Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Books 2012 (Part I)

I got a number of books for Christmas and Kind of like a parent who has a favourite child, but will never admit it, I do have a favourite book—two, actually.
Raising Hell:
Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils
(by Richard Crouse)

The book cover is so vulgar, it’s going to be almost embarrassing to read on the bus—almost, but not quite.  The story is about the (un)making of what Richard Crouse calls one of the most controversial films ever made, Ken Russell’s The Devils. 

I’ve never seen the film, but watch this amazing scene from The Devils:

Out of Africa
(by Karen Blixen)

Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.”
–Out of Africa

What makes this book extra special is that it is illustrated and therefore, for me, a collector’s piece.

In apocalypse films, book-lovers always die first because in the game of survival, book-lovers take too many books in place of food.  After the apocalypse, I can almost guarantee Out of Africa will be found on my dead, half-eaten body.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
(by Maggie O’Farrell)

How would you react if your aunt, whom you never knew existed, returned home after spending years – a life time – in a psychiatric hospital? 

I discovered Maggie O’Farrell on Writers and Company with Eleanor Wachtel on the CBC. 

Listen to the Maggie O’Farrell  interview  here.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
(by Lionel Shriver)
It took years for this book to get published – no publishing house wanted to touch it because of its topic - and like George Eliot, Lional Shriver uses a male pseudonym because she knows the industry, which includes readers, will take her more seriously.

Picture of George Eliot
 In the Garden of Beasts:
Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
(by Erik Larson)
If In the Garden of Beasts is 60% of The Devil in the White City then it is a good book.
The Other Queen
(by Phillippa Gregory)
I once saw a Phillippa Gregory novel in my cousin’s car and thought, rather snobbishly, trashy whore(!) and then I read The Other Boleyn Girl.  The Other Queen marks the end of Phillippa Gregory’s The Tudor Court Novels.

(I plan to write a blog about The Tudor court Novels because some are better than others; like, for instance, The Queen's Fool - book four of the series -  is fun, but The Boleyn Inheritance - book three of the series - was disappointing.)

Indian School Days
(by Basil H. Johnston)

What makes this story especially interesting is that it’s autobiographical.

I look forward to reading this book, but is it sad that I prefer reading stories about European royalty and world history?  Some would say I am colonized - the neo way of calling an Indian an apple.  I would say I am just well-and-widely-read.

Aboriginal Wirtings from the Land of Water
(Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair & Warren Cariou, Editors)

This book is an anthology (a textbook, so-to-speak) of local Aboriginal writers and contains the poem by a dear cousin, Adventures in Dating a White Guy.

If I read half of the books above by the end of 2013, I’d be happy.
Christmas Books 2012 (Part II) is forthcoming and will contain the following books I bought with my gift certificates:

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