Just Watch Me: the Life of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, 1968 – 2000
By: Johnny English
Format/Source: Paperback; was a Christmas gift
This magnificent second volume, written with exclusive access to Trudeau’s private papers and letters, completes what the Globe and Mail called “the most illuminating Trudeau portrait yet written” — sweeping us from sixties’ Trudeaumania to his final days when he debated his faith.
His life is one of Canada’s most engrossing stories. John English reveals how for Trudeau style was as important as substance, and how the controversial public figure intertwined with the charismatic private man and committed father. He traces Trudeau’s deep friendships (with women especially, many of them talented artists, like Barbra Streisand) and bitter enmities; his marriage and family tragedy. He illuminates his strengths and weaknesses — from Trudeaumania to political disenchantment, from his electrifying response to the kidnappings during the October Crisis, to his all-important patriation of the Canadian Constitution, and his evolution to influential elder statesman.
I made it a point to read the second volume of Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s biography before school started as there was no way I was going to get through the 800+ page volume once the assignments started rolling in.
My Name is Lucy Barton
By: Elizabeth Strout
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.
I can’t remember, was this longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize or the Man Booker or both? Anyway, it was through one of those book awards that I first encountered this novel and it had been on my wishlist since. Also, while I’ve long heard of Elizabeth Strout and her works, this is the first book of hers that I actually read.
By: Sarah Andersen
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Adjusting to life as a world-famous cartoonist isn’t easy. Terrifying deadlines, piles of junk-food wrappers under a glowing computer screen, and an ever-growing horde of pets….umm, never mind–it’s pretty much the same.
With characteristic wit and charm, Sarah Andersen’s third collection of comics and illustrated personal essays offers a survival guide for frantic modern life: from the importance of avoiding morning people, to Internet troll defense 101, to the not-so-life-changing futility of tidying up. But when all else fails and the world around you is collapsing, make a hot chocolate, count the days until Halloween, and snuggle up next to your furry beacon of hope.
This comic came up as a surprise in that I didn’t know she was releasing a third collection until it was already available! So I snatched it up as soon as I could…Her comics continue to crack me up but at the same time are very relevant in today’s climate with everything that’s happening in the news and how the internet has become something quite harsh (I could totally relate with the comic about how back then the internet was this happy place to escape to, to talk about fandoms and whatnot, and now it’s just this wasteland of trolls and hateful commentary and bad news all around. It’s no wonder I’m not on it very often these days). I also enjoy how this is the second volume now where she’s included a personal essay, this time about creating art in this day and age, especially with the advent and continuing turnover of the internet and social media and how we use it to promote our work. It’s a fascinating piece that left me with much to think about with my own work.
Anyway, some favourites:
Overall, another enjoyable volume!
Visit the author’s official website || Purchase a copy from the Book Depository
By: Amy Stuart
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of Touchstone Books
How do you find the truth in a town full of secrets?
Sally Proulx and her young boy have mysteriously disappeared in the stormy town of High River. Clare O’Dey is hired to track them down, hoping against all odds to find them alive. But High River isn’t your typical town.
In a town where secrets are crucial to survival, everyone is hiding something. And the police clearly have an ulterior motive beyond solving the case. Malcolm Boon, who hired Clare, knows more about her than he reveals. Their benefactor, Helen Haines, is concealing a tragic family history of her own. As the truth surges through High River, Clare must face the very thing she has so desperately been running from, even if it comes at a devastating cost. Compulsively gripping and twisty, Still Water is a deep dive of a thriller that will leave you breathless.
I really enjoyed Amy Stuart’s first novel, Still Mine, but did not get around to reading Still Water right away. Many thanks to Touchstone Books for reaching out and offering a galley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
By: Neil Gaiman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
When Fat Charlie’s dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie “Fat Charlie.” Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can’t shake that name, one of the many embarrassing “gifts” his father bestowed — before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie’s life.
Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie’s doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who’s going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun … just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie’s dad wasn’t just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.
I think this is the last full-length Neil Gaiman novel that I haven’t read it. Maybe that’s why I had been stalling on reading it, to savour it. Or maybe I was waiting for Hallowe’en to come around. But anyway, I finally got around to reading it last month 🙂