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Alexei Maxim Russell -- Night Table Recommendations

Friday, May 04, 2012 at 12:04pm

Most reviews are given from a literary perspective--that is, from the perspective of an individual who has some knowledge of what qualifies as "good" and what is relegated to the dreaded nether-regions of "bad" writing. Whilst I acknowledge the superior knowledge and education of some people--concerning literature--I have never myself been able to take on this role with any degree of comfort. A lot of my creative energy springs from a general state of open-mindedness, concerning what I see and what I read. If you are of such a temperament, all judgement of good and bad appear extremely subjective--to the point that speculations of quality can seem academic, to say the least.

As a result of this inherent self-doubt, concerning my place in the world of literary criticism, I prefer to write my recommendations purely from the perspective of an author. I may not have found an adequate yard-stick to measure literary quality, as yet, but I have my own private yard-stick to estimate how much fun an author may have had, writing a given work. I can usually guess how much fun an author had by how original and fresh the writing or the concept is. When an author is having fun, it shows in their writing. Not only are other writers intrigued--innately detecting the sense of fun which spurs the author on--but any serious reader will likely be able to catch on to the fun and be carried away on that tide, along with the writer. I recommend these books based entirely on that sense of fun.

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Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, SciFi & Fantasy, Winnipeg, Night Table Recommendations


Ron Romanowski -- Night Table Recommendations

Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 at 6:25pm

stretching a tripping line from ginsberg to muldoon

when the withering hand raises its statues chiseling Moloch-granites

The Israeli writer Amos Oz remarked on Charlie Rose's PBS interview show recently that he walks in the desert among the ancient stones near his home every morning to "put things in perspective". To me Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" is one of those lasting touchstones. With it I judge the quality of my own work and that of other writers. Editor Jason Shinder's twenty-six essay collection The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is a book that I have kept on my night-table for a long time because it is fascinating to read how others value Ginsberg's 1956 poem, or not (the book is not all panegyric).

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Categories: Reviews, Poetry, Discussions, Authors, Winnipeg, Night Table Recommendations


Canada Reads, Manitoba Style: Assiniboine Park Zoo vet Dr. Chris Enright tracks John Vaillant's "The Tiger"

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 2:24pm

In the latest installment of CBC Manitoba SCENE's talks with the presenters at our Canada Reads, Manitoba Style evening next Wednesday, Head Assiniboine Park Zoo vet Dr. Chris Enright tracks John Vaillant's The Tiger.

Visit the SCENE website to read the article.

For more information on the event itself, click here.

Categories: Discussions, Winnipeg

Canada Reads, Manitoba Style: Claudia Garcia dela Huerta attests to "Something Fierce"

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 5:24pm

Paging all booklovers! On January 25th, at 8 p.m., CBC Radio and McNally Robinson Booksellers invite you to Prairie Ink Restaurant for an evening we're calling: 5 Writers, 5 Readers, 5 Minutes.

Canada Reads 2012 features five non-fiction titles this year, and in our regional warm-up to the national CBC Radio book brawl, five well-known Manitobans have been matched with the five titles. Up to Speed host Larry Updike will invite each reader to share their insights with the audience, each with a unique presentation lasting only five minutes. Well, maybe ten. No debating, no brawling, but plenty of insight, humour and stories.

Find out more about the evening and corresponding Big Ticket Contest that could see one lucky person walk away with the five nominated books and dinner for two at Prairie Ink Restaurant by visiting the CBC Manitoba SCENE website. You can also visit them on Facebook, Twitter and stay tuned to our own front page for a feature interview with all five of the evening's advocates!

Categories: Discussions, buzz, Winnipeg, Event News, Contests and Giveaways

Book of the Day: Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

Friday, Dec 16, 2011 at 4:26pm

We were very saddened to hear of the death of Christopher Hitchens late last night from complications related to esophageal cancer. Our stores have been selling his work for many years, and he's always had a large place on our shelves. Whether you agreed with him or not, there is no denying that the world has lost an inimitable, incisive and resolutely curmudgeonly voice and a brilliant mind.

The latest work from this multi-award winning and #1 bestselling author, is a collection of his most important and controversial essays on the theme of culture and politics and how the two relate. For nearly four decades, Hitchens has been telling us what we confront when we grapple with first principles - the principles of reason and tolerance and skepticism that define and inform the foundations of our civilization - principles that, to endure, must be defended anew by each generation.

This is a fitting final salvo from a writer and conversationalist whose unique take on the world is already greatly missed.

Categories: Discussions, Book of the Day
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