Shelf Life: January 2013

So many books to read. So little time. I’m not going to go into detail with every book, just highlight a few of them.

1. How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
(Harper, 2012)

I had difficulty with this one. Moran’s clearly well read, yet this reads like a stream of consciousness monologue, only less eloquent. She’s fond of ALL CAPS to emphasize points, and likes to get ranty rather than examine issues in depth – which is infuriating, because I know she has the chops. I also have problems with her prescriptive feminism. It felt like her way or the highway. And her way definitely isn’t mine.

That said, I do feel we need more voices speaking publicly about what it’s like to be a woman, and the sexist bullshit we’re forced to deal with on a daily basis. I’m glad I read it.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 8: Last Gleaming, by Joss Whedon
(Dark Horse, 2011)

So glad this season is over. Not Whedon’s finest arc.

3. You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence, by Donato Mancini
(BookThug, 2012)

A fascinating look at poetry reviewing in Canada, particularly as it relates to postmodern and avant garde poetry. Reading this has definitely made me think about how I write reviews, and what it is I’m really saying.

4. Gwendolyn MacEwen, Volume 1, by Gwendolyn MacEwen
(Exile Editions, 2001)

5. Life is About Losing Everything, by Lynn Crosbie
(House of Anansi, 2012)

6. The Unmemntioable, by Erin Moure
(House of Anansi, 2012)

7. Church of the Exquisite Panic, by Alayna Munce
(Pedlar Press, 2012)

8. Nice Weather, by Frederick Seidel
(House of Anansi, 2012)

9. Masham Means Everything, by Kanina Dawson
(Coteau Books, 2013)

Reviewed for Quill & Quire.

10. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
(Ecco, 2010)

I know, it won the National Book Award, and it’s freakin’ Patti Smith! but I had no idea she could write like this. What I know of Smith mostly comes from  recordings of the spoken word music fusion she did in the 70’s and 80’s. There’s so much I wasn’t aware of.

This is a wonderfully written memoir of coming of age in New York in the 1970’s, her budding poetry and music career, her photography, and her life with Robert Mapplethorpe.

I definitely need to pick up her other autobiographies.

11. Patti Smith: Camera Solo, by Susan Talbott
(Yale University Press, 2011)

Read in advance of the Patti Smith exhibit then coming to (now out) at the AGO. I can’t wait to see it.

12. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

Again, it sounds stupid, but I forgot how much fun Shakespeare is. I need to make a point of rereading more of his plays.