Sunday, October 22, 2017

Oriental Love Poems

October 22, 2017

Michelle Lovric. Oriental Love Poems. Andrews McMeel, 2003.

Chinese and Japanese poetry translated into English and illustrated with relevant symbols and origami constructs. A beautiful little volume with pockets and envelopes containing secret papers. 

The fourth of sixteen selections I chose at the Rotary Book Sale in Chilliwack, 2017.


Northbound

October 22, 2017

Leona Gom. Northbound: Poems Selected and New. Thistledown, 1984.

Very enjoyable. Very familiar scenes and situations--women escaping the farm and family ties. 


Canada: Romancing the Land

October 21, 2017

Lorraine Monk and Miriam Waddington. Canada: Romancing the Land. Key Porter, 1996.


The Cuckoo's Calling

October 21, 2017

Robert Galbraith. The Cuckoo's Calling. Mulholland, 2013.

Private Detective Cormoran Strike accepts a client's mission, to investigate the presumed suicide of a young model, to ensure that the death was not murder. With the help of his temp, Robin, the ex-MP and wounded soldier tracks down the truth. Interesting characters, set inside the fashion industry in London. 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Lullabies For Little Criminals

O'Neill, Heather. Lullabies For Little Criminals. HarperCollins, 2006.

Why did it take me ten years to read this book? It is incredible. I suggest it should be Recommended Reading for every teacher, social worker, law enforcer, and law maker.

Lullabies is told from the POV of Baby, through her tween and first teen (13) year, although she still sees the world through the magic eyes of a child. She lives in Montreal with Jules, her struggling father, fifteen years her senior. Poverty, drug use, mental health issues, immaturity, innocence, vulnerability--all interfere with this family's happiness. 


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall from Grace

Wayne Arthurson. Fall from Grace. Forge, 2011.

#1 in the Leo Deroches detective series by Edmonton writer Wayne Arthurson. Leo is a complicated protagonist with "challenges" which include his unfamiliar First Nations heritage, his struggle against gambling addiction, his substitutions to fill the void (what they call on the Street, the "flutter"), his shattered family, his unresolved issues with his father. Take these into the big city newspaper where he works and chaos is bound to ensue. Attendance at a crime scene--the body of a young prostitute dumped in a field--leads Leo to do research into similar deaths and to snoop around where he is not welcome, with native elders and Edmonton police officers, active and retired. The story had me hooked; the complex flawed lead character, perhaps I will reserve judgement. I like my good guys to be good. But that's just me. I especially like the Edmonton setting, and the explanations of all the "Canadianisms" for an unfamiliar, likely American, readership. 




Monday, September 18, 2017

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

Sherman Alexie. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. Little, Brown, 2017.

I've been coveting this book since before it was released, giving subtle hints and not so subtle kites, trying to make it materialize into my life. I finally found it at Munro's Books in Victoria at the end of August and I forced myself to wait to read it until I could guarantee it my undivided attention. And I have consumed its 450+ pages in less than 48 hours.

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is a memoir of grief following the death of Alexie's mother Lillian. 

Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reserve and escaped through education, words, to become a writer/raconteur who has lived in Seattle for the last two dozen years. I first became aware of him as the writer behind the movie Smoke Signals starring two of my favourite actors, Adam Beach and Evan Adams. Dr. Evan Adams. On the plane to Toronto in 2010 I read The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven which I probably bought, along with Reservation Blues at Village Books in Bellingham. And I found Blasphemy at Bill's Used Books and Bongs in Fort St. John, BC, last summer, when I also found John O'Donohue's Anam Cara, on top of my Amazon list at the time. I include these gratuitous details only as evidence of book-lover's divination -- that we envision what we need and it appears. Or is it the other way around? That the universe knows what we need and when we need it, and we have to learn to pay attention. 

You know a book has hooked you when you start marking the passages that you want to read aloud to people you love.