Ron

 


The Red Caddy: Into the Unknown with Edward Abbey 
by Charles Bowden

A slim, posthumous jewel of a book that I never expected to see: the author whose work included Desierto and Down by the River reflects on his late friend, Edward Abbey. Workaholic Bowden died in 2014 and I thought that the only way to ever read unpublished work by him would involve a trip to whatever academic institution bought his archives. Found on his computer after his death, written in 1994, this is in some ways more artefact than finished book although it reads like the latter, with Luis Alberto Urrea providing a great forward. 

Those that blindly worship the persona of Cactus Ed, who believed he was a modern day saint in possession of The True Beer Can of knowledge, should skip this if they want to keep their faith intact. Those that can read and flinch at the same time, that shed a tear when Ed, then Chuck passed on, will rejoice at hearing Bowden's original voice again.

Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr2368015

 

 

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

A Mennonite #MeToo that the author describes as “a reaction through fiction to… real events, and an act of female imagination.” Those real events are tragic, and may prove to be a barrier for some, but this is a timely one sitting read, not unleavened with moments of hope, forgiveness and love.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr2092508

 

 

 

 Chicken by Lynn Crosbie

Long faded enfant terrible Parnell Wilde’s career has death spiraled to where he’s dressing up as a chicken for a budget TV commercial. After meeting a brilliant cult filmmaker with a huge online following, his fortunes take a dramatic turn, as the two embark on an obsessive and dangerous relationship. Crosbie is definitely an acquired taste who's not for everyone, notable for her interest in repellant characters, sex, pop-culture and drugs, but she writes the most beautiful sentences regardless of whatever filth she’s describing. While her characters aren’t remotely as sympathetic as those found in, say, the work of Heather O’Neill, they’re lavished and rendered with just as much beauty, or more. An updated Clockwork Orange for poets, decadents and the Geritol set.

Adult Fiction Paperback pr2020638

My staff picks this month are as original as if you went to a Dewey Diva presentation to hear about new books by James Patterson and Nora Roberts, but I’m unapologetic. Why? Because in my opinion, both are masterpieces, albeit very different ones.

 The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory, by National Book Award winner Richard Powers is “Monumental… A gigantic fable of genuine truths” (Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times). A huge cast of characters is interwoven like a forest’s root system to connect us to vaster forces, as complex, if not more so, and longer lived than our own lives. In doing so, Powers is somehow able to widen our wonder of, not only the natural, but human, world as well. Margaret Atwood has said that if Powers was an American writer of the 19th century, he’d be the Melville of Moby-Dick; that’s the scale of this epic, which is the sort of book you read from the library, then realize you need to go out and purchase a copy for yourself.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr1306072

 

 Circe by Madeline Miller

Fans of Madeline Miller’s brilliant debut, The Song of Achilles, have waited seven long years for a follow-up. Circe was worth the wait. Once again presenting a subversive re-telling of a minor character from Greek mythology, Miller’s genius is to write thrilling page turners that come from a scholarly, deeply imagined place. Miller has an MA in Classics from Brown, has taught Latin, Greek and Shakespeare, and studied in the Dramaturgy department in the Yale School of Drama, where she focused on adapting classical texts to modern forms. The end result? - A classical mythology as highly readable as an airport bookstore thriller, without dumbing things down, and possibly the most fun read of the year. Let’s hope we’re not waiting as long for the next one

 Adult Fiction Hardcover pr2048653 

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