I thought I would take a break from reviewing books but then I read Saint Mazie and I just had to tell you all about it. Saint Mazie is a seriously wonderful book.
The story is about a young girl growing up in New York City. She lives a privileged life and you would think that she would enjoy her privilege, marry, have kids and be stereotypically happy but no, Mazie is different. She roams the streets of New York during the Great Depression helping the men, women and children she can. Giving all of the spare change in her pockets, her time and anything else she has to offer. During the day she runs the local movie theatre, sitting in a cage and selling tickets but at night she’s Saint Mazie. The story is beautiful and the characters are beautifully flushed. Mazie has all of the privilege that comes with money but instead of living the life people expect her to live she commits to no man, she cares for her sick sister and she gives selflessly. The story is interwoven with memories of those who remember Mazie and the story that Mazie is telling herself. I can’t say this enough, but it’s so beautiful. A must read!
I’m not cleaning out my closet
I’m expunging the walls of your existence
I’m deciding you’re not worth the trouble
I’m moving from side to side
drunk with rage
thinking that simple efforts
are really just that
I would like to start by saying I don’t write bad reviews. For the most part I always find a reason to like a book which isn’t always easy but I feel it’s cruel to hate on a book that someone worked hard to write.
When I started White Bones by Graham Masterson I was beyond excited. A London based mystery with a female protagonist. I imagined that much like the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch I would find something witty, with strong characters and a good grasp of writing. I was disappointed by White Bones right from the beginning. The writing did nothing for me. It more telling then showing and there was no depth. The storyline sounds great and the characters have so much potential but I just could not get past the bad writing.
Life’s too short for books you don’t enjoy and so I am moving on from this one.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
I hope in my unhinging
You learned something
And all they cannot tolerate.
I just finished Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Neemat and I sense a major book hangover in my future. Marina Neemat was a political prisoner at Evan prison in Iran during the Iranian revolution. She was imprisoned for two years for speaking out during her calculus class and asking the revolutionary guard/teacher to teach something other then religion. The story is harrowing in its bravery and honesty but what stood out the most for me was how ordinary my life seemed, how innocuous my decisions, compared to Marina’s life.
The story was beautiful and terrifying. At times it was difficult to understand how one person could be so brave in the midst of so much death but that’s the Westerner in me talking. I haven’t experienced much in the grand scheme of things and so there were definitely moments in the book that I had difficulty relating to. I have to say this book really inspired me to learn more about Iran and Islam. There’s beauty in every religion and culture but sometimes things get skewed by a radical group who think they have all of the answers. I would recommend this book to anyone whose looking to learn something and be inspired.
I adore Alice Munro. Her books have gotten me through some tough times in my life, helped me to accept change, move on in a world where you just want to stay and drown in your pools of sorrow. When I saw that CBC had done a tribute in quotes to Alice Munro I knew I had to post it on my blog. Sometimes we need a pick me up and her stories do that for me.