Posts Tagged ‘book’

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You can almost sniff the brine in this richly-described journey of a broken man who finds his bearings in the margins of a tough Newfoundland village.

Proulx’s prose takes you right there, a bleak place peopled by rough characters who eke out a meagre existence in a world of harsh storms and deep superstitions.

The story is beautifully crafted and many layered. It shows warmth and humor in a community that never has it easy. But it also delves into the darker side of a place where child sex abuse, inbreeding and savagery are never far away.

The vivid imagery is a constant source of pleasure and it never flags. This introduction of a weather-beaten, seadog is a great example of the kind of thing you’ll find: “Diddy Shovel’s skin was like asphalt, fissured and cracked, thickened by a lifetime of weather, the scurf of age…” I raced through it at a rapid rate of knots and all too soon it came to an end.


The Financial Lives of Poets

Posted: August 10, 2013 in Book review
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A black comedy with a Chandleresque air in which we witness the life of small-town business journalist Matt Prior unravel into an ever-worsening downward spiral of awfulness.

Like a casino slots junkie, Matt makes increasingly desperate attempts to get things back on track against odds that are always unfavorable.

Facing foreclosure on the  family home, maxed out credit card debt, imminent marriage break-up and his father’s worsening dementia, it’s a bleak outlook leavened by cracking one-liners and sharp social commentary.

Author Jess Walters stretches out the absurdity and works in plenty of humor but underneath it all there’s a grim reality, a parable for the times, about what’s really valuable and what’s just stuff.

The extract below comes from Charles Leadbeater’s book, We Think. It’s one of the best explanations I’ve seen for behaviours that underpin the social web.

As societies get richer and more of the basic needs for food, clothing, housing, warmth and security are met, people will become increasingly interested in the psychological dimensions of well-being. It is vital to our psychological well-being that we are held in high esteem, valued and recognised for what we do. Our identities – what we are good at and what matters to us – depend on the recognition of other people. In the past, many people acquired a sense of identity from their position in a bounded local community. In the 20th century, occupation and position in an organisational hierarchy often provided the key. Now, people increasingly get a sense of identity from the relationships they form and the interests they share with others. The web matters not least because by allowing people to participate and share, it also give them a route to recognition, if only through the comments posted in response to a blog, a rating as a trader on eBay, the points acquired as a game player, or the incorporations of software they have written into the source code. People are drawn to share, not only to air their ideas, but in the hope their contributions will be recognised by a community of their peers.