Review: Genuine Men, by Nancy Bruno.
Genuine Men is a photo-essay collection about — can you guess? — men. While I’m not personally sure what makes a man (or a woman, for that matter) “genuine” or not, in terms of degrees of manhood, Nancy Bruno has certainly presented a wide range of men from which to choose. The format is quite simple: each subject is introduced in a brief vignette, basically a biographical snapshot, and is accompanied by three or four black-and-white pictures. The men seem to all be American, but otherwise represent a variety of races, religions, ages, abilities, and the like. It’s an interesting project and might make a good gift for young boys in particular.
The book itself could have been put together better, in terms of its construction. I think that the photos would have been much more effective/interesting if they were glossy instead of matte, and the raised print on the jacket is chipping or rubbing off or something — letters that were once silver and now half-silver, half-black. And sometimes the line in the middle of the page goes right through the subjects’ faces. But it’s quite good otherwise.
Review: Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring, by Ron Pridmore (Illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan).
Apparently this book is about teaching children the importance of community. You know, as in
When Templeton Turtle hatches from his egg, he can’t wait to start exploring on his own and making new friends. But when tiny Templeton faces trouble, he learns that no matter what their differences, the animals in the pond take care of one another.
In all honesty, this didn’t really come across when I read it. The story itself seemed kinda … pointless. Templeton says “Oh well” a lot and gets scared by some cows, who are at the pond for reasons unknown.
The book is marked as ages 4-8, but I’d definitely mark that down. It’s not very interesting. But the illustrations, at least, are very lovely.
Review: Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood.
I’ve been maintaining for years that this book is my favourite of all of Atwood’s work, although I would, for most of those years, have been quite hard-pressed to explain why. But now I’ve read it again, after a gap of about six or seven years, and I can say: it is my favourite because it is brilliant and ambiguous and deliciously written, all the things that Atwood novels usually are, only more so.
Lunatics! Murder! Illicit love! Susannah Moodie quotations! The nineteenth century! Seriously, folks, this is one heckuva book. You should go read it.
My second-hand copy also came with a lovely inscription:
Hoping you enjoy Margaret Atwood’s new book. Some relaxing reading after all your hard work.
Love, Mom & Dad xxoo
Kim, whoever you are! I hope that you enjoyed this book as well — although maybe you didn’t, since I have it now. Or perhaps it was at the shop because you’re dead. Huh, awkward.