Lori's Book Nook

Archive for January 2008

Can you?

More and more the author is required to pull together much of their own marketing, and the really savvy ones will come up some really imaginative ideas — like a website. But is a really good web-presence enough to inspire you to buy a book?

Check out this one: a novel entitled Specialty Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I had never heard of the book until I stumbled upon this brilliant website. It appears to be a mystery, with a very literary main character…and if you dig a bit, you’ll find some tasty buzz for it.

Has anyone out there read this one? I must admit I’m tempted.

Your comments?

In an earlier post, I listed the books that arrived in my mailbox to review. I’m going to list them again, but this time, with a bit of a rating, and brief “to read or not to read” comments. Feel free to argue with me, like pretty much everything else, taste in books is all relative…

Running with Swords: The Adventures and Misadventures of the Irrepressible Canadian Fencing Champion by Sherraine MacKay (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

This one was quite lovely. Sweet, almost — if a sports bio can be that. Fencing is a sport with very little funding, and MacKay is quite funny in her stories of how training all pans out.

6 out of 10 (but I’m not a sports enthusiast…)

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The Rage: Reflections on Risk by Steve De Maio (Rocky Mountain Books)

De Maio is a raging ego-maniac. And a jerk that can’t write. If I see/read the word ‘chortled’ again in my life, it will be too soon — he used it in almost every essay/story, and I think 3 times in one. Oh, not in the pieces where he’s playing the ugly Canadian in South America — those were appalling bits of so-called storytelling…if you like stories of tourists laden with extreme sport gear haggling over pennies for taxi fares in developing countries, yelling “You cheat me!” then by all means, pick up this book.

-2 out of 10 

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Mental Traps: a Field Guide to the Stupid Mistakes that can Ruin Your Life by Andre Kukla (Doubleday Canada)

A neat book, written in an archaic style to mimic early ‘Field Guides’ — it is an interesting look at the mental ‘flora’ that can keep us down. I found it to be quite Epicurean, promoting a do-what-you-want attitude, as long as it does no harm, brings pleasure, and doesn’t waste your time.

6 out of 10 

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Zed by Elizabeth McClung (Arsenal Pulp Press)

I blogged about this one. Great novel. Great character. Get this book and read it.

9 out of 10

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Mallory by Margaret Gunning (Turnstone Press)

Good novel…interesting turns, great title character. I almost wished it were thicker, just to get more of the characters…but would it have been the same? No, probably not.

8 out of 10

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Certainty: a novel by Madeline Thien (McClelland & Stewart)

A delicious book when I read it, but when it came time to write the review, I couldn’t wrap my head around what it was actually about. A visitor to my illustrious blog left a link to her review of it, so check it out.

7.5 out of 10 

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The Best Way You Know How by Christine Pountney (Penguin)

Vaguely experimental in style — no quotes for the conversations, all written in the present tense, some weird weird weird long-winded similes (“…and the best man comes running over, the flaps of his jacket billowing to reveal the shiny beige lining like the pages of an open book left out to flutter in the breeze on a summer porch by a child who’s rushed down to the lake to plunge into the water and drown.”). I was intrigued to keep reading, but in the end I felt a little cheated.

3.5 out of 10 

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Gotta Find Me an Angel: A Novel by Brenda Brooks (Raincoast)

Fun premise, great characters, honest dialogue, wonderful descriptive moments…this is one to pick up. The author is a poet, and there are moments that you can really tell. The characters happen to be lesbians, even the ghost, if you’re tired of the ubiquitous hetero fare.

9 out of 10 

Keep in mind, a rating of 10 out of 10 is really hard to come by. 🙂


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!