Review: Citizen of the World: the Life of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, 1919 – 1968

Posted 9 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Citizen of the World: the Life of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, 1919 – 1968
By: John English
Format/Source: Paperback; was a Christmas gift

One of the most important, exciting biographies of our time: the definitive, major two-volume biography of Pierre Elliott Trudeau – written with unprecedented, complete access to Trudeau’s enormous cache of private letters and papers.

Bestselling biographer John English gets behind the public record and existing glancing portraits of Trudeau to reveal the real man and the multiple influences that shaped his life, providing the full context lacking in all previous biographies to-date.

As prime minister between 1968 and 1984, Trudeau, the brilliant, controversial figure, intrigued Canadians and attracted international attention as no other Canadian leader has ever done. Volume One takes us from his birth in 1919 to his election as leader in 1968.

Born into a wealthy family in Montreal, Trudeau excelled at the best schools, graduating as a lawyer with conservative, nationalist and traditional Catholic views. But always conscious of his French-English heritage, desperate to know the outside world, and an adventurer to boot, he embarked on a pilgrimage of discovery – first to Harvard and the Sorbonne, then to the London School of Economics and, finally, on a trip through Europe, the Middle East, India and China. He was a changed man when he returned – socialist in his politics, sympathetic to labour, a friend to activists and writers in radical causes. Suddenly and surprisingly, he went to Ottawa for two mostly unhappy years as a public servant in the Privy Council Office. He frequently shocked his colleagues when, on the brink of a Quebec election, for example, he departed for New York or Europe on an extended tour. Yet in the 1950s and 60s, he wrote the most important articles outlining his political philosophy.

And there were the remarkable relationships with friends, women and especially his mother (whom he lived with until he was middle-aged). He wrote to them always, exchanging ideas with the men, intimacies with the women, especially in these early years, and lively descriptions of his life. He even recorded his in-depth psychoanalysis in Paris. This personal side of Trudeau has never been revealed before – and it sheds light on the politician and statesman he became.

Volume One ends with his entry into politics, his appointment as Minister of Justice, his meeting Margaret and his election as leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister of Canada. There, his genius and charisma, his ambition and intellectual prowess, his ruthlessness and emotional character and his deliberate shaping of himself for leadership played out on the national stage and, when Lester B. Pearson announced his retirement as prime minister in 1968, there was but one obvious man for the job: Pierre Trudeau.

Pierre Elliot Trudeau is a titan in Canadian history and Canadian politics, having brought so much Canadian politics and changing the political landscape as we know it. Charming, teasing, relentless, a thinker…He was quite the character. I had received the biographies for Christmas a few years ago but took a while getting around to them. Of course, I decided to read them at a bad time, it being super busy during the second semester of my bridging programme. So I had started it but then did not get around to reading the rest of it until after my exams were completed.

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Review: All Systems Red

Posted 7 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)
By: Martha Wells
Format/Source: eBook; from Tor.com book club

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

I’ve been hearing a lot about this novella for the last few months even as I was pretty busy with schoolwork and whatnot. Tor.com’s book club thankfully featured this book for the month of April so I got a copy of the book that way 🙂 The length was perfect to start off with post-school so here we are 🙂

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 3 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Hallo everyone! This is my first review here on the blog in quite a while, and suffice to say I’m starting off small because I read a small bit in the last few weeks but unfortunately didn’t jot down enough notes to remember them all in-depth. So here we are instead 😛 Included in this batch are:


Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry
By: Joan Murray
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The first appearance of this award-winning writer’s work since the 1940s, this collection, which includes an introduction by John Ashbery, restores Joan Murray’s striking poetry to its originally intended form.

Though John Ashbery hailed Joan Murray as a key influence on his work, Murray’s sole collection, Poems, published after her death at the early age of twenty-four and selected by W. H. Auden for inclusion in the Yale Series of Younger Poets, has been almost entirely unavailable for the better part of half a century. Poems was put together by Grant Code, a close friend of Murray’s mother, and when Murray’s papers, long thought to be lost, reappeared in 2013, it became clear that Code had exercised a heavy editorial hand. This new collection, edited by Farnoosh Fathi from Murray’s original manuscripts, restores Murray’s raw lyricism and visionary lines, while also including a good deal of previously unpublished work, as well as a selection of her exuberant letters.

Okay, I never heard of Joan Murray until I saw the Instagram account for NYRB post about this upcoming collection and posted a few snippets of her poetry. I was intrigued–read a lot of high praise about her work–so I decided to check her work out. Admittedly I read this book a few months ago and did not write any notes anywhere so my memory of my reaction to this book is a bit hazy but I remember enjoying it, the imagery choice she uses was quite intriguing. But the impression that was left in my mind first and foremost was that reminder that poetry can be whatever you make it to be, however you want to express yourself using the words at your disposal, arranged by way your mind, perspective, and creativity makes of it.

So yeah, if you’re looking for new poets from the early twentieth century to check out, definitely look in to this book! It’s great that NYRB is showcasing so many different poets from different periods, I’m finding out about lots of new poets this way 🙂

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Movie: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Posted 2 May, 2018 by Lianne in Entertainment / 0 Comments

Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, which is at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela.

source

Yaaaaaaasssss, after months of wanting to watch it I finally did 😛 Major SPOILERS if you haven’t watched the movie!

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Recent Updates

Posted 30 April, 2018 by Lianne in Website / 1 Comment

lol and just as I come back to blogging here again, it’s the end of the month! Which I guess works out as I ease my way back to blogging casually to whatever extent that I can. I came to the realisation that I never got around to posting a monthly wrap up for March–things got way too hectic around then–so this update rounds up the last eight weeks or so on the blog (more or less):

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  1. Books reviewed recently: Brandon Sanderson’s Edgedancer (review), Mary Balogh’s Someone to Love (review), and Margot Livesey’s The Flight of Gemma Hardy (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
  2. Only watched one movie recently that I reviewed (watched another movie earlier in the month but I didn’t post a review here): Thor: Ragnarok (review). You can check out all of the past movies I’ve watched and reviewed in this tag.
  3. I squeezed a So You Want to Read… list last week. This month was National Poetry Month so I featured some poetry collections worth checking out; you can read that list over here. You can check out all of the previous lists over at this tag.
  4. Hopefully in the coming months I can slowly update this blog to reflect the changes here (no longer .com, that sort of thing) as well as changes that are going on in my life (namely my poetry books–available online now, by the way). So fingers crossed that I’ll have more time to properly unpack myself here and settle back to some sort of routine (although I will be busy again for the next little bit).

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And that’s more of less it from me for now! Wishing everyone a lovely week and a wonderful start to May! 🙂