Right up my alley, John Rippo has been capturing snapshots of coffee shop culture in The Espresso, his independent newspaper for cafe society. Heard in the Houses is a collection of vignettes based on Rippo’s observations of cafe patrons.
Rippo spoke with NPR’s “Morning Edition” about a predilection close to my heart. LISTEN, or READ the full transcript.
Now, enjoy this scene from Coffee & Cigarettes featuring Bill Murray, RZA and GZA from Wutang Clan.
Hosted by Todd Babiak, with a keynote speech from Shelagh Rogers, the awards will be announced Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the Alberta Book Awards Gala, co-hosted by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta and The Writers’ Guild of Alberta.
To celebrate, here’s a cute video of a baby losing it while his mum reads to him.
Throughout April 2013, look out for Page Turner Champions, a group of 30 readers, writers, and publishing professionals who have each gotten behind Project Bookmark Canada to issue a call to action: Be a Champion!
Donate now. You’ll be supporting a national, charitable organization dedicated to placing text from stories and poems in the exact locations in which their scenes were set, to serve as constant reminders that Canada is a nation of storytellers. You’ll also be entered for a chance to win prizes, including my reader-inspired book, Seen Reading.
“For $20 — less than the cost of the average paperback — readers can help us turn the page and write the Bookmark story.”—Miranda Hill, Writer and Founder of Project Bookmark Canada
Directed by Jeremy Munce, this book trailer for David Seymour‘s poetry collection For Display Purposes Only (Coach House, 2013) features a host of Canadian writers reciting from “Eyewitness Testimony.”
Sustains a tight thrum, and delivers some great performances. Karen Solie is a stand out.
When you take someone home, you display books that mean the most to you, or at least relay the message you most want received. And if you’re the one being taken, a make-it-or-break-it book will always catch your eye, sealing the deal or eliciting that record scratch moment and a sudden need to text someone from the bathroom.
I asked some friends to submit examples of books that put a flutter in their endpapers, get them hot under the covers, and knotted up in their bindings.
Say Please, by Sinclair Sexsmith (ed) ; Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino;
And either of my books, cuz people seem to think that writers are hot: Stealing Nasreen and Six Metres of Pavement.
Heather Birrell Rapture, by Susan Minot;
Ann Patchett’s The Magician’s Assistant, one of my favourite love stories of all time (and a near perfect novel, if you ask me); The Republic of Love, by Carol Shields;
I might be concerned (depending on my disposition towards said lover) if John Berger’s To The Wedding were prominently displayed. And Darren O’Donnell’ s Your Secrets Sleep With Me might also give me pause.
Best introduction: I wouldn’t be with my husband except for the conjunction of Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin (my shelf) and Refiner’s Fire, by Mark Helprin (his shelf).
Beware: either Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or Eat/Pray/Love displayed as evidence of sensitive nature.
Hideous warning: a bookless shelf.
I’d like a sniff of John Berryman somewhere. Mavis Gallant is definitely making me think I should pack a toothbrush. Same goes for William Trevor and W.S. Merwin.
If in seduction mode, I’d have to lay out, no pun intended, Lorrie Moore’s Birds of America, Mating, by Norman Rush, and A Sport and a Pastime, by James Salter. If that doesn’t work, I was wasting my time in the first place.
Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Books in every room is a big turn on. There should be a bookshelf in every room. Raymond Carver collected, Mark Anthony Jarman’s Dancing Nightly in the Tavern, Leon Rooke’s Who Do You Love?, James Salter’s Last Night.
Poetry: Don Paterson, hands down. There’s no fear in him.
In the kitchen you should have several cookbooks: at least one about baking, with heavy emphasis on bread-making, because it’s slow and tangible.
Other than that there should be two of: home-cooking French, Italian, or Indian. Cooks are sensualists, so you know it’ll turn out to be a good night.
My requirement would be that the person have precisely the book I want to read and have not done so. So I’d be looking for telepathy.
Also, I really think shagging is a great deal more pragmatic than leaving books around the place. Therefore if that were the goal surely explicit sex guides would be more use. Or that anthology Bad Sex.
If there were none of the above, I could probably be persuaded on the merits of Georges Perec on the kitchen table. My partner had lovely bookshelves it’s true, but his cup of tea was exquisite.
If Saturday, by Ian McEwan, was in the apartment, I would flee on sight.
Nathalie Atkinson The Fermata, by Nicholson Baker, full stop; Essays In Love, by Alain de Botton.
(Nathalie’s boyfriend adds: Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, by Anders Nilsen, “like Love Story, only good.”)
Heidi Shiller Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell;
Pablo Neruda; Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov.
Alicia Louise Merchant
Leaving Infinite Jest lying around would probably get me simultaneously laid and not laid, if that’s possible because I always end up fucking guys who have A Real Thing for David Foster Wallace, but I’m one of those “I knew Wallace for his magazine work” people who has never made it through IJ. It’s a kind of cock-tease that I have it on my shelf—off the shelf, even!—but haven’t made it all the way through. Guys are always like, “I love IJ! It’s my favourite book!” And I’m like, Yeah, I haven’t actually read it, and then they are incredulous and take a look around at all my other books and just can’t believe I haven’t read it.
I’m more of a publisher snob than title snob. If I see any Dalkey Archive, New Directions, or NYRB books, I’m hooked.
I also look for stacks of books throughout the apartment (shows he reads regularly) and at least one book on the nightstand.
These days, I also like to see How Should a Person Be, by Sheila Heti, on someone’s shelf.
Trevor Cole The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx, because her prose is sexy and it’s a love story; Cereus Blooms at Night, by Shani Mootoo, because it’s crazy sensual; Annabel, by Kathleen Winter, because I’m a sensitive guy;
As for record-scratch titles, I might turn around and walk out if I saw Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey.
Jaime Woo Nigellissima, by Nigella Lawson is a total boner maker;
James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds, too. (I’m a nerd.)
Oh, and, of course, my book, Meet Grindr.
Jennifer Murtell Barrett Portable Kisses, by Tess Gallagher. (I have it on good authority that Jennifer’s now husband bought her the book and she was “ensnared.”)
I will not fuck someone who has Ayn Rand anywhere in their apartment;
but, I will definitely fuck someone who has a stack of Ian McEwan lying around.
Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson; The Captain’s Verses, by Pablo Neruda.
Steph Cilia VanderMeulen
If you have McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, because it’s sexy and a love story and has cowboys, I’d stay the night;
Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk about Love, because his superb writing totally excites me;
Charles Baxter’s The Feast of Love; Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare; Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand.
Might help in bed: The Pornographer’s Poem, by Michael Turner; My Secret Garden, by Nancy Friday; Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, by Pablo Neruda.
Cold showers: The Female Eunuch, by Gloria Steinem; The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood.
(I read both at age 13, and they informed my sexuality, for better or for worse.)
As for me, Julie Wilson, if the last time you bought a Canadian-authored book was in your first year of university, maybe just hide those in the back.
Beyond that, I’d be disappointed not to see any David Sedaris, contemporary short fiction, and at least one poetry title that isn’t Leonard Cohen. Bonus points for a Karen Solie or a Susan Holbrook, especially if you giggle when I say “tampon.” (Then I’ll know you’ve read Joy Is So Exhausting.)
Dennis Lee’s Body Music, S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, and Lorna Crozier’s The Book of Marvels will certainly tickle my fancy, while anything by David Foster Wallace will intimidate me, and, while unfortunate, I may be inclined to ask if you’ve really read all his work. . . . . Crickets will hopefully give way to comfortable silence and a quick glimpse of Geist’s Atlas of Canada: Meat Maps and Other Strange Cartographies.
If by this point things haven’t ground to a complete halt, it’s possible you’ll open up about that particularly curious pile of older books—Pride and Prejudice, The Three Little Kittens, The Little Prince, Gems of Womanhood—not the other pile of old and gutted books in which you store your rolling papers.
You have kids books? I might look for kids. That answered, and depending on how much wine/bourbon we’ve had, we might read one aloud in the “Man at the Edge of the Universe Voice”. If sexual tension hasn’t instead given way to braiding each other’s hair, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ should get you to second base.
As for gadgets, an ereader won’t turn me off in the slightest, but should we retire to the boudoir, I’d rather discover a paper book by your bedside.
Finally, will I be impressed if you have a copy of my book? Absolutely—provided it lives in the bathroom, cuddled up to Joe Brainard’s I Remember.
(Quick shout out to my darling girlfriend: Love ya, babe!)
Jokes aside, this Valentine’s Day, and every day to follow, I wish you all the love and lust you can find between the crisply-typeset sheets of a good book . . . in bed.
And, if all else fails, read to him/her. Works every time.
From The Book of Love, by The Magnetic Fields:
“The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing but
I . . .
I love it when you read to me and
You . . .
You can read me anything.”
Monday, news prematurely broke that Martin Levin, books editor with Globe and Mail since 1996, and Jack Kirchoff, the section’s assistant editor, had been removed from their positions. While Kirchoff has yet to be reassigned (as of this post), Levin will move into the role of obituaries editor where he will report on the lingering death of publishing.
A job opening has now been posted, and while it’s not terribly likely that the Globe will find the successful candidate out of house, I have a message to my fellow ladykind. I’m doing this for your own good. Please, don’t hate me . . .
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!”
I don’t mean this lightly. I’ve been on the listservs, and follow the counts and CWILA’s establishment of a Critic-in-Residence (Sue Sinclair). I’ve been both pained and entertained by the ongoing Twitterfire exchanged between a host of bright and passionate people about the lack of women in reviews coverage (and in the reviews themselves.) We have the numbers. Not enough women writers being reviewed. Not enough women writing reviews.
Let me be clear. This isn’t a continued attack against existing books editors, although I might be suggesting that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing during the hiring process to acknowledge that it’s mostly women who both read and buy books.
No, what I’m really saying is that of the men I know who go for gigs, any gig, most do so because they have the skill sets to learn how to do the job. Whereas, ladies, gawd love us, we sometimes do this thing where we don’t even go for the job until we know how to do it, and everyone else’s, too. I’ll also tell you a little something else. Of the male books editors in this country, more than a few inherited the gig or were reassigned from another section. They had to learn, too.
So, I’m begging you. If you have the interest, if you have the experience, if you have the chops, and if you have LADY BITS, here’s the job description at Workopolis. Apply.
Putting down the pom poms, here’s the bad news. You’re probably not going to get the gig. I really hope you do. Because if you’re all those things above, you should get the gig. You’re clearly qualified. But it’s a union gig, so, there’s that.
No, the real reason you need to apply is because there won’t be a chance again soon(ish) that you’ll have the opportunity to apply to be the Books Editor of a national newspaper, and to give that national newspaper the opportunity to count just how many women are invested in the very conversations that keep a section robust, thriving and forward-moving.
That doesn’t just count for something. That’s the point of this all.
Addendum: I have had the pleasure of working with Martin and Jack since I broke in my first publishing toof, and wish them only the best. Before this post, I was among the first to publicly express my dismay that they’d been reassigned. No matter my call for a forward (and possibly futile) charge, it in no way diminishes the loss to book culture and conversation that is the combined efforts of these kind fellows.
I’ve arrived in Calgary for WordFest 2012 and am already having what feels like a time of my life.
There really is something quite special about this festival—a sense of community and energy—possibly because it comes on the cusp of the fall festival season while authors are still a bit giddy about appearances, along with the resulting comradeship that will form over the next week before many of us head to beautiful Banff and the famed Summit Salon, a chance for creators to throw off the formal attire and toss on some fleece, all while talking about the industry-at-large set against one of the most stunning views in the world.
I, personally, already feel as if I’ve forged a few friendships and am grateful for the time I’ll get to spend with fellow authors, as both writers and readers. There’s a genuine sense that everyone wants to help everyone else, less a matter of keeping your enemies closer than genuine support from your peers. There’s no industry of one.
Which brings me to Susan Swan, a known mentor to new writers and passionate spokesperson for writers’ rights. She’s also spent a fair chunk of this morning trying to come up with some press play for our Saturday panel, How Should a Writer Be? (You should come. It’ll be fun.)
While we continue to bump noggins, I thought I’d return the kindness and remind you that Susan’s latest novel, The Western Light, (Cormorant Books) is on your To Buy list.
Below is Projections of The Western Light, a BookShorts video made with collaborator Judith Keenan. Check it out.
With images of Georgian Bay immersing her in an evocative visual landscape, author/performer Susan Swan delivers just enough story to tease the viewer with hints of the father-daughter dilemmas her character Mouse Bradford faces in the novel. It sets the tone of 1959 small town Ontario with a soundtrack that immediately places the viewer in the era. The score brings Susan’s performance into the realm of lyrics to a song, the words of which are, as the reviewers are saying, “poetic descriptions … particularly vivid, and help bring the world of the novel to vibrant life.” (Quill & Quire, October 2012).
For more about Susan Swan, the excellent reviews of The Western Light, and her extensive reading tour, visit www.susanswanonline.com.
Yesterday, I sat in front of my computer, and, as luck would have it, so did Corey Redekop. We spent the next half hour talking about Husk, the follow up to his biblio-rrific novel Shelf Monkey.
Husk is the story about everyzombie Sheldon Funk. It’s sharp-witted, gross, “stupid-funny” and astute in its observations on what it means to be alive even if you’re dead.
Husk has received great reviews from the Toronto Star and Quill & Quire (among others), and won the favour of authors such as Andrew Kaufman and Andrew Pyper.
In this chat, we talk zombies, body horror, grotesque humour, the hilariously-inappropriate book trailer (see below), Corey’s upcoming appearance at IFOA, and, finally, who will (un)likely play Sheldon Funk in the sure-to-be-made movie adaptation of Husk. (Hint: He may be a little too beef-cakey.)
From the event listing: Julie Wilson’s compulsion to observe people reading on streetcars and subways led to Seen Reading, a collection of microfictions based on these sightings. Who is the reader and what does a book tell us about him or her? Wilson and Julie Booker, author of Up, Up, Up, offer answers to those questions.