This blog set in Northern Saskatchewan, and is written by a high school English teacher. It features a variety of book reviews (both old and new books), comments on literature, informative links, articles on books, and other materials regarding literary aesthetics.
"Nothing matters. I have known that for a long time. So nothing is worth doing. I just realized that."
Nothing, by Janne Teller, is a Danish novel that’s told in a way that those Nords do best: creepy, stark, and haunting. The descriptions and dialogue are straight-to-the-point, and the author never deviates from this rule. Sometimes one sentence is more powerful than ten.
The novel centers around Gerda, an intelligent Danish teen, and her friends. These adolescents try to find meaning in their lives after another peer, Pierre Anthon, climbs into a tree, and proclaims (in a true nihilist fashion) that there is no meaning to life. Of course, Gerda’s journey to find meaning isn’t whimsical or light-hearted; rather, it is dark and demonstrates the savage nature of the human psyche. Somewhere, on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Jack would approve of Gerda and co.'s actions.
I feel that this book is more appropriate for adults than for teenagers. The content might be hard to understand without a philosophical context. Brush up on your Nietzsche before reading!
This book offers insight into an end of innocence that every adult feels in their life. Read it, and remember when you lost your childhood bliss too.
I often order off of The Book Depository, because it has great prices, an excellent selection, and free shipping. Anyway, I've now come to also really appreciate this site for its amazing live feed. Yes, that's right you can watch people shopping and find out with bizarre things they choose to buy!
My students, in ELA A30, finished reading Halfbreed last week. Their feelings about said memoir were mixed. A few felt it was "boring" and lacked "action". These students believed that Campbell's history was uneventful, and not too different from what these students have experienced in their own lives. Yet, other students found it to be depressing and hauntingly moving. These were my kids that felt Campbell's grief at the passing of her mother, and whose hearts' bled when Campbell left Smoky behind. And, finally, some others were forced to realize the price that Aboriginal and Metis communities have paid in the name of colonization. These students were stunned and horrified to discover that Metis peoples hadn't always ha status, and that their lives had been just as full of discrimination and hardship as any other Aboriginal group. Luckily, none of them, though, regretted having read Maria Campbell's autobiography, and I honestly believe that all of them took something away from this book.
In other words, this book is a classroom hit!
As an educator, a woman, and a Canadian, I highly recommend this book. It should be taught in schools, as it helps to put into perspective the hardships that marginalized populations faced. It also provides students with invaluable history about the Metis peoples, and, furthermore, a way of life that has since vanished. As a female, one can identify with the womanly issues that Campbell faces, such as maturation, pregnancy, and domestic violence. This book is a feminist call-to-arms, and demands that women abandon their blankets of shame just as all minorities should abandon their blankets of shame too. As a Canadian, I felt that this book was a wake-up call to me, and forced me to realize that Canada is not quite the just country that Canadians like to believe it is. Read this book!
I checked our mail today (mail comes twice a week), and found that my dear friends, Ahil and Bill, had sent a package of books to me. Well, actually books AND chocolate. It was the most wonderful present ever, and a perfect way to start off February.