The Last Crossing

This book is almost deceptively well-crafted. I first pegged The Last Crossing as a standard western/family epic: a simple adventure/love story, with a touch of mystery, wrapped in an admittedly interesting history lesson, and featuring an entertaining if perhaps occasionally cliché canvas of characters. But what Vanderhaeghe delivers is also an incredibly well-paced, thought-provoking pastiche comprised of beautifully interwoven stories. The nuances of both character and plot development are revealed in a patient, organic rhythm that was somewhat lost on me given my sporadic reading of the text. . . . → Read More: The Last Crossing

The Girl Who Played Go

I might feel bad about judging so many books by their covers, except that it always seems to work out so damn well. My most recent foray into buying books I’ve never heard a thing about solely on the merits of cover design, The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa, is another such case. . . . → Read More: The Girl Who Played Go

Sharp Objects

I picked up and ultimately purchased my copy of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects on a whim. I was browsing in an airport bookstore when I happened on it, and was tickled by the idea of boarding an airplane holding a book with a razor blade foil-stamped on the cover. What a treat that the book ended up being a great read. . . . → Read More: Sharp Objects

The Alienist

I’m definitely not a fan of the mystery genre, nor do I tend to read fiction of the crime, horror, thriller or suspense varieties. So for me, reading Caleb Carr’s The Alienist involved a jaunt into fairly unfamiliar-genre territory, right from the start. In the end, I think it was the soft, grainy, vintage photograph on the cover, evoking a strong and enticing sense of turn of the century New York city, that compelled me to pick up this book and see if it couldn’t capture my interest. . . . → Read More: The Alienist

Angela’s Ashes

There is something particularly odd about finishing off A Million Little Pieces and then delving directly into Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. These books would, after all, appear to have a fair bit in common. But there’s a reason why McCourt received a Pulitzer Prize, while Frey got a spanking from Oprah on national television.
. . . → Read More: Angela’s Ashes

A Million Little Pieces

know I’m heading into tricky territory because for the first time ever, I feel compelled to preface my thoughts about a book with a justification as to why I read the book in the first place. But that’s the thing about James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, isn’t it? The publicity and the controversy have long since overshadowed any consideration of the relative merit of the book as text.
. . . → Read More: A Million Little Pieces

Alligator

I picked up Lisa Moore’s Alligator as part of a spontaneous decision to read all of the 2005 Giller Prize nominees. As a graphic designer, I had been drawn to the book long before Giller nomination time, though I had some inintial apprehension about this book, owed pretty much entirely to the jacket synopsis. . . . → Read More: Alligator