Tuesday, September 13, 2011

But to procrastinate his lifeless end.

I haven't posted anything in quite some time, and truth be told, it's because I've been so busy.  Not with anything important per se, but it has been unseasonably warm in Calgary the past week, and I've been outside enjoying it.  But ironically, I spent a lot of that time enjoying the outdoors, reading about Canada's winter sport, hockey.

I was in the library last week, picking up a couple of reads for the list, and happened to pass the sports section.  There I spotted a couple of titles that have been on my "to read" list for quite some time.  First was King of Russia, the story of former Flames and Team Canada coach Dave King's experiences being the first Russian coach in the KHL in the 2005 season.  Second was Stephen Brunt's book, Gretzky's Tears about the day hockey changed forever; the day Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

With the hockey season right around the corner (first pre-season game is in one week!), I have been a little hockey-deprived the past few months.  These books were a way to satisfy that need.  Of course I didn't plan on it monopolizing my time for several days.  I suppose hockey is my drug, and I was merely satisfying what William Burroughs called the 'Algebra of Need.'

King of Russia: A Year in the Russian Super LeagueI was a little disappointed with King of Russia because it didn't talk as much about life in Russia as I had hoped and focused more on his hockey season there.  Yes, it's a hockey book, and should be expected to be about hockey, but I thought there would be more of a focus on the little things that make living and working in Russia quite different from doing so in North America.  Too many times, King would touch on something quirky that had happened, something you wouldn't expect to see in Canada, but then never mention it again or ever really go into any detail.  Instead, he would go into a lot of detail with the games, explaining certain goals, penalties, etc.  It wasn't boring by any means, but left me wanting something a little different.

Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, America, and the Day Everything ChangedGretzky's Tears meanwhile could be classified as much as a political science book as a sports book, delving so much into how Canada and the NHL changed the fateful day Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.  In a way, it's the 'where were you when Kennedy was shot' moment for Canada (I was in a hotel room in Spokane, Washington).  It was interesting to hear all the people from that trade, most notably Peter Pocklington and Bruce McNall, talk about the trade over twenty years later.  Brunt really gives an in-depth, behind the scenes look, at how it all came about.

But enough about hockey, where does that leave me on my quest to read Time Magazine's list of 100 Great Novels?  Well, I'd be lying if I said I haven't been moving quite slowly on that.  I'm still reading Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, which sadly, I've been doing for a couple of weeks already.  It isn't that I dislike it or anything like that, it was merely the distraction of nice weather and hockey books.  I swear.  Although admittedly, it's a bit of a sluggish read at times.

However, I do only have fifteen pages to read, after making a good dent last night before falling asleep.  So, I will have finished it before the day is through so I can move on to number forty-five, which is still to be determined.

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