Sunday, December 31, 2006

From the Stacks Update

Back in November, I decided to participate in the From the Stacks Challenge, which consists of reading 5 books from my shelves of previously-purchased, unread books. The deadline is the end of January, and I'm behind.

To recap, these were my picks:

Looking for the Possible Dance - A.L. Kennedy
Mary - Vladimir Nabokov
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
The Waves - Virginia Woolf
Spelling Mississippi - Marnie Woodrow

So far, I've read Looking for the Possible Dance, which was quite good. I found the start slow, but it gradually built to an unexpected, even violent, crescendo. By the end of the novel, I liked it so much that I felt guilty for having initially doubted it.

Now I'm reading Mary, and I'm about halfway through this first Nabokov novel. His prose is brilliant, with descriptive lines like this one, of a nighttime walk in Berlin:

"Occasionally, braying like a stag, a motorcar would dash by or something would happen which no one walking in a city ever notices: a star, faster than thought and with less sound than a tear, would fall."

But the main character's obsession with a young woman he was in love with in his youth and who has since married his ex-pat fellow Russian neighbour, is getting on my nerves. Nabokov's imagery is often stunning but I'm not exactly captivated by the subject matter.

Three and a half books to go!

I get my wisdom teeth out on Jan. 2nd (already once rescheduled because of a cold), and I'm hoping I can spend the recovery time sitting around reading the rest of the books in the Stacks Challenge.

What has prompted me to catch up on this is that Kate has posted a new book meme, based on Calvino's wonderful If on a winter's night a traveler. Check it out. I'm tempted to take up the challenge of responding to the "Books You’ve Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them" category... thought "pretended to have read" is not exactly accurate for me; more like "Books People Assume You've Read, of Which You Know the Basics, But Have Not Actually Read or Finished Reading, and Really Should Really Read Instead of Just Nodding Politely."

I do have a few New Years' Resolutions of sorts - more goals than resolutions - and one is to read more.

Happy new year, everyone. Read more, write more, eat better.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Last Minute Craft Fair

Come on out to this new, funky craft show! It's really affordable and admission is free. Even if you don't want to shop, just come by and say hi. I made a lot of new really crazy soaps with ridiculous combinations of animals in them.

And check out the femme cats.

Great Impostors party the other night, too. I'm working on getting the video together... our twisted holiday!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Libby Scheier Commemorative Reading

Tomorrow night, Thursday December 7th, there will be a reading commemorating the life and writing of poet Libby Scheier.

It's at 9pm at the Free Times Cafe on College St., just west of Spadina.

Her writing has had a significant impact on me and I am honoured to have been invited by her son Jacob (also a poet!) to participate in this tribute reading.

Other writers who will read from her work, and their own, include Di Brandt, bill bissett, Robert Priest, Ashley Lieberman, and Jacob Scheier.

I hope you can make it out to listen and pay respects to Libby Scheier's writing - the funny poems, the feminist poems, the neo-surrealist poems, the heartbreaking poems, the all-of-the-above poems.