Friday, June 17, 2011

reading watching listening

Perhaps this is the fate of my blog -- to record my consumption of media five times a year. Better than nothing, I suppose. As usual, decoration provided by some of my recent photos.


  • Essex County -- I put it on hold shortly after I finished it the first time, during the later rounds of Canada Reads. Still awesome...a masterpiece of Canadiana, and the best graphic novel I've read.

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  • Irma Voth -- I probably wanted to like this book too much. There was much about it that I loved, and I laughed out loud several times...but unfortunately I just didn't "buy" the voice of the main character. To me it felt like Miriam Toews tried shoehorning her own world-wise, middle-aged, brilliant self (along with her entire vocabulary) into a the shell of a naive, messed up, deprived 19-year-old Mexican Mennonite girl. She continually says (and thinks) things that didn't fit, and it constantly got in the way of my enjoyment. The story itself seemed silly to me at times too, with characters making bizarre decisions I couldn't go along with somehow. I was probably cursed by my adoration for A Complicated Kindness and Swing Low.
  • Closer -- as with the entire Tunnels series, this is total escapist fluff; a literary guilty pleasure that I very much enjoyed. My expectations for this were very low, and they were wildly exceeded.

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  • Ted Tells (Okanagan) Tales had me howling over and over. Hilarious stories of growing up in Summerland in the early 1900s, and it really couldn't get more local for us, as the author grew up almost exactly where we live right now. This book is a real treasure. I also read Summerland: In Celebration of 100 Years, which was much more of a straight-ahead community history, but also interesting enough.
  • What the Dog Saw -- I had ignored this book of Gladwell's despite enjoying all his other writing, at least partly because the title and cover was so uninviting. However, it's one of those books that really got its hooks into me, and I keep thinking about the stories. It's a wide-ranging collection of essays previously published in the New Yorker -- very high quality.

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  • Savvy and Scumble -- Excellent bedtime reading with the girls over several weeks. I hadn't read the second book, and although it was entertaining enough, it couldn't really compete with the wonderful first one.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians -- We're not too far into the first book yet, but I'm really enjoying it. Ella had requested it, and Ivy consented to listening, even though she's read the entire series several times already. Should keep us busy well into the summer.

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  • The Pink Refrigerator -- We've had dozens of good picture books for Ezra of the last few months, but I keep taking this out again and again. A simple story of a guy who needs to get off his ass and engage in life, especially creative pursuits.
  • Some of the best writing about hockey this season came from legendary NHL referee Kerry Fraser, in a regular column on TSN. Fascinating glimpses behind the scenes. Reminded me that reffing hockey was one of the most difficult things I ever attempted...
  • Not many people are going to watch an hour-long university lecture about mental illness, but I thought it had terrific impact: Stanford's Sapolsky On Depression. He weaves together the two main threads of brain chemistry and psychology in a way that made sense to me -- one of the most fascinating examples of the interplay of nature/nurture that I've encountered, and with a focus on stress. Thanks to Rob for the pointer.
  • Liberia '77 -- It was pretty cool to have this documentary screened in Summerland -- the filmmakers grew up here, or we'd never get a chance to see it locally. Very well done; lots of food for thought.

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  • Iron Giant -- Ezra picked this one again, and I ended up getting hooked (yet again). So good.
  • NHL playoffs -- Despite the loss and the stupid riot, it was a great year to be a Canucks fan. Much of the hockey was incredibly entertaining, especially in the series against the Sharks. Kudos to the Bruins, who totally deserved the cup -- we watched Game 7 at Myron and Tracey's, and the loss didn't ruin a great evening. I managed to correctly predict the final four teams, which gave me the win in cousin Richard's playoff pool. I should probably retire after this season of hockey pool domination.

  • David Comes to Life by F***ed Up -- I've shunned this band because of their ridiculous name, but this album just sounds too fantastic to ignore them any longer. They released four songs for free, and I like them all. Thumbs up for rollicking Canadian rock 'n roll.
  • Lament in the Trampled Garden by Marjan Mozetich -- my fave Canadian composer, and this disc is amazing. I'm especially fond of Angels in Flight...all three songs, but the last one blows me away.





Downes said...

Love the photos tho.

Mellowdee said...

I always enjoy these posts. Maybe there isn't much room for blogging because your life is so rich with other things! As for myself...

Read/reading Bossypants by Tina Fey. I immediately started it over again b/c I enjoyed it so much. I've never done that with a book before.

Watching the first season of Lost. So far we've managed to avoid spoilers of how the series ends.

Listening to Adele, 21 . Such an awesome album! I'm kicking myself for not buying concert tickets. Although her concert was cancelled due to illness, so maybe I'll have some luck on Craigslist once she reschedules.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for sharing your recent finds, Mel -- always fascinating to hear what people are selecting and enjoying.

Tannis said...

I'm developing a growing addiction to Adele as well, Mellowdee. Oddly my gateway has been workout music - it's probably blasphemy but I'm listening to the hopped up dj versions of the songs before getting to know the originals...

Mellowdee said...

Oh really?! I'd be curious to hear those hopped up DJ versions.

Pearl said...

Hey Jer, have you read Rhoda Janzen's Mennonite Girl in a Little Black Dress? To me, it was more palatable than Complicated Kindness. Maybe "rang truer" based on my background.

Jeremy said...

No, I haven't, Pearl -- "more palatable" doesn't sound like a strong recommendation, though...