Archive for December, 2011

The Vast Cold Emptiness

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

I was recently asked to put together a list of books – not so much favourites but ones that stood out for me in a particular style or genre (although, of course, favourites inevitably crept in).  I was surprised by the number of Canadian authors on the list – Alice Munroe, Joseph Boyden, Margaret Atwood (for her doomsday stuff), Rawi Hage, Mary Lawson.  One of the people reading this list reacted by saying, “I love Canadian authors.  Indian and Canadian authors are among my favourites.”  OK, I have been known to say that I like Indian writing too and if pressed I might even come up with some notion of what I mean by that – pages teaming with people (not necessarily all characters, many of them relatives), class consciousness coupled with an irreverence for class, often a surreal bordering on magical quality.  But Canadian writers?  What do they hold in common?  I pressed the lover of Canadian books and thinking of it myself, it slowly became clear – the vastness, the cold, the emptiness, the shear distance of things.  Suddenly books like Through Black Spruce and Cockroach weren’t seeming that different.  So after all this time Northrop Frye is perhaps still right – it really is about isolation.

A Year of Blogging

Monday, December 12th, 2011

So I somehow managed to miss the one year anniversary of my first blog.  But better a week late … Thanks to you all, my regular, not so regular, and I-only-read-it-because-I-thought-it-was-going-to-be-about-something-else readers (but particular thanks to my regular readers – you know who you are even if I don’t).  For those of you who are curious, I have made 42 posts, the most popular of which is among of the first (I should have quit while I was ahead) – “Women’s Fiction – What’s That?” – proving that there is nothing like the great sexual divide to get people’s attention.  Speaking of which, another winning post (based on hits) is “Not for Your Eyes” but I get the impression that the average reader of this post is not interested in graphical novels but has been led astray when trying to find out something about that old Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie, Eyes Wide Shut, or perhaps the James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only (hmmm, my references to these movies here might keep those hits coming – and no, that is not a gratuitous photo to the left).  Another popular post is “Glorious Weblog”.  Given the ever increasing amount of spam I get, there is plenty of material for a sequel to that one (so keep checking this site). 

Thanks again to all of you for coming by … next week, back to regular postings with a look at Canuck books (or so I plan).