Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why I Wake Early

Mary Oliver's Why I Wake Early. Beacon 2004.


Finds like this put the "value" in Value Village. Mary Oliver is the poet as shaman, re-awakening us to the enchanted world which surrounds, enfolds us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Nature of the Beast

Monday, August 15, 2016

Louise Penny's The Nature of the Beast. Minotaur, 2015.



Another page turner, about  Inspector Gamache, Three Pines, a "weapon of mass destruction," the people who design them, make them, sell them, and fear them.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Various Positions

Ira B. Nadel. Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen. Random House of Canada, 1996.

Thanks to my friend Nancy for lending me her copy of this biography. She beat me to it at Baker Books, so it is still on my TO FIND list.



Nadel's is a very different approach from the recent musical bio A Remarkable Life I just read. I must say that there are things in this book, Various Positions, which I wish I did not know. The drug use, depression, sexual obsessions (females as object and muse, reminiscent of Picasso), and the artist's painful struggle - the tensions between everyday family/business life and literary calling and spiritual yearning. It seems to me that it is we, the loyal fans, who are the winners here.

A lot has happened in the 20 years since the publication of this book, including 9/11 and the 2010 Olympics. The best for me is the fact that Leonard is still with us, and still gracing us with regular new releases including: Popular Problems, and Can't Forget.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Emancipation Day

August 6, 2016

Wayne Grady. Emancipation Day. Doubleday, 2013.




A very interesting novel, set in Newfoundland, Toronto, Detroit, and Windsor, about prejudice, discrimination, and identity. The relationship between colour and identity. The effects of parental acceptance or rejection on the psyche of the child. Choices. The depths beneath the skin. And music. 

Emancipation Day as celebrated in Windsor is August 1, commemorating the day the anti-slavery act came into effect in 1834, outlawing slavery in the British Empire.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Rage To Survive

August 2, 2016

Rage To Survive: The Etta James Story. Etta James with David Ritz. 1995. 
Etta James, 1938 - 2012. 


The day after I picked up this Etta James CD at the thrift store, a friend loaned me this fascinating biography of the famous singer. What a glimpse into the life of a talented woman who grew up California urban poor and lived the life of a wild child, a musician on the road, a serious heroin addict. It certainly made me appreciate my own boring life more, knowing how much others have had to struggle.