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Pickle Me This

August 3, 2016

Summer Reads on the Radio


I was so pleased to be on CBC Ontario Morning today talking about great summer reads, and sharing the books that so delightful occupied my July. If you missed the show, you can listen again online at 33.15 minutes—I hope you do and take me up on some of these suggestions. This is a fine, fine stack of books.

May 31, 2016

Books on Ontario Morning

cbc_radio_logoTomorrow morning I’ll be talking about books on CBC Ontario Morning at 8:20. I am ridiculously happy about the stack of books I’m recommending, because the easiest thing in the world to do is convey enthusiasm for things you’re actually enthusiastic about.

Hope you’ll listen in.

April 27, 2010

Dear Barbara Budd

‘Dear Barbara Budd. Send me a picture of you because I would like to dress up like you for Halloween. I hope you are not too tall, because I am only 10. My mother says if your picture doesn’t arrive in time, I have to go as a turtle, which is what I did last year.’

March 8, 2010

Canada Reads (The Original!) Begins!

I’m listening to Canada Reads on my beloved CBC Radio One right now and immediately finding the panelists much more compelling than last year. And though I’ve not been reading along these last few months, once more I want to throw in my support for the wonderful Nikolski (which is NOT “a dude book!” Or rather, it is far more than one). It seems to have a wonderful champion in Michel  Vézina too (who dares to accuse those who’ve found it “thin” of “reading it thinly”. Roland Pemberton is also winning me over. Samantha Nutt put me off by suggesting that fiction has to have something to teach us about ourselves. Perdita Felicien and Simi Sara are also putting in a good show. Unless Nikolski is out tomorrow (heaven forbid) I’ll be listening all week.

January 16, 2010

Clearest, starkest brilliance #1: When Randy Bachman held my heart

Harriet is pictured here in her very early days, back when a moment of daytime peace was worth a photo for posterity. But lately, actually, I’ve been thinking of a certain moment of nighttime peace, when Harriet was about five days old.

For the first few weeks of her life (how long exactly doesn’t matter, suffice it to say, it was an eternity), we had to wake her every three hours for feeding, as she’d not yet returned to her birthweight. (This was when I was reading Tom’s Midnight Garden and “Only the clock was left, but the clock was always there, time in, time out.”) And once the alarm went off, we’d leave the radio playing while we fed her, and so we discovered that CBC at night subscribes to programs by other public broadcasters. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation at 1:00am, and 4:00am would be Swedish, and something uptight and BBC close to the morning.

This one night in particular was not so late, however, and I remember waking up to Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap. So there we were, up with our baby daughter in this weird, wide world that was the size of our bedroom’s four walls and we hadn’t thought outside of it in five whole days, which might have been a lifetime (and they were). So that, in effect, Randy Bachman was coming at us from the farthest reaches of outer space.

Fittingly, his show that night had a stars and planets theme, and Canada felt very small as Randy’s wife Denise introduced the next track, by Randy’s son Tal. Surprisingly, it was not “She’s So High”, and Denise reported that she’d always felt so envious of Tal’s talent. And then after that they played music that wasn’t by anyone related to Randy Bachman, which I think was “Blue Moon”(and according to the program log, I’m remembering this in the wrong order, but that doesn’t change the way it was). They played “Good Morning Starshine”, and we marvelled at the lyric “Gliddy glub gloopy, Nibby nabby noopy, La la la lo lo.” It was midnight, but it might as well have been the middle of the night, and the baby was sucking sustenance out of a tube stuck to my husband’s finger, but anyway, we were happy.

But no more so than when they played “Little Star” by the Elegants. Our own peculiar lullaby, to which we found ourselves relaxing for the first time in days. Twinkle, twinkle to a doo-wop beat, and the moment was so beautiful, it shone. We were a family. And I wouldn’t take back any of the awfulness of those early days, if I had to give that song back with it, and what it was like to be listening, and finally not anxious, and to be connected, in touch with a calm, blissful world.

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