Culture & Conversation

Posts from the ‘Books’ category

The four-generation NYC family dynasty, Russ & Daughters

The house that herring built

For four generations, Russ & Daughters has been the only surviving appetizing store in New York’s Lower East Side selling Jewish deli appetizers. A testimony to the changes of the neighbourhood, the store’s cast of characters include Lobster the strong armed fish salesman, counter staff preaching for Jews for Jesus, and gefilte tofu. A book which is a delicious romp into history.

Reykjavik mayor Jon  Gnarr in pants, not a dress

From clown to mayor

If Rob Ford is politician who strove to be mayor and won, but became an international late-night clown, Jón Gnarr is the anti-thesis, a clown who ran as a joke, but then shockingly won the mayorship of Reykjavik.NDG City Councillor Peter McQueen reviews How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World.

Linda_Rutenberg-2

The land that time remembers

There isn’t a hint of social realism or documentary in the collection. Ms. Rutenberg’s travels were clearly motivated by the search for startling images. Nor is there a trace of cliché. Even the much-photographed Percé Rock looks fresh, shot from a distance across textured strips of ice and open water, against a background of a cement-coloured sky and a few lonely clouds.

Mohandas Gandhi with India's to-be first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

Gandhi in the first person

Instead of focussing on Gandhi’s role in the Indian Independence Movement, Gandhi en guise d’autobiographie delves into his spiritual life, his search for truth, and fight against hatred. Gandhi in his own words if he were alive.

US Virgin Islands in 1918

Magical, historical Virgin isles

Magic, myth and history are interwoven in a tapestry of predominantly female voices, in the story the story of a US Virgin Islands sea captain, his tantalizing daughter, his pregnant social climbing wife, and his equally pregnant oseah mistress.

Chicoutimi: back to the "regions" but still staying modern

The firefly of Chicoutimi-Nord

A modern Québecois twist on going back to the land, La déesse des mouches à feu is set in Chicoutimi-Nord, a place populated by skaters, grunge kids and the fireflies, the popular high school girls. Catherine is determined, through drugs, sex, and rock and roll, to be a firefly.

Photo care of Véhicule Press

New tab, old story

Flitting from parties to jobs they dislike and on to potential art happenings, New Tab’s 20-something Montreal creative class ends up with more beer than poetry.

Lew Terman demonstrating the theremin

Theremin and pheromones

Romance, cold war espionage, New York in the Roaring Twenties and even French Montreal all linger in the background of Sean Michaels’ debut novel about Russian inventor Lev Termen.

An Iraqi Army soldier conducts a patrol.

Post 9/11 fire

Hailed as a post-apocalyptic mind-fuck, Fire in the Unnameable Country is a post 9/11 Muslim’s account of imaginary boundaries, surveillance, and an altered reality.