As laid out in the first-ever Evan Yeong Literary Awards, the purpose of these blog posts has been to provide a retrospective of the books read in the past year. Typically these have been written and published in January, but here we are. Better late than never, as I always say.
This is the first of these awards to be written during my relatively new career in publishing. While I wouldn’t say I have a strong understanding of the ins and outs of what’s hot in the industry, I certainly have a healthier grasp of things, especially compared to past years when I had none whatsoever.
The other notable difference is that the list of books read has been censored in part, due to a number of the books having been unsolicited manuscripts that I was asked to read during my time as an Editorial Intern at Penguin Random House Canada. A handful were also unpublished manuscripts or ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and have been marked as such. You can check out a full list [with the exact dates of when I read each one] at this link.
ALMOST AS COMPLEX AS THEIR NAMESAKE
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
Those who aren’t as familiar with the works of C.S. Lewis should know that “Aslan” is the name of the Judeo-Christian-God-stand-in of that author’s Narnia series. The lion is a complex figure, embodying a dichotomy of a being that is “isn’t safe” while also “good”. Aslan himself is a likewise complicated man, having been raised Muslim, converted to Christianity in his teens, then back to Islam, a faith he continues to practice, and did during the writing of this book. A fascinating fact for both believers and nonbelievers alike is his statement that whether or not he was the son of God, the Nazarene definitively performed miracles.
SHOULD HAVE WON THE 2017 GILLER PRIZE
Brother by David Chariandy
One of many short, powerful works of fiction that I read this year, Brother is as unpretentious and beautiful a novel as you’re likely to find, and a worthy contender for Canada’s loftiest and most coveted literary prize. Shining a spotlight on Scarborough in the 90s, an area that I have (recently) shamefully joked about only “technically being Toronto”, this book would have served as a reminder of the real life stories that are overlooked and underheard.
The actual winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize was Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square, which I read the ARC of. Brother was longlisted. Continue reading
Posted in art, Canada, Christianity, Comedy, food, Islam, literature, race, relationships, religion, review, science, sex, writing
Tagged An Ocean of Minutes, Anonymous, Beauty Queens, Blink, books, brother, David Chariandy, E. V. Cunningham, Evan Yeong Literary Awards, Horns, horror, Joe Hill, Joey Comeau, Joy Kogawa, Libba Bray, literature, Malagash, Michael Pollan, novel, Obasan, race, relevant, Reza Aslan, romance, satire, Ted Dekker, The Botany of Desire, The Case of the One-Penny Orange, The Incest Diary, Thea Lim, Zealot
If any of you saw X2 [known internationally as the more sensible X-Men 2] I’m sure you remember the following scene starring the very talented Alan Cumming as the mutant Nightcrawler:
The YouTube uploader’s choice of music aside, I think we can all agree that a) that was awesome, and that b) we all like watching people teleport. If we look back a little more recently to the 2006 fever dream that was X-Men: The Last Stand we see that the bamf-ing blue mutant was not actually present among the plethora of mutants presented. Continue reading
Posted in bizarreness, comics, film
Tagged Alan Cumming, Azazel, bamf, Blink, comic books, Days of Future Past, Fan Bingbing, film, First Class, Fox, Jason Flemyng, John Wraith, Marvel, Matthew Vaughn, movies, mutant, mutants, Nightcrawler, repetitive, rote, teleport, teleportation, teleporting, The Last Stand, time travel, will.i.am, X-Men, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X2
So last Friday I came across the following trailer for a movie called Harmless. Here it is:
In the spring semester of last year I took a writing class called Literary Nonfiction. One of the required reading pieces was Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, by Andy Crouch. The general gist of the book was that as Christians we have the ability to create our own culture. We live in the world, but we don’t need to be of it. If we can’t find anything out there that we can agree to be part of than we can make our own.
That being said, I’m not sure that I can necessarily support this film. I understand why they did it, though. I’ve seen Paranormal Activity; I understand the way fear is exacerbated by the intimacy of the mockumentary format. I get that if you want to talk to people about your faith movies are a great way to do it, and the horror genre is an extremely popular one. The problem is that it’s ridiculous.
I won’t lie and say that pornography is all well and good. I do believe that it is degrading to women and can be extremely harmful to relationships and families. I will even go so far as to say that there is a dangerous spiritual component involved, but this is not the time or place to discuss that. I can also tell you what porn is not, though. Porn is not poltergeists.
I can’t agree with a film that could potentially be more ridiculous than the 2006 film Facing the Giants. Trailer seen here:
This was a film that just dripped with cheese. It’s difficult for me to put into words how awful it was. The messages were certainly positive, but weren’t delivered in a way that was well-written or even believable. If Christian media wants to be taken seriously by those outside of its target audience it has to at least be a decent example of its art form.
I’m all for Christian media, or at least media with a Christian message of sorts. Ted Dekker’s novels Blink and Thr3e are well-written and actually very good. What I wish is that this would spread to the film industry, that as Christians we could do better at making and affecting culture around us, instead of creating something laughable.
Posted in Christianity, film, literature, media, pornography
Tagged Andy Crouch, Blink, Christianity, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, Facing the Giants, Harmless, horror movies, media, Paranormal Activity, Ted Dekker, Thr3e