Friday, 26 August 2016

My Shoes are Killing Me - Robyn Sarah

I am convinced the goal of most solemn poems is to remind the reader that a hollow, perpetual depression is lurking just underneath the surface of everyday feelings. Joy is fleeting. True happiness is an illusion for all but children. Contentedness is only for those who don't think too deeply. Those are my thoughts after reading and rereading the 35 poems in My Shoes are Killing Me, the most recent book by award-winning Canadian writer Robyn Sarah. If I am right, then, ironically, Sarah triumphs with My Shoes -- the only book of hers I have ever read -- by igniting especially despondent feelings, the ones rational people presumably spend much of their lives running from. Good work Robyn, you've ruined my day.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

An American Life - Ronald Reagan

Though it may seem an odd choice for this summer's reading, President Ronald Reagan's autobiography  -- Am American Life -- contrasts nicely with the chaotic fracas that is US election year 2016. Written in 1990, only two years after he left office, the overall book -- which is 748 pages, though I read it on Kindle -- especially with respect to his profound challenges as a child and a young man, grips the soul and amazes the mind. But it also leaves the reader with a melancholy sense of emptiness, a desolate feeling of dejection and longing. It was sad to regularly look up from the Kindle, stare off into space and remember that those incredible political days are long over. Reagan's near destruction of liberalism seems like a century ago.