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Monday, November 29, 2004

Books of the year.

The folks at the Complete Review web site seem to agree with the quality of the Globe's Top 100. See link. At least they offer a different set of links to other top books of the year. You may even visit amazon dot com to see their top 100 bestsellers.

Here is the NY Times selection of the top books of 2004.

Friday, November 26, 2004

It doesn't get much geekier than this...

Get this, a "science fiction cruise". Some event highlights include:

- Special panel discussions and writing workshops with our guest speakers
- Access to, and dining with guest speakers
- Author readings
- "Beat the Champ" Science Fiction Trivia Quiz
- A writing competition judged by our guest authors
- Midnight Movie Screenings
- Traveling with like-minded readers
- Private receptions
- A fully hosted vacation
- All-inclusive pricing

Stop it already! I can't take all that virtual-squealing-with-glee-in-cyber-space! Mom! Where's my Voltron the Destroyer costume? What's so special about 'midnight movie screenings'...I'd rather be in bed by then. And just what constitutes 'private receptions'? I'm scared to ask.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

2004 Quebec Writers' Federation (QWF) Awards

Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction
Edeet Ravel
Look for Me
Random House Canada

Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction
Joel Yanofsky
Mordecai and Me: An Appreciation of a Kind
Red Deer Press

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A Lawson dilemma

New definition of 'dilemma':
How could Julie want to go out and watch a Tuesday night movie--a Bridget Jones flick no less--when Nigella Lawson, the Nigella, is on tonight's episode of Christine Cushing Live? I mean, my good God man, it's like every man's (food) fantasy.

B.J.: The Edge of Reason the film disappoints. Repeat of every gag from last movie. The woman lawyer turns out to be a lesbian thus B.J. had no reason to be jealous all along of Mark 'wanker' Darcy... sorry about the spoiler; should've warned you earlier. Happy sappy ending despite tumult she gets into in Bangkok. Was also disappointed Jim Broadbent had surprisingly few lines. Pity. He was a comedic spark in original film. I was glad to catch the CCL episode with Nigella in any event. Happy dreams kiddies.

I second Maud Newton!

More comics, too, please! Maud Newton's recent blog entry "plaintively cries out for more Litterati comics" from the Lit ninjas on I do too, though the lack of comic's presence is nothing I normally would cry about. By the way, where's the "prize" for June 2004's winning entry from yours truly? Ahhh...the recognition and adulation is prize enough I suppose.

Bildungsromans Rule!

from the Globe and Mail today...
"Miriam Toews of Winnipeg, who was also up for the Giller Prize but lost to Alice Munro last week, triumphed in the Governor-General's contest with her novel A Complicated Kindness. It tells the story of a teenager growing up in an isolated Mennonite town in Manitoba where the old ways of the church leaders are at odds with encroaching modern society.
"An unforgettable coming-of-age story, this novel is melancholic and hopeful, as beautifully complicated as life itself," the judges said."

Saturday, November 13, 2004

gritLIT Short Story Contest Winner

The story Jewel Weed, by Hamiton writer Marilyn Gear Pilling, was chosen as the winner of the gritLIT short story contest. Over 70 stories were submitted to judges Trevor Cole, Rachael Preston and Daniel Coleman as part of the annual gritLIT writers' festival, Nov. 4 to 7.

Here is an brief excerpt from the story:

"Hubert Aquin is a major Quebec writer who committed suicide in Montreal in 1977 by blowing his brains out with a shotgun on the grounds of a girl’s convent school, and HA! is an eight hundred and seventy page book by Gordon Sheppard about his suicide. I read HA! this summer. All my friends are now reading HA! They have to, if they want to continue being my friends. Just kidding, but not really. The thing is, when I looked up from the last page of HA!, I was not the same person I’d been when I began it. It was that transforming. I had to tell everybody about this book.
I reply to Julie’s suggestion of a third chair by saying that “they” might not want us to put another chair at our little table. They probably want to keep the aisle clear so they can get by. “Maybe it’s a fire exit aisle, Julie.”
I can't believe those words came out of my mouth. I dislike people who stop others from doing things for reasons of ostensible “health and safety”.
Julie says she's going to ask anyway, and disappears. She wants to discuss HA! over lunch. She says it shook her up. I pull the book from my bag and let it land with a sudden thump on the table, the way Julie landed in my driveway, the way Hubert Aquin landed in the life of all his women.
Julie returns with a chair, which she places in the aisle facing our small table for two. The waiter said sure, she reports. I greet Hubert and move his chair closer to the table. Julie says she guesses it’s okay that I’ve moved the chair so close that it touches the table; Hubert must be pretty thin by now. Yes, I agree, he'll be skin and bones. Then I remember that his suicide was in 1977, and correct myself. Hubert will be bones. I say bones, and we laugh, but I think both of us are picturing Hubert the way he’s described in Sheppard's book. His distinctive eyes, nose, and cheekbones. His charming smile. The erotic charge he gave off."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Read Chapter 1 of HA! A Self-Murder Mystery

Author found shot in her car

Associated Press, Los Gatos Friday November 12, 2004
The Guardian Iris Chang, a best-selling author who chronicled the Japanese occupation of China and the history of Chinese immigrants in the United States, has been found dead in her car with a self-inflicted gunshot, authorities said. She was 36.
Chang, who won critical acclaim for her books The Rape of Nanking and The Chinese in America, was found on Highway 17 just south of Los Gatos.
The official cause of death has not been released, but investigators concluded that she shot herself in the head. She lived in San Jose with her husband and two-year-old son.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Chang worked briefly as a reporter before leaving daily journalism to pursue her own writing.
In 1997 she published the international bestseller The Rape of Nanking, which described the rape, torture and killing of hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers in the former Chinese capital during the 1930s.
She suffered a breakdown during a recent trip researching a book, her former editor and agent, Susan Rabiner, said.
Chang continued to suffer from depression after she was released from hospital.
AP, Los Gatos

Thursday, November 11, 2004

History of the poppy

The flower of remembrance.


My weblog, among the teeming millions, appears to be listed on What an interesting concept...I think.

The 2004 Giller Prize goes to...

... Alice Munro for her short story collection Runaway

The shortlisted books...
Shauna Singh Baldwin for her novel The Tiger Claw, published by Knopf Canada
Wayson Choy for his novel All That Matters, published by Doubleday Canada
Pauline Holdstock for her novel Beyond Measure, published by Cormorant Books
Alice Munro for her short story collection Runaway, published by McClelland & Stewart/Douglas Gibson Books
Paul Quarrington for his novel Galveston, published by Random House Canada
Miriam Toews for her novel A Complicated Kindness, published by Knopf Canada

The year is 2004. The winner, Alice Munro. One of the judges, M.G. Vassanji.
The year was 1994. The winner, M.G. Vassanji. One of the judges, Alice Munro.
Hmmm... Quid pro quo?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Did you wash your hands?

Man, I thought I knew everything about clean hands when I was five...then I came across this link from our neighbours to the south. Those people at the The Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) sure know a thing or two about cleanliness. This site is a dream for a person with O.C.D. There you will find more links to other web sites, guides, fact sheets, manuals, signs, posters, forms and online slides and videos...all on how to wash your hands. Wow.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Donald Brittain - Man of Film

The online e-publisher digiwire features, as its premier publication, Brian Nolan's latest work, Donald Brittain - Man of Film. Digiwire dot com is a non-fiction book and E-book publishing company and an electronic bookstore. Incredibly, you can purchase the e-book online for a mere $5. The web site proclaims, "Donald Brittain was called a genius and one of Canada's national treasures. Man of Film is the story of this prolific and audacious artist, a complex personality whose films remain as compelling today as the day they were made." Additionally, there is an exerpt of chapter 22 available for your perusal.

The book launch is this Thursday afternoon 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at L'Ange cafe at 109B Sparks Street on the north side of the street between Metcalfe and O'Connor Streets in Ottawa. You know the door to the famous mustard shop.

Morley Beats Ernest! (yawn...)
Morley Callaghan is in the news again, albeit this time on a boxing web site. Got the link from Maud Newton's web log. The article is another simple retelling of the Hemingway vs. Callaghan sparring match in the summer of 1929. There is a factual error (maybe more?) in that it purports Callaghan was a former colleague of Hemingway at the Kansas City Star. Morley actually only met Ernest while working at the Toronto Daily Star. Though not a new story, but it still amazes me that this story still surfaces every now and then.