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Pickle Me This

May 14, 2008


This past weekend has ruined me, and I remain in a coma. Or perhaps I just can’t stop reading Rebecca long enough to focus on anything else. And I have a stack of books-to-be-read up to my elbows, so thankfully this weekend is a long one and I can fill it well.

Last evening I attended the Fiery First Fiction event, and it did not disappoint. I particularly enjoyed hearing Nathan Whitlock read from A Week of This (which I read last month), Shari Lapeña read from her book (which I’ve got upcoming), and then there was Claudia Dey who must have sold her book a thousand times. Personally I’m not sure how I’d live long without it– her reading was unbelievable. Coach House is publishing wonderful books these days; remember Pulpy and Midge? And I also want to read Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig.

Read Claudia Dey profiled in The Toronto Star. Watch “the list of books that make the best use of their type” at Baby Got Books. Lorrie Moore’s Collected Stories reviewed. Margaret Drabble is characteristically excellent in “The beginning of life should not be a subject for a crude polemic”.

Today whilst reading The Danforth Review on A Week of This, I was surprised to see my own review referenced. Bryson’s points are interesting, and I found quite illuminating his assertion that novels “are fictional inventions of imagined worlds. They are performances of language, and the references they make to each other– explicitly or implicitly– are of greater interest than a novel’s photo realism.” True enough, perhaps, but then isn’t the novel quite a multitudinous thing? And don’t we all approach it differently?

And like Heather Mallick, I’ve noticed this month’s issue of The Walrus is decidedly short on women writers. “Apparently you can’t have a good magazine unless women are writing it,” writes one of Mallick’s avid readers. But you sort of can’t, actually, in this day and age. Not if you’re writing a general interest/current events magazine, and women are writing practically none of it– is this really surprising? The only pieces written by women are two of four “field notes”, one of four book reviews, a poem by P.K. Page, and one of nine letters to the editor. (Perhaps the whole issue is the answer to Austin Clarke’s story title, “Where Are the Men?”) What all this signifies exactly, I cannot venture to say. But then to me the facts appear as such, I don’t actually need to say anything.

In related news, I’m looking forward to reading Why Women Should Rule the World by Dee Dee Myers. Check out coverage at The Savvy Reader.

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