Best of Fall 2009 (This Week): Stretch That Intellectual Muscle!

  • 8 X 10: I have a soft spot for dark experimental fiction (please see House of Leaves) so this new release by Canadian screenwriter/poet Michael Turner has caught my attention. I haven't seen a copy of the book yet but what I can devise from the review in the Globe is that it's sort of like short stories but without any names or places. And it has a grid printed at the beginning of each segment which pinpoints a particular 'character'. The way I see it, this sort of thing is either your bag, or it just isn't. And it happens to be a very nice Chanel bag, to me.
  • Changing My Mind: Zadie Smith is the author of On Beauty, which won the Orange Prize in 2006. Smith has now turned her attention to literary non-fiction and this is a collection of her essays, both new and previously published, with subjects such as E.M. Forster, going to the Oscars, British Comedy and Barack Obama. Intended for: those who think reading Malcolm Gladwell is a little too cliche nowadays.
  • The Lacuna: This is Barbara Kingsolver's (of The Poisonwood Bible) first novel in nine years and tells the story of one Harrison Shepherd who finds himself buffeted by the political winds of the 30's-40's in both Mexico and the United States and includes several real historical figures such as painter Frida Koelho and Soviet politician Lev Trotsky. Kingsolver is a master at reimagining social history. Buy this book and if you don't read it, you can always give it your mom for Christmas.
  • The Box Man: Imiri Sakabashira's latest collection from Drawn and Quarterly features zoomorphic creatures that emerge from their bizarre environment as well as from one another. I'm basically paraphrasing the copy..what does that even mean? According to these sample images from the book, pretty much what it says - nightmare world where everything is or could be animate (or not). Freaky! Sakabashira is known as a Japanese painter and was featured in Vice earlier this year.

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