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1. Call it serendipity but after one of the best hockey games EVER, I was thinking yet again how screwed hockey is when it comes to sports writing (baseball gets all the attention) and then I came across an odd link at Omnivoracious concerning Yann Martel (proud Canadian) and his blog project. Martel has been sending Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper a book every two weeks with a personal letter as why he thinks the book matters. Harper has not acknowledged a single title but Martel keeps on sending. Book #70 is Tropic of Hockey by David Bidini. Here's a bit from Martel's letter:

Nothing loved can be reduced to mere entertainment, to mere anything. So just as I have an exalted view of literature and bristle at the notion of art as mere entertainment and cannot fathom anyone having a good, thinking life that doesn't include reading, so Dave Bidini exalts, bristles and cannot fathom on the subject of hockey. Each one of us cares, defends and justifies what he or she loves. Put all those passions together, and you have a society, a culture, a nation. A last word, then, on Tropic of Hockey: it's the most Canadian book I've sent you.

2. My review of Notes From No Man's Land by Eula Biss is up in the new issue of Bookslut. I remain deeply impressed by her work and in awe of the first essay in particular.

3. Alan Bradley's The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag has gotten a favorable review from Booklist - it seems Flavia is still a winner, thank goodness. (I look forward to Doret's review of this one.)

4. Jenny D., ruminates on Dorothy Dunnett, The Perilous Guard, the book on style she's working on and a realization (brought with age) on what she can and can not write. As usual, the many directions her mind takes both inspires and delights me.

5. Leila, alas, did not like Soulless - nor did many of her commenters. I however remain a fan and look forward to Changeless, due out at the end of the month.

6. Finally, I think Michelle Obama is fabulous but how anyone could choose this biography of her for the NAACP Image Award over Mare's War or The Rock and the River is beyond me. Talk about a disappointment. I'll look for a good biography of her in a decade or so but for now, choosing this title over a very talented field for teen readers is both uninspired and weak. It's an obvious choice for the rah rah title. I'd love to know who was on the judging committee.

[If you don't know who Ryan Miller is, he won the MVP for the entire hockey tournament at Vancouver.] [And he rocks.]


Oooh, I can tie in various parts of your post! I had just been reading this article on GalleyCat:

wherein President Obama had sent a fan letter to Yann Martel (though unrelated to the novelist sending books to another politician). Still, interesting to see...

How funny - Obama sends him a letter out of the blue and after more than 70 books he has yet to hear from Harper (just a few form letters from his office).

And I have been so loving Canada lately - I really hope Martel finally gets that response from his PM!

I'm more of a soccer fan, but that was an incredible hockey game! (Soccer is another sport that gets neglected in favor of the Big Three, but I suspect baseball is on its way out of the holy trinity...)

Anyway, thanks for these fun tidbits. I, too, was disappointed to see the rather prosaic choice for the YA literature Image Award. Michelle Obama is awesome, but she isn't exactly hurting for publicity.

It was a great game ... though I'd have to say that US-USSR game in 1980 still ranks as my top game. Wow! It was good, and I'm with you on Ryan Miller.

I wish there were better hockey stories. Gabby, which is about the Washington Capitol's coach, is "okay," but too campy.

It'll be interesting to see how the folks in Pittsburgh react tonight when Crosby returns to the ice.

I think pretty much every sport gets screwed compared to baseball - although I think football doesn't do too badly in comparison. (You're right though on soccer, Sarah - nothing much good there literary-wise.)

I hope the Penguins give Crosby a lot of love, Terry - it was a good shot. And I hope Buffalo supports Miller in a big way too - he was so awesome!

I love baseball stories. I enjoy any good sport story. I would happily read a novel about cricket. You would think hockey stories would get more love in Canada. Like baseball its a family sport. And there's a lot of action.

I am tired of sports stories about steriods.

YES - the steroid bit has been played to freaking death and it is always tied into teen angsty bits about not being good enough and pressure from parents, etc.

Sigh. I'd love a good sports story, period. Especially on running. Have we had a good sports story about running teens?

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