Utopirama: Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth…

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It’s Utopirama time again and today’s guaranteed mood-lifter is the perfect coffee table book for those times when your internet connection is dodgy and your access to funny animal videos is cut off.  We received Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth by Guinnevere Shuster from the publisher via Netgalley and you’ll be pleased to know that inside the book you can expect to find exactly what it says on the cover.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Man’s best friend! What better way to showcase adoptable dogs than by letting their true personalities shine in a photo booth! In the tradition of the best-selling dog photography book, Underwater Dogs, Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth wins the heart of all dog lovers.

Often seen as sad, rejected, and behind cold metal bars, it’s no wonder people would avoid images of shelter dogs awaiting forever homes. From talented photographer (and now public figure and adoption champion) Guinnivere Shuster comes Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth, a guaranteed-to-make-you-smile photo book featuring shelter dogs in a brand-new light. Get ready to see the cutest canine portraits you’ve ever seen! Guinnevere’s fantastic photos went viral  and have been featured on websites, in magazines, and on television programs all over the world: Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, Time, The Daily Mail . . . even celebrities have gotten in on the action: Amy Poehler, Cesar Millan, and Zooey Deschanel have made statements and posts declaring their love of Guinnevere’s work. After the adorable and up-for-adoption photos of these furry friends were seen and enjoyed by millions, adoption rates at Utah’s Humane Society skyrocketed.

The book features 100 dog photo booth style photographs, each accompanied by a short story about the dog’s personality, how the dog ended up in the shelter, and the adoption date. A follow-up will conclude the book, with photos of some of them with their new families.

A portion of the proceeds of this book will benefit the Humane Society of Utah and Best Friends Animal Society.shelter dogs.jpg

Quick Overview:

There’s not much to say about the content of this book that you can’t already infer from the title, but each page features a different shelter dog with four images and a little blurb about how it came to be in a shelter in the first place. If you’re a dog lover, the book is worth it for the images alone: some are pretty funny, like the one on the cover, while others are more subdued.  They portray a wide range of breeds and personalities however, and having a quick peek at the next dog becomes a bit addictive after a few idle page flicks.  The end of the book shows some of the dogs in their new forever homes with their new families which is a nice touch and no doubt goes some way to fulfil part of the book’s purpose – to encourage people to adopt shelter dogs rather than buy from pet shops or sellers who may be engaging in inhumane practices like puppy farming.

The only thing that I found dystopian about the book were the excuses given for the dogs ending up in the shelter in the first place.  There were far too many “owner had to move and couldn’t take the dog with them” type stories for my liking, which begs the question, “why didn’t you think about that before you bought the damn dog?” or alternately, “why can’t you find a dog friendly place to move to?”

As well as all the cute dog pictures, proceeds of the book’s sales go to help animal rescue centres in the US.  Winning!

Utopian Themes:

Human’s best friend

From despair to hope

Saving the day

Smile for the camera

Protective Bubble-o-Meter:

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Five out of five protective bubbles for the joyful flapping ears of a rescue dog heading to its forever home with its head out the window of the car.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Utopirama!: Consider the Clothesline…

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imageToday’s Utopirama is sponsored by everyone’s favourite massive ball of incandescent gas, the Sun! And Echo Publishing, who kindly sent us today’s book for review.  When I saw the title of this gorgeous photo-filled coffee table book, it was instantly apparent to me that to pass it by would be a grave dereliction of my blogging duty.  I give you: Consider the Clothesline: Vibrant Images of Laundry and Life by Frances Andrijich and Susan Maushart.  Here is the blurb from Echo Publishing:

Photographer Frances Andrijich’s unusual fascination with the clothesline has made the world just a little brighter. Paired with Susan Maushart’s witty and illuminating text, these images are by turns whimsical, meditative and transgressive, and have all the intoxicating freshness of a basket of sun-dried sheets.

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Quick Overview:

While an homage to the ever-growing washing pile might seem to be the antithesis of utopia for many people, a leisurely flick through this hefty tome, accompanied by a cup of tea, while the incessant churn of the washing machine providing background music, is certain to heighten your mood and have you revelling in the breezy, everyday joy of a chore well done.  The images in this book are absolutely beautiful and run the gamut from a string lashed between two trees to the iconic Aussie Hills Hoist and everything in between.  There are plenty of pictures taken in Australia’s various desert environments and having gazed upon the endless red dust that covers the land in these locales, it really is a wonder that anyone out that way gets anything clean at all!

The book also contains some fascinating little tidbits that absolutely boggled my stony mind.  Did you know that in some places it is illegal to hang out your washing? ILLEGAL!! Fancy denying people the right to use perfectly free wind and solar power to dry their washing and instead force them to use energy-sapping dryers!  Surely the reverse should be the default option: everyone should be required to air their dirty laundry unless they can show good cause as to why a dryer is needed. But I digress.

Although the topic might be one that doesn’t necessarily spring instantly to mind when selecting a tome to raise your mood, the mundane act of hanging out the washing, when captured in such stunning photography, really does provide a sense of serenity and good feeling.  This book should be distributed amongst the waiting rooms of counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists everywhere.

Utopian Themes:

Eco-friendly reading

The human condition

Summer breezes and seaside gusts

Mentioning your unmentionables

Protective Bubble-o-Meter:

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4 out of 5 bubbles for the comforting snap of sheets in the wind

I am also submitting this tome for the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge 2016, hosted by Escape with Dollycas:

alphabet soup challenge 2016

You can check out my progress toward that challenge here!

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

Utopirama: Book Cover Designs

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It’s been a good long while, but the time has finally come for another Utopirama post!  For those unfamiliar with the concept of my Utopirama posts, the idea is to present some reading options for those times when you just need a book that will inspire feelings of calm and relaxation.  Cosy reads, if you will, in which nothing bad happens and only the good things intrinsic to living in this crazy world are highlighted.  Today’s book is one for all of you, I can just tell: Book Cover Designs by Matthew Goodman.  Yes indeedy, this is a book about book covers.  Brilliant!

We received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Browse more than 500 book cover designs and listen to more than 50 of today’s top designers discuss their process for creating the perfect book cover. Award-winning creative professionals fromaround the world have applied astonishingly clever cover concepts that playslyly on titles and themes of international bestsellers, both classic andmodern, adding new dimensions to the books and breathing new lifeinto bright ideas. Literature lovers and graphic illustrators of all types, aswell as book design students and professionals, will relish thisinspiring collection of covers of fiction and nonfiction, history and sciencebooks, novels and short stories, from old favorites to popular 21st-centurytitles. For future designers looking for inspiration, as well as hopeless coverlovers, Book Cover Designs is a must-have design reference for any collection. Feelfree to judge these books by their covers.

book cover designsQuick Overview:

Essentially, this book does what it says on the proverbial tin, providing pages and pages and pages of mesmerising book covers for your viewing pleasure.  The book is divided by designer, with each featured designer having an introductory page in which their background and design approach is listed, followed by a number of pages of their designs.  The perfect coffee table book, Book Cover Designs offers a wonderful selection of covers of which some will be familiar and some will be so fresh and intriguing that you’ll rush off to pop the title on your TBR list.

The only niggle that I could find in these pages is the fact that the majority of the designers featured are young and Caucasian.  This may not be a bother to you in the slightest if you are focusing on the covers themselves, but I thought it a shame that there wasn’t a greater diversity of designers – in age and race particularly – and their work, presented.  Perhaps that could be something for the publishers to consider when signing off on Book Cover Designs: The Second Edition!  Similarly, the books featured here are generally adult titles (with a few YA thrown in) and I would dearly love to see the same concept developed using children’s books.

Whatever though, if you are a fan of reading and you enjoy a good browse, you will definitely derive pleasure from flicking through this tome.

Utopian themes:

Guilt-free judgement

A Reader’s Paradise

Aesthetic Pleasure

Cover Love

Protective Bubble-o-Meter:

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3 out of 5 protective bubbles for the reverent first touch of a brand new book cover

Until next time,

Bruce