Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summertime and the Reading is Easy!

I find when it is really hot outside, it is good to go back to some old favourites; they are not very taxing on the brain. This past week I picked up Arthur Conan Doyle's Sign of Four. This edition comes from Broadview Press. I forgot what a drug addict Holmes was...the opening and closing of the book feature his cocaine habit. What i really liked about this edition (and the others in the series) are the great footnotes, introduction and appendices. They give a fabulous opportunity to look beyond the traditional text and look at the context. Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fall 2010 Preview: Canlit to Get Your Hands and Holds On. . .

A number of book blogs have been listing some upcoming fall releases ( see here and here and here for example) and there is some great reading to look forward to (some of these are already Dewey picks). However, these are all American sites and while many highlight some great American and international books, there isn't a single Canadian author among them. But even just from the publishers that I represent, I can tell you there's a ton of really exciting books coming in the next few months. Note:  August is the new September - fall starts early in the publishing world and some of these titles will be pubbing very soon.  I've already read a number of these and can thoroughly recommend them; others are definitely on the to-be-read soon pile. If you're heading to the library to stock up on reading for this long weekend, you might want to start getting your advance holds in. At any rate, in alphabetical order, here are some of the Canadian books I'm most excited about this fall:


Practical Jean by Trevor Cole
A black comedy about a woman who decides to give her long-time friends a last moment of happiness - and then kill them.  It's out of love though, she just can't bear to see them get old, sick and filled with regrets. A bizarre and oddly moving mediation on the tensions, slights and challenges of friendship.

Apocalypse For Beginners by Nicolas Dickner, translated by Lazer Lederhendler
If you loved Nikolski, the recent Canada Reads winner, here's another quirky novel from my new favourite Quebec author. It's a romantic comedy set in 1989, with a bunch of characters all convinced they know the impending date of the Apocalypse.

Tales From An Uncertain Country by Jacques Ferron, translated by Betty Bednarski
It's been a while since a "new" classic has appeared in the New Canadian Library and this collection of comic metaphysical tales looks like fun. I'm particularly looking forward to reading the short story of an Alberta cow's ghost who longs for Quebec.

The Proper Use of Stars by Dominique Fortier, translated by Sheila Fischman
Some of the most interesting Canlit is coming out of Quebec and this is definitely a writer to watch. Everyone thinks they know the story of the doomed Franklin expedition, but it's never been told with so much charm and with so many interesting cultural, historical and poetical digressions. Told mostly from the point of view of Franklin's second-in-command, Francis Crozier, and his wife Lady Jane, this puts a whole new imaginative spin on the Canadian historical novel. Just have plenty of cups of tea at hand while reading. A film is alreaady in the works.

The Beauty of the Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
A novel set in contemporary Vietnam involving a young tour guide who takes American vets on "war tours" and a young woman searching for clues about her father's disappearance in the war.

A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor
I loved Taylor's first novel Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen. In this new book, she returns to the same historical period (and a preoccupation of Proust) and weaves an historical novel around the complicated Dreyfus case that rocked France at the turn of the 20th century.

Sanctuary Line by Jane UrquhartOne of Canada's favourite novelists is back with a multi-generational tale that incorporates three very different love stories, lighthouse keepers, a woman soldier;s experience in Afghanistan and the long migratory flight of the Monarch butterfly.

The Frumkiss Family Business by Michael Wex
There's a lot of humour in Canlit this season which is freshing to see, and this comic family saga seems the perfect example. Any book that bills itself as Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks without the stodgy Germans or The Brothers Karamazov with only one brother, is worth a look. It's also set not far from my own Toronto neighbourhood and many of my colleagues are raving about it.

Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersma
A midlife crisis meets the supernatural, as a father with plenty of problems of his own,  has to rescue his child who is quite literally lost in the pages of his favourite book. Sounds like Cornelia Funke for adults, but looks entertaining all the same.

Fauna by Alissa York
Set in Toronto's Rosedale Valley Ravine, this novel is set around a sanctuary to help heal the urban wildlife that no one cares about. And in turn, many broken humans are also encountered. Some of the characters like to quote from Watership Down which has already endeared them to me.


They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children by Romeo Dallaire
Dallaire is fully committed to eradicating the use of child soldiers worldwide and this book should be extremely powerful and moving.

Mordecai: The Life and Times by Charles Foran
The big literary biography of the season. With the film of Barney's Version also coming out this fall, look for a lovely Mordecai revival everywhere.

The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany  Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock
I've been a fan of Peacock ever since reading her memoir Paradise, Piece by Piece a number of years ago. This biography of an 18th century widow who at the age of 72 pioneered a new art form - mixed-media collage - and  created over 900 botanically correct collages of cut-paper flowers sounds absolutely fascinating. Peacock writes lustily with a lot of passion and wit and the book itself is gorgeous with many full colour illustrations of Delany's work, now housed in the British Museum.

Arrival City by Doug Saunders
A look at the huge migrations of people worldwide from rural to urban centers and the political, social and economical challenges they are causing for this century.  I read Saunders regularly in the Globe and Mail and think this will be a very intelligent, thought-provoking book.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 Man Booker Longlist Announced. . .

And it's out!  And my man David Mitchell is on it - hooray!  Some good seasoned writers on this year's list and nice to see two Canadians - Emma Donoghue and Lisa Moore get a nod. Some of these books are not yet out in Canada but are coming soon this fall.  Get your holds on now! Here's the full longlist:

Parrot and Oliver in America by Peter Carey
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
C by Tom McCarthy
February by Lisa Moore
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Trespass by Rose Tremain 
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner

The shortlist will be announced on September 7th.

Fun Literary Caper Skewers the Publishing Industry. . .

Here is the perfect summer read for bibliophiles.

Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer takes on the New York publishing world in this tale of Ian Minot, a struggling writer working as a barista by day, and writing short stories at night about "small people living small lives". He is about to lose his girlfriend - who is on the verge of getting her own collection of autobiographical stories about growing up in Romania published - to an egocentric phony whose own memoir has just hit the bestseller lists.  Then one day Ian encounters "The Confident Man", a bitter ex-editor who haunts the coffee shop and who wants to get his revenge on the industry. He's written a novel about the theft of a precious manuscript of The Tale of Genji from a library that then went up in flames. He suggests to Ian that with a little re-working, the manuscript could be passed off as a memoir - as Ian's own story - and then he could sign a two-book deal that would allow his book of short stories to also be published.  At the appropiate moment, Ian could come clean, but the publicity would ensure not only sales of the two books, but also shame the publishing executives and agent who bought into the scam. The only trouble is that while Ian dreams of fame and money, he's a bit oblivious to the ulterior motives behind the scheme, and soon realizes someone is after not only the manuscript but also his life.  Librarians who know their Dewey Decimal system will have an insider's advantage to figuring out some of the mysteries that unfold, and of course this novel also skewers the recent self-righteous debates and hypocrisy over penning "the truth" in memoirs, directly recalling the controversy over James Frey's A Million Little Pieces.

This was a rollicking read, punctuated by some clever literary puns (if a little overdone) as Langer effortlessly substitutes writers' names with nouns that can be associated with them. So stylish eyeglasses become "franzens"; trains are "highsmiths" and curly hair is an "atwood". Would-be writers and fans of the literary mysteries of John Dunning will enjoy this one.

Jane Austen Fight Club

Have you seen this hilarious video from You Tube? It's a mash up of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club and the works of Jane Austen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

NYRB Challenge #35-37: Catching Up on Some European Classics. . .

I definitely haven't abandoned my 50 book NYRB Challenge, but I have been forced to slow down a bit, tempted by all sorts of other reading fare and a good chunk of upcoming fall and spring manuscripts. But I do like to dip into the classics over the summer and this seemed a good time to mine the NYRB backlist and tackle some fiction by these three influential authors.

I knew when I started this challenge that I would definitely get around to reading Memoirs of an Anti-Semite: A Novel in Five Stories by Gregor Von Rezzori, translated in part by Joachim Neugroschel. Not only is it one of those books that has been recommended to me many times, but I also wanted the chance to delve further into some of the key works of Eastern European literature. It is a masterfully written dissection of the years leading up to the Second World War (with one epilogue) that portrays the anger, hatred, and despair of that interwar period. The novel consists of five episodes in the narrator's life. He's quite a loner - a man who wants to be an artist but lacks the ambition and discipline. He also gets easily sidetracked by his apathy, and his many jealousies involving both men with more talent, and the women he embarks on affairs with; several of them are Jewish. This is not a portrait of a Nazi in the making, but an unsympathetic and unsentimental depiction of a man very much defined by society's prejudices and his family's own sense of loss after the break-up of the Austrian-Hungarian empire. As a child, he is repeatedly told by his father that character is "troth" (also the title of one of the most powerful sections of the novel), which means loyalty - to a country, a region, or an ideal.  This becomes one of the key conflicts in the novel. What can one do or believe in when not only historical, but cultural boundaries and ways of life are undefined, constantly shifting and changing? Rezzori writes very powerfully and balances a violent tension with the occasional scene of almost absurdist humour.  But most of these sections uncomfortably jolt the reader with a shocking conclusion or observation. An excellent novel.
I've read several plays by Luigi Pirandello, his most famous of course being Six Characters in Search of an Author, and his fascination with ontology also infiltrates his fiction.  In The Late Mattia Pascal, translated by William Weaver, the title character is a man who inadvertently finds himself married to a woman who isn't quite as beautiful as he'd originally thought, and who brings a truly awful mother-in-law to live with them. Escaping his household for a few days to gamble away a small sum of money, Mattia hits the jackpot, not only in the casinos but on his way home, when he reads in the newspaper that a dead body has been found near the local mill and identified as himself.  With his family believing he is dead, Mattia takes his winnings and travels, finally settling in Rome under an assumed name. But the initial freedom he celebrates proves to be illusory and full of complications. If you successfully escape yourself - who then are you? To be or not to be isn't the only philosophical question debated in this novel, but it offers the most laughs. I very much enjoyed reading this entertaining comedy.

The stories in Hugo Von Hofmannsthal's The Lord Chandos Letter and Other Writings, translated by Joel Rotenberg, have a slightly sinister, ethereal feel to them. The characters seem to inhabit dual worlds simultaneously - the real one, and a dream-like one conjured up by an extraordinary and ongoing emotional awareness of not only nature, but the intensity of people's fears, desires and regrets. Death both fascinates and paralyzes, as shown in two haunting stories set among soldiers - "Cavalry Story" and "Military Story". And this culminates in his most famous story "The Letter", in which the narrator laments his inability to articulate these "coded messages" or sensations that he receives:
A watering can, a harrow left in a field, a dog in the sun, a shabby churchyard, a cripple, a small farmhouse - any of these can become the vessel of my revelation. Any of these things and the thousand similar ones past which the eye ordinarily glides with natural indifference can at any moment - which I am completely unable to elicit - suddenly take on for me a sublime and moving aura which words seem too weak to describe.
It's a slightly creepy collection and makes a good companion to Theophile Gautier's My Fantoms which was an earlier challenge read.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Non-Superhero Graphic Novel Gets Film Adaptation . . .

Posy Simmonds' wiity and sexy graphic novel Tamara Drewe has been made into a British movie directed by Stephen Frears.  Here's a link to the trailer.   The story is in turn an updated version of Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, but set in a writer's retreat in the English countryside. Egos and libidos go into overdrive.

Literature and Technology: No, this is not a post about the e-book. . .

Tom McCarthy is one of the smartest writers I've ever read and wholly original.  His first novel Remainder is so imaginative, so unusual and so enjoyable that it's almost impossible to describe without spoiling the reader's pleasure. He is especially good at endings as his second novel Men in Space proved so admirably. He's written a very interesting piece in The Guardian on literature and technology, the literature of technology, and how technology helps us understand literature. You can read it here.

McCarthy also talks about his new novel C which will be out in early September. It also immerses itself with the experimentation and effects with early communication technology in the first part of the twentieth century. He set the novel on purpose between 1898, when Marconi was experimenting with radio and 1922 when the BBC was founded (and some key modernist works published - Ulysess, The Waste Land).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Let Us Praise 90-year-olds. . .

Is 90 the new 70?

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to see Dave Brubeck in concert during the Toronto Jazz Festival. If I can move anything when I'm his age as fast as he can still move his hands over the ivories, I'll be fairly astonished. He turns 90 this December. And next month, two beloved authors also hit 90. Ray Bradbury just did a reading via Skype, in New York's McNally Jackson bookstore. He was interviewed by his biographer Sam Weller, and reading about the event in the Wall Street Journal nearly brought a tear to my eye. I would so love to have been there. I love this quote of his, summing up his work:

“I’m a great big pomegranate that exploded all over the place and now my seeds are everywhere."

Do run out and get your hands on a copy of Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews, by Sam Weller, it really is a marvellously inspiring read.

Then there's the awesome P.D. James. Look for lots of media coverage of her 90th birthday next month and she seems to be as busy as ever. There's a great interview with her in The Telegraph here. In celebration, we're repackaging some of her backlist - I love the new covers and it makes me want to hide away in a cottage for a week and do nothing but read all her books again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Collecting Contest Offers Cash Prizes Which You Can Use To Buy More Books!. . .

This is a great contest, which I wish had been around when I was - ahem - under 30. If you fit this demographic and have a collection you are proud of, you should enter. You can find all the details here. Now, how about a similar contest for old fogeys? We collect books too!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

No Vampires Here

Finding Sky is a paranormal romance that focuses on Sky, a shy British teen who has just moved from England to Colorado with her parents. As Sky tries to make friends and fit in at her new school, and she’s also very drawn to the dark, handsome and brooding Zed Benedict. Both are quite musically talented, but always seem to be at odds. It’s not until months later that Sky discovers her gift, one that she shares with the mysterious Zed. They’re both Savants who can read minds and communicate telepathically. In fact everyone in Zed’s family is a Savant, and they’ve have been working with the police to solve a high profile case. When some very dangerous criminals discover the Benedict’s connection, both Zed and Sky get caught in the fallout. Readers will identify with Sky’s feelings of being an outsider during her first days of school and her uncertain feelings about a Zed. It’s a fun, suspenseful read and a great addition to a very popular genre.

A Thousand Cheers for David Mitchell. . .

There's a really good interview with David Mitchell in Vanity Fair, talking about his fantasic new novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. You can read it here. I saw him speak at the Toronto Reference Library last week and he just charmed the entire audience with his intellect, wit and humility. He's just so darned nice! His latest work is an imaginative, historical novel set in 18th century Japan and following several members of the Dutch East India company as they clash with each other and with the Japanese, in this very closed society. Jacob is a young man serving five years as a clerk in the trading post of Dejima, a small island at the foot of Nagasaki which is the furthest that any Westerner can penetrate into the country. He becomes intrigued by a young Japanese midwife named Orito and blames himself when she's taken against her will to a secretive and isolated nunnery where sinister things are happening. The latter half of the novel details attempts to rescue Orito as the community of Dejima is forced to react to results of power struggles conducted thousands of miles away.
What I think separates Mitchell from a lot of contemporary writers, is his incredible eye for detail which is not used to impress us with his research, but to allow us to fully inhabit his literary world. And no one - absolutely no one - writes better dialogue. His characters are authenticated entirely by the way they speak and this novel - juggling multiple nationalities, languages, and classes - showcases this skill better than any of his previous four. I've recently been fascinated by Japanese history and culture as Cinematheque has been hosting an Akira Kurosawa retrospective for the last two months (I think I've now seen 16 films with a few more to go - it's been a wonderful education) and as you'll read in the interview, Mitchell also watched a few as background research. He also cites manga as an inspiration.
The Booker longlist comes out next week. This novel had better be on it!

New Spice Guy Also Likes Libraries. . .

It was just a matter of time. The Old Spice guy has now been parodied and this is even funnier!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Every Book Needs A Creative Marketing Campaign. . .

Over at Moby Lives, the blog of Melville House, they've been posting an interesting series of articles outlining their marketing ideas for Hans Fallada's Every Man Who Dies Alone. As they write:

How do you market a book written in a foreign language by an author who’s now dead, that was originally published 60 years ago, and has been overlooked by mainstream publishing ever since?

Speaking from experience, literature in translation is the hardest category for me to sell - and I represent so many imprints that publish it regularly. Which is exciting for me as I get to be introduced to so many great writers, but it certainly presents its challenges. The reading public is a funny old beast. They'll read a book in translation that wins a big literary prize (i.e Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses) or suddenly captures the zetigeist and the bestseller lists (i.e. Steig Larsson) and as a rep, you think you can capitalize on that because Petterson's next novel is coming out and surely people will want to read that? Or there's tons of great Scandinavian crime on your lists and Larsson fans will flock to that once the trilogy is read. And yes, there is some interest but never in the numbers you anticipate or think those books deserve. Alas. Still, we soldier on and hope that someday readers will catch on in huge numbers to how enriching reading international literature can be. (And if you love to travel, trust me, there's no greater ice-breaker than talking about writers to the locals). In the meantime, we're very grateful for presses that do put some creative energy behind marketing their books. Fallada's Every Man Dies Alone has been a huge fave of mine and I'm thrilled all the hard work is paying off.

You can read their series here. You'll notice two Canadian items of interest. One of the posts describes using subway ads on the Toronto Transit system. And under the post about t-shirts, those librarians librarians from Ontario or who have been following the Dewey Divas for a number of years, will recognize a familiar face.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In Love With Cables. . .

This (just out in paperback)

Plus This

Will hopefully allow me to create this:

Isn't this pillow beautiful? (instructions in Cables Untangled). Though why I'm fantasizing about knitting projects in this heat, I have no idea. But oooh, I have recently become a little obsessed with cables and have fallen in love with this pillow. Check back in six months. . .

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finalists announced for 2010 Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards

Today the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) announced the finalists for the 2010 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. Winners will be announced November 2nd, 2010.



  • Comme toi! by Geneviève Côté (Éditions Scholastic)
  • Le Géranium by Mélanie Tellier (Éditions Marchand de feuilles)
  • Monsieur Leloup by Philippe Béha (Éditions Fides)
  • Rêver à l'envers, c'est encore rêver by Guy Marchamps (Soulières éditeur)
  • Venus d'ailleurs by Angèle Delaunois (Éditions Hurtubise)



For the full press release and more about these awards click here.


One of my Fall 2010 Dewey Picks is Kenneth Oppel's new book for teens Half Brother. I will blog about it in more detail in a few weeks, but for now I'll just say- put your holds on this one now! It had me crying on the first page and again on the last page (and several times in between if I'm being honest). It is one of those books with an entertaining story and big themes that lingers in your mind long after you have finished it. Half Brother asks some hard questions about the treatment of animals used in research projects- more specifically, what becomes of them after the project is over?

I think it is an ideal book for a teen book club, so if you run one at your library, or just have a group of kids in your branch who love Ken Oppel's books, here is your chance to get your hands on this book before publication.

The HarperCollins Canada marketing team is sending copies of the galley of Half Brother on tour across Canada. These special galleys have room inside for you to fill in comments, photos, or anything else that would reveal where the galley has been in its travels. When you are finished reading the book, we ask that you pass it along to another reader and have them do the same. The tenth person to read the book will send it back to HarperCollins in exchange for a free book! (instructions inside the galley).

THERE IS ONLY ONE TOURING GALLEY LEFT! And best of all- I've got the OK to offer it up to a library here in Canada.

So, the first person to send me an e-mail message ( with their name, library address, and phone number will receive the final touring galley. Starting now...


To update: Thanks to those who sent me an e-mail, but the touring galley has now been spoken for!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Spice Guy Pitches Libraries. . .

A little something to perk up your afternoon. Check this out. You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Win a Trip to Mont Blanc! From Lonely Planet

I had a fine young Marketing Director come and speak at my class I teach at Centennial College. He used to run a number of contests when he worked at Indigo and told us the most amazing thing: the bigger the prize the smaller number of entries they would get. If a coffee pot was the prize they would get hundreds of entries, but if it was something big like a trip they would get very few entries. He said it was because people could see themselves winning a coffee pot but not a trip. We are a weird bunch. So prove him wrong and see if one of you is lucky enough to win a fabulous trip to France courtesy of Lonely Planet.

A Spanish Masterpiece. . .

With Spain having just triumphed at the World Cup, there's no better time to celebrate one of its best contemporary writers, and in particular sing the praises of one of the most enthralling and terrific books I've ever read - Javier Marías' Your Face Tomorrow, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.

I'd had a number of Marías' novels accumulating on my shelf starting with All Souls (when I was in my phase of collecting novels set in Oxford) and one of them was the first volume of Your Face Tomorrow (it's published in three volumes, but is not meant as a trilogy - the set needs to be read as one complete novel). And then when Conversational Reading , one of the blogs I regularly follow, started an online group read of the novel, I thought it was the perfect time to crack it open. And I was quickly, passionately, viscerally hooked.

This isn't a novel where plot is paramount, although once you start, the narrative is so mysterious and intriguing that it becomes a complete page turner (indeed, I was so absorbed that I started reading far ahead of the planned schedule). Jaime Deza is a translator from Madrid who previously spent two years teaching at Oxford (recounted in the novel All Souls, which you don't need to have previously read, but you'll certainly want to afterwards). Now he's back in London, separated from his wife Luisa, missing his children and feeling lonely and dislocated in what he feels will always be a foreign city. Through some former Oxford connections, he's recruited to work for a strange agency that nevertheless pays extremely well. Deza has the gift of being able to quickly judge the personalities and characters of strangers and to predict how they might react (and act) to any given situation. He watches them through a two way mirror and prepares reports for his boss Tupra, never knowing what happens next or how these reports will be used. He's not even sure who he works for. Could it be MI5? One night he accompanies Tupra and some clients to a nightclub and unwillingly participates in a bizarre incident that changes Deza's view of his boss, causes him to seriously question his own apathy and responsibility, and subsequently leads him to act in way he never would have thought himself capable of. His "tomorrow" will indeed wear a very different face. Or perhaps he just hasn't been looking too closely in the mirror.

This is however a novel that you should read for its fantastically original literary style. Marías weaves an intricate and cyclical dance through Deza's thoughts and recollections, his own personal past and that of his father and friends, and the unexpected intersections with history and literature that enrich and influence but also disturb the present. There are preoccupations with the Spanish Civil War, spying, wartime propoganda, James Bond movies (have a copy of With Russia From Love handy as you'll definitely want to watch it again), feet and footwear, dancing, a mysterious drop of blood, the weather, love, guilt, and above all with the notion and perceptions of time - past, present and future -ever elusive, inevitable and inescapable. The writing is spectacularly beautiful - rhythmical, inventive and astonishingly witty at times; it completely draws the reader in. This is a novel that would absolutely make my desert island list with its almost constant invitation to repeated re-read. My copy is already copiously underlined. And Javier Marías has now leaped onto my list of all-time favourite writers; fortunately he's written a number of books that I'm now eager to get my hands on.

Conversational Reading kindly invited me to contribute a guest post about the novel on their blog. It went up today and you can read it here (note: there are some spoilers). You'll see that I'm also recommending this novel for people who loved Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. In fact I think there's a wonderful thread of influence and ideas that links Proust to Powell to Marías. There are very few works of literature that one remembers as being a complete, absorbing reading experience. Your Face Tomorrow is certainly that. If you've already read it, or are in the process of doing so, you can find the online group's discussion here (scroll to the last entry and work your way back). I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience of tackling this long novel online with a bunch of intelligent, perceptive readers and a co-ordinator who provided a lot of background material and even the chance to pose questions to the translator. This is an ideal forum to engage with a book if you're not a member of a book club.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Ten Best Caves in Literature. . .

For those days when you want to go hide in one.
Here's the Guardian's latest Top 10 literary list.

Neil Young's Greendale Gets the Graphic Treatment. . .

Neil Young will be out on the road touring Canada and the U.S. this summer and DC Comics has just released Neil Young's Greendale, a graphic novel based on Young's album of the same name. It's written by Joshua Dysart with illustrations by Cliff Chiang and is a political coming-of-age story set in 2003. I think this would also very much appeal to teenagers 14 and up (content issues: a bit of sex and some swearing). I have a couple of galleys to spare, so if you are a Neil Young fan, send me an e-mail at with "Greendale" in the subject line, and I'll pull three lucky names out of all the entries. This is open to Canadian residents only and I'll take e-mails until noon EST, on Friday, July 16th.

UPDATED: This contest is now closed and the winners have been notified. Thanks to everyone for entering.