September 24, 2008

Wednesday Quickies

Review: Genuine Men, by Nancy Bruno.



Genuine Men is a photo-essay collection about -- can you guess? -- men. While I'm not personally sure what makes a man (or a woman, for that matter) "genuine" or not, in terms of degrees of manhood, Nancy Bruno has certainly presented a wide range of men from which to choose. The format is quite simple: each subject is introduced in a brief vignette, basically a biographical snapshot, and is accompanied by three or four black-and-white pictures. The men seem to all be American, but otherwise represent a variety of races, religions, ages, abilities, and the like. It's an interesting project and might make a good gift for young boys in particular.

The book itself could have been put together better, in terms of its construction. I think that the photos would have been much more effective/interesting if they were glossy instead of matte, and the raised print on the jacket is chipping or rubbing off or something -- letters that were once silver and now half-silver, half-black. And sometimes the line in the middle of the page goes right through the subjects' faces. But it's quite good otherwise.

Review: Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring, by Ron Pridmore (Illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan).



Apparently this book is about teaching children the importance of community. You know, as in
When Templeton Turtle hatches from his egg, he can't wait to start exploring on his own and making new friends. But when tiny Templeton faces trouble, he learns that no matter what their differences, the animals in the pond take care of one another.

In all honesty, this didn't really come across when I read it. The story itself seemed kinda ... pointless. Templeton says "Oh well" a lot and gets scared by some cows, who are at the pond for reasons unknown.

The book is marked as ages 4-8, but I'd definitely mark that down. It's not very interesting. But the illustrations, at least, are very lovely.

Review: Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood.



I've been maintaining for years that this book is my favourite of all of Atwood's work, although I would, for most of those years, have been quite hard-pressed to explain why. But now I've read it again, after a gap of about six or seven years, and I can say: it is my favourite because it is brilliant and ambiguous and deliciously written, all the things that Atwood novels usually are, only more so.

Lunatics! Murder! Illicit love! Susannah Moodie quotations! The nineteenth century! Seriously, folks, this is one heckuva book. You should go read it.

My second-hand copy also came with a lovely inscription:
November 1996

Kim

Hoping you enjoy Margaret Atwood's new book. Some relaxing reading after all your hard work.

Happy Thanksgiving

Love, Mom & Dad xxoo

Kim, whoever you are! I hope that you enjoyed this book as well -- although maybe you didn't, since I have it now. Or perhaps it was at the shop because you're dead. Huh, awkward.

6 comments:

raych said...

HA! Oh jeez. Maybe you're dead. *sits in a corner and laughs quietly to self*

http://diaryofaneccentric.blogspot.com/ said...

I snapped up a copy of Alias Grace at a library sale this summer for a buck! Can't wait to read it! I love it when used books have surprises inside.

Wendy said...

Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors because I do think her writing is just brilliant. Every time I read one of her books I am just in awe of her talents. I loved Alias Grace, but I love The Robber Bride even more. Have you read that one yet?

Wendy’s latest blog post:Why…

Christine said...

I've read The Robber Bride several times, and enjoyed it very much. But Alias Grace is my definite favourite -- and after last year's term paper, The Handmaid's Tale is probably the one I know the best. That lady is one smart cookie.

Wendy said...

The Handmaid's Tale is also right up there with me too...I still have Atwood books yet to read, which makes me happy. The day I read her last book and have no more to look forward to (as a first time reading it) I will be bummed!

Wendy’s latest blog post:Why…

Christine said...

Well, she is fortunately still with us -- and a new book to come out this year, I think.

The Handmaid's Tale may be the most brilliant of the Atwood I've read -- the way the last section of the book ("Historical Notes") completely changes everything that came before is marvellous, and actually what I wrote said essay on. I could go on for pages (13 of them, to be specific...)