Jogging with the Great Ray Charles
Book Review / August 19, 2017

Title: Jogging with the Great Ray Charles Author: Kenneth Sherman Genre: Poetry Publisher: ECW Press Release Date: October 11th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 88 Source: NetGalley A poetic masterclass from a writer at the height of his craft  Kenneth Sherman’s work has always displayed a vibrant lyricism, so it’s no surprise that his powerful new collection contains a number of poems with musical motifs. In such pieces as “Clarinet,” “Transistor Sister,” and the book’s titular poem, Sherman ponders our human transience while searching for “a voice to stand time’s test.” Sherman also confronts health concerns in a language that is Shaker-plain. The book concludes with the sombre, compassionate, and truly remarkable seven-part “Kingdom,” a meditation on the plight of the dispossessed. In a Globe and Mail review of The Well: New and Selected Poems, Fraser Sutherland notes, “Sherman always seems to be listening to the voice of Canadian soil and landscape at the same time as he is attentive to the great European metaphysical theme of the soul in conflict with the world and time.” So it is with Jogging with the Great Ray Charles. Sherman has also included three brilliant translations of Yiddish poets that appeared in the Malahat Review’s “At Home in Translation”…

Jazz Day: The Making of a Photograph
Book Review / February 6, 2017

Title: Jazz Day: The Making of a Photograph Author: Roxane Orgill Genre: Poetry Publisher: Candlewick Press Release Date: March 6th, 2016 Format: Hardback Pages: 66 Source: Library Illustrator: Francis Vallejo What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse and glorious artwork capture an iconic moment for American jazz. When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a…

Clockwork Angels
Book Review / January 5, 2017

Title: Clockwork Angels Series: Clockwork Angels, #1 Author: Kevin J. Anderson & Neal Peart Genre: Steampunk Publisher: ECW Press Release Date: January 1st, 2012 Format: Hardback Pages: 315 Source: Borrowed from Friends Illustrator: Hugh Syme A remarkable collaboration that is unprecedented in its scope and realization, this exquisitely wrought novel represents an artistic project between the bestselling science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson and the multiplatinum rock band Rush. The newest album by Rush, Clockwork Angels, sets forth a story in Neil Peart’s lyrics that has been expanded by him and Anderson into this epic novel. In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. The mind-bending story is complemented with rich paintings by the five-time Juno Award winner for Best Album Design, Hugh Syme. Amazon   When I was in middle school, I adored binge reading series books. In fact, I had decided in 7th grade I would read EVERY SINGLE Star Wars Universe novel (now called…

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl
Book Review / September 11, 2016

Title: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl Author: Carrie Brownstein Genre: Memoir Publisher: Riverhead Books Release Date: October 27th, 2015 Format: Hardback Pages: 244 Source: Library From a leader of feminist punk music at the dawn of the riot-grrrl era, a candid and deeply personal look at life in rock and roll.  Before Carrie Brownstein codeveloped and starred in the wildly popular TV comedy Portlandia, she was already an icon to young women for her role as a musician in the feminist punk band Sleater-Kinney. The band was a key part of the early riot- grrrl and indie rock scenes in the Pacific Northwest, known for their prodigious guitar shredding and their leftist lyrics against war, traditionalism, and gender roles. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is the deeply personal and revealing narrative of Brownstein’s life in music, from ardent fan to pioneering female guitarist to comedic performer and luminary in the independent rock world. Though Brownstein struggled against the music industry’s sexist double standards, by 2006 she was the only woman to earn a spot on Rolling Stonereaders’ list of the “25 Most Underrated Guitarists of All-Time.” This book intimately captures what it feels like to be a young woman in…

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