Wednesday, January 23, 2008

book review part 2

There have been so many people violently asking what other books I read in 2007 that I decided I better respond before a riot breaks out.

Blood Letting and Other Cures by Vincent Lam

I don't tend to read a lot of short stories. Most of the ones I've read have been for school and those always required an in depth analysis. However, reading BLOC was like watching a season of Grey's Anatomy (when it was good). It also reminded me that I like short stories and should read them more often.

The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman

For the most part I enjoyed this book. There are some pretty scathing reviews on but I'm not sure the readers actually read the book, or they missed something while doing so. My problem came when I reached the dedication at the end of the book and was more moved by the single sentence he wrote about his wife than anything in the hundreds of pages preceding it.

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

A good old fashioned fairy tale written by a contemporary author. Capital M pointed out that he made up his own rules and I'd have to agree. That doesn't stop the story from being a good one. Rock on Gaiman, rock on.

The Girls - Laurie Lansing

A novel about conjoined twins. I only point this out because Lansing truly does a great job of telling a story about two very different women who, unsurprisingly, know almost everything about one another. But, it's in what they don't know one another that I often found the most interesting.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

If there is an equation for minimum words = maximum depressing scene, then McCarthy has both found and mastered it. Parts of this book still haunt me and regardless of the 'fire' I found this story pretty bleak. However, I would recommend this book, just make sure you're in a 'good place' before you do.

The Thirteenth Tale by Dian Setterfield

After reading The Meaning of Night I needed a little more Victorian Style mystery. Capital M is currently reading the book so I don't want to say too much about it but I did enjoy it, though I found the narrator hard to like. Fortunately, she's not in it much.

Soon I Will be Invincible - Austin Grossman

It's hard to pick a favourite book of 2007 but this one would definitely be in the top three. Dr. Impossible may just be the best super villain ever. This book isn't just for guys who grew reading comic books, it's for anyone who ever felt bullied, misunderstood or questioned the line between good and evil. Yes, these themes are all in the book and so much more (including cyborgs and plans to take over the world). Highly recommended.

Bel Canto - Anne Patchett

I'm no doctor but I'd prescribe this for anyone who feels jaded, just broke up or likes stories permeated with love. I don't mean this derisively. The is a story meant to be read with music playing in the background and sunlight streaming though the windows (if it's cold out). There's a lightness to Patchett's story that elevates it to an almost fairytale quality. I'd like to say more but I'm afraid of giving something away. Highly recommended.

The Kite Runner by

I would truly enjoy teaching this book to a grade 10 English class. Hear me Toronto District School Board. I liked this book and would feel comfortable helping grade 10 students analyze it, so please at least interview me this year.

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubanfeld

I actually just finished reading this one today, but I started it before Christmas. I think I have discovered that I really enjoy historical fiction. And, this novel is another stellar example of the genre. If anyone has an interest in New York at the turn of the 19th century, Shakespeare, Freud, Jung, and mysteries with more twists than a Chubby Checker concert this is a book for you. Highly recommended.

books I couldn't read:

The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

It's not that I can't read non-fiction, it's just that - I don't know what it is. Sure things tip. A few 'cool' people wore hush puppies and then a lot of people wore them. Here's a new tipping point for you Gladwell - Nintendo has made a come back with the Wii because people like it. The few people who could actually get one after it was released told friends and family how great it was and those people went to great lengths to get one. Some even went to Ebay and paid for one but never received it...

The Bone Woman by Clea Koff

I'm actually quite interested in forensic anthropology (in theory and from a distance), so why I can't I read more than a page of this book a month? Probably because it's non-fiction, and probably because Koff comes off as unlikeable. She calls a mosquito 'mate' on page 2, maybe I could get past that if it were fiction, maybe.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

mad rhymes

I'm out of practice with blogging (which just so happens to rhyme with jogging, and I'm also out of practice with that. Dogging, logging, and hogging, are things that I am not experienced in, which may be just as well).
In light of my flabby blogger muscles I thought I would start small and work up to bigger and better things (come on 'blogs of note')
Here's a little snippet of my thoughts during my lunch break. I was alone in a small windowless room, reading the nutritional label of Coffee Mate (for the second day in a row).

"Clump is funny verb. The powder clumped last night when the dew set in. It's funny how everyone clumps together in times of stress. If clumpin' were a new dance, would the dancers clump together if they got wet ?" Cue inner techno music.

Well there you have it. The first, and hopefully worst blog of the new year. As my old band teacher would say "it will only get better from here"