Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Menagerie by Sharon Montrose , some bargains and a little about Lights Out Liverpool

I've probably seen Sharon Montrose's photographs, before, but if so I certainly didn't realize I had when Menagerie was offered to me for review. Where have I been? Sharon Montrose is a prize-winning animal photographer who already has 11 books under her belt and her photography is divine.

Menagerie is a book of Sharon Montrose's animal photography and it is an total eyeball feast, simply but beautifully designed. The photographs are framed in ways that make you think of how you could jazz up your own walls with a few zingy frames and tasteful photographs. It's a zen kind of book, relaxing to flip through, too small to call a "coffee table" book but definitely the type of book I'd leave out if I had a coffee table. Someday, I will get a coffee table like a normal American.

Bright and airy and almost (but not quite) devoid of text Menagerie's few words are painted in a way that compliments the photography. You can see some inside and out views in this post at Montrose's blog.

There are only two small problems with Menagerie. One is that it's small enough (Amazon says the dimensions are about 8.6" x 6.6") that some of the photos will require a little squinting or a magnifying glass for older eyes.

The other problem is that some rocking fine photos are badly-placed as 2-page spreads. One photo of a flamingo with intriguing wing movement is frustratingly placed on the center fold. And, since the flamingo is the only animal on that particular spread, you have to wonder if it was placed that way merely so purchasers would be unable to slice out a page and avoid paying for a print. However, neither of those problems would have stopped me from buying the book if I'd happened across it in a store . . . if we had a store that displayed design books like Menagerie (insert mournful cry for the loss of Borders).

Highly recommended for design buffs, animal lovers, and lovers of art or photography books. If you're a fan of Sharon Montrose, you might be a little disappointed by the size of the photos but Menagerie turned me into a fan. I am not disappointed. I love it.

In other news:

Sourcebooks has a squillion "first title" and stand-alone e-books on sale for $1.99. Included are some personal favorites by Elizabeth Chadwick, Jill Mansell and R. F. Delderfield. This is a whopping fine batch of books.

I'm not going to bother writing a separate post about Lights Out Liverpool by Maureen Lee. Lights Out Liverpool is a WWII novel set on a single street in the Bootle district of Liverpool, England. Totally engrossing, Lights Out Liverpool is one of those nice, chunky books that's really as much about relationships as it is about life during a major war.

Lights Out Liverpool is tremendously realistic and believable to the war experience and the ups and downs of lives. I didn't like the ending, but I loved the book enough to rewrite the ending in my head. Lights Out Liverpool is the first book I've read by Maureen Lee. Published in 1995, I got my copy from my very generous friend Paula and I know exactly who I'm going to pass it on to. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy novels set during WWII or realistic, character-driven stories with exceptional character development.

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Menagerie looks fantastic!

  2. Kathy,

    It's wondrous. December has been such a terrific book month for me.

  3. Love the animal pictures; love Scholastics virtual tour with Brian Selznick so much! I just finished reading Wonderstruck to my class, and then I showed them the clip. It was awesome. I wish I liked the e-books Sourcebooks is offering more. The price is great; the content for me? Not so much.

  4. Bellezza,

    I'm crazy about Sharon Montrose's photography. It makes me long for a studio of my own, actually. I don't think I'd photograph mules and dogs and such, if I did. Just cats. Cats, cats, cats. :)

    I'm dying to read Wonderstruck, but I'm sure I'll have a wait. It took my library forever to get a copy of Hugo Cabret.

    Really, you're not interested in any of those books by Sourcebooks? They publish a lot of books I like! I did get a little bit burned out on historical fiction, though, early this year.

  5. I had never heard of Montrose before reading this post, but you make her work sound so divine and interesting! I would love to check out this book in person and see what I make of it. It seems like it would be a perfect fit for me. Also, thanks for the links to the book discounts. I need a little personal retail therapy for myself right about now!

  6. Zibilee,

    I recommend visiting Sharon Montrose's blog and website to peek at her work. It is fabulous.

    As to the retail therapy . . . Yeah, I gave in to the discount force a bit, myself.

  7. The Montrose book looks fabulous- I never heard of her before but looked up some photos online and they're so amazing. Only thing is I read on Amazon that the photos are small in the book, so you can't get a very good look at them, is that so?

  8. Jeane,

    Some of the photos are really small, but the overall effect is so fabulous that didn't bother me. There are plenty that are large enough to see fine; just a few layouts are made such that the images are hard to see well.


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