Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally In A Northbound State Of Mind

One of my goals for September was to make some progress on The Canadian Book Challenge 3. Although I'm still a little behind, I read two Canadian books and I'm now headed in the right direction. North. Brrr, where's my parka?

The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch. I enjoyed this small story about Elizabeth, the smart and courageous princess who rescues her clueless and cloddish prince Ronald from becoming royal barbecue, but my favorite Munsch book is still 50 Below Zero.

The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway. I'm glad I read this novel because it expanded my consciousness of Sarajevo and the horrifying siege that lasted an incredible 4 years. Because of the title character and the elegic tone of the novel, I wish that I could have listened to the piece that the cellist played for all those days in memory of the 22 people murdered as they lined up to buy bread.

Although I admired the characters for their courage and tenacity, I couldn't really warm up to any of them. There's something about Galloway's beautifully rendered phrases that keeps them at a distance from the reader. Even when killings occur in the novel, everything seems remote. Also, this really feels like more of a long short story -- there's a curious drag, a lack of tension as the book progresses. Readers who enjoyed The Bridge of San Luis Rey would probably like this book as well.

7 comments:

Heather said...

My favourite Robert Munsch book is "I'll love you forever". I don't think I have read '50 below'.

Jeane said...

I really like the Paper Bag Princess. Never did care much for Bridge of San Luis Rey, but then I read it a long time ago.

Petty Witter said...

The Paper Bag Princess sounds like one to read - there seem to be so many fairy stories being recommended at the moment,or is that just my imagnation?

Bookfool said...

I LOVE The Paperback Princess!! Our copy is a little mini-book about 2" x 2" that we bought the year we lived in Michigan and drove over to Toronto to shop in the World's Largest Bookstore. I probably couldn't read the words, now that I'm getting old and blind, if I could even manage to locate the book. I've never read 50 Below. Well. Guess I'll have to go to Canada.

Bookfool said...

Update: I looked up Fifty Below Zero and I think I've read it to the eldest (many moons ago) but we don't own it, therefore I still need a trip to Canada -- because it's the best excuse I can think of, at the moment.

Anonymous said...

My kids were huge Munsch fans. A best favorite was a cassette tape of Bob Munsch reading Mud Puddle. I also kept a copy of Good Families Don't in my guest bathroom for years. There was always laughter behind closed doors.

kathy/michigan

John Mutford said...

Too bad The Cellist disappointed. Over-produced would you say? I haven't read it yet, but I must say, this is one fo the few negative reviews I've read of it.