18 Booklist February 15, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
and the largest margin of victory ( 12 strokes).
Woods brackets his account of the tournament
with a brief review of his life on and off the
course up to spring 1997 and beyond, but it is
his memories of what happened that now-long-ago April in Augusta that will resonate with
anyone who follows golf and especially with
everyone who was riveted to their televisions as
this brash, incredibly talented young man dismantled the cathedral of golf. When Tiger’s last
putt—a tricky, curling five-footer—landed in
the bottom of the cup, it wasn’t just the young
champion and his ailing father who had tears in
their eyes. Most of us at home did, too, and this
trip down golf’s memory lane may well leave us
in the same state. —Bill Ott
An Arrangement of Skin.
By Anna Journey.
Mar. 2017. 224p. Counterpoint, $25 (9781619028470). 814.
One night, poet Journey found herself calling a Houston suicide hotline. How she got to
that dark place in her life is the subject of this
exceptionally vibrant collection. A seven-year
relationship broken by her own infidelity and
a subsequent end of a mentoring friendship
are repeated anchor events as she examines her
life. Like the first essay, a detailed account of
being a student in a beginner’s taxidermy class
taught by a former Disney employee, Journey
carefully constructs a near-living creature out
of her past and selective histories. She recalls
her father being mistaken
for a spy in South America;
the uncontrolled vining of
wisteria throughout the history of Richmond, Virginia,
and haunting reminders of
bad decisions. Zoos of antiquity, modern-day tattooed
pirates, and ghost stories are
all drawn together with Journey’s poetic talent.
Memories of Virginia Commonwealth University, Houston, and California are presented as
though Journey was conducting a tour of her
most intimate transitional moments. This retrospective does not alienate with its personal
tone. Rather, the reader is invited to reflect on
a life’s many transitions and how they become
part of the self. —Michael Ruzicka
By Douglas Coupland.
Mar. 2017. 432p. Penguin/Blue Rider, $26
Smart, prolific, and funny, Coupland (Worst.
Person. Ever., 2014) has collected dozens of
essays and short stories, post-2005, many pre-
viously published, into a fine anthology filled
with his distinctive brand of breezy, poignant
commentary. Coupland has maintained his
knack for keeping his finger firmly planted
on the zeitgeist, and, despite his apocalyptic
worldview, he manages to retain an optimism
based on human ingenuity. Humanity is ca-
pable of miraculous things, as long as we don’t
first destroy the planet. There is a lot of content
here, possibly too much. Some entries are rath-
er profound, but others are more ephemeral,
disposable, and read like blog posts, which di-
lutes the collection. On the upside, Coupland
takes on the media-saturated world of celebri-
ties, cults, apps, trends, Google, globalization,
drones, pharmaceuticals, algorithms, metada-
ta, and data. His essays evoke fellow Canadian
Marshall McLuhan, as well as Andy Warhol, as
he addresses the ramifications of new media.
The volume’s title is also the name of an exhibi-
tion of Coupland’s visual work. —Ben Segedin
Practice Resurrection: And Other
By Erik Reece.
Mar. 2017. 224p. Counterpoint, $25 (9781619026087). 814.
With his singular wit and pith, environmental
writer Reece (Utopia Drive, 2016) explores issues such as God, Christianity, the environment
(of course), and his father’s suicide in essays rife
with sentient turns of phrase
and exceptionally insightful
passages. The environmental
snapshots, taken at this moment in time, offer a calming
grasp of what is and is not important in life. His religious
insights—always tied to human beings’ dependence on
nature—begin by bringing Heraclitus and German physicist Werner Heisenberg face-to-face
against Descartes. He links ancient and modern philosophies over the eternal question of
whether the Cartesian mind-body dichotomy
is or ever was relevant, given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary found in quantum
physics. Doing so places Descartes and his ilk at
the very heart (as the father, so to speak) of the
current battle of humankind against the planet.
Reece’s depiction of the living world and its
present-day fragility is poignant and more than
a little dismaying. Additionally, few are better than he is at discussing a personal crisis of
faith—although he prefers to say his religion
“vanished like a mist off the creek”—in such
authentic language. For Reece, universal truth
is personal. —Donna Chavez
South and West: From a Notebook.
By Joan Didion.
Mar. 2017. 144p. Knopf, $21 (9781524732790). 813.
Didion’s first essay collection, the lightning-
bolt Slouching towards Bethlehem (1968),
contains the piquantly revealing “On Keeping
a Notebook,” in which this now-revered master
of incision and evocation confides, “the point
of my keeping a notebook has never been, nor
is it now, to have an accurate factual record.”
Instead, Didion asserts, it’s an effort to record:
“How it felt to me.” That is the power of her
work—her ability to precisely articulate feel-
ings, atmosphere, and undercurrents, a gift on
striking display in this slender volume made
up of two sustained notebook excerpts. One
records her often-pained observations during
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