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Geist Magazine Spring, 2011
Naomi Beth Wakan, Book Ends: A Year Between the Covers, Poplar Press, 2010
Reviewed by Kris Rothstein

Reading Book Ends: A Year Between the Covers (Poplar Press) made me want to sit down and have a conversation about books with the author, Naomi Beth Wakan. She responds to a year’s worth of reading and boy, does she ever cover a lot of topics, from D. H. Lawrence to biographies of Sylvia Plath, from Art Spiegelman’s graphic novels to a book on compact Japanese culture. She also takes on some big literary subjects, like what are the books that every reader should tackle and what is the point of reading at all. She breezes through some books while others pop up in the narrative for several months. To be fair, one is the monumentally long Tale of Genji, which she is reading for the umpteenth time. Some titles, much loved, evoke little response, while others are much more provocative, stretching her to think and reply. Wakan also brings her lively Gabriola Island community to life, particularly with her notes analysing the local library’s magazine subscriptions. Book Ends is chatty, disarming and sweetly sly, and all insatiable readers will find something enticing in its pages.

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