Tag: Books: Canadian Literature


Review: An Ocean of Minutes

Posted 19 February, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

An Ocean of Minutes
By: Thea Lim
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In the vein of The Time Travelerís Wife and Station Eleven, a sweeping literary love story about two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan: time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

An Ocean of Minutes is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story about the endurance and complexity of human relationships and the cost of holding onto the past–and the price of letting it go.

Been eyeing this book since I first heard of it…the year before? I can’t remember now but I got around to picking it up last year (trying to avoid the same scenario with Madeline Thein’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing where there was no stock for a while). It was long listed for Canada Reads 2019 this year so yeah, got around to reading it a while ago 🙂

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Review: Poems

Posted 25 June, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Poems
By: Anne Michaels
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Prior to her stunning first novel, Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels had already won awards and critical acclaim for two books of poetry: The Weight of Oranges (1986), which won the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas, and Miner’s Pond (1991), which received the Canadian Authors Association Award and was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Award. Although they were published separately, these two books, along with Skin Divers, a collection of Michaels’s newest work, were written as companion volumes.

Poems brings all three books together for the first time, creating for American readers a wonderful introduction to Anne Michaels’s poetry. Meditative and insightful, powerful and heart-moving, these are poems that, as Michael Ondaatje has written, “go way beyond games or fashion or politics . . . They represent the human being entire.”

I read her latest poetry collection, All We Saw (review) earlier this year and really enjoyed it so I decided to check out her earlier poetry. I’m glad they released it as a collected volume, which is quite handy.

Reading this collection was really interesting. Definitely felt different than her latest collection, a lot of the poems were longer (All We Saw I found had more shorter poetry, in reflection of the themes and experiences she was writing about) and they all told a story–mostly biographical–in lyrical language. i loved some of the descriptors she used, I never thought of using them in such a way but they were absolutely wonderful in her writings. Stories about her family, her experiences, about love…I can’t say it lingered long after I read it compared to other poetry collections but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless and highly recommend checking out her poetry if you’re looking for more Canadian poets to read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Visit the author’s official website || Order this book from The Book Depository

Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 3 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

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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So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part IV)

Posted 27 April, 2018 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Anyway, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I figured it’s a good time to bust out these feature again and talk about some of the poetry books and poets that I would whole-heartedly recommend on checking out, whether you’re already a big reader of poetry or if you’re checking them out for the first time.

  • Louise Labe — Ever been in love (reciprocated or unrequited)? Well, her poetry captures it all–the highs, the lows, the hopes, and the in-betweens. What’s also really cool if you’re a language buff or enthusiast is that the NYRB collection is bilingual so you can read the poem in its original French or Italian (review).
  • Miguel Hernandez — Easily hands down my second favourite Spanish poet after Federico Garcia Lorca. His use of imagery, the emotions that he captures in his words is just amazing and gripping…I don’t know what else to say about his poetry, it’s something to experience; I’m so glad NYPB published his works for an English-speaking audience (review).
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti — I likened his poetry to that of Federico Garcia Lorca’s; there’s something about his use of imagery, the sparse but perplexing and illuminating themes he tackles in his works. This collection of selected poetry (review) is the only one I could find that’s available in English but it’s worth checking out, especially as I hadn’t encountered much Italian poetry until last year.
  • Faraway — There’s a lot of micro-poets out there on Instagram that it can perhaps be a bit fatiguing. But I’ve been following Faraway on Instagram for more than a year and what I find that resonates with me with their work is how, despite its briefness and its micro nature, it doesn’t feel bogged down in stylistics compared to Leav Lang or Nayyirah Waheed; it’s accessible and they write about experiences and feelings we can relate to on a daily basis. Anyway I was delighted to see they collected their poetry into a book, Sad Birds Still Sing (review).
  • Anne Michaels — My brief review of her latest collection, All We Saw, won’t be published here on the blog until…next week, I believe, but nonetheless her sparse but introspective prose has definitely resonated with me. I can’t believe I didn’t read her stuff sooner…and she’s Canadian! Based here in Toronto! But yeah, her work first caught my attention when Penguin Random House, in promoting her latest book, posted one of her latest poems (not included in her latest collection by the way, which was a bit of a bummer), May Love Seize You.



And that’s my list! Do you read poetry? Curious on checking these out? If you want to check out more poetry, there’s of course my poetry books to check out 😉 Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Review: Heart of the City

Posted 26 February, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Heart of the City (Detective Greene, #5)
By: Robert Rotenberg
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In the latest thrilling crime novel from bestselling author Robert Rotenberg, Homicide Detective Ari Greene discovers the bludgeoned body of Toronto’s most reviled developer behind his controversial new construction site.

When Detective Ari Greene was charged with the murder of the woman he loved, he stopped at nothing to clear his name and uncover the real killer. After his acquittal, Greene fled to London to get away from it all, but now he’s back. And he’s not alone—with Greene is his twenty-year-old daughter, Alison. The child he never knew he had.

Determined to leave his life as a cop behind him, Greene gets a job on a construction site for one of Toronto’s many new condos. It seems he has finally found peace as he settles into a new career and new role as a father, helping Alison adjust to life in Canada.

But when Greene stumbles upon the corpse of hated developer Livingston Fox, he is plunged back into the life he tried so hard to leave behind. As the body count rises, Greene is forced into a reluctant reconciliation with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott. The pair must delve into the tight-knit world of downtown development, navigating tangled loyalties, unexpected corruption, and family secrets, some of which are closer to home than Greene could have ever imagined.

In a world where the stakes are high and the profits are even higher, Greene and Kennicott race against the clock as they follow the trail of blood and money to its shocking end.

After the end of the last book, I wasn’t entirely sure if the series would continue or if that was the end of Ari Greene’s story and the other characters would continue on. Anyway, reading the preview of the book allayed my questions on the matter as Ari Greene and the rest of the cast of characters are back in this latest novel by Robert Rotenberg. What especially intrigued me about the premise of this book is that once again it’s a timely topic tackled: Toronto’s real estate.

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