Unfit Criticism 2: Personal Investments

The second in a unique series of critical texts by Shane Neilson, Personal Investments centres the author’s method of “bioreviewing.” Using this lens, Neilson brings books by writers into relation with his own subjectivity, offering unusual aesthetic commentary intermixed with his own experience. Later, Neilson focuses more squarely on prose, collecting together substantial essays on (mostly Canadian) novels and nonfiction.

Personal Investments covers the following writers: Jonathan Franzen, Marc di Saverio, Rimbaud, Christian Bok, Kenneth J. Harvey, Doug Glover, Peter Behrens, Darren Bifford, Czeslaw Milosz, Ian Dowbiggin, David Shields, Fanny Howe, Chris Gudgeon, Casey Plett, Michael Winter, David Adams Richards, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Terry Eagleton, Sam Harris, John Terpstra, Art Seamans, EJ Pratt, Alison Pick, Joshua Shenck, David Healey, Dawn Raffel, Steven Henighan, Stan Rogal, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Jim Johnstone.

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction
2. Part One: Adventures in Bioreviewing
3. Time and Fever
4. Freedom
5. Language On Holiday
6. The Festival of No More Words
7. Explosions: A Review of Douglas Glover’s The Life and Times of Captain N
8. Finnegan’s Wake in the Porridge Universe: A Review of Peter Behrens’ The O’Briens
9. Borrowing Magic: A Review of Darren Bifford’s Wedding in Fire Country
10. Review of Ian Dowbiggin’s The Quest For Mental Health: A Tale of Science, Medicine, Scandal, Sorrow, and Mass Society
11. David Shields and the Laziness Inherent
12. Coda: This is What I Wanted To Sign Off With
13. The Poetics of Plot: A Review of Chris Gudgeon’s Song of Kosovo
14. Zero Chronology: Notes on the Use of Time in Casey Plett’s Little Fish
15. Review of Michael Winter’s Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead
16. Review of Alison Pick’s Far to Go
17. But Transcendence: A Review of Running the Whale’s Back: Stories of Faith and Doubt From Atlantic Canada
18. Review of David Adams Richards’s God Is: My Search for Faith in a Secular World and John Terpstra’s Skin Boat: Acts of Faith and Other Navigations
19. How bad is this book? Let me count the ways. A review of Art Seamans’ The Dead One Touched Me From The Past: A Walk With Writers Through The Centuries
20. It’s Not All About the Brain: A Review of Joshua Shenck’s Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression
Challenged a President and Fuelled his Greatness

21. Healey and Goliath: A Review of David Healey’s The Creation of Psychopharmacology
22. The Parodox I’m Really Pulling For: A Review of Dawn Raffel’s The Strange Case of Dr. Martin Couney
23. When Words Are An Anticlimax: A Review of Steven Henighan’s When Words Deny the World
24. Nice try, Doestoevsky: A Review of Stan Rogal’s bafflegab
25. The Story of Thee Hellbox Press: An Interview with Hugh Barclay and Faye Batchelor
26. Poetic Composition and the Implications of Scientific Theory: Jim Johnstone and Shane Neilson in
27. Idiosyncratic Notes on the Essays
28. Acknowledgements
29. Endnotes

If you’re interested in purchasing copies (only serious queries), then use the message function on this site. $500 per book, $1250 for all 4 in the series. If you are a Canadian university library, I’m afraid only one university per province will be allocated a copy (with one exception). I hope it was you!