My mom taught me how to read when I was 4-years-old, which WebMD, a reliable source if there ever was one, says is about two years younger than average. According to Iowa Tests [American standardized tests that I ended up taking at an American school] I was reading at a 12th Grade reading level when I was only ten. When I inevitably ended up majoring in both English and Writing at a Christian liberal arts college I was, to put it directly, horrifyingly average.
I write all of that not to share that I was some sort of prodigy [I wasn’t], but that I was good at reading because I loved it. The written word continues to be my favourite artistic medium, and my appreciation for the literary has not faded. Today I start what I hope to be an annual tradition, a review of what was read in the past year to acknowledge the standouts [for better and for worse]. These are the 2014 Evan Yeong Literary Awards.
In 2014 I resolved to read 52 books, and while I only ended up stopping just four short of my goal, I do believe it was an overall success. You can check out a full list [with the exact dates of when I read each one] at this link. Continue reading →
Posted in comics, family, feminism, history, lgbt, literature, race, review, writing
Tagged A Natural History of Four Meals, Alice Sebold, Aravind Adiga, awards, best, books, Boy Snow Bird, Canadian, David Wong, Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome, Evan Yeong Literary Awards, female, film adaptation, genre, Helen Oyeyemi, horror, Jason Pargin, Joey Comeau, John Dies at the End, literary awards, literature, Lost Boy Lost Girl, male, Michael Chabon, Michael Pollan, Michael Rowe, non-white, Paprika, Peter Straub, Queer Fear, race, short stories, The Amazing Aventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Lovely Bones, The Ominore's Dilemma, The Summer Is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved, The White Tiger, Violence, white, worst, Yasutaka Tsuitsui
“Sometimes romantic, sometimes elegiac, Alex Leslie’s coastal stories take place in ocean inlets and city streets. Haunted as much by technology as by their own ghosts, Leslie’s characters face the disappearance of sanity, love and landscape. An electric, poetic debut.”
So says the back cover to a book I picked up for $4 at a U of T book sale. An accurate blurb if there ever was one, Leslie is an author who has undoubtedly mastered setting, and you can practically taste and feel the salty, frigid air of Canada’s west coast. Her first book’s title is also one complete with a promise: between these covers live characters who fall between the cracks. Continue reading →
Posted in Canada, literature, review
Tagged Alex Leslie, author, Canadian, children, Face, Freehand Books, Ghost Stories, Like Mind, mental disorders, People Who Disappear, Preservation, relationships, short stories, The Coast is a Road, Two-Handed Things, west coast, Wire Boy
I don’t normally review books in soft-copy. It’s difficult to read from a computer screen for that amount of time, and I find it easier to relate to a book’s solid permanence; if I can pick it up to hold and read, maybe you can [and should] too. That aside, I agreed to review something a friend had written, so here it is in all its candidness.
Monsters: a collection of short stories is exactly that, seven tales penned by Caleb Bollenbacher, a 2011 graduate from Baylor University. Only available on Amazon for the Kindle, an excerpt of the book’s description is as follows:
Nobody yearns to be a monster. But sometimes it works out that way.
Sometimes you merely find yourself looking into the face of one.
Sometimes that face is your own. Continue reading →
Posted in literature, review, writing
Tagged A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, Amazon, An Eye Full of Citrus, book, book review, Caleb Bollenbacher, collection, endings, Jezebel, Julian Barnes, Kindle, literature, Monster, Monsters, narrative, review, short stories, short story, Suicide Blondes, theme, To Be Broken, Walrus v. Carpenter
The sophomore collection of short stories from Halifax-based author Andrew Hood, The Cloaca is 138 pages of people who don’t know what they’re doing.
Described on the back cover as “your high school gym coach, drunk and dishing dirt on all the other teachers on the crosstown bus,” the stories in this book capture your attention like a man on a bicycle wiping out in the rain, or a bunch of Italians yelling at each other on the sidewalk [both of which I saw two days ago]. Continue reading →
Posted in Canada, literature, review, writing
Tagged Andrew Hood, Beginner, book review, Canadian authors, Canadian literature, collection, Invisible Publishing, Manning, review, short stories, short story collection, sophomore collection, The Cloaca, Unburdened Things, writing