Articles by Dan
The majestic historical novel THE SPANISH BOW arrived in stores this week, and I've just noticed that the excellent Sarah Weinman (Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind) made the book a pick of the week back in August:
This is just about my perfect travel read: full of adventure, history and a ton of music, Romano-Lax's debut novel jumps off of early 20th century Spanish history and casts it through the eyes of Feliu, the young would-be cellist whose ownership of a bow carries him across the country to fame and fortune and a rivalry/friendship with pianist Justo.
THE SPANISH BOW is definitely a historical novel that presses all the right buttons. Kirkus Reviews marveled its "epic, blockbuster-size scale".
Publisher's Weekly said:
"for sheer scope and ambition, this is a tough debut to beat."
The American Library Association magazine Booklist were even more excited:
"This riveting historical page-turner moves inexorably toward a heartrending crescendo."
So, If you love big sweeping historical narratives then this is definitely the book for you--(and I know what my mom is getting for her birthday!)
TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY: 75 OBJECTS WITH UNEXPECTED SIGNIFICANCE by Joshua Glenn and Carol Hayes is a beautiful little book about the bizarre artefacts we cherish beyond reason.
Artists, writers, designers, musicians, among many others, contribute their objects and try to explain their significance in the book. From everyday objects like a cocktail glass or a cigar box, to the more surprising such as a dirt pile or a one-hundred-pound practice bomb, it is a truly fascinating insight into the things that inspire and motivate our creativity.
Now our friends at Maisonneuve magazine are requesting YOUR stories and photographs of the random and weird objects that you hold dear. The best entries will receive a copy of TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and will be printed in the magazine!
Rutu Modan has been interviewed by the BBC about her acclaimed graphic novel EXIT WOUNDS:
We have also just found out that Rutu will be appearing at this year's International Festival of Authors in Toronto with fellow Drawn & Quarterly artists James Sturm, author of the forthcoming JAMES STURM'S AMERICA (which includes the out-of-print story THE GOLEM'S MIGHTY SWING) and Adrian Tomine, whose first full-length graphic novel SHORTCOMINGS is out this fall (woop!).
(Fans of Adrian Tomine on the west coast, might also like to know that he will be appearing at Sophia Books in Vancouver on Tuesday, November 13th! More details soon...)
August 22, 2007
Monique at Work Industries has reviewed Lois Kelly's BEYOND BUZZ: THE NEXT GENERATION OF WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING for the her company blog and newsletter 'Underwire':
Beyond Buzz--is about learning to create meaningful dialogue about organizations and products, instead of marketing blah blah blah.
If you are the lone evangelist in your organization--get it in front of as many managers as possible, especially those in communications, marketing and PR.
Work Industries are also offering a few free copies of book if you interested...
August 09, 2007
The controversial German winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature has chosen tell us a bit about himself and in the process has revealed a lot, and then again, very little. The reason for this statement is that Grass plays a mental game with his readers about his early life story and what has motivated him to be who he is. He does this game playing very artfully as he jumps back and forth between memory and speculation.
But, whilst admiring Grass' artistry, Alidė does not let him off the hook:
A tone of resentment and even self-pity runs through the book. He far too often makes mention of the 'Gustloff', the German ship sunk by an overeager Russian captain with thousands of civilians as well as soldiers and nurses aboard. It was the subject of his book 'Crabwalk' in which he began his whining about the victimization of Germans during WWII. While this act of unnecessary carnage is regrettable, let Grass be reminded that a U-Boat attack on a civilian liner, the Athena on Sept. 3, 1939 was an unprovoked killing of civilians, the first of its kind in WWII. The sinking of the Lusitania in WWI by the Germans was the first of its kind in any modern war--Self-pity and self-justification can lead a writer down a very slippery slope, in this case a watery one.
John Irving was more forgiving of Grass in a strident defense of the author in The New York Times Book Review, but Joel Yanofsky who reviewed PEELING THE ONION for The Montreal Gazette seems to agree with Alidė:
Memoirs, the best of them, always walk a fine line between the self-serving and the self-excoriating, and while Grass is hard on himself in Peeling the Onion, he's not hard enough, especially when it comes to the long-overdue confession at the core of the book--his time in the SS.
And so the controversy continues--Perhaps the only way to decide is to read the book for yourself...?
August 07, 2007
Untapped aims at being far more than a mere catalogue of--sorry statistics--and Ghazvinian traveled to twelve countries to discover something of the ways in which oil can torture impoverished nations--Untapped is--a strong piece of journalism, a thorough look of the effect the world's most divisive resource can have on some of its most divided and troubled nations, a worthy attempt at understanding a harmful collision of prospectors, corporations, fishermen, farmers, nomads, despots, guerilla armies, and roughneck opportunists.
highly dreamlike and cinematic--There's a certain dark brilliance in the writing and how Young-Ha Kim has captured the tone of these listless characters--the intensity and aimlessness of the characters is alarming and the ease with which they seem to destroy themselves is unnerving.
Monique is not alone in identifying the dark qualities of the the book. This is what the LA Times had to say about it:
The philosophy--life is worthless and small--reminds us of Camus and Sartre, risky territory for a young writer. Such heady influences can topple a novel. But Kim has the advantage of the urban South Korean landscape. Fast cars, sex with lollipops and weather fronts from Siberia lend a unique flavor to good old-fashioned nihilism. Think of it as Korean noir.
Apparently it's also been made into a movie. Has anyone seen it?
Congratulations to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Charles Simic on becoming the 15th U.S. Poet Laureate today!
The New York Times reports:
James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, will announce Mr. Simic's appointment. Mr. Billington said he chose Mr. Simic from a short list of 15 poets because of "the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry," adding: "He's very hard to describe, and that's a great tribute to him. His poems have a sequence that you encounter in dreams, and therefore they have a reality that does not correspond to the reality that we perceive with our eyes and ears."
Yugoslavian-born Charles Simic, emigrated to the U.S. in 1954. His collection of poems THE WORLD DOESN'T END won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 and, like his latest collection of poetry THE VOICE AT 3:00 A.M., it is published by Harcourt, inc. and distributed by Raincoast in Canada.
July 31, 2007
Question: Just how pervasive is biotech in our everyday lives?
Answer: Today, one third of the world's economy is driven by biotech. I was shocked to learn that, but think about it: There's the big pharmaceuticals, there's what we usually think of as biotech R&D and their start-ups, there's genetically-modified agriculture, there's the new biofuels like ethanol, there's manufacturing processes, there's bio-defense, and the list goes on. The growth potential in these industries can all be attributed to biotech.
July 10, 2007
Dale McGowan's PARENTING YOUR PARENTS: ON RAISING ETHICAL, CARING KIDS WITHOUT RELIGION is review by Lisa Miller over at Newsweek online:
"Parenting Beyond Belief,"... aims to help folks who are raising their kids without religion deal with the sticky questions that come up about Santa Claus and heaven, and it raises more serious concerns about how to bring up ethical, confident, nonbelieving kids in a culture saturated with talk about God--Parents on both sides of the culture war will find this book a compelling read.