans have been waiting for since his untimely demise in 1990.
This extremely thorough and well-written book begins by tracing Henson's ancestors (on both sides of the family) giving important information on some of the things that would influence him throughout his life. Chapters are devoted to each stage of Henson's career, from his early days at WTOP in Washington, DC, to Sesame Street (which, I argue, would never have been the huge success it has been over the last 40 years without Henson and his Muppet team), to the wildly hysterical (and ground-breaking) The Muppet Show; to Fraggle Rock; to the films -- both the successful Muppet Movies, and the less than successful (but cult classics) "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth" and everything in-between.
I learned a lot about Jim Henson. This biography does an excellent job of presenting who he was as a person. It is not a hagiography by any stretch of the imagination. Character flaws are certainly not ignored (and Henson had his share). But the character qualities also shine through: his personal generosity, his loyalty, his love of family, just to name a few.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has had any connection with any of Henson's creations. And for anyone who hasn't!
Jim Henson truly was a Storyteller. May he rest in peace.
Five enthusiastic stars!
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crises”.
This is the fourth book involving Dan Brown’s hero, Prof Robert Langdon. Prof Langdon wakes up in a hospital in Florence, Italy. He has no recollection of how he got there, and is suffering from amnesia believed to be as a result of a bullet wound to the back of his head. A beautiful blond doctor on duty, Dr Sienna Brooks, is the first to interact with Robert as she tries to assist him in obtaining some answers.
Before anything starts to make sense, there is a commotion in the passageway of the hospital, where an assassin tries to get to Robert. Quick thinking Dr Brooks assists the confused and injured Robert in escaping a second attempt on his life.
Dr Brooks later informs Robert of an item he has in his possession. Robert has no recollection as to how he obtained the item, what it is or whether it is related to him being in Italy. In addition, Robert cannot remember the last 48 hours, and is haunted by a recurring vision of the veiled women with silver hair repeating the words “seek and ye shall find”.
Robert and Dr Brooks are launched into a quick paced chase across the city of Florence, trying to elude the assassin(s), equipped only with the vision, the item in question and Robert’s knowledge of art history to plot the way. Here we are exposed to Dante’s writings from “Inferno” as it is cleverly weaved into the plot through Robert’s expertise.
As the plot unfolds further, Brown succeeds in raising a concern regarding the rapid rise in the world’s human population and the effect it is having on our natural resources. There are references to scientific facts which speak for themselves and this creates a thought provoking question for the reader … what would you do?
How does all this fit in with art history and Dante? This to me is what makes Dan Brown a brilliant Author. Dan Brown has the ability to give you some puzzle pieces and skilfully fit them together as the plot unfolds. Just when you think you are starting to see the picture, Dan Brown manages to transform the picture you thought you were seeing into something totally unexpected. The book takes some surprising turns and has you paging back after you go #WTF, did I miss something, and then realize you hadn’t missed anything other than presumed something which wasn’t (Dan Brown would be proud of my explanation here!).
The story itself is a page turner and my only real critiques are on the following two points:
• The first, I am not a lover of “description” and I can honestly say Dan Brown tried very hard to paint the perfect picture of Florence. This was a bit long winded for me and to get back to the story and away from the “long descriptions”, I chose to Google, look and then page on. Readers who have visited Florence will probably find these excerpts boring and long winded too, on the flip side, those who have never been to Florence might enjoy the “travel guide” walk through.
• This book, unlike the other 3 before it, has a fair amount of reference to Robert’s thoughts. I am not sure whether Dan Brown was trying to make the head injury more realistic by placing these thoughts throughout the book, or whether Dan Brown was trying lead the reader into thinking like him. Either way, I found the “thoughts” bland for the Prof Robert Langdon I had grown to know through the other books and sadly I finished the book feeling that Robert has lost his intellectual spark and can now retire.
That said - I still feel the plot and book deserves a 5 star. I couldn’t put the book down, and I was inspired to read it again for no other reason than I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Prioleau Alexander's, "You want Fries with That?", is the funniest book I've read in a long time. I could easily relate to this tale of white collar burnout. I enjoyed how Prioleau captured the ridiculous events he endured in his search for career nirvana while honoring the real people he met and worked with. His exploits in the world of day laborers, pizza guys, cowboys, ice cream slingers, etc made me snort with laughter, and resulted in my 70 year old mother grabbing the book from me at any opporturnity while I read on the plane. Alexander made the case for complaining white collar folk everywhere without failing to recognize that there are people the world over with MUCH more dire problems than his own.
"You want Fries with That?" is hilarious, refreshing, thoughtful and wise. I thoroughly enjoyed it!