Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Quickie recap: The Door is a slim volume of poetry that packs so much punch per square inch it'll leave your brain just bursting with imagery and snippets so vibrant and raw they'll haunt you for days.
Quickie review: Truthfully, I feel ill-equipped to talk about poetry. Perhaps talking about poetry is like dancing about architecture. Perhaps it's just best left up to the more lyrically-minded. Prose is my comfort zone. But when I hit the poetic sweet-spot, I feel energized and inspired, like the words are thrumming some strings inside me that usually lay dormant. And so because this is a rare and intense thing for me, I confess, I've had this little book on or about my person for months now, and I've taken my time with it. I've savoured. I've read and reread. I've paused and come back. I've sat and digested. I've thought and fell to pieces. 'My Mother Dwindles' has left me heartsick and awed. 'Boat Song' is eerily evocative. 'At Brute Point', though, has captivated me and tortured me the most. How is it sweet and funny and pathetic at the same time? It's not sad, she tells us, or rather, assures herself, and I wonder if it took her breath away to write as it did for me to read.
Quickie recommendation: This is not a case of like or not like. This is a case of being struck, being arrested by small black letters on a creamy, off-white page. Of having dreams of weeds that grow almost audibly (almost audibly!). Of encountering mortality and vitality within the same volume, and feeling optimistic and melancholy in my same heart. Of being reduced to horribly ungrammatic sentence fragments because after spending quality time with such brave, bold words, you just aren't capable of measuring up and now you know it unequivocally. And so with a breath that verges on a sigh, you say to others: open The Door.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Quickie recap: For ten years, Chretien served as Canada's Prime Minister and led us into an undeniable period of growth and prosperity, but not without his share of scandal. In this book he sets the record straight, and offers no apologies.
Quickie review: This memoir is rarely personal - he sticks to his years as Prime Minister, and aside from attributing his success to his lovely wife Aline, he doesn't often stray into more intimate territory. However, he does tackle some meaty political issues - his regrets about the referendum, how he melds his Catholicism with his liberal views on gay marriage, his anger toward his successor Paul Martin, his "discovery" of Stephane Dion, and whatever the hell happened with the sponsorship scandal. Personally, I was excited to crack open this book. I liked him from the day he was elected, and missed him from the day he retired. I love that he's not afraid to boast on the pages of this book. Sure he's arrogant, but he did a lot for our country, and he's not afraid to remind us of that. He takes credit where he feels credit is due. He is surprisingly soft on Castro, a bit cheeky about Clinton (ribbing the younger but chubbier former President), and delightfully caustic when it comes to Paul Martin. It kind of makes you wish that Chretien days were here again.
Quickie Recommendation: You get the sense that Chretien knows that history will give him the respect he deserves, so in this book he indulges himself, sets the record straight on the things that mattered to him. It's always fascinating to hear the other side of the story.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Quickie recap: What makes a person visible? Your face? Your identity? Seeing yourself through others? Leaving a mark? How do you become invisible?
Wow. This is cryptic.
Quickie review: Good stuff. Surprisingly good, probably because more than one character is going through an existential crisis, but they connect in vague but interesting ways. I liked this book. I felt a connection to the characters, and not just because of the pseudo-blog component. It was engaging and thinky. I like thinky.
Quickie recommendation: Yeehaw.
**Check it out at the Book Lounge!
Monday, December 3, 2007
Quickie recap: Carol is a big-city girl who marries a small-town doctor. She is gung-ho to take on his backwards town and revolutionize it but the citizens repel her so she has to go outside her social class to even find friends.
Quickie review: It's kind of funny how the same archetypes exist even a hundred years later. Actually, it's not kind of funny - it IS a funny, satirical, sometimes biting book - surprisingly funny, at times. And if you've ever lived in a small town, you recognize the shops, the citizens, the complaints. It's all very familiar and very wisely put.
Quickie recommendation: Props to my man Sinclair.