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Tag: :KJM’s Bookshelf:

Review: Aritha van Herk’s “Judith”

aritha van herk judithIt turns out that this was actually my book, bought and studied as an undergrad, which KJM has kept on her shelf all these years (along with my childhood copies of Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, et al) – how sweet! I’d remembered that I’d loved van Herk’s The Tent Peg when young(er) and (more) impressionable, and this is quite a good novel for what it is: late 1970s, smart young woman obsessed by dead dad and ex-bf-boss heads back to Central Alberta to raise pigs. As with an earlier read, and many others over the years, it’s an example of the feminism of women focussed on their men; the heroine of course gets laid by the best man around at the end of the novel. But it’s not a bad book, and Judith makes quite a fine Sow Witch.

Where it came from: KJM’s bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
Assorted bed and bus reads, culminating in a suburban-walk finale
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:
Historically interested feminists
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper; Belonging by bell hooks; Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray

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Review: Elizabeth Jolley’s “The Well”

WARNING: Cover dysphoria!

WARNING: Cover dysphoria!

Esther is old; takes on Katherine as a 16 year old orphan to be her household pet (aka ward and entertainment); several years later Kathy hits and kills a man and they dump his body into the whistling well on the drought-stricken wheat-and-sheep farm. It’s a solid horror novel, but more horrifying than the “is he dead or is he not?” was the lovelessness of the lives of the two main characters. Relentless. So trapped by circumstances, so limited by impossibility and fear. A powerful and awful book, recommended in a quaking kind of way.

Where it came from: KJM’s bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
Afternoon read
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that: That short story about the well that was on This American Life
Who I’d recommend it to:
Those in need of some rural horror
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper; Belonging by bell hooks; Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray

Review: E.M. Forster’s “Where Angels Fear to Tread”

em forster where angels fear to treadYegads. The posh family’s widowed daughter-in-law has gone and found herself an Italian, and then had the bad taste to have a child to him, and the *worse* taste to die. Whatever is one to do about the child? It’s a social comedy in that each character is made to look ridiculous just by being themselves and of their class, and it ticks the boxes for an accomplished novella. Okay.

Where it came from: KJM’s bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
Outing-recovery reads
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:

Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper; Belonging by bell hooks; Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray

Review: Virginia Woolf’s “Between the Acts”

virginia woolf between the actsJune 1939. Some posh manor house or other hosts an annual pageant. People in the manor think things. The day ends and the war is starting soon. The end. I clearly didn’t understand what this book was about, and I didn’t enjoy it despite my confusion; normally I admire Woolf’s structure or technique, but I’m unmoved by this one. Move along, nothing to see here.

Where it came from: KJM’s bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
A couple of days of trainy / beddy reads
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:

Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper; Belonging by bell hooks; Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray

Review: Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World”

michael pollan omnivore's dilemmaEver-so-long a lurker on the Slow Rotation — which sadly never appeared in Bookclub, despite long being on the list — I was glad to find this on KJM’s shelf for the snaffling. Pollan investigates the biological, ecological and political costs of producing three meals: McDonald’s eaten in the car on the road (sourced primarily from corn); two organic meals (one from Big Organic, one from “beyond” organic farming); and a hunted/gathered/gardened meal. Excellent research, insightful analysis, interesting conclusions. A thoroughly confronting book, even for one who thought she knew quite a lot about food production. Highly recommended.

Where it came from: KJM’s bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
Two days of reading every chance I got
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that: The whys and wherefores of the farm
Who I’d recommend it to:
Eaters
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper; Belonging by bell hooks; Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray