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Dorothy Friesen -- Night Table Recommendations

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2011 at 7:36pm

My goal this season is to sample the nominated books for this year's Manitoba Book Awards, such a rich array of writing. I just completed This Hidden Thing by Dora Dueck (CMU Press), a wonderful illustration of how a work of fiction can document the deeper life of a particular community in a particular historical time through the life of one woman, even as that woman conceals life and remains emotionally muffled.

I am also re-reading, or more accurately, re-experiencing, Seven Sacred Teachings, Niizhwaaswi gagiikwewin by David Bouchard and Dr. Joseph Martin, published in 2009. They have spent a lifetime imbibing the Grandfather Teachings of Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth, Love, each Teaching rooted in a plant, a tree, an animal, a direction, a season, a time in life. No abstraction here.

The book is written in both English and Ojibwe. An accompanying DVD adds a choice of French, Bush Cree, Chipewyan or South Slavey as well as the haunting music of Swamp Fox who created seven flutes of seven different woods, each in a key consistent with the particular Teaching, and then dreamed seven songs to accompany the Teaching. As a reader I seem to have no choice but to slow down. Sometimes I listen to the cadence of one of the languages unfamiliar to me while breathing in the exquisitely colourful paintings by artist, Kristy Cameron.

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Dorothy Friesen, formerly of Winnipeg, partnered with Marilen Abesamis, Philippines, to collect and edit the writings of Dorothy's husband Gene Stolzfus, the founding director of Christian Peacemaker Teams in the book Create Space for Peace. Also filled with the poignant reflections of others impacted by his life, the book was designed to aid those who wish to travel further on the road to global peace and was recently launched on March 23rd at our Grant Park store.

Join Dorothy on May 16th at 7:30 pm in the Art Alcove in our Saskatoon store where she will be speaking on Gene's work and his legacy. Click here for more information.

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Saskatoon, Night Table Recommendations

MANITOBA'S JUNO NOMINEES HEAD TO TORONTO FOR 40TH ANNUAL FESTIVITIES

Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 at 7:19pm

Four acts will be on stage to showcase Manitoba's incredible talent when the music industry hits Toronto this weekend for the 2011 JUNO Awards. Chic Gamine, Del Barber, Little Hawk, and Eagle & Hawk -- who are all nominated for coveted Juno Awards this year -- are set to perform at the two-day JunoFest event for fans and industry big wigs, as well as attend the awards gala for a chance to hear their names called. For more information check out the link below:
http://www.manitobamusic.com

Categories: Reviews, Awards, Discussions, Music, Winnipeg

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David Annandale -- Night Table Recommendations

Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 2:25pm

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW Books)

On my night table at the moment is The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. It's the first installment of The Kingkiller Chronicles, with the second book of the fantasy trilogy due out in August. The protagonist is Kvothe (pronounced "Quothe"), and we first meet him as the owner of a middle-of-nowhere tavern. He is, it transpires, a legend, trying to live out his days quietly. Tracked down by a historian, he reluctantly agrees to tell his story, and the bulk of the novel then consists of his narration, beginning with his childhood as part of family of travelling players, and moving to his life at University, now a student Arcanist of precocious talent.

My bare-bones synopsis here cannot possibly do justice to the richness of Rothfuss' novel. His world-building is meticulous, with every detail in place, from the monetary system to the names of the days of the ten-day week, and he unveils this bustling, living, breathing world so naturally to the reader that one's first encounter with it feels like a journey home. His prose, meanwhile, is elegant and literate without being pretentious, and his storytelling moving and grave without forgetting to be funny. The book is a triumph, and the wait for the next two volumes is going to be a long one.

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

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Patti Grayson -- Night Table Recommendations

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011 at 10:31am

I fall in love with most books I am reading. I am steadfastly fickle in this matter. Whittling out recommendations from my night table stacks is a daunting task, so I have chosen a few special books that have contributed to my journey as a writer. These works not only delighted me as a reader, but also informed my own endeavours - made me ask the questions: How did the author craft this offering? How did they evoke emotion? Conjure humanity? How did they convince me of the authenticity of their created worlds? (With apologies to those omitted, including Shakespeare and Atwood).

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Night Table Recommendations

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David Alexander Robertson -- Night Table Recommendations

Wednesday, Feb 09, 2011 at 12:24pm

Probably the best thing that's ever happened to me is a request to put forth a list of books I love. You see, making "Best Of" lists is one of my favourite things to do. In fact, I'd make a "Best Of" list of my "Best Of" lists. Before things get crazy, however, I'll stop and simply say that it's quite exciting to be able to share a list of favourites with people other than my family and friends, tired as I am of the constant comments dripping with sarcasm that go something like: "Oh, The Truman Show is one of your favourite movies?" or "Let me guess, Pearl Jam is on your list...", jabs that are immediately followed by jokes about Jim Carrey or having to see my children wear "Pearl Jam Sucks" t-shirts.

At the University of Winnipeg I had a Canadian Literature Professor who was also a literary critic and he was gracious enough to read my words, even after I finished his class (with a grade that will remain a mystery). Something he told me has stuck with me for years, dogging me to pick up a book: "If you want to get better at writing: Read." This is going to sound strange coming from a writer but I've never been a huge reader. Why? Well, I'd rather write than read I suppose. But despite this sad reality I have managed to get through my share of books over the years. Hopefully you'll find something you like.

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Night Table Recommendations

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