- Vancouver, British Columbia - Ian McEwan’s novel is a curious oddity amongst his library of works. It’s sandwiched between Enduring Love and Atonement, which were both adapted into full-length feature films, and were exceptionally popular. Amsterdam has not been popular among readers, but was a critical smash and even won the Man Booker prize for fiction that year. Not even Atonement managed to get the Booker, although it was short-listed (and scooped up a plethora of other awards). So what was it about this book? Was it simply too intelligent for the common reader? Or perhaps there was something a little more?
Books Reviews and Commentary
- Vancouver, British Columbia - Star Trek: Inception caught my eye last summer because it seemed to have a fair bit of promise to it. Featured on the cover is a young Carol Marcus, a pivotal character in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, who was the mother to Captain James T. Kirk’s son but was not a part of his life anymore. The movie had a significant theme regarding aging and rebirth, and the barest hints we had at Marcus’ and Kirk’s past relationship were tantalizing and important for development. In the film, Marcus was lead researcher on Project Genesis, a device that could terraform a dead planet into one that could support life. Her son with Kirk was named David, an angry but brilliant young man with an inherent distrust of Starfleet. Kirk clearly desired a relationship with him, but was forbidden contact with him by Marcus, who had clearly made the difficult choice years prior. Confronted by an adult son and hurt feelings regarding how his relationship with Marcus ended, Kirk is thrown into turmoil in the film regarding his usefulness and allotment in life. For years, decades even, much mystery has surrounded how all of this transpired and at last in 2010, a novel was written, giving us a rare glimpse.
- Vancouver, British Columbia - A quick bit of backstory: in 1887 a woman named Anne Sullivan was contacted to see if some help could be given to young Helen Keller, a girl who was both blind and deaf. Keller was trapped in a world inside her head, unable to demonstrate communicative skills. After weeks of constant work using a form of sign language expressed through hand-to-hand contact, Keller finally grasped the idea of labeling and basic language structure. From there, she was able to finally to express ideas and establish relationships. Why I mention this is because upon reflection, Keller felt that her time before learning sign language was almost as if she was unable to think, and merely existed in a timeless state. It was only through learning to communicate did she feel she achieved sentience. Before, she was little more than a creature reacting to what little stimulation she was receiving, and after she felt as if a mind had awoken inside her.
- Vancouver, British Columbia - I’ve covered Henrik Ibsen’s work once before, with his renowned play A Doll’s House, but I felt it was time to look at an earlier work. This play was written over several years, with Ibsen being dissatisfied with it many times over – apparently there were at least five drafts. It’s been rarely performed in the last century, but contains many themes that are relevant even in today’s society: greed, perception, women’s role in society and corruption are but a few.
- Vancouver, British Columbia - I scooped up this novel from my local bookstore’s shelf simply because of the author, Michael Chabon. I enjoyed Wonder Boys quite a bit, and found it immensely relatable, so when I saw that this new novel had won quite a few praises and awards (including a Hugo) I figured I would give it a read and would probably enjoy it. That was back in the summer. I have just finished it. To say that I didn’t like the book would be an oversimplification that I’m not willing to commit to, but I do have some serious issues with the book. And I acknowledge I’m in the minority here, but I also think I know why.