Archives for posts with tag: buzz

 

Don DeLillo has a new novel out. And after a few teeny tinies in recent years, this one is, say his publishers, his greatest work since 1997’s Underworld.

So … should you read it?

I reviewed it for CBC Day 6, here.

More than half a century after modern classic To Kill a Mockingbird was published, a new manuscript by its reclusive and media-shy author came to light under mysterious circumstances. Mystery or not, the world went mad for it, and on July 14, 2015, it landed.

The new novel is called Go Set a Watchman. It has raised many, many questions, and spawned many, many reviews. It has an initial North American print run of 2 million copies.

I’ve been doing a segment called “Should I Read It?” on CBC Radio One’s Day 6 for the past five years. We review high-profile, much-talked-about books. We’ve never done one quite as talked about as this.

Go Set a Watchman: should you read it? Here’s my review.

 

Mark Z. Danielewski has both dazzled and confounded readers with his high-concept novels that utilize font, colour, footnotes within footnotes, and sometimes turning the book upside down every few pages to tell a story.

His latest book, The Familiar: One Rainy Day in May, is presented as Volume 1 of a projected 27 volume series, of which new volumes (or “episodes”) will be released every 6 months. It’s unlike any book you’ve picked up before. But should you read it?

My review on CBC Day 6 >> listen here.

Conveniently timed to air on the longest day of the year (thank you, June 21, for falling on a Saturday), I’m pleased to present my annual summer reading list for Day 6 on CBC Radio One.

Here I am (up there, look!) balancing in my skinny arms my complete set of books to suit all summer reading tastes.

Moments after this photograph was taken I overheard a man sitting at the other end of the table (yes, I am on a patio drinking early summer beer) telling his friends that he likes reading crime fiction by British writers. I gave him my copy of The Farm, thus lighting my load by one book for the journey home.

>> Listen to my summer reads conversation with Day 6 host Brent Bambury here.

>> Read my suggestions for EVEN MORE reading at CBC.ca, here.

image: shovel ready

 

A writer publishes his debut novel. The writer has a toe hold in the literary establishment on both sides of the Canada/US border. The novel has a toe hold on both sides of the noir/sci-fi genre border. The setting of the novel is almost borderless; near-future New York functioning as everyplace and no place, a Gotham or Metropolis, a metaphor for where society has gone wrong. The protagonist is an assassin with a code: one foot on either side of the moral fence.

The review is not like the novel. The review has to pick a single side.

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh. Should you read it?

Listen to the segment on CBC Day 6.

 

It’s been 12 years since Zadie Smith published her break-out debut, White Teeth, and 7 years since her most recent novel, the brilliant On Beauty.

So … was NW worth the wait?
On Day 6 with Brent Bambury I say … YES. With a word of caution that the novel is “crazy good” in parts, but “chaotic and cluttered” in others.

Here’s the audio.

 

I found Karen Thompson Walker’s much hyped debut to be a slightly flawed but overall impressive and tightly wrought feat of the imagination. And it absolutely screams “summer read.”

Read my review in the Globe and Mail.

 

What books will we be buzzing about on the beach this summer?

Looking for a fast-paced read? Some arm-chair travel?  An alternative to that mega-selling bonk-buster book? Or to immerse yourself in the past (or an alternative present…)?

I served up some summer suggestions with different kinds of reader in mind on CBC Day 6 this weekend.

For a character-driven novel: John Irving’s IN ONE PERSON

For some historical drama: Hilary Mantel’s BRING UP THE BODIES (fiction); Erik Larson’s IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS (non-fiction)

For a fast-paced crime fix to take to the beach: Jo Nesbo’s PHANTOM

For an erotic-fiction alternative to Fifty Shades of Grey: Tamara Faith Berger’s MAIDENHEAD; Nicholson Baker’s THE FERMATA and HOUSE OF HOLES

For escapism…
To the Olympics: Craig Taylor’s LONDONERS
To the big sky and open road: Hari Kunzru’s GOD’S WITHOUT MEN
To (or from) a different kind of economy-class travel: Michael Ondaatje’s THE CAT’S TABLE

For a summer-long doorstop read: Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84

 

 

One of the great American novelists has published his first novel in 6 years and called it CANADA.

Cue excitement in literary circles everywhere, but most especially north of the border.

So … should you read it?

On CBC Day 6 this morning I said … probably not, no.

 

First you couldn’t be online without hearing about it. Then you couldn’t open a newspaper without reading about it. Then you couldn’t even walk into a bookstore without seeing it piled high in all its suggestive tie-me-up-ishness.

Fifty Shades of Grey was everywhere. But is it any good …? Of course not.

Erin Balser and I went in to the CBC Fresh Air studio to talk to Mary Ito about why we think everyone’s going gaga for Christian Grey, and to offer some suggestions for smutty reading with a little more literary style.

Here’s the chat.