Tuesday, May 16, 2017


May 14, 2017

Paulo Coelho. Brida. Harper, 2008.

A young Irish woman, Brida, goes to a teacher, Wicca, and a Magus, to be initiated into an ancient tradition. Translated from the Portuguese. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Walk In the Woods

May 11, 2017

Bill Bryson. A Walk In the Woods: Rediscovering America On the Appalachian Trail. Anchor Canada, 2015 / 1997.

I enjoyed the movie, and I know Bryson has many fans, so when this copy showed up at a local thrift store, I pounced. And I am not disappointed. Knowing someone who has walked the trail helped me feel as if I was there with the hikers, and wondering as they do, why people choose to do this. The joys of walking. The related tangents--history, geology, crime, flora, fauna, personal relationships. Environmental degradation and commercialism. And humour. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

San Francisco Blues

May 1, 2017

Jack Kerouac. San Francisco Blues. Penguin, 1954, 1995.

Interesting. Never published during his lifetime. Poetry as jazz.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Night School

April 30, 2017

Lee Child. Night School. Delacorte, 2016.

It is 1997, before Y2K and 9/11. Jack Reacher, after being awarded another medal, is sent inexplicably to Night School, to learn “inter-agency cooperation.” They end up in Germany. The mission it to keep something (lost fifty years before and recently found) from getting into the hands of dangerous people. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Gift

April 24, 2017

The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master. trans. Daniel Ladinsky. Penguin, 1999.

I wanted to reread Hafiz, looking for wisdom. And looking for the source of the phrase "turning into light." Found it [p.159] in "Is it true that our destiny / Is to turn into Light / Itself?" Found more wisdom closer to the end: "I wish I could put the swaying splendor / Of the fields into words." [p. 305] and "Plant / So that your own heart / Will grow." [p.330]

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Desire In Seven Voices

Desire In Seven Voices. Ed. Lorna Crozier. Douglas and McIntyre, 1999.

The books I read function as a kind of divination. What is it I am needing now, at this moment, this station in my journey? They come to me, they arrive, comfortably pre-read, as gifts, as loans, by word-of-mouth, or by serendipity, falling at my feet off the shelves of thrift stores and secondhand book stores which form the trap line of my urban life. I cannot afford to buy books new. Library due dates create too much anxiety. But "used" suits me fine. I read and enjoy. Some I adopt, squeezing them in to existing rows. CanLit. Poetry. First Nations. Non-Fiction. History. Art and Design. Others I return, or pass to a next reader, or donate, or recycle.

Yesterday's find is Desire In Seven Voices. Six essays and one story, by seven accomplished Canadian female writers--Dionne Brand, Bonnie Burnard, Evelyn Lau, Shani Mootoo, Susan Musgrave, Carol Shields, and Crozier herself. I love the female perspectives, the stories of awakenings, confessions, even gossip. And the explorations of other desires besides the sexual.

Crozier's essay--"Changing Into Fire"--is my favourite. Possibly because our backgrounds are most similar. Possibly because she seems, she and Shields seem, most aware, most evolved, if you think of that pyramid of self-actualization. Seeming to have the greater understanding. Beyond rebellion. Beyond working out unresolved childhood "issues." I love her line: "How did I learn to love myself and then love you?" [p.66]

Because the goal seems to be to explore rather than to define, I am left feeling teased yet still unsatisfied. This, I suspect, is the goal of this little jewel of a volume. Experiential. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Loving A Woman In Two Worlds

April 11, 2017
Robert Bly. Loving A Woman In Two Worlds. Harper & Row, 1985.

Poems about mature love. The two worlds seem to refer to this and another. Somehow, rereading Bly 30 years later, nice, but he doesn't take me there with him.