CanLit: Genre Fiction

One of my favourite young(ish) contemporary authors, Gary Shteyngart, recently caused a wave of consternation when he suggested that Canadian authors, for the most part, are loath to take risks because they want to qualify for grant funding. The customary hand-wringing ensued. Shteyngart has some legitimacy on this topic, having read more Canadian novels thancontinue reading

We < heart > our libraries

From the Fans of Toronto Public Library’s blog post on the renovated Bloor-Gladstone branch: Realization I have finally been able to put my finger on a thought that has half-occurred to me on my now-numerous visits to renovated libraries. Here’s a slogan to get you started: “Your tax dollars at work!” TPL keeps getting awardedcontinue reading

Big whoop

…is among the words new to the OED this month. A colourful and ironic expression of dismissiveness in the face of the unimpressive or ordinary, this North American colloquialism reverses the expectations one might have on first meeting the term, of unnecessary hyperbole and excessive celebration. How I love the OED.

From the WSJ, not about Wall Street

From the back page of the WSJ last week, buried under all the financial meltdown news, a thoughtful and evocative piece, if sad in the context, which has been reproduced in a few other places:

Strangely fascinated by fire

From Mrs. Simcoe’s diary: Saturday July 7, 1792 “I walked this evening in a wood lately set on fire by some unextinguished fires being left by some persons who had encamped there, which in dry weather often communicates to the trees. Perhaps you have no idea of the pleasure of walking in a burning wood,continue reading

It was Glaukos who spoke first, dude…

Here’s an entertaining and very weird website, with a whole new take on the Iliad. I ran across it in a review, in New York Magazine, of a book called Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks From the Wild Web, by one Sarah Boxer (review also linked below).

best typo ever

This *almost* makes you wonder whether it was planted by a disgruntled soon-to-be-ex-employee… Spotted on the title page of an (otherwise perfectly good) kids’ book in the Corgi Pups series: “Series Reading Consultant: Prue Goodwin, Lecturer in Literacy and Children’s Books, Univeristy of Reading”

Served up on a platter

I’ve always loathed Heather Mallick, once of the Globe and Mail Focus section, now plying her wares with and the CBC online. When she was still with the Globe I would begin each weekend composing a never-written letter to the editor in my head over breakfast, often bookended with a blood-boiling stop by Crosscontinue reading