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December 29, 2012

Treasures and others

I’ve decided to remain unabashed about my propensity to read only/mainly female authors, at least until most of the literary world clues in to the fact that they’ve got the same prejudice but just in opposite. And now, apropos of, um, something, a few highlights from the Globe and Mail’s year-end book recommendations list, which I always enjoy and has found me some treasures in years past.

From Robert Hough: “One of the best is Any Human Heart, by William Boyd, all the more so because the central figure is male – a growing rarity in an industry that falls all over itself trying to please female readers.” Charming.

Miriam Toews sells me on Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?, though I suspect Miriam Toews could sell me on anything.

Sarah Polley reads while breastfeeding! And while she recommends we read Anton Piatigorsky’s The Iron Bridge, which I really do want to read, but she notes we should wait ’til baby is weaned: “Generally it’s best to save books about how dictators become dictators for times when you are not lactating – this is something no one told me.”

From Ian Baruma: “Alas, this left little time for contemporary fiction, most of which seems to pale in terms of daring and ambition compared to Melville or Joyce…” Yawn. Though both he and Laura Penny recommend Moby Dick, and my feeling is that Laura Penny never steers one far wrong.

I loved Katia Grubisic’s recommendation of Patrick Warner’s Double Talk, which I’ve been interested in and now I absolutely want to read.

And thank goodness for Lisa Moore: “I choose books by Three Wise Women…” Zadie Smith, which I already know is great,Christine Pountney, which I’m getting a feeling about, and you can always trust a reader who is recommend Elizabeth Bowen, oh yes, you can. I also think that if I spent the rest of my life only reading what Lisa Moore told me to read that I would probably be all right.

And Martin Levin was good enough to recommend one book by a woman, “the great Jane Gardam’s Crusoe’s Daughter,” which I totally want to read now and Gardam is great indeed, though I am beginning to suspect that Jane Gardam is Martin Levin’s go-to woman writer (at least when conversation necessitates), what Woolf is to so many others, but at least he’s read her.

5 thoughts on “Treasures and others”

  1. theresa says:

    Crusoe’s Daughter is extraordinary — Gardam at her best, I think.

  2. Andrea says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who {mostly} reads female authors and who {mostly} does not feel bad about this. The ‘Best Of’ lists are always, always a little disappointing in their limitations.

  3. alexis says:

    The Robert Hough comment made me roll my eyes so far back in my head that I actually felt pain.


  4. Nathalie Foy says:

    Ditto on the Robert Hough. I found that so ridiculous. But I did add the Jane Gardham to my wish list.

  5. Melwyk says:

    I agree — had to read it twice to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood because he couldn’t possibly have just said that… could he? Yikes.

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