Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS...AND FINALLY, A LITTLE TIME


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Sunny days...beach walks...it's pretty nice here in La Manz.

I've been reading up a storm and thought I’d update my blog by telling you about them. 


Here's what I've got so far:

         Bernadette Mayer
               —a book length poem musing on how the poet spent the  shortest day in 1978. Mayer is one of the poets responsible for the 3:15 Experiment which I’ve participated in and written about (where you set your alarm for 3:15 AM every morning in August, prop yourself up and write a poem). Midwinter Day was being discussed on a ModPo forum around Winter Solstice (of course). I hadn't found a good wifi connection at the time so my discussion was limited to one lame post where I mentioned liking her use of internal rhyme. 

         Barbara Kingsolver
                —what a great novel to read while in Mexico! Two of the supporting characters are Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Main character is a delight. Loved it. Have two more Kingsolvers waiting in the wings.

         Louise Erdrich
                 —um, shouldn't that be "Butcher's"? Good story, if dark, kept me reading. Didn't really warm to the writing style, but she sure can tell a story.

         Shane Neilson
                 —a poet and doctor writing about poeting and doctoring. Enjoyed it.

         Will Ferguson
              —This one'll make you think twice about hanging it all out there online (she says, whilst hanging it all out there online!)
419 refers to Nigerian email scams, and nasty as they are, the story also takes a look at oil search and production in Africa, also nasty. Things are never as simple as they seem.

         Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
              —I think this one wound up on my Kobo because I saw an interview with one of the authors on Jon Dailey or Stephen Colbert or somewhere. A book than makes you nod sagely while gnashing your teeth.

         Paula McLain
              —I liked this one. It's written in the voice of Hemmingway's first wife. They spend much of their married life in Paris where they run into the usual suspects of the time: Stein, Fitzgerald, etc. 

         Deryn Collier
              —A Kootenay writer, this is a good mystery set in a fictitious town called Kootenay Landing that's something like Fernie and Nelson combined. Sounds like there will be more books with the same main character, a complex and likable fellow named Bern Fortin who has retired from the Armed Forces where he spent time in places like Rwanda, Bosnia and Afghanistan and is now a small town coroner. I look forward to whatever happens next with this guy.

         Margaret Trudeau
              —An interesting book to have read right before "Umbrella". She does go over a lot of ground already covered in two previous autobiographies, but the insights she provides into the current state of psychiatry and bi-polar disease and treatment of same is well worth reading.

         Will Self
              —a novel about WWI and encephalitis and mental institutions at the time with 70’s cultural references popping up all over the place. Replete with italics, small caps, stream of consciousness sentences and a dearth of paragraphs. Just reading it keeps you on your toes, yet at the same time, I haven’t been so happily dragged through a book in ages. Not kicking and screaming, more the sense of having been caught in an undertow but your breath hasn’t quite run out so you figure you might live if you can only make it to the surface. And you do. Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep.

And here is a link to a much more detailed review by Matt Kavanagh about this mesmerizing book. 

         Alison Moore
                 —a quick, intriguing read. Moore tells the same incidents over and over, not necessarily from a different point of view, but they way we all tend to tell stories; a little differently each time.

         Isabel Allende
                  —set in San Francisco and ChilĂ© with visits to England, France and Peru, this family saga novel is largely about a couple of fiercely wonderful, memorable women, Aurora del Valle and her grandmother, Paulina.

         Richard Wagamese
                  —a difficult story beautifully told about a young Ojibway man’s search for self.

         Beryl Bainbridge
                  —an early Bainbridge novel, sparce yet loaded, about a young woman who loves Master Georgie against all odds.

         Beryl Bainbridge
                  —the author’s last novel, published after her death. She sure packs a lot into a very few pages (162 in this case). Set in the sixties, it’s a road trip like no other. A rather strange story, with some quite acerbic funny bits.

More to follow, you can be sure. Happy reading yourselves!

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