Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Battle of Alberta

Continuing with these "bad books", I recently read a non-fiction doozie called The Battle of Alberta, written by Edmonton journalist Mark Spector. Having grown up in Calgary, the battle between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s, has always been close to my heart and I had been looking forward to this one since it came out in December. It would be a chance to relive the excitement of hockey in Alberta, in the 1980s.

I had been expecting a deeply researched book offering a behind-the-scenes look at one of hockey's great rivalries. Instead, this was only a collection of present day interviews with players reminiscing about events that took place 30 years ago.

The problem is that nobody can accurately remember things that happend 30 years ago. In the afterword of this book, Spector even concedes the players had a lot of their facts wrong; who scored that big goal, who was in that fight, and even in a few instances, who that playoff opponent was. But he never corrects them, and instead tries to omit the incorrectly remembered details, thus leaving us with a bland, innaccurate account of a few hockey games from long ago.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Martian Chronicle

My progress on number 84, An American Tragedy, continues, slowly but surely. About a fifth of the way through it, I'm enjoying it. However, it is a slow read at almost 900 pages of tiny print. Looks like I won't be able to finish it before the Stampede, as planned.

As I've been reading though, with little to report, I started to think of some of the truly terrible books I've read recently. Usually, I only write about books I've really enjoyed, or ones I'd recommend to people. But other than a couple of books I didn't like from this list, I haven't talked about those "bad books."

Well, let me tell you about a couple of them now!

First off is one of my Book Club's reads from last fall, The Martian by Andy Weir. This was one I was really looking forward to it, and in fact I was the one who nominated it. The idea of somebody being stranded on Mars and how he would deal with the psychological trauma, all with the exotic red planet as a back drop, was very intriguing.

What a disappointment.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Selecting Number Eighty-Four

I have started number 84 of the list, An American Tragedy. I didn't start it right away, because, to be honest, it took me a few days to decide what to read next. This was a fairly easy task when I had 65 book left to ready, but as I'm now down to only 17, the choice becomes a little more complicated.

First off, I need to have the book, which isn't too bad, as I own 13 of the remaining 17. And, I did manage to plan ahead on the other four, and had them all checked out from the library. So, really, I had all 17 book sitting on my bookshelf. Wanting to save the 13 I own for last, I only needed to decide between An American Tragedy, A Clockwork Orange, Lord of the Flies, and Watchmen.

Next, I also need to keep in mind the...what's the word...the heftiness of the book. Of the 17 remaining, the ones that might be the most daunting in my mind are An American Tragedy, A Dance to the Music of Time, and At Swim-Two Birds (the first two because they have a lot of pages, and the other for no reason other than it strikes me as one that might take awhile).

Since there is only one lengthy one left of the four I need to get from the library, I figure I'll start with that, leaving me three books I'm anticipating will go by quite quickly. An American Tragedy, at 850 plus pages, is longer than the other three combined, by several hundred pages.

So I guess the decision ended up being a fairly easy one. But I still hemmed and hawed. I also read a couple of other books too, which might have also delayed the process.

My aim is to finish An American Tragedy sometime before July 7th, leaving me the summer to read the other three. If all goes as planned, I could find myself with only fourteen books to read come September.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 6, 2016

#83 - "The Death of the Heart" by Elizabeth Bowen

This is the second book in the "Death Trilogy" that features on this list; the others being A Death in the Family, and Death Comes for the Archbishop. I guess the novelization of Death to Smoochy just didn't make the cut.

I didn't know anything about this book when I started reading it, but shouldn't have been surprised that I enjoyed it. First off, it's on this list, and I've enjoyed most of the books on this list. Secondly, it's set in inter-war Europe, and I don't think there has been an inter-war European book I haven't enjoyed (remember, Gravity's Rainbow was during the war).

Friday, April 15, 2016

Eunoia: Unquestionably Educational, Tenaciously Elocutionary

For the weekend, here's a little something "off-list;" an interesting and very unique book I read this week, Eunoia by Christian Bok. I first came across Christian while writing for WordFest a few years ago, and have been following him on Twitter ever since. Perhaps best described as an experimental poet, he’s published several books, and is well known in the literary community
here in Calgary.

While I was aware of the nature of his work, I had never read anything of his. A few months ago however, he had tweeted a link to an interview with Penn Jillette, who talked about Eunoia as one of the most influential books he’d ever read. Normally I wouldn’t be one to read a book because some celebrity recommended it, but the unique nature of this book made it hard to resist.

Eunoia is the shortest English word to contain all five vowels, and foreshadows the writing to come. Basically, there are five chapters, one for each vowel, and each containing words with ONLY that vowel.