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Lauren B. Davis (Princeton, New Jersey)

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Little Big
Little Big
by John Crowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
33 used & new from CDN$ 9.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical doorway..., Dec 9 2008
This review is from: Little Big (Paperback)
A magical doorway of a book, whose interior, like the house where much of the novel is set, is larger than its exterior, by which I mean, its rewards and wonders are vast. Approach this book with trust and curiosity -- allow yourself to be seduced by the language, the whimsy and the intelligence. Wander through the chapters as you would a house full of fascinating oddities and intriguing people. A book over which to linger. You will certainly want to keep a copy in your library, since I can think of few other books that so clearly invite a second, or third, reading.

Netherland: A Novel
Netherland: A Novel
by Joseph O'Neill
Edition: Hardcover
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A significant work, Nov. 30 2008
This review is from: Netherland: A Novel (Hardcover)
A significant work about an emotionally bleak post-9/11 that is at once invigorating and reflective. The great tragedy of that day is a shadow that falls over the characters and the events, but it wisely never takes over the novel. This is a reasonably suspenseful, well-paced book,even with some rather long-winded explanations of cricket, which I found myself skimming after a while. (O'Neill, is the author of an acclaimed memoir and a member of the Staten Island Cricket Club, and like a reviewer from the Guardian I couldn't help but wonder occasionally if he shouldn't have written a memoir-essay on New York cricket.) The writing is slightly self-aware at times, and some of the undeniably lovely lyric passages don't feel completely credible to the 1st person narrator. Still, many of the psychological aspects are piercingly sharp and the writing is both honest and subtle, although the main character, Hans, is ultimately less interesting, and more thinly-drawn than the novel's foil, Chuck, a Trinidadian self-made (and highly shady) business man who, we learn early on, has been murdered. Quibbles aside, O'Neill is a great observer of the human condition, and his descriptions of the occupants of the Chelsea Hotel alone are worth the effort.

The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters
by C S Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.40
75 used & new from CDN$ 0.25

5.0 out of 5 stars A satrical theological masterpiece, rich in consolation and humour, Nov. 19 2008
This review is from: The Screwtape Letters (Paperback)
I often say that almost all of my theology comes from reading "The Narnia Suite," which I read for the first time at the age of eight, and more than a dozen times thereafter. I was particularly taken with The Last Battle, in which some people are very surprised indeed to learn that those they thought wouldn't be admitted into Aslan's Land because they fought on "The Wrong Side" of the aforementioned last battle, were in fact instantly admitted because it was their intention and their heart which was judged.

When I was a little older, someone gave me a copy of "The Screwtape Letters," and I have read it probably a dozen or more times over the years as well. Brilliant, allegorical, hilarious in parts, and filled with gentle wisdom, it is a theological masterpiece. I recall the first time I the letter in which one devil brags that he will soon win his first soul for the devil because although the man continues to pray, he doesn't believe what he says any longer. The older, wiser devil releases a stream of invective and explains the younger devil is an idiot, because doesn't the know that "those are the prayers that God loves best!?" How relieved I felt, as a young person, that there was a possibility God might still embrace me, even with all my doubts. Just one of the many gifts Lewis's work offers to those of us searching for a deeper relationship with God.

Deadwood
Deadwood
by Pete Dexter
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.40
40 used & new from CDN$ 1.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate, with beautifully drawn characters, Nov. 11 2008
This review is from: Deadwood (Paperback)
Dexter's ability to marry character and language is delightful. He is one of those rare writers who can portray deep emotion without slipping into the sentimental. Yes, the book might be subtitled, "Camp Crusty" due to profanity and sexual content, but it's also extremely funny and full of compassion. Highly recommended.

City Of Dreaming Books
City Of Dreaming Books
22 used & new from CDN$ 21.16

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, hilarious, poignant, Nov. 11 2008
This review is from: City Of Dreaming Books (Hardcover)
Fantastic book. Beautiful language. Original. Not only is it a work of astounding imagination and sparkling whimsy, but it's also a scathing satire on all things literary. Full of the darkest sort of humor, no one is spared -- not writers, critics, editors, agents, booksellers, or readers. As a writer myself, I found it hilarious, poignant, uplifting and humbling, all at once. It's also a rollicking good tale!

Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation
Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation
by J. Philip Newell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.87
32 used & new from CDN$ 9.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration and solace, Nov. 11 2008
This is a lovely exploration of the Celtic image of Christ as what Newell calls "the Memory of what we have forgotten." I found this book to be full of solace and inspiration. It is wise and personal and I highly recommend it to anyone searching for a deeper understanding of the Sacred, no matter what spiritual path you travel.

Broken Sword
Broken Sword
by Poul Anderson
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 3.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Master story teller, Nov. 11 2008
This review is from: Broken Sword (Paperback)
Anderson deserves his reputation as a master in the fantasy genre. His knowledge of Norse myth is impressive, as are his talents as a writer. A rollicking good tale, written in the epic style.

Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life
Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life
by Michael Dirda
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.08
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, Nov. 11 2008
A deeply thoughtful, inspiring book. Dirda's knowledge is not only vast, but insightful and his prose is terrific.

At Large And At Small
At Large And At Small
by Anne Fadiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.83
43 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love to invite her for dinner!, Nov. 11 2008
This review is from: At Large And At Small (Paperback)
I loved Fadiman's other book, Ex Libris, and At Large continues to delight. Fadiman has a relentlessly curious mind and a terrific writing style. I felt as though I'd had a series of scintillating conversations with a brilliant, generous, funny friend. I can't recommend this book enough. The bibliography alone is worth the price. I fear my already groaning shelves will have to accommodate even more new books.

Out Stealing Horses
Out Stealing Horses
by Per Petterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.71
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid, Nov. 11 2008
This review is from: Out Stealing Horses (Paperback)
There are few books I've read in the past ten years that touched me as this one did. The character is masterfully portrayed, the language splendid and the elegiac tone perfectly suits the story and perspective. A book of enormous compassion and insight into the human condition.

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