Apr/May 2011

e c l e c t i c a   r e v i e w s  & 
i n t e r v i e w s

Reviews & Interviews

(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Ann Skea reviews...

A Small Furry Hope: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
by Steven Kotler

Along the way, he covers ethics, altruism, shamanism, homosexuality, bereavement research, how wolves became domesticated dogs, and much more. I was alternately delighted, intrigued and horrified. I laughed a lot, pondered a lot, and learned much about doggy behaviour, mirror neurons, the collective unconscious and flow states.

Proust's Overcoat
by Lorenza Foschini

This is a curious little book. It is not so much about Proust's overcoat or about Marcel Proust himself but about a collector, a bibliophile, Jacques Guérin, whose passion for acquiring anything which had belonged to Proust—manuscripts, furniture, photographs, even his old overcoat—reads rather like a detective story.

Brighton Rock
by Graham Green

"When I describe a scene," Greene once told an interviewer, "I work with the camera, following my characters and their movements." In Brighton Rock, this makes for vivid scenes, fast action, and sharp dialogue, but there is depth to Green's characters, too, and maybe more to think about (as J.M. Coatzee suggests in his introduction) that is immediately apparent.

Poetry and Childhood
edited by Styles, Joy and Whitley

There are historical papers, analytical papers, a fair amount of poetry from different countries (including the USA, Brazil, England and Ireland), some rude playground humour, and a degree of irony about the whole practice of theorising children's poetry (anyone who has enjoyed Frederick Crew's book, The Pooh Perplex will enjoy David Rudd's dealings with Humpty Dumpty).

Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History
by Bill Laws

Did you know that Queen Elizabeth I is reputed to have invented gingerbread men to amuse her courtiers? Or that willow coffins are the latest must-have for the ecologically minded? Or, indeed, that Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, in about 1150, advised adding hops to drinks as a preservative?

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

Space, in Chains
by Laura Kasischke

More to the point, while clearly influenced by the Plath and Sexton, Kasischke escapes being either a dull knock-off, with comparatively flattened emotions, or yet another poet trying to manufacture a bit of psychosis in order to thrill the voyeurs.

Niranjana Iyer reviews...

Fall For Anything
by Courtney Summers

Photographs capture the truth, but they are one particular representation of one particular reality—the thousand words each picture tells can differ from viewer to viewer. As Eddie's investigations progress, she is forced to accept that many truths may co-exist, and that there is more than one way of seeing things.

Colleen Mondor reviews...

This Book Made Me Do It
by John Woodward

Rather than waste a lot of time on details, this is a straightforward group of instructions, via diagrams and lists, on how to do many many many things.

Big Wolf and Little Wolf
by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Consider them a more cosmopolitan Toot and Puddle, easily recognizable but a little more interesting then the average tale.

Susan Settlemyre Williams interviews...

Kimberly L. Becker

How should we respect the beliefs and intentions of the dead, even—or, perhaps, especially—when those beliefs and intentions are lost to us? How do we balance this respect with the quest for knowledge and understanding of those cultures that may sometimes be gained only by examining the dead?

Helena Petkau interviews...

Gail Whitter

In times of crisis, instinctively I revert to words... it's automatic, this putting the words onto paper, and I find that it helps me to organize my thoughts and make sense of the experience.

Elizabeth P. Glixman interviews...

Curtis Robbins

But, here, we're talking about the human aspects of hearing loss. What do we hear? If that's the question, then what is "loss"? The most important thing about hearing is that it is one of the five senses. Each and every deaf person will give you a myriad of answers that would throw you in tangents. Thus, there are no right answers. On the contrary, it is clear that hearing is a feeling—that is, feeling vibrations: a thunderous drumroll, kicking the bottom of the bedroom door hard, banging on the floor with your foot, or banging on the table with your fist and whatnot.