Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Francois Perrault, "Inside Gomery" (2006)

Perrault, a long-time reporter on Canadian politics, was hired as the Media Spokesperson for the Canadian Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities. His book offers an "insider" view of Justice Gomery as a focused, ethical, and driven man with a strong commitment to public service.

While the book does provide some intriguing insights into the evolution of a commission of inquiry, and touches on some of the core concerns that governed this particular commission's activities, the book comes across as particularly lacking in critical objectivity. Considered as a type of memoir, it is interesting. For critical analysis of the commission's activities, readers are best advised to look elsewhere.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Adam Dodek, "Canada's Constitution" (2013)

Dodek has written a concise, informative, thought-provoking introduction to Canada's Constitution

The text captures some of the key moments in the developmental trajectory of Canadian constitutional thought, touching on the evolution from pre-Canadian documents such as the Royal Proclamation of 1793, Quebec Act, and Act of Union. Of course, he gives the BNA Act and Constitution Acts significant attention. To his credit, he also explores amendments to these acts, as well as related legislation such as the Statute of Westminster and the Bill of Rights.

The text includes a solid consideration of the role of the judiciary in considering Canadian constitutional laws, and handy charts outlining the basic dates related to Canadian constitutional thought, and highlighting the importance of each event.

On the whole, a great little reference book that should only encourage readers to seek out more in-depth, nuanced, and challenging analysis.

Lauren B. Davis, "The Empty Room" (2013)

This is a fascinating consideration of adult female alcoholism.

Davis writes writes with the sympathetic and yet firm knowledge of addicted thinking gained during her own time as an alcoholic. With decades of sobriety, this book is a reflection on what her life might have been like had she not found sobriety. It is insightful. It is frightening. It is humble.

Addicts will find this book particularly compelling, as they are sure to see elements of their own experience described. They will likely see their own flawed thinking, their own rationalizing, their own desires and shortcomings. They will see parallels for the depths they have sunk to and likely kept secret, if they could. They might also read some of the same fears they have felt about admitting to their own addiction, and starting a program of recovery.

My only complaint is that this book ends too quickly. I rarely find fiction to be "page turning." Perhaps I had a particular and special interest in this book, but I finished it in about 24 hours.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Chester Brown, "Ed the Happy Clown: A Graphic Novel" (1980s)

I've reviewed several Chester Brown works on this blog. The early elements of the Ed story were contained in Brown's Yummy Fur mini-comics. An ex-girlfriend bought me a few in... 1986? I LOVED THEM. They mixed scatological humour ("The Man Who Couldn't Stop", about a man who could not stop defecating) with a rather straight take on the Gospel of Matthew. I was hooked, but could never find the rest. This anthology brings the run of Yummy Fur together, without the Gospel of Matthew material.

More later.

For my review of Brown's Paying for It, go here.

For my review of Brown's Louis Riel, go here.

Edward Bellamy, "Looking Backward: 2000-1887" (1888)

Comparable in many ways to Atwood's Handmaid's Tale and Case's Silence Descends. A clever, although bit plodding, exploration of an alternate socio-economic organization of society seen through the eyes of a man who inadvertently and mysteriously slept for 113 years, re-awakening in the year 2000.

More later.

Anthony Burgess, "A Clockwork Orange" (1962)

A delicious read that is more rewarding... or perhaps, surprisingly as rewarding due to its differences... than Kubrick's film adaptation.

More later.