Back in December I previewed The Dread Crew, and I’m thrilled to say that it’s every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped. The Dread Crew are a bunch of wily backwoods pirates who go around mucking up the place and being general nuisances and bullies. They take what they want and do what they want and are rather miserable about it all.
The Dread Crew are what Max and the Wild Things would have become if Max stuck around as their king.
Thankfully, good ol’ junk collector Joe knows just how to turn a brawling bunch of junk-hunting pirates into eccentric, and adored, members of the community.
The Dread Crew is a funny book that’s good for little people who like to be read to and big people who like a good laugh. For example, the most feared pirate punishment is office work.
If your kids are still enough to enjoy chapter books, then they should be game for this one. There’s nothing about it that reminds me of Charlotte’s Web, but I feel like it’s that kind of book, one to remember and to read and re-read.
I adore the Dread Crew: Hector the Wrecker Gristle, Slime Bucket Sam, Cranky Frankie, Fetchin Gretchen, and the whole pirate gang.
The Dread Crew: Pirates for the Backwoods by Kate Inglis
Published in Canada by Nimbus Publishing
Click the cover to browse inside (opens new window).
I came to know Chuck Klosterman through his fiction work, Downtown Owl,. Because I loved his novel so much I started seeking out his other works, which seemed to be nonfiction essays. Eating the Dinosaur is one of those collections and it’s brilliant. Not a day goes by that I don’t quote something from this book.
Eating the Dinosaur is the Chicken Soup for the Smarty-pants Soul.
I used to be annoyed when James constantly quoted or mentioned essays in this book. He read the book first, But I adopted these habits after finishing the book. Dammit, Klosterman is smart, or at least his ideas are compelling, which makes him seem smart, and by default makes me feel smart. Hence the smarty-pants comment above.
Chuck Klosterman has good journalist written all over him. He’s covered music, film, and sports, and remembers the details. He dissects pop culture the way miners pan for gold. After clearing away the dirt and shifting away the common things, Klosterman holds up the nuggets. And those nuggets are the totality of perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that make up our understanding of the world, and by world I mean world of culture consumption.
He talks about why music fan’s hate their favorite bands. Why superstars aren’t paid enough. Why singers are compelled to try out different personalities. Why interviewees want to tell the truth. What the truth is. Why Germans don’t laugh at nervous North American laughter. Why North Americans laugh. Why Ralph Nader is a literalist and how that makes him unlikeable. How the Unabomber could be wrong in his actions but right in his thoughts. Why TV is bad and the Branch Dividian not so bad. And why politicians are terribly sorry, and alcoholic.
This is my favourite nonfiction book of 2010. (The Waterproof Bible is my favourite novel, in case you’re asking.)
Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
Published in Canada by Simon and Schuster in hardcover, paperback and ebook.
Sarah Waters is a lovely writer. She has written four bestselling novels: Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, Fingersmith and The Night Watch. Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith were by far my favourites, and those rankings stand.
The Little Stranger is a dark, and maddeningly compelling, read. Set in post-World-War-I rural Warwickshire, the dumpy, semi-successful bachelor Dr. Faraday has the hots for plain-Jane, fallen-from-riches Caroline Ayres. It’s an Austen-esque affair with a Mary Shelley monster story as a plot driver.
The Austen Element: Dr. Faraday becomes interested in Caroline Ayres, or perhaps the status she represents (even though she’s poorer than a church mouse). Caroline is interested in Dr. Faraday as an exit route from her dire circumstances and family burdens. I won’t spoil the romance tale by telling you what happens here.
The Shelley Element: Hundreds Hall has been home to the Ayres family for centuries. It’s a grand mansion that’s crumbling without dignity. An eyesore, a money sinkhole and an emotional burden (how can you give up the family home even as it drags you down), the home has personality and character in ways that become hauntingly evident throughout the novel.
As sinister things occur to each family member, it is Dr. Faraday, our trusty narrator, who is left to rationalize the happenings. But is he so endearing? Is he an infallible narrator?
Again, I won’t spoil it by telling you my thoughts here. Instead I’ll say that although the narrative was eerie and formed a great literary suspense story, I found Dr. Faraday exasperating. Not enough to stop reading, but enough to feel like he was an unwanted guest at an afternoon tea party from which I couldn’t extract myself.
If you like Sarah Waters, definitely give this one a read. If you haven’t heard of her before, start with Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith, then make your way to this novel.
Not only does Greystone publish beautifully written books, they design them beautifully. This petite package is absolutely lovely. The Amazon thumbnail below does not do it justice.
One word review: Eloquent
Crozier is a fine, fine writer. Her memoir’s style is like a novel, or a Canadian long poem for those of you who know what that is. The vivid narrative, wistful poetry and snippets of daily life take us to Crozier’s childhood and adolescence in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The poverty of the prairies is mixed with the stoicism of prairie folk—hard-working toilers of the land who love to stand in the wheat, feel the wind in their hair, and can’t imagine a better place. (And, of course, there are the town drunks, the self-righteous, the nosy neighbours, and all variety of friends.)
Small Beneath the Sky was a slow read for me, each sentence so tightly crafted that I needed to savour it like a popsicle on a hot summer day.
Interesting Vancouver 2009 was held the evening of Friday October 23th at The Vancouver Rowing Club in Coal Harbor.
Interesting Vancouver a multi-disciplinary conference. It seeks to impart new knowledge, things you’ve never known, or thought about. I talked about perfume and how to smell. The intimacy of this talk doesn’t really come across in the video presentation but it will give you an idea. Also the first part of the presentation was lost due to technical difficulties.
Interesting Vancouver always has a degree of spontaneity, unexpected moments, lessons and humour. I highly recommend Jer Thorpe’s presentation for all the above.