Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Created in 1930 by Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy Drew was ghostwritten by several authors under the name Carolyn Keene (who also turns 80 today, I guess). She has solved over 175 mysteries and provided countless life-lessons to girls (and boys) all over the world. I can't remember which one I read first, but I spent many years obsessively reading about the adventures of Nancy and her two best friends, George and Bess.
Going back now, the books are definitely dated (and pretty formulaic). But there's something about those old yellow hardcovers that reminds me of what it was like to be 10 and not quite sure how Nancy was going to get herself out of whatever trouble she was in. But she always did, often with the help of her friends or her father, and she always figured out the mystery. And for all the stereotypes of class and race that were often present in the novels, Nancy was a smart girl who was revered, not ridiculed, for her intelligence.
So, happy birthday to my first fictional role model. Thanks for years of adventures and convincing me, for a brief period of time, that I too wanted to be a detective when I grew up.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
The Birth House by Ami McKay
Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findlay
Hooked by Carolyn Smart
So, Happy Canada Book Day. I hope you read something great.
Hold onto your hats: The Toronto Poetry Slam finals are tomorrow night. And if you're into slam, that's kind of a big deal. The finals decide who will make up this year's TPS team (four plus one alternate) and therefore, who will represent Toronto at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Bluebeard marries some pretty young thing and takes her home to his castle. Things are good for a while and then Bluebeard has to go away (on business? it's never really explained) so he gives her his giant ring of keys and says that she can go into any room in the castle she wants, except the one this specific little key opens. Naturally, her curiosity is piqued and after a couple of days she decides to see what's in that room (he'll never know, right?). Well, in that room are all his previous wives, dead and hanging up. She's disgusted and terrified (naturally), and just as she tries to leave, he returns and kills her. That's the story, in a nutshell, although there are variations on how he discovers she's found his secret wife-stash. I guess the moral is obey your husband or something.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Grain by John Glenday (Picador)A Village Life by Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)The Sun-fish by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (The Gallery Press)Cold Spring in Winter by Valérie Rouzeau and translated by Susan Wicks (Arc Publications)
The Certainty Dream by Kate Hall (Coach House Books)Coal and Roses by P.K. Page (The Porcupine's Quill)Pigeon by Karen Solie (House of Anansi Press)
Monday, April 5, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
It's National Poetry Month, so every Friday in April I will write something about Canadian Poetry.
The shortlists for the Gerald Lampert and Pat Lowther Memorial Awards were just announced, and as awards for Canadian poetry go, these are two biggies (more so because of what winning means and not because of the $1,000 you get for winning).
The Gerald Lampert Award goes to the best first book of poetry published in the given year. The shortlist:
The Certainty Dream by Kate Hall (Coach House Books)
Gun Dogs by James Langer (House of Anansi Press)
Soft Where by Marcus McCann (Chaudiere Books)
Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names by Soraya Mariam Peerbaye (Goose Lane Editions)
Inventory by Marguerite Pigeon (Anvil Press)
Something Burned Along the Southern Border by Robert Earl Stewart (Mansfield Press)
The Pat Lowther Award is given to a female poet for a collection of poetry published in the given year. The shortlist:
God of Missed Connections by Elizabeth Bachinsky (Nightwood Editions)
Permiso by Ronna Bloom (Pedlar Press)
Expressway by Sina Queyras (Coach House Books)
Paper Radio by Damian Rogers (ECW Press, a misFit book)
Lousy Exploriers by Laisha Rosnau (Nightwood Editions)
Pigeon by Karen Solie (House of Anansi Press)
Relatively speaking, there are very few big poetry prizes given out each year, which means that the ones that are awarded are steeped in importance. But it also means that not all great poetry collections have an opportunity to shine in the public light. Canada has a long and proud history of producing very good poets, and it's a shame more people don't know that.