photo of the day: locked heart

28 01 2009

This is another hdr shot that I took a few weeks ago on a day where I got quite a few hdr shots I was happy with.  I love the look of snow in hdr.


photo of the day: a snowy day (hdr style)

27 01 2009

reviews: the cellist of sarajevo and an expert in murder

26 01 2009

So clearly getting back into the blogging routine is even more difficult than I thought it would be.  I’ve had The Cellist of Sarajevo sitting on my desk for over a week as a reminder that I still need to write about it, and in that time I’ve finished two more books: An Expert in Murder and Black.

Perhaps the problem is that I find The Cellist of Sarajevo a difficult book to talk about, just as I found it a difficult book to read.  I’ve read quite a bit of war literature, but none have made so immediate to me the way in which the world can change so quickly and profoundly.  I suppose it is because the time period is closer to my own, and I cannot see what occurred as so “other” in terms of time as I do when I read WWI and WWII literature.  The story is told from the perspective of three different characters: Arrow (a female sniper), Kenan (a man going to get water for his family), and Dragan (a man trying to get to his job at a bakery).  Connecting all these is the story of Vedran Smailovic, a cellist who played Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor at the site of a bombing in honour of the dead for twenty-two days.

To me, the story of the cellist became very secondary.  He was introduced at the start of the book and even though part of Arrow’s mission involves protecting him, I didn’t pay the story of the cellist as much attention as I probably should.  It was Kenan and Dragan’s stories that really impacted me, these two men who were trying to the most basic of things, and how even the getting of bread and water became a struggle for life and death as they faced snipers and bombs.  The description of the bombing that Kenan experiences at the brewery (where he has gone to get water) made the moment so immediate and personal to me.

There are many passages that were ear-marked by me, sections that dealt with the key themes of surviving, of guilt, and of connection, and also about the futility of war.  One that falls into the latter category is after the bombing he has experienced, Kenan watches the blood being washed away by the running taps of water, and as he looks at the buildings around him that have been utterly destroyed by war, he realizes how the destruction to the city and its buildings does not have any effect on those attacking them.  He thinks:

“And this is how it goes.  Buildings are eviscerated, burned, gutted, streetcards destroyed, roads and bridges blasted away, and you can see that, you can touch it and you can walk by it every day.  But when people die they’re removed, taken to hospitals and graveyards, and before the bodies are healed or cold the spot where they were shatter is unrecognizable as a place where anything out of the ordinary happened.  This is why the men on the hills are able to kill with impunity.  If there were bodies in the streets, rotting where they fell, if the water from these taps didn’t wash away the blood and bone and skin, then maybe the men would be forced to stop, maybe they would want to stop.” (164)

My next read was something all together different.  I purchased An Expert in Murder a couple of months back.  The story appealed to me because it had the sound of an Agatha-Christie-like murder mystery, and even better yet, one set in the theatrical world.  I’d also read two of Josphenie Tey’s novels last year, and seeing that the story was focused on her also appealed to me.  I enjoyed the book, though I found Tey somewhat peripherary in the middle section of the book, and also found there were just a few too many connections between the characters right at the start of the book.  It was a good read though, and I’m looking forward to see if Upton comes out with more detective fiction in the future.

I don’t really have much to say about Black.  I read it for a book club that I advise at school.  It’s not genre I read much or enjoy that much to be honest, and I found myself wondering several times if it would be appropriate for the advisor to find something along the lines of a Coles’ Notes version.  I didn’t in the end, I plowed through it this weekend.  I was disappointed to find that it’s part of a trilogy and had no real ending.  I don’t think my curiousity about that ending will lead me to read the other two novels though, not when the to-be-read pile has grown by leaps and bounds in recent weeks.

photo of the day: a local church

14 01 2009

i’m back

14 01 2009

Yes, I disappeared for awhile.  It was completely unintentional, and I don’t have a very good reason for it.  I just find once I get out of the habit, it’s easier to not do it than to do it.

There’s another reason too.  I’ve been writing again.  I haven’t really talked about it here, and part of the reason that I haven’t been blogging as much or as thoroughly is that I devote what spare time I have to my writing.  I took a playwriting course back in the fall and it has lead me down a surprising, but really positive path, and it’s given me more confidence in my writing (the key thing I was lacking before).

I’m trying to get back on track though.

I have a few books I read during my break that I don’t really remember well enough to post about, but I will post soon about my latest read: The Cellist of Sarajevo.