Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains – Yasuko Thanh (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)
I went to school with Suko and so was familiar with her unique style and had an idea of where her interests lie. This historical novel set in Vietnam lined up with my expectations and I love her short stories (Her collection Floating Like the Dead is great) but I struggled with this one a bit. It came together in the end for me but took me a while to get oriented.
Funny Once – Antonya Nelson (Bloomsbury, 2014)
These short stories were great but it took me so long to read them that I think a lot of the impact was lost on me. The fault was my own – I borrowed this as an online resource from the library and so read it on my laptop. And reading books electronically just does not work for me. Turns out I’m kind of old-fashioned when it comes to books.
When I was a Child I Read Books – Marilynne Robinson (Picador, 2012)
Overall, I enjoyed this essay collection. I really like Robinson’s writing and I agree with her on a lot of theological and political questions. However, some of these essays felt really American and so I had trouble staying interested. They also felt overly optimistic about America, which made me realize how much the world has changed since 2012.
The great narrative, to which we as Christians are called to be faithful, begins at the beginning of all things and ends at the end of all things, and within the arc of it civilizations blossom and flourish, wither and perish. This would seems a great extravagance, all the beautiful children of earth lying down in a final darkness. But no, there is that wondrous love to assure us that the world is more precious than we can possibly imagine.
- Marilynne Robinson, “Wondrous Love”
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – Hilary Mantel (HarpeCollins Publisher, 2014)
I found myself much more engaged by this collection of short stories. This was my first read by Mantel and although I enjoyed it I still don’t feel the need to read any of her novels. The title story of this collection did force me to do some reading up on Margaret Thatcher though, since I knew shockingly little.
Brother – David Chariandy (McClelland & Stewart, 2017)
Loved this book. Read my full review here.
All around us in the Park were mothers who had journeyed far beyond what they knew, who dreamed of raising children who might have just a little more than they did, children who might reward sacrifice and redeem a past. And there were victories, you must know. Fears were banished by the scents from simmering pots, denigration countered by freshly laundered tablecloth. History beaten back by the provision of clothes and yearly school supplies.
- David Chariandy, Brother
Black Swan Green – David Mitchell (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2006)
I reviewed this one too! Maybe I’m on a roll! Check back on Wednesday for the review.
If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, “When you’re ready.”
- David Mitchell, Black Swan Green
White Cat – Holly Black
Someone raved about this book to me once and so I’ve long had it on my list and finally got a copy of it. As soon as I picked it up at the library I knew it wasn’t my normal fare. I don’t read a lot fantasy but wanted to give it a fair go. I think I got about halfway through. I can see why a fantasy reader would love it but it’s not for me. (I also, in general, hate book series and that biased me against it further.)
The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Redress of Poetry – Seamus Heaney
[Poetry] becomes another truth to which we can have recourse, before which we can know ourselves in a more fully empowered way.
- Seamus Heaney, “The Redress of Poetry”
The Boat People – Sharon Bala