Lori's Book Nook

Archive for April 2009

I’ve bleated on enough about the last package of books I received to review, so I won’t go into that again.

Without further ado, in no particular order (other than the order they are piled on my desk), here are some Canadian books published in 2008 that you should keep your eyes peeled for:

Anything by Shauna Singh Baldwin. I have in my pile two books of short stories — the re-published English Lessons and Other Stories (with Readers’ Guide), and a new collection called We are not in Pakistan. Both are wonders of cross-cultural exploration, lovely stories of very real people. I see from her website that she has also written two novels…worth checking out.

Under the Holy Lake: A memoir of Eastern Bhutan by Ken Haigh is a highly readable introduction to Bhutan, a country that the average person knows little about. Haigh spent a soul-searching 2 years teaching in Khaling, a small village in the far eastern reaches of an already inaccessible country. This book will leave you with a lasting impression of the country and its people.

Shirin and Salt Man by Nilofar Shidmehr is a book that takes you by surprise. [By the way, a note to all authors…ensure that you or your book has its own dedicated page somewhere — in the Internet age, you need to stand out and be linked to!] It’s a novella in poetic form, tying the legends of Iran to the modern day. I read it through the first time, fascinated by the poetry and the images; the second time, fascinated by the story; and the third time sent me to the Internet to research the legends of Shirin and the discovery of the Salt Man in the 80s.

I’ll leave you there, with more to come. Plus, I will point out a couple of books to avoid…there are days when I despair at the state of Canada’s publishing! (Do I despair or rejoice in the knowledge that anyone can get published?!?)

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My faithful readers (all 3 of you!) will have noticed the lack of new posts recently. My apologies for that. It’s part laziness, part the pile of books I received for review a while ago.

Now, I’m an amateur reviewer…’amateur’ in the classic sense in that I don’t do it for money, but enjoy composing my little reviews for CBRA. Up until this last batch of books, all of the reviews I wrote sat in a hardbound annual in libraries across the country…likely very few people actually read them. Now, however, these reviews are going online, where they will (theoretically) be searchable by anyone looking for information on a given book.

And now I’m hesitant. When I blogged the list of books I received, I realized something I’d not thought about seriously before — the author may read my review of her/his book. Oh, I’m sure they did before, in the hardcover annual, but now, they truly will.

And they might respond.

In this day’n’age of tracking mentions of yourself/your book/your cause célébre online, I’m sure every single person attached to the books I received hit my blog.

Two responded.

This is exciting if you’re offering up praise. How every cool to be in touch with someone whose work you admire.

But what if the work is awful? What if it makes you cringe at the state of the book publishing industry in this country?

I will have to decide…to post my opinion, for good or for bad, as it is my opinion. Honest and true-as-I-see-it. It’s all I can do.

And I won’t ignore my blog anymore.

Thanks for listening.


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!