The Audition Process: A Guide for Actors

The Audition Process: A Guide for Actors by Bob Funk

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Reviewed by Gabi L.

Bob Funk is an acting professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As an actor and director, he has worked professionally in New York and in regional theatres across the United States. In The Audition Process: A Guide for Actors, Bob Funk covers in detail the importance of headshots, resumes and theatre conferences. He goes beyond what is expected inside the audition room and advises actors on how they should behave from the moment you step into the building till you get the final call way after the in-person audition as ended.

I have been active in theatre for many years and this is by far the best audition book I have come across. Bob Funk provides readers with performing and preparation tips for monologues and songs along with revealing some of the mysteries of actually getting a job in the entertainment industry. The book Bob Funk covers all aspects of the theatre audition realm as he teaches readers the importance of headshots, great resumes, and theatre conferences. He even goes so far as to list the contact info and requirements for each conference! The Audition Process: A Guide for Actors is a wonderful no-nonsense guide that is written very clearly in a way that is easy to understand.

Book Review: Cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Review by Gabi L.

Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is an intriguing story based loosely the Cinderella fairytale. As the first book in her trilogy, Meyer explores the relationship between “Earthans”, who life on Earth, and Lunars, people who live on the moon in space and have adapted mind control abilities. Cinder is a 16-year-old girl who lives on Earth with her abusive step-family. She has learned to adapt as a cyborg and an outcast in a world of humans. Cinder is a very skilled mechanic and eventually her reputation leads for the prince to request her help. She unwillingly commits to helping his cause and becomes invested in the intergalactic conflict between the Earthans and the Lunars.

I am a major fan of the original Cinderella story, so I had high expectations for this book and Marissa Meyer definitely surpassed those expectations. Cinder kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the novel as the story pulls you into Cinder’s world and provides readers with a view into an alternate world as an outcast and as someone who is even unwelcome in their own home. What makes this book even more enjoyable is how likable Cinder is as a character as I was always hoping for the best for her throughout the story.


Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Reviewed by Gabi L.

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Designing Your Life is written by two college professors, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, who have created a college course, and now a book, that teaches students (no matter what age) how to create and live a life of enjoyment. One point that the authors make very clear is to know where you are right now by reflecting on the current levels of your core areas of life: health, work, play, and love. Knowing where are currently, helps to clearly define where it is you want to go, what you should improve and add more of into your everyday life, and what to start cutting out. Burnett and Evans also emphasize the importance of getting “unstuck” rather than just opting for the easiest, closest option when life is not going according to plan or when you are not happy with a situation.

Burnett and Evans offer incredible advice on building the life you want, even if you don’t have a clear picture of where you want to be or what exactly you want to do. They provide exercises throughout the book to help you during your journey to explore your desires and to build the life you want. Bill and Dave present the information needed to take hold of your life and encourage you to be held accountable by others to heighten motivation. Designing Your Life has offered me an eye-opening perspective on my life and the parts that I didn’t particularly enjoy and offered helpful advise to create my own happiness. I still am not finished with the journey, but this book has definitely pushed me in the right direction and I will continue to implement their advice.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Review by Gabi L.

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Malcolm and Maud Angel are worth millions. Maud earns stocks and Malcolm owns a pharmaceutical company. After the couple is found dead in their bedroom with no signs of forced entry, Tandy and her brothers are the main murder suspects. With strange blank spots in her memory, Tandy Angel only knows three things: first, she was the last person to see her parents alive. Second, the police suspect and are only questioning Tandy and her siblings. Third, she can’t trust anybody, maybe not even herself. Tandy is determined to figure out the truth of what happened to her parents, even if it means discovering that she is the guilty one.

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro team up to create this fast pace, intriguing mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. With Tandy as the narrator, readers feel like they are in the situation with Tandy, figuring out who the killer(s) is. Patterson and Paetro create an easy to read writing style with nice short chapters that makes it almost impossible to put this book down. Confessions of a Murder Suspect will make you question every possibility. Who is the killer? And why did they murder Malcolm and Maud Angel?

Tab Recommends

Here are some books our TAB members have read and loved recently. We’ve included the call number so you can come and get them at Reston Regional Library! All summaries are taken from Novelist unless otherwise noted.

The Color of Water, James McBride – B MCBRIDE

Interspersed throughout his mother’s compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self-realization and professional success. The Color of Water touches readers of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son. –

Beartown, Fredrik Backman – FIC BAC

In the tiny forest community of Beartown, the possibility that the amateur hockey team might win a junior championship, bringing the hope of revitalization to the fading town, is shattered by the aftermath of a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized.

Comedy Girl, Ellen Schreiber – YFIC SCH

Shy, seventeen-year-old Trixie Shapiro, who dreams of being a professional comic, gets a big break after her friend signs her up to a stand-up routine at their school’s Talent Night.

Oscar and the Lady in Pink, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt- FIC SCH

Oscar is dying. One of the ‘ladies in pink’ who come to visit the patients, makes friends with him. She suggests that he should pretend that each of the following 12 days is a decade of his imaginary life. Oscar writes ten letters to God that are sensitive, funny, heartbreaking and, ultimately, life-affirming. –

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky – FIC DOS

Believing he can commit the perfect crime, Roderick Raskolnikov robs and murders an elderly pawnbroker. He eventually finds himself engaged in a battle of wits with inspector Porfiry, a policeman who is determined to wring a confession from the once confident Raskolnikov, a killer whose conscience is slowly beginning to destroy him.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor – JFIC TAY

A Black family living in the South during the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don’t understand.

Animal Farm, George Orwell – FIC ORW

A satire on totalitarianism in which farm animals overthrow their human owner and set up their own government.

Night, Elie Wiesel – 940.531 W

A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family.

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad – FIC CON

Marlowe sails down the Congo in search of Kurtz, a company agent who has, according to rumors, become insane in the jungle isolation.

The Monuments Men, Robert Edsel – 940.531 E

Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis. –

If Only, Jennifer Gilmore – YFIC GIL

Tells the story of a pregnant sixteen-year-old Bridget and her decision to give her baby up for adoption and the story of sixteen-year-old Ivy as she searches for her birth mother to find out where she comes from.

The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness – YSF NES

Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury – SF BRA

A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners, Guy Montag, suddenly realizes their merit.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood – FIC ATW

Offred, a Handmaid, describes life in what was once the United States, now the Republic of Gilead, a shockingly repressive and intolerant monotheocracy, in a satirical tour de force set in the near future.

The Giver, Lois Lowry – YFIC LOW

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – JFIC BRA

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Reviewed by Gabi L.

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What if all your crushes you’ve ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean has never openly admitted any of her crushes to anybody. Instead, she writes a love letter to each boy, seals it, and keeps them all hidden in a box under her bed. One day, Lara Jean finds out that all five of her secret letters have mysteriously been mailed out to every one of her crushes. With her love letters out in the open, she is confronted by all of her past crushes about the letters, including her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, and her sister’s ex-boyfriend. Lara Jean learns to face her emotions and this awkward, complicated situation head on as her love life suddenly goes from imaginary to out of control.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a book for the hopeful romantics out there. Lara Jean’s crazy life is filled with energy, laughs, and even a few tears. Author Jenny Han creates likable, relatable characters as Lara Jean tries to find a reasonable way to handle all of her past crushes at once. This is a fun, enjoyable the read for those who love romance, comedy, and drama.

Book Review: The Lean

The Lean by Kathy Freston

Reviewed by Gabi L.

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The Lean offers valuable advice on leaning into a new healthful lifestyle. Whether your goal is to lose weight or to adopt healthier habits, Freston provides simple tweaks to add to your daily routine that gently nudges readers into a healthy direction. The Lean is a simple step-by-step guide that encourages the audience to move away from animal products and towards plant-based food. There are thirty chapters in this book and every chapter is based on a daily tweak that you that over time can yield incredible results. These daily tweaks help readers reach sustainable, healthy, long-term weight loss one day at a time.

I have struggled with my weight for years. As a kid, I grew up being close to 20 pounds heavier than friends and the other students in my class. A few years ago I stumbled upon this book and it changed my life. From day one, as soon as I started incorporating Freston’s tips I noticed that I was eating less junk food and that my portions had become much more normal. My skin cleared up, I dropped multiple dress sizes, and my confidence levels were through the roof! This book is arguably the best, most helpful book I have ever read and I 100% recommend The Lean to anybody wanting to shed excess weight or just adopt some healthy habits.