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March 3, 2008

This weekend I read

This weekend I read Descant 139, and loved in particular “In the Time of the Girls” by Anne Germanacos, the “Synchronicities” section, and poems by Changming Yuan– “delicately hung is this earth/ a bluish cage in the universe.” I also read the February 7 issue of London Review of Books, and “Derek, please, not so fast”— a review of As I Was Going to St. Ives, a biography of Derek Jackson (to whom Pamela Mitford was but a footnote! I had no idea: “To call his carry-on goat-like would be grossly unfair to goats, who seem celibate, faithful, and even tempered by comparison”). The William Faulkner interview in The Paris Review Interviews II was stunningly awful, brilliant and profound. I will soon be starting to read Nikolski, and after that I’ll get to Brighton Rock.

I also began culling my library in preparation for our move. A shedload will be donated to the Victoria College Library Booksale on Thursday, but anyone who wants to can drop by before then is welcome to sort through the stacks. Assuming you know where I live, in which case you’re probably my friend, and I’d be happy to see you anyway.

October 8, 2007


Tropical Thanksgiving went on a brief hiatus yesterday, and we even got to put coats on. Took an autumn walk over to Riverdale Farm, because it’s never a holiday until you’ve talked to a goat. We even saw autumn leaves, which are scarce this year. And so a successful weekend, even if it was thirty five degrees today. Even if I got sprayed by the garden hose and it was nothing but a pleasure. We saw plenty of family inc. cousins, read books, reclined. Ate our leftovers, and even finished them tonight. There are two slices of apple pie left, and we intend to savour them.

September 11, 2007

A goat with one horn sawed off

It is very nearly that time of year, better than Christmas. Indeed The Victoria College Book Sale is just around the corner, and tomorrow I am taking a suitcase full of my own books to donate. You should do the same if you are able.

I was saddened to hear of Madeleine L’Engle’s recent death. I will join the chorus of people singing about being profoundly affected by her work, in my childhood and after. I remember turning to A Swiftly Tilting Planet six years ago tomorrow, and the comfort it delivered me then. In Laurel Snyder’s Salon Tribute, she writes “To compare L’Engle’s universe to the stuff cluttering the post-Harry Potter marketplace is to compare a unicorn to a goat with one horn sawed off: real enchantment standing beside something that approximates felt hat and white rabbit magic.”

And Bookninja’s feature on empathy— it’s wonderful. Says Barbara Gowdy, ” For me, as both a writer and reader, it’s necessary maybe not to like the main character but to believe that he or she can be redeemed, whether or not that turns out to be the case”.

May 18, 2006

Wave Riding

Have removed my histrionic entry, as it was a bit much. With no goat references. Things remain decidedly crappy on the immi front but we’ll ride out that wave, and count our blessings in the meantime that we have all the support we do. Perpetual rainfall and constant fretting do an exhausted girl make. I read Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford, and now I am reading The Golden Apples by Eudora Welty. The Great Summer Re-Reading project is just around the corner, so I am reading up the unread corners of my bookshelf in the meantime.

Zoe Williams on the you never saw it coming McCartney split. On the best books about music. Stuart is existentially traumatised about recent developments in the world of lactic acid.

May 15, 2006

The No-Goat Zone

I’ve been reading the news a lot lately, but have been too tired to post anything that’s not goat-related. Understandably, but now. Kevin Chong writes a feature at Bookninja. On the world in a grain of sand. Canadian sorta-celebrity’s book-to-be entitled My Husband Left Me for Tori Spelling. A good review for Douglas Coupland’s JPod. We’re big Coupland fans in our household; admittedly DC slipped up a few years back, but his last three books (Eleanor Rigby, Hey Nostradamus and All Families Are Psychotic) were absolute pleasures to read. Jade Goody’s Autobiography is the new digested read. At McSweeneys, David Caruso scolds his cat.

Oh, and yesterday was the first watermelon of the season!

May 15, 2006

Down on the farm

We are awfully good at weekends. That’s the one good thing about working full time. We get to exercise our talent again. And so this morning we took the streetcar out to Cabbagetown, where we walked about and then we went to the Riverdale Farm (which is no longer a zoo). The gardens were so gorgeous, the animals were wonderful and we had a great time (best of all, it’s free!). Highlights included the pond where I felt like Annie Dillard, multitudinous tulips, a cow that has made me second-guess my carnivourous habits, and the sheep!! (And goats). We walked home, however, so we’re tired. Tonight my mom came for Mother’s Day Dinner and we had a very nice time.

In reading news, I finished Democracy by Joan Didion, which I like best of her novels that I’ve read. It was wonderful. And I am now reading something particularly interesting, Lovingly, Myra; Hinman Family Letters 1920-1926, which was edited and self-published by my Auntie a few years ago. “Myra” was my great-grandmother, and these are letters she wrote to her sisters, particularly her sister Susannah, who was a missionary in India. My great-grandmother died in 1926, at the age of 36, and so of course I never knew her. I appreciate these letters very much, especially the glimpse they give me of my grandmother as a child. And they are quite amusing.

May 12, 2006


What with working and all, I don’t have time enough for reading (all I want to read). It’s troubling and I want to petition to extend the day to thirty hours. It’s especially crucial, and I have started to read newspapers and magazines again after swearing them off this winter to do my homework. My Walrus arrived today, which was exciting, and I just started Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel, which is as wonderful as everything Hilary Mantel writes (oh my British lady writers- how I do love you!) Oh, and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was absolutely beautiful and fascinating, and so much like Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, even though the two books are so fundamentally different. Anyway, my supper dishes need washing and my book needs reading, and I just don’t know which option is going to win in the end.

Things I have been thinking about include how wonderful the trees are in this city, in my neighbourhood in particular. I’d forgotten they came in so many colours. And the blossoms! Saturday morning I was reading a book on my front step, and every few seconds a blossom of every variety would fall into my open pages. I’ve recently fallen in love with the idea of books as objects embedded in the natural environment, so you can see how that was cool. Another thing I have been thinking about is the overuse of the word “solutions”. It’s ubiquitous in all those lifestyle magazines like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living that a) make you feel like a bad person and b) make you feel like you could be a good person with just the right shelving unit. I think I recently saw a magazine entitled “Solutions”. And what bothers me about all of this is the implication that life itself is a problem.

Speaking of problems, in exciting news, our doorknob fell off and if we shut the door we can’t get out. All residing in our household look forward to seeing how this pans out, and what solutions are in store.

And tomorrow is Friday, the third weekend of my summer. The first Weekend Summer Adventure was the Library Bar Experience, last weekend was the Drunken BBQ and this weekend we’ve got the Great Cabbagetown Adventure in store- if it stops raining. Yea, Riverdale Zoo! Yea, Goats!

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