Does this bookshelf say "2001: A Space Odyssey" to anyone besides me?

Hm.... In other news, I will not be reading The Heart is A Lonely Hunter at this time, because I will be out of town when book club meets. But feel free to send me your comments'n'reviews on it at some point down the road, and I'll be happy to post 'em on the blog.



If this is to be believed, Bai Ling has a book on the go.... this blows my mind for several reasons, not least of which is perfectly outlined by her online prose.

Anyone else want to take shots at how much the book will suck?

My brain hurts. Must rest now.

so what?

It's stories like this one that make short fiction so frustrating to me.... Gorgeous writer (of course, it is Miriam Toews, after all), funny and quirky observations, but absolutely no story arc. I don't expect a Da Vinci Code-packed plot or anything in a couple thousand words. But seriously -- what is the point of this story?

The Geist piece highlights why Naomi K. Lewis's work is so good in Cricket in a Fist. The book is a novel, but it wasn't developed that way. Lewis wrote each chapter as a short story for her university creative writing courses, and so each tale reads as a rather separate piece. Still, she manages to apply plot to her chapters, which makes them all the more readable.

(I love Lewis's prose -- I must admit I am not yet finished her book, but I love her way with words. Thought I'd share this wee excerpt: "Esther looked up from her cards as though surprised to find herself in such an unlikely setting. She waved her hand, seven of spades fluttering. 'Three generations and not a man to be seen. All gone. Like this.' A butterfly had left Ginny's basil to flutter past the railing. Addressing Ginny's bulge, she concluded, 'Such a family you'll be born into.' Ginny put her hand protectively over her middle." p. 53)

Totally off-topic and pointing to another link to Geist, I offer this to make you giggle.



I'm giving an advanced thumbs-down to this project.

Where do I start.... MTV ruins everything. I know Reality Bites was way over-the-top....

but seriously, MTV ruins everything.

Then there's the Susan Sarandon issue.

Without her, the movie will be bad.

With her, it would be weird. Because she's 62 years old.

And does anyone remember MTV movies? Joe's Apartment, anyone? Film adaptation of Wuthering Heights? Didn't think so.

Cult classics, people. We must protect our cult classics.


brilliant! disjointed!

There must be a way to make these* at home. I've always wanted to make art with clippings from Nancy Drew classics, but then I remind myself I don't actually make art. I make messes. My friend Cara the Girl,** on the other hand....

*I was inspired by Trashionista.
**I'm blatantly shilling for a friend. Sorry. Sometimes I accidentally sell out, sometimes on purpose.

In other book-ish news.... Have you thought about Ann-Marie MacDonald lately? If you're in Alberta, probably not. But if you're in my old stomping grounds, maybe.

(Man, I loved the Shaw. Granted, I never went to the Stratford, but the Shaw was really cool. And at the end of the season they would have these really awesome garage sales, and you could buy furniture props and shoes and clothes.)

In way more bizarre theatre-book news, how about that Miriam Toews? Weird, eh?

Okay, that's all for random thoughts from me tonight. Have you gone to Taste of Edmonton yet? Get on it! Only three more days!


meditations on love

Well, now this is exciting. I loved Sarah Dunn's The Big Love because it was, frankly, unlike most "chick lit" reads. At once a meditation on love (love love, not lust love or accident love or even fairy tale love) and religion, the author questioned whether the two can meet in the 21st century. It was startlingly honest, and so different from the over-the-top sex stories you might find in, I don't know, a Candace Bushnell novel....

In other news, I'm reading Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, a birthday present from T and A. (I was going to write that it was a gift from T&A, but that made me giggle, and my concentration faltered.)

Deep thoughts:

".... my memory has grown increasingly dim, and I have already forgotten any number of things. Writing from memory like this, I often feel a pang of dread. What if I've forgotten the most important thing? What if somewhere inside me there is a dark limbo where all the truly important memories are heaped and slowly turning into mud?" (p. 10)


it's super hero time!!

I'm going to take some blogging license here, and move from this new book -- featuring Jennifer Weiner, of course -- on to this new web-based TV show that has rocked my world.

With a hammer.

And by hammer, I mean....

(Yeah, okay, just watch the show on iTunes or wherever, and then we'll talk.)

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.


a moment of Anne

In honour of Miss Shirley's 100th birthday (and, I would estimate, the 18th anniversary of my having met her for the first time), I offer:

"What a splendid day!" said Anne, drawing a long breath. "Isn't it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one. And it's splendider still to have such a lovely way to go to school by, isn't it?"

.... Going around by the main road would have been so unromantic; but to go by Lover's Lane and Willowmere and Violet Vale and the Birch Path was romantic, if ever anything was.

Lover's Lane opened out below the orchard at Green Gables and stretched far up into the woods to the end of Cuthbert farm. It was the way by which the cows were taken to the back pasture and the wood hauled home in winter. Anne had named it Lover's Lane before she had been a month at Green Gables.

"Not that lovers ever really walk there," she explained to Marilla, "but Diana and I are reading a perfectly magnificent book and there's a Lover's Lane in it. So we want to have one, too. And it's a very pretty name, don't you think? So romantic! We can imagine the lovers into it, you know. I like that lane because you can think out loud there without people calling you crazy."

(Pages 105-106 in the Seal Book edition of Anne of Green Gables. The one with a picture of Megan Follows on the cover.)


certain girls

Forty pages from the end of Certain Girls, I started crying.

I don't want to ruin the end for those who may want to read this book -- and I know that lately I've been reading lots of books no one else wants to read -- but there was a twist. An unexpected twist, and not one that ruins a book but one that makes you want more.

And so, I hope there is a third book documenting Cannie Shapiro. I propose this story be five years down the road, and be narrated by Joy.

If it were up to me, this story would end happily.


beer me

This is a five-litre bottle of beer, created by Creston, B.C. native Frank Wloka for the Russian market....

I might argue this is unnecessary even for the Russian market, but what do I know of Russians or beer?



So.... I was supposed to go to the Shakespeare festival tonight.... but then it started to rain. Pour, actually. The wind swept up, and thunder clapped. Clouds took over the sky.... I totally wimped out.

Instead of making my way to Hawrelak Park with rain slicker in hand and blanket at the ready, I went shopping. Well, imaginary shopping. I collected a selection of perfect gifts for friends, but didn't actually buy anything. So, I guess I really just came up with suggestions for books I think they'd like? Hm....

For S:

For A in Truro:
For little Aislin:

There's a Wocket in My Pocket (this has the added bonus of being a truly hilarious book title. Even for toddlers.)

For my brother:

For C the Girl:

For E of the Island:

And, for me:




Oh dear. No more imaginary shopping for other people.



Fact: It’s hard to concentrate on anything in July. Factor in new challenges on the job (woot!) and French classes at the university, and suddenly I seem to have very little time to focus on books…. So little time that I discovered this a couple days ago, and didn’t have time to blog about it.

(Had I had time to blog about it, I think I might have mumbled about the selections being kind of pretentious…. And how most Lost clues can be found through Wikipedia rather than reading all things Catch 22 related…. Then I would have said something about how I love Sawyer and don’t you love the idea of a beautiful man lying stranded on a beach somewhere reading you novels? Even if they are pretentious? And then I would have rolled my eyes at myself and wondered if I had just made a sexist comment. I may have decided yes, but then I may have shrugged and gotten on with it.)

Myth: My hometown is an eight hour drive from Edmonton. In fact, it is closer to nine hours. Eleven if you stop in Calgary to visit old friends and make cooing sounds at and take pictures of their adorable, brilliant child.

How do you get through nine hours of hardcore driving, you ask? Well, first of all, you take time out to explore the gorgeous, gorgeous mountains.

Then, you make sure to pack yourself snacks. I suggest wine gums, because you’ll never eat the whole bag in one sitting. Also, Tim Hortons iced cappuccinos with a shot of hazelnut. Also, music:
  1. Breathe, Sia (do not follow this link if you do not want the end of Six Feet Under ruined for you)
  2. Take Me Home Country Roads, John Denver
  3. Yesterday’s Gone, Bernard Fanning
  4. Everyday is a Winding Road, Sheryl Crow
  5. Tears Dry on Their Own, Amy Winehouse
  6. Foux du fafa, Flight of the Conchords
  7. Going Home, MoZella
  8. Les Champs-Elysees, Joe Dassin
  9. Dreams, The Cranberries
  10. If You Were Gay, The Avenue Q Broadway Soundtrack (because singing showtunes keep you awake)
  11. If I Ever Leave This World Alive, Flogging Molly

Fact: When iTunes makes suggestions as to what I should by, based on my past purchases, it offers up the Macarena. Yes, you did read that correctly. The Macarena. Ah, Grade 9.

Other news….
  • Next book club book is The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
  • I saw a man reading a J.D. Robb book on a bench along Rice Howard Way and I had to keep moving so as not to stare at him. (J.D. Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, who clearly writes romance novels. I know this because Nora Roberts was my favourite romance writer throughout high school and university. In her J.D. Robb science fiction form, she is my mom’s favourite writer.)
  • A clown said something creepy to me that I will not put in words here. His makeup was melting off his face, too. Keep children away from clowns.
  • I do not understand why no performer in the Street Performers Festival is willing to wear shorts that leave anything to the imagination.

Meanwhile, I’m still reading Jennifer Weiner’s latest. Have I ever mentioned she reminds me of a younger, snarkier Judy Blume? Maybe I haven’t because she never really has before…. In Certain Girls (by the way, for all my bragging, the British cover makes no sense, and the North American hardcover art is approximately ten times more appropriate for the story), Weiner flips back and forth between mother and daughter, chapter to chapter.

Joy, 13, is trying to make sense of her mother’s decade-old over-sexed fictionalized account of how she got pregnant, dumped her boyfriend, and somehow lived happily ever after. From snippets of said not-so-fictionalized account, one can see parts of Weiner’s Good in Bed (the prequel to Certain Girls). However, it’s way more over-the-top and the reader can totally see why it brings bile to young Joy’s throat. (It raises a good question -- would Danielle Steele’s daughter want to read the sex lives her mom imagines?)

Joy is trying to figure out where she fits in in this world, and whether anyone wanted her at all. Unbeknownst to her, her mother is struggling with whether or not to have another child. Having another child would mean hiring a surrogate and tons of other drama -- definitely the kind of stuff that will send Joy’s fragile world into a heightened tailspin.

Good summer reading, friends. Good summer reading.