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Andre Gerrard -- Night Table Recommendations

Friday, Nov 04, 2011 at 1:27pm

The concept of father memoirs is a fascinating one. Confronting fathers directly and publicly is not, and never has been, easy: the patriarch should judge and not be judged. To write about the father is to sit in judgement upon him, and for most cultures this was a taboo too strong to be overcome. The Greeks, despite their searingly perceptive stories about father child interactions, did not attempt to do so-nor did the Romans, the Italians of the Renaissance, the Elizabethans, or even the Romantics. Paradoxically--but not surprisingly, given the rigid paternalism of the age and the attendant psychological pressures--personal father writing, like radical feminism, is a product of the Victorian era.

In 1907, six years after the death of Queen Victoria, Edmund Gosse published Father and Son. Once the taboo was broken, writers were quick to take advantage of the new possibilities. The 20th century saw a steady increase in the number of father memoirs, and, now that the boomers are aging and seeking to immortalize themselves, such memoirs are becoming as ubiquitous as tattoos. And, as with tattoos, some are visceral works of art. The six books described below give an idea of how poignant, rich and rewarding father memoirs can be.

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Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Night Table Recommendations

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Adrienne Clarkson Intervew

Thursday, Oct 20, 2011 at 5:40pm

The Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, will be joining us on Sunday November 6th at the West End Cultural Centre for a special speaking event in support of her book Room for All of Us: Surprising Stories of Loss and Transformation (Allen Lane Canada).

Check out her recent interview with George Stroumboulopoulos online here.

Tickets to this special speaking event are $10 and are available at McNally Robinson Booksellers, Grant Park in person or by calling 475-0483. For more information visit the event listing here.

Categories: Discussions, buzz, Winnipeg, Event News

Sally Ito -- Night Table Recommendations

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 9:54am

Giving a book is like giving an obligation. - Gabriel Zaid in So Many Books.

My life is one long night of unfinished books. - A character in one my unfinished short stories.

I had a bit of a laugh when I received the request for Night Table recommendations from McNally Robinson's because I have a bad habit of starting a lot of books (usually at night) and never finishing them. So of course I'd never deign to actually recommend any book to put on one's night table for one to actually finish, keeping also Zaid's comment in mind! In other words, the little list I'm putting forth here is simply what I'm reading now and if you should happen to be interested in the books, all the better!

Since I'm a writer of different genres, a translator, and a teacher, I've usually got books on hand to meet those various needs of my writing life as they arise.

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Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Night Table Recommendations

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Bob Armstrong -- Night Table Recommendations

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 11:08am

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (Penguin, 2009)

Let's start off with the obvious. I'm publishing a comic novel this fall (Dadolescence, Turnstone Press) about a pop-culture-obsessed middle-aged man who desperately needs to grow up and find a purpose. How could I not be a Nick Hornby fan? In his latest novel, he focuses on Annie, the wife of Duncan, a typically Hornbyesque music obsessive who treats an obscure 1980s rock album called Juliet with religious devotion. Like the rest of Hornby's books, it's funny, sad, hopeful, and honest.

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Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Night Table Recommendations

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David Lester -- Night Table Recommendations

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011 at 10:41am

Footnotes In Gaza by Joe Sacco (Metropolitan Books)

A truly remarkable accomplishment by graphic novelist Joe Sacco. It is hard to imagine how he will ever top the epic scale of this book. Footnotes in Gaza tells the long-forgotten story of the massacre of 111 Palestinians in Gaza in 1956 by Israeli soldiers. We follow Sacco as he searches for the truth from the remaining witnesses still alive. He sifts through their conflicting memories and uncovers what really happened on that terrible day. All the while, he must contend with Palestinians who just don't see the point in dredging up old history when what's happening now in Gaza is so much more important. But Sacco makes a compelling case as to why the past matters.

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Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Graphic Novels, Night Table Recommendations

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