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Thursday, September 30, 2004

OIWF Day 2

Best surprise talent: Steven Galloway.
Best Read: Damon Galgut.
Best Lisp: Frances Itani (just kidden')
Best Beer: Steam Whistle
Best Seat: Somewhere near the front.
Where I sat: back of the room against wall near an old deaf man with his poor wife. At first I thought it was cute. But he kept whispering loudly in that way, you know, when a deaf person can't hear himself so he whispers at the top of his lungs thinking no one else but his wife can hear him. The hour went something like this...

Announcer: "I would like to welcome Alberto Manguel..."

Alberto Manguel: [says something brilliant I think]

Deaf old man to wife: Is it time to ask questions?

Wife to old deaf husband: Shhhhh!

Deaf old man to wife: What did he say? Alberto never read any books?! What did he say?

Wife to old deaf husband: Shhhhh! Everybody can hear you!

Deaf old man to wife: It is time to go? I want to go now. Why are they laughing? I want to go now.

Wife to old deaf husband: Shhhh! It's not over yet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

OIWF Day 1

The first night of the Ottawa International Writers Festival started off with a fight. There was not one but a pair of local sonneteers in a boxing-match-styled-battle fighting over whether the "sonnet was worth a damn." Introduced by James Moran-cum-Michael Buffer with the famous trademarked phrase "LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!"® Stephen Brockwell and Peter Norman traded iambic pentameters and patterned rhymes with each other with their works from Wild Clover Honey and The Beehive: 28 Sonnets on the Sonnet. Eventually the poetic sparring match ended, without injury, in a draw to much audience appreciation.

Miracle and Relic [Stephen Brockwell]

If rain were no miracle, the Sarhara
would bloom with carrot, corn and cabbage;
no mother would starve, no child eat garbage.
Friends, we welcome you to controlled Nirvana.
Here all things fall in boxes made for them.
All nature bends to satisfy: the mind
illuminates the sun, controls the wind,
feeds each fly, paints each blossom on each stem.

The sonnet's a relic: its ancient bones
bestow faith in the illusion of control.
Let's watch as we swallow the planet whole
and replace a forest of trees with stones.
Embrace chaos in both form and belief
or we may find our days on earth are brief.

Insurgence [ Peter Norman]

Yes, deserts thirst. That's nature, nothing more,
No point in grubbing for miracle there.
What have you proved with all this metaphor?
A sonnet doesn't swallow earth, or strip it bare;
It's not a relic buried in the sand
Among old bones; it doesn't stunt or crush:
It limits only as a painter's hand
Closes around the handle of the brush.

Chaos can thrive in this tropical storm,
Insurgent dervish with a measured eye,
Shapely sprial fringed ragged with flagella
Whipped from wisps of sky,
Yet so lovely shot from space, spun light, made mellow,
This patterned brawl, this bawling swirl of breath, this
[flawless form.

Spotted in the crowd: Melanie Little, David O'Meara, Gary Geddes, Catherine Bush, Steven Galloway, Kim Barry Brunhuber, and Damon Galgut, and the crew with JC Sulzenko among others.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Gordon Sheppard's HA! A Self-Murder Mystery released in US

The publishing industry in Canada is a risky business at best. When McGill-Queen's University Press decided to take on and publish Gordon Sheppard's mammoth literary work, a documentary novel on the life and death of Hubert Aquin, they gambled. Publishing HA! A Self-Murder Mystery, technically a work of fiction, was a first of its kind for the academic press, and the first print run was remarkably small--just 2100 copies. Sales of the book have been good since its publication last year and the reviews have been laudatory. The most recent review, by Geeta Nadkarni was in the Globe and Mail Book insert, The New Canadian Magazine.

The book will meet its next hurdle tomorrow when it officially gets released into the US market. The Barnes and Noble web site will be accepting online orders for the book starting September 28, 2004. However, it would be prudent to get a copy soon as only a tiny fraction of the first Canadian print run will be available to the US. This begs the question, what happens if/when the book takes off in the huge US market? Potentially, the press could have egg on their face should there be a run on the book with no second printing immediately planned. Sheppard is hopeful that any remaining copies will be briskly sold pending a combination of forthcoming appearances at local book fairs, conferences, and TV appearances, notably on Global TV's Mystery Ink in November.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Dieby Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

©2004 American Library Association.

Friday, September 24, 2004

David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas" for sale!

Sometime around the first week of October I will be listing David Mitchell's novel, Cloud Atlas, up for auction on eBay. It is a signed, true first UK edition, first printing in as new condition complete with blue wrap-around band. I actually bought two copies earlier this year based on the high praise it had received upon its publication. Since then, it was longlisted and subsequently now shortlisted for the upcoming prestigious 2004 Man Booker Prize. As of September 14, 2004 some poor soul actually parted with $339.69 USD on eBay for a UK signed Advance Readers Copy/Proof of the book. Needless to say, I want some of this action. Ka-ching! Is it really worth it? Damn straight it is!

Monday, September 20, 2004

Trading With Daniel Richler

I recently received an email from Daniel Richler (Editor-in-Chief/Supervising Producer BookTelevision) inquiring about my web page about his father's first novel, Wicked We Love (originally titled The Acrobats). After exchanging an email or two, I found out he just recently aquired a copy of the uncommon paperback edition. Being bold, I offered a copy of an uncorrected proof of Joshua Then and Now up for trade for a signed first edition of his first novel, Kicking Tomorrow. Graciously, as I suspected, he accepted my proposal with a 'Richler Ahoy!' and today in my mail box appeared a thick package replete with a fridge magnet, bookmarker with book darts, a BookTelevision Pin, a sticker and, of course, the signed copy as promised. What a sweet deal. Now if I can just get an 8x10 glossy of his colleague, Rachel Giese...

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Salon du Livre Ancien de Montréal Antiquarian Book Fair

Salon du Livre Ancien de Montréal Antiquarian Book Fair
21st edition 18 & 19 of September 2004

Concordia UniversityPavillon McConnel, 1400 blvd de Maisonneuve west

Sam/Sat. : 12h00 - 18h00 et Dim/Sun. : 11h00 - 17h00

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Ottawa International Writers Festival

The Ottawa International Writers Festival is on again this fall. You cannot pretend to love books and not attend this well organized festival in Canada's capital city. Basically, I attend because the Steam Whistle pilsner is cheap and cold--seeing the authors read is a bonus. The organizers finally updated their web site this year and the line up of authors scheduled to appear are top notch (as usual). I am especially looking forward to seeing Gordon Sheppard, Alberto Manguel, Damon Galgut, "the" S.E. Hinton (high school memories), Alistair MacLeod, Colin McAdam (just bought his book today at Chapters) among many others.

Membership Passes and individual tickets are available over the phone at (613) 562-1243 or from Nicholas Hoare, 419 Sussex Drive. Tickets for most events cost $12 for the General Public and $10 for Students and Seniors. Events that are $5 or offered Free are marked in the schedule. Tickets for individual Ottawa International Writers Festival events are available over the phone until September 24, 2004. After September 24, tickets will only be available at the venue prior to events. Please call for special school rates and book club bookings. Looking for the best deal? A one-year Membership to the Ottawa International Writers Festival - which cost just $65 or $55 for students and Seniors - entitles holders to:* Free access to the entire Festival from September 29 to October 6, 2004* Special discounts on all year-round programming, including the CanadaEuropa festival and upcoming guests like Norman Jewison and David Suzuki* 10% off at Nicholas Hoare books on Sussex Drive* A subscription to our new e-mail newsletter which we'll be launching in November. To become a Member, please email Leslie Wilson at or call (613) 562-1243.