Friday, June 29, 2012

The Violent Bear it Away

I'm pretty sure it's in response to the Bruins denial of the Stanley Cup this year, but for some reason, a bear wandered from central Mass, to the Cape, and finally to our neck of the woods here in Brookline. He was caught and he's going to go live in a just-right cottage in the Berkshires (pretty sure) but what about those of us robbed of a chance to really get to know a bear? Legend has it that the bear was looking for love, or that his breeding instincts were what sent him on his epic quest. If that isn't romantic enough for you, I've rounded up some choice bear-related finds in the UBC to satisfy your wild cravings.

First up: The Bear by William Faulkner. Oh man. This novella is so rich, so wild, so gritty. I can't do it justice. Just read it, you'll be done in an hour and messed up for LIFE.

Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Technically the bear of the title bears little resemblance to actual bears. But, this is a saucy read for the prehistorically inclined on the Fifty Shades tip.

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. A novel-length retelling of the Grimm fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red, this is a harsh, lush novel with incredibly imaginative language and a lot of complicated sexual politics to parse out. Published abroad as grown-up, it's published as YA in the States, but I think anybody over the age of 15 should have to read this book.

Obviously there are lots of great kids book bears: Winnie the Pooh, Paddington, Corduroy. And there are authors and characters in grown up books that have ties to the ursine kingdom. Here's Gary Shteyngart with a bear:

You could check Ursula K. LeGuin. Or The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence, in which the main character is Ursula. The end of The Howling Miller by Arto Paasilinna has a pretty epic bear chase. If none of these interest you, I'd recommend grabbing a big jar of honey and camping out in front of a marathon of Bear Grylls. Or, share your favorite bookish bears in the comments.

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