New Books, September 2014

new books sept 2014 1

  • Tom Standage, The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting (2000) – In 1996, Peter Worthington and I went to the district science fair with a display about the orbits of Neptune and Pluto, complete with diorama. The fair was held at Guildford Mall, in the hallways after the stores had closed for the night. The night was especially strange because we’d spent the morning with our class in a sweatlodge in North Vancouver, off Dollarton Highway, on Tslei-Waututh land.
  • Dava Sobel, The Planets (2004) – “An incantatory serenade to the solar system.”
  • Medea Benjamin, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control (2013) – I bought a t-shirt that says “Drone Not Drones” and I end up talking about drones and drone all the time.
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952) – “immediately hailed as a masterpiece” and free as the fifth book at Value Village.
  • Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, Roseanna (1962) – My old employer Adrian insisted I read these books in November 2013. I’d bought The Man Who Went Up In Smoke in 2010 but read – and hated – a Henning Mankell book the same year so put it aside. I conflated them in my mind, which I regret. Roseanna is the first in the series.
  • Carol Shields, Dressing Up for the Carnival (2000) – 22 little stories; an average of about 10 pages each.
  • Tom Berger, To The Wedding (1995) – “A novel that is a vortex of community and compassion that somehow overcomes fate and death. Wherever I live in the world, I know I will have this book with me” says Michael Ondaatje. Wow.
  • Eric Ambler, The Levanter (1972) – I didn’t learn about the Levant until I read Blood-Dark Track by Joseph O’Neill in 2011. Geography and history and “a complex exploration of power, responsibility, and identity in the modern high-tech world.”
  • Anna Funder, All That I Am (2011) – It wouldn’t occur to me to read this book but Stasiland was marvelous enough that I’ll probably read anything she writes. A thick, serious book that reminds me in its heft of What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt.
  • Daniel Harris, Cute, Quaint, Hungry, and Romantic: The Aesthetics of Consumerism (2000) – “A psychic voyage into the aesthetic unconscious of the consumer.”
  • Chad Harbach, The Art Of Fielding (2011) – A great big American novel about baseball.
  • Patricia Highsmith, People who Knock on the Door (1983)

new books sept 2014 2

  • Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt (1952) – Long out of print and now being filmed as Carol by Todd Haynes, the only film director I follow. “The novel of a love society forbids.”
  • Herta Muller, The Land of Green Plums (1993) – A passing mention in a Globe Books interview about this novel set in Ceausescu’s Romania just as I was finishing The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning and looking for more fiction set in Romania, and I found this the next day at Russell Books.
  • Herta Muller, The Appointment (1997) – More Romania, more Ceausescu.
  • Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls (1966) – “The All-Time Pop-Culture Classic!”
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake (2003)
  • Simon Garfield, On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks (2013)
  • Catherine Gildiner, After the Falls: Coming of Age in the Sixties (2009) – To measure against many books, but notably The Girl I Left Behind, which I read through too quickly in spring 2013.
  • Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (1998)
  • Kim Bolan, Loss of Faith: How the Air India Bombers Got Away with Murder (2005)
  • Paul Dickson, Sputnik: The Launch of the Space Race (2001)
  • Buzz Hargrove, Labour of Love: The Fight to Create a More Humane Canada (1998)
  • Rosemary Speirs, Out of the Blue: The Fall of the Tory Dynasty in Ontario (1986)
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