Book Talk

September 30, 2007 § 5 Comments

Here’s an old article from the Atlantic Monthly that’s long, but worth a read. I enjoyed The Shipping News, but it might have been because the strange sentence structure and repitious, adjective-heavy prose made me feel I was reading a revolutionary new form of Literature. On the other hand I couldn’t stand Snow Falling on Cedars (get… on… with… it… Guterson?). Anyway, you should at least peruse it, especially if you’re a writer.

Kid*Lit(erary) is pretty much my dream blog, with a focus on the sort of children’s literature every aspiring YA writer pores over. A few weeks ago, Laurel focused on the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, which my first-grade teacher read to us during storytime in January-February 1988. My brother had pneumonia (again) that winter and was quite lethargic, so I entertained both of us by reading ahead in the books. In class, the accuracy of my predictions for “what happens next” drastically improved.

via Heidi: Cooked Books, a blog by Rebecca Federman, explores The New York Public Library’s culinary collection. Recent entries have featured recipes for Jacques Pepin’s Fromage Fort and The Lily, a cocktail comprised of Lillet, gin, and Creme de Noyau (possibly my three favorite things).

Other Goodies

Highlights For Children‘s Hidden Pictures

Masterpiece Theatre’s The Railway Children (also available to locals here)

Pangolin!

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§ 5 Responses to Book Talk

  • Tena Russ says:

    When I was a kid, back when the earth’s crust was cooling, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle was my all-time fave. I just couldn’t get through Shipping News. The style seemed so… contrived. Life’s too short to read an entire book if you hate it.

  • kristina says:

    I think most of the reason I liked The Shipping News was because of its contrivedness. At the time I thought it was ridiculous to suggest incest was endemic in isolated Newfoundland communities, but it turns out that’s what Atlantic Canada is best known for, in terms of literature. See Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie McDonald, On South Mountain by Cruise and Griffiths (true story!).

    My own downfall was The Mists of Avalon. I trudged through 250+ pages and hated every second.

  • Colleen Gareau says:

    I enjoyed the Shipping News, but if you ask Donna Morrissey (a writer from Newfoundland) about it she’ll spit in your eye… or almost. I too hated Snow Falling on Cedars. I can put up with a lot of description if it gives me more insight. Often, I find, it’s there for the sake of being there.

    As for Atlantic Canadian authors, I have a hard time believing they’re known mostly for incest. Try Brian Tucker’s Big White Knuckles (I’ll have an interview with him posted sometime over the next week or so), Maureen Hull’s The View from a Kite, or Claire Cameron’s The Line Painter. Even Ami McKay’s Birth House (if you’re looking for a best-seller) isn’t about incest. I’ve got Wayne Johnston’s latest, The Navigator of New York, on the to-read list and it’s about a young man’s adventure to the North Pole — at least that’s what the dusk jacket says.

    I do think though that Canadian publishers look for dark = literary subject matter. Probably why I hated so much of CanLit when I was in high school.

    But there’s so much of it to explore. Don’t give up on Atlantic Canada yet!

  • Colleen makes me look illiterate by comparison.

    I just wanted to say that Highlights for Children was my favorite magazine as a child (my only magazine, come to think of it), and now is my daughter’s as well. I’ve exchanged several emails with the editor-in-chief, who I think is marvelous.

  • Colleen Gareau says:

    Ah, shucks, Stephen. I’m blushing. (And a total sucker for flattery!)

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