Shelf Life: September 2012

While I was on vacation in visiting my in-laws in England, I didn’t get as much read I typically do. A mere eight books read in September.

119.  The Invisibles, Vol. 4: Bloody Hell in America, by Grant Morrison
(Vertigo, 1998)

Making my way through them.

120. Mad Hope, by Heather Birrell
(Coach House Books, 2012)

This is Heather Birrell’s second collection of short stories, following 2004’s I Know You Are But What Am I, also published with Coach House Books. I loved both books.

Review forthcoming in The Rusty Toque.

121. The Art of Procrastination, by John Perry
(Workman, 2012)

I received an advance reading copy of The Art of Procrastination, which began life as an essay easily found online. Basically, it extols the virtues of a working, or structured procrastination. Meaning, not working on your essay because you’re finishing a review, for example. Something I, and I imagine many functioning procrastinators do on a daily basis.

It’s kind of fun, and has some decent tips for amateur procrastinators looking to better themselves – not by giving up procrastination, but by getting better at it.

122. A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
(McSweeney’s 2012)

A hopelessly meandering businessman awaits an audience with the King of Saudi Arabia to pitch a hologram communications platform. Nothing happens.

McSweeney’s makes beautiful objects, and this is a very beautiful object, but it lacks something as a novel.

123. Office Girl, by Joe Meno
(Akashic Books, 2012)

Odile is a useless at school dropout, and Jack tapes city noises (a balloon rising in the air, the sound of a street lamp) and stores them in towers of shoeboxes. His girlfriend leaves him, and he falls in love with Odile, who, unfortunately, is fairly hopeless. They ride bicycles.

Easily the most hipster thing I have ever read in my life.

124. Magnified World, by Grace O’Connell
(Random House, 2012)

Maggie’s mother recently committed suicide, and now Maggie’s experiencing black outs. She’s also receiving visits from a strange man who claims to have known her mother, and offers to help her explorations into her mother’s secretive past.

It’s a unique dramatization of grief and madness, and I’m a sucker for anything set in Toronto.

125. Rush Home Road, by Lori Lansens
(Vintage, 2002)

Our book club pick for September. I had a lot of problems with the characters, plot and pacing.

The conceit is that Addy Shad is an old woman life story is being told to to her ward, Sharla Cody, while Addy speaks unconsciously, or discusses the past with the projected ghost of her dead brother. Yet if that’s the case, why early on do we receive the direct perspective of her crush, Chester Monk, or her brother’s head, or her rapist’s?

Addy’s overly self-effacing in that earnest Christian way, yet she’s too much of a saint: never speaking out, and feels guilty even thinking about thinking ill of someone. It’s frustrating that she never comes across as an actual human being. Further, the desperate story of Sharla Cody ultimately comes across as completely superfluous, especially when it’s tied up so neatly at the end.

Not my favourite.

126. The Invisibles, Vol. 5: Counting to None, by Grant Morrison
(Vertigo, 1999)

I begin and end the month with the Invisibles. Still making my way through them. This was far from the best volume yet, but redeems it enough to continue, so I shall.

All caught up again. Whew.

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