All Quiet on the Western Front is given from the perspective of the losing side, which is still rare when it comes to war literature, especially in translation and from this era.
Every essay is a painstakingly, achingly beautiful construction of argument. From word choice to phrasing, he has a way of driving to the point, but also doing so with a biting simplicity.
Punks. Rebellion. Drugs. Death. Yes, emphatically all those things. More than that, Welsh has constructed a searing novel of what it means to be young, lost, and trying to become an adult in a world that’s on fire due to the HIV epidemic in nineties Scotland and the rampant level of addiction and death.
I was first exposed to Nightmare Alley via TCM’s Noir Alley and the 1947 film starring Tyrone Power in one of his few villain roles. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, though it is a lot different from the novel.
Randi writes in a way that is accessible to the un-academic reader but is also like a cosy sweater for readers who have experience in academia and the sciences. Reading this book was a joy and a perfect meeting of my interest in the supernatural and my scholarly pursuits.
The Catcher in the Rye is much maligned. Accused of being misogynist, homophobic, and other horrible things, it’s a book that many people have a very strong opinion about one way or another.
Chernobyl Prayer is one of the most difficult books that I have ever read. It even took me a year to read it due to stopping and starting and the time I needed to take just to breathe through the amount of raw hurt and fear that she painstakingly documents.
We happened across Raoul Peck’s film I Am Not Your Negro one February night while flipping through the channels. TVO was airing it as part of its yearly Black History Month’s selections. It’s a film that I would not hesitate to name as essential, and it’s what was responsible for my introduction to James Baldwin’s work.
Her style is simple and direct. It speaks to the reader in a very distinct way. When you read her prose, it’s like Didion is sitting across from you in a sitting room late at night, talking about things that people often find difficult to speak about.
They are clothbound and beautiful with the perfect size of margins and type. Both books nestle into a sturdy slipcase with gold type and a full colour illustration of Sawyer tricking one of his peers into doing his chore for him, painted by Norman Rockwell.