Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Ali Smith at two different events yesterday, impish and witty despite jetlag. I wasn't the only one laughing out loud when she read the story, Last, in its entirety. (Last is available online in the Manchester Review.) When we heard that Smith would only be appearing on Sunday, we rescheduled our flight in order to hear her. I'm so glad we did!
Lynda Barry's fabulous writing workshop, Do You Wish You Could Write? Barry's gospel is that creativity is a human necessity. She was so inspiring and really funny too.
David Mitchell (in an excellent pairing with Katherine Govier). He read from a part in The Thousand Autumns in which there was a continuity error that he hadn't noticed until that very moment. (Birthmark on the right, then the left.) The audience roared when he flipped back to double check, then announced there would have to be a product recall.
Erin Moure performing her work. (I love that there were so many other wonderful poets and spoken word artists there as well.)
Rebecca James, Alice Kuipers and Martha Brooks in a lively discussion about "family and friendship." I'll post something about James' debut thriller, Beautiful Malice, in the near future.
There are always new discoveries at a festival like this. Andrew O'Hagan is a case in point. I didn't hesitate to add his book, The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and his Friend, Marilyn Monroe, to the stack I am taking home with me. Funny and philosophical and told in the voice of a Maltese dog that was given to Marilyn by Frank Sinatra. Run out and get it asap!
Emma Donoghue (Room), Kate Pullinger (The Mistress of Nothing), Kamila Shamsie (Burnt Shadows) and Andrea Levy (The Long Song) were all wonderful as well. And there were more. It was such a great festival!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I've never seen Samantha Bee on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but her book amused me. It also sometimes horrified me - reading accounts of embarrassing moments from her childhood onward made me feel like a voyeur. There is such a thing as too much information! Yet I laughed out loud...
Bee's stepmother PG-yelling at a bear when they were hiking: “GO TO H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS!”
When Bee was a teenager involved in car thefts (“I don’t know what the hell I was thinking”) she describes her family's car: “there was no great black-market demand for boxy cars from Communist countries […] It was like driving Hitler’s mustache.”
When employed as a costume character in a children’s entertainment show: “The narrative was so vague and ridiculous that it could have been written by a basket of acorns that had fallen onto a laptop by accident.”
More hyperbole in reference to her grandmother’s obsession with American celebrities, who could not possibly have been born vaginally: “She insisted that they had emerged, glowing and smooth from their gossamer star nests, surviving by gently nibbling on the most tender leaves and shoots of spring; their twenty-four-inch-waisted bodies permanently draped in the spangly creations of Bob Mackie; the only discharge their tiny bodies could ever emit was in the form of a fragrant potpourri of organic matter that would make your tomatoes come in bigger than ever, should you ever be privileged enough to have one of them over for a garden party.”
Bee's comic essays about her life growing up in Canada aren't the sort that resonate with wisdom... but they sure are funny.
Readalikes: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress (Susan Jane Gilman); Everybody into the Pool (Beth Lisick); I Was Told There'd Be Cake (Sloane Crosley).
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
David Wiesner has been awarded the Caldecott Medal three times. His new book, Art & Max, is worthy of a fourth. Wow! Lizards like you have never seen before.