Jul 18, 2008

Who's Reading What this Summer? Episode 7 - Steven Beattie

On tonight's action-packed episode of Summer Readings of People You May or May Not Have Heard of, I present book reviewer and writer Steven Beattie.

Steven is a reviewer for Quill & Quire, a publication which covers all aspects of the Canadian publishing industry. Plus, in addition to his immaculate credentials and probing reviews, he's a swell guy, and the first person outside of my editor and immediate family to review Shelf Monkey. Needless to say, he was bowled over by my wit and style. That's the way I remember it, anyways. And if his last review is any indication, he's a real fan of Kenneth J. Harvey, and if goes without saying, so should you all.

So what's on your plate for the next few months, Steven?
I always get somewhat agitated by those newspaper and magazine lists of “suggested summer reading,” which invariably include copious amounts of chick lit, drugstore romances, and thrillers. It’s the same mentality that plagues Hollywood, with its spate of “tentpole” pictures in the summer months: comic book movies, remakes of ‘60s TV series, and sequels. For some reason, our cultural arbiters seem to think that our brains shut down when the temperature starts to climb.

Perhaps as a reaction to this, I’ve decided to reread Joyce’s Ulysses this summer. I attempt a reread of this novel every five years or so, secure in the knowledge that I’ll have a different experience with it each time, and that I’ll not come any closer to a complete understanding of it. It’s so protean and alive, it really is like reading a different book with each pass.

Also on tap is Bill Gaston’s new novel, The Order of Good Cheer. Gaston is one of my favourite authors, and when I first heard that he had written an historical novel, I must admit I reacted with some dread. However, I’m excited to find that the historical aspect only accounts for half the narrative, and I’m always happy to follow where Gaston takes me, regardless.

Finally, I hope to catch up on some stuff I’ve missed in the last ten months or so:
Those, plus the stuff I have to read for work, should keep me going during the dog days.
Merci beaucoup, Steven. And again, pick up any Kenneth J. Harvey you can find, and look for a review of his latest novel Blackstrap Hawco on this blog sometime in the near future.

1 comment:

Cliff Burns said...

Great to run across a fellow Canuck scribbler. Another scribe from north of the 49th you might want to check out is Elizabeth McClung--her book ZED was a delightful surprise for me, especially since I regularly denigrate the state of Canadian publishing. It's a fun debut novel. Hope your own work continues to gain you exposure and, most importantly, READERS. My best wishes to you...

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