Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I have not been reading ( SHOCK! GASP! GACK! EEP! )

because I have been watching an insane amount of Battlestar Galactica ( thanks to my friend James; the stage manager of the musical I am in ).

In essence, it is so brilliantly written, cleverly told and currently relevant, that it is like sinking into a good book.

I do not condone tv as a substitute for literature, but every once in awhile, it is nice to have some escapism.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


If I were in charge of Canada, February 22nd, birthday of one Mr. Morley Callaghan, would be a national holiday.

As the only thing I am in charge of is a little corner of the universe in a little bookstore, I will have to sit here, chin in hand, and ponder the greatness of one of my favourite canuck authors.

Morley Callaghan would have been 100 years old today. And what a jam-packed century he would have had. He already filled more than a lifetime usually allots in the first fifty years. His best writing was done when he was young, his greatest adventures played out mighty early, and all of his literary flings and acclaims came at a young age.

Yes, I have romanticized Morley's early years, what with their splash of Parisian panache ( and what with his clobbering of Ernest Hemingway---- don't make me get into the climax of That Summer in Paris as a Canadian literary metaphor again ), but he defines a golden age of sorts for me. I envision him wandering aimlessly around 1920's Toronto---every snippet of his life reading out of the pages of his novel, A Varsity Story. I imagine him, as I often was, curled up in one of the red leather chairs of the Hart House Library at U of T and looking over the courtyards and spires, slightly interrupted by the pealing of the tower bell.

And then, there is Paris and Morley's dappling into the lives of the Literary Elite. He defines Paris for me. Whenever I think of it with its dazzling life, parties and pizazz, I rarely think of anything I did not read of in the pages of Callaghan's autobiography. Forget We Were all so Young or A Movable Feast. Canadians had their own agent in the flapper years!

Further, my personal conceptions of Fitzgerald, James Joyce and ( especially ) Hemingway, are solely accumulated from Callaghan's perspective. Far be it for me to take anyone else's word on how these literary giants were. Morley Callaghan's word is the definitive one.

Finally, there is the sense of melancholy I feel when I leaf through his brilliant short stories ( soaked in Catholic consciousness and always sewn together with bittersweet nostalgia) and re-read his colourful memoir. I pine for his life lost as if I personally had lived it.

What an author is that who paints life so acutely you feel its triumphs and travails!

Tonight I am at a dinner celebrating Callaghan with a speaker who knows his works more intimately than any of his many admirers could hope for. I am excited and invigorated and anxious to experience That Summer once more.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I have been busy and boring and facebook is eating my brain.

So, I have decided to send you to other blogs as a little field trip, just until I finish reading the jaw-droppingly awesome The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch which may require a second read.

Hey! Scott Lynch! He has a blog. Go visit it.

And because every day should be a national CC Humphreys appreciation day, you should read his blog too.

Not done? How about newbie blogger Simon Scarrow.
In his profile, he lists I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith as one of his favourite books. Enough said.

I love that authors are jumping on this bandwagon.

Promise to be more diligent. But I have reviews to write and people to see !

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Okay. My town has a lot. The banks are taller than I am in places, and I am 5"9 so that is not always fun.

Here is a reader update.

I have recently discovered FACEBOOK and it has devoured all of my blogging time.

Grania by Morgan Llywellen ( which I know I spelled wrong ). Tells the story of Grace O'Malley the pirate queen paralleling her with Elizabeth I. I read it in an afternoon on the weekend. It is exciting and fun. I loved Tigernan the secretly adoring ship's mate.
( the fact that the latest musical by Boubil/Schonberg entitled the Pirate Queen is almost in previews has had no influence on my recent Grace O'Malley splurge ;)

They Shall Inherit The Earth by Morley Callaghan. One of his better novels I would have to say. I love Morley Callaghan, but his later novels are disastrous. This is one of the first so it was well within the reign of his highest genius.

The Hydrofoil Mystery by Eric Walters. Eric is arguably one of my favourite YA discoveries. He never writes without purpose or the exploration of something scintillating, relative, challenging or new.

Our 15 year old gambling protagonist lands a job at Alexander Graham Bell's Nova Scotian estate in Baddeck. There, he helps unravel a dangerous plot to unfurl every teensy secret about Graham Bell's latest invention: a hydrofoil watercraft that will foil the best laid German uboat plans and rule the waves with its breakneck speed.

Americans always appropriate Graham Bell, but he spent a lot of time in Nova Scotia. I am happy that Canadians are changing the tenuous relationship surfacely seen in our relationship with him and digging deeper into his roots here.

I am very excited about reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. It should arrive any day. It was a novel that started on a blog that has been recently optioned for film. Sounds beautiful.

Saw the BBC adaptation of Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke the other night on Masterpiece Theatre. Garland was exactly how I pictured him. Not a strong screenplay despite the excellent source material.