Written reviews from a rural perspective for the sassy shopper in all of us

03 April 2007

Books - March 2007

It was a modest month as far as reading goes. I find I don't read as much when I am working a lot. I save my reading for the subway ride and work breaks. If I feel decadent, I'll draw a bubble bath and read there.

1) Welcome Home: Travels in Smalltown Canada - Stuart McLean
I liked this book a lot. It is far from a "classic" novel and it isn't the "coolest" book to be seen with, but it appealed to me. I spent a lot of March being homesick and wanting to surround myself with smalltown folk. You know, the kind of people that talk about random smalltown happenings at the local coffee shop. People who say thank you and look you in the eye. I miss that. I read this book and it warmed my spirit. I particularly enjoyed the chapter about smalltown Saskatchewan and British Columbia. What I made me smile was the mention of Chinese food restaurants in the middle of nowhere in the prairies. I remember being a kid and going to one in rural Saskatchewan, as my Gedo always gave us a dollar for ice cream when we visited. As an "adult", I went to one in rural Manitoba. It was probably the highlight of that summer - having a cup of super cheap coffee in a restaurant that looked straight out of the 50's, where you could actually buy a single can of tomato soup for fifty cents.

2) Love Life - Zeruya Shalev
This is a book about a woman's obsession with a much older man, a friend of her father's. It is what it is. It is all about obsession - the obsession in wanting to discover someone's mind and body, the obsession in all the questions being asked and never answered, the obsession in the wonder of why you are obsessed with someone who often disgusts you, the obsession in the distance and closeness of bodies. It is a richly written novel, with beautiful words and intensity. I have to admit, it is a little too intense at times. There were moments when I wanted to shake the character in hopes she would quit obsessing about this man. There were moments I didn't want to read any more, I was tired to listening to her. If I felt her feelings of obsession - that means, it was an effective novel. It made me feel her emotions.

3) Elle - Douglas Glover
This was another interesting read. I picked up this Canadian novel for a dollar at the used store down the street. It is a take on a historic story of a woman who was left alone to survive in Canada before it was settled in the 1500s. I appreciate the fact that the writer is male and not once did I think her character was written by a man. It is intense, sad, funny. There are slight sexual moments. There are spiritual moments that are hazy and desperately lonely. The background is bleak and lonely, but Elle is complex and intriguing. It was a good read, especially in a hot bath.

Until next time...

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