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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Guest Post: Many Paws Author Susan DeGarmo on “The Change”

Many Paws is a light-hearted, interactive pop-up book about menopause that readers can alter for themselves or to give as a gift to the wonderful women in their lives who might need a good laugh between hot flashes. Below is a guest post from altered book artist and author Susan DeGarmo.

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When I was about 47 years old, I put some eggs on the stove to boil. I went downstairs to my office to grade papers and before I knew it, I heard explosions coming from my kitchen! I ran up and saw exploded boiled eggs sitting in a pan with no water. Exploding because I left them in there and totally forgot to take them out.

That year when I had my yearly check-up, I told my doctor I thought I was going crazy! I couldn’t remember the simplest things. I was starting to leak when I laughed, I sweated in bed, had hot flashes in the day, my eyesight was getting worse and my middle was spreading! She patted my hand and told me that I was going through the change. I couldn’t believe what she was saying! At 47 years old I started getting “old”. She handed me a paperback book that she said would help me understand what my body was doing.

That night I relaxed in the tub and picked up the book and began to read. The words were sweet and delicate. “You’re still a woman even though you can’t have babies anymore.”
I couldn’t take it! I tossed it in the trash.

My doctor wouldn’t give me anything to get rid of the symptoms. “It’s perfectly normal”, she said. So, every day became a new adventure with the symptoms of menopause. Thank God my family still loves me!

Since I couldn’t find a book that shared the in-your-face experiences of menopause and getting older with a bit of humor, I decided one day while teaching my altered book class at a local design college, I would make an altered book on the subject and it would be about my experience. Why did I come up with that idea? It was freezing cold outside, my head was beet red, sweat was dripping down my face and my students looked at me like I had a third eye! I just shrugged and pressed on.

I found an old book that had a by-line…the years of change. I took that book and altered it to create “ManyPaws, the Years of Change”. Each week I did a spread in the book.  Depending on what challenges I was going through, that is what I wrote about. We had a show-n-tell in the class every week to show off the work we did in our books. I showed mine to the students and there were lots of “yuck”, “my mom’s doing that”, and sometimes laughter. I wasn’t trying to appeal to them, just critiquing the pages.

At the end of the semester, we had an Altered Book Show. The students and myself would have our altered books on display for the faculty, staff , family and friends. Of course, my whole experience with menopause was there for the whole world to see. It wasn’t long before we heard laughter. Not only from the moms and older women of the college, but from their husbands! Oh no. I was totally embarrassed, but come to find out, they liked it! They started telling their stories and wanted a copy for themselves or to give to their girlfriends. So that’s how all of this started.

imageSusan DeGarmo is a truly creative spirit. Born and raised in Memphis Tennessee, Susan “was always makin’ something’ from nothin’,” according to her grandma. While teaching an altered book class at a local college, she had a hot flash and decided to create Many Paws.
Her book and greeting cards are available for sale on manypawsforwomen.com or Amazon.com

Monday, November 24, 2014

Help Onca Publish Its First Work

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Onça is a brave new publisher of speculative fiction with a passion for the printed book. Based in BC, Onça Publishing was founded by Shed Simas, a former Master of Publishing student of mine who has worked for several BC presses, doing editing, production, design and marketing. Now he’s launched his own publishing house and is doing a crowdfunding campaign to get his first title on the printing press.

As a lover of speculative fiction—science fiction, fantasy, dystopian—and literary fiction, the first book, and focus of the campaign, is a limited edition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with original art from comic artist/illustrator Asher J. Klassen, and painter Marissa Brown.

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Help Shed raise $11,000 to print the project:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/onca-classics-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde

More at OncaPublishing.com

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The End of an Era? Big Publishers Pulling out of Canada

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CC-License Photo by Markus Spiske / www.temporausch.com

A couple of midweek shockers in the Canadian publishing world. The first is that David Kent is leaving HarperCollins Canada and the second is that Simon Schuster’s Canadian publishing program is in question amid key layoffs.

The Big 6 in book publishing are:
1. Hachette Book Group, leading US trade publisher currently embroiled in a dispute with Amazon. Imprints are Grand Central Publishing and Little Brown and Company, among many others.
2. HarperCollins, has a publishing group in Canada, is a subsidiary of News Corporation, and includes imprints like Harper Perennial and William Morrow, among many others.
3. Macmillan, is a conglomerate of several leading publishing imprints like Farrar Straus and Giroux, St Martin’s Press, Tor Books, and WH Freeman, among many others.
4. Penguin Group, with operations in Canada, merged with Random House, and includes imprints like GP Putnam’s Sons, Plume, Prentice Hall Press, Puffin Books and many others.
5. Random House, now including Penguin, is owned by Bertelsmann, has operations in Canada, and includes publishing groups like Crown Publishing, Knopf Doubleday and Random House Children’s Books, plus many others.
6. Simon & Schuster, the publishing operation of CBS Corporation, also has operations in Canada, and includes imprints like Pocket and Scribner, among many others.

So what’s going down in the Canadian market? Is there a Harper Collins + S&S merger to come, like we saw with the Random Penguins? Or are the US operations taking over control of the Canadian publishing groups in order to find economies of scale?

If the Big Six are seeing 1/3 of revenues coming from digital and “big data” and sales analytics are on the rise, then it seems plausible to me that the Canadian operations will wind down in order to maximize revenue (and reporting) for the North American market through the US headquarters. Any one in a betting mood? Toronto friends, what’s the word on the street?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Honouring Wayne Tefs

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From the Winnipeg Free Press Friends to honour late author Wayne Tefs

The launch of the last novel by the late Wayne Tefs will be a gathering of some of the many people whose lives were touched by the prolific writer, editor and teacher.

Barker (Turnstone Press) is the story of a carnival barker travelling the Prairies during the Depression. The book launch, starting at 3pm on Saturday, October 4 at McNally Robinson Booksellers, will include readings from friends and colleagues, including David Arnason and Dennis Cooley.

Tefs, who died this month after living many years with cancer, wrote novels, short stories, memoirs and hybrid fact-based novels during a career in which he also edited several anthologies of short stories and helped many of Turnstone’s writers get their manuscripts ready for publication.

James Sherrett was one of those writers who worked with Wayne to get his manuscript ready for publication by Turnstone.

What started as a chapbook published by Jesse James Press (founded by Jesse Simon, James Sherrett and Scott James Montgomery, with me acting as the Press), Up in Ontario won the Heaven Chapbook of the Year in 1996, one of the Manitoba Literary Awards, and later became a full-length novel of the same name.

Wayne Tefs was instrumental in mentoring James as a writer and later editing Up in Ontario. I remember Wayne as a kind, funny and friendly man who enjoyed Sunday morning hockey and who was very generous with his time. I’m sure he’ll be missed by literary pals David Arnason and Dennis Cooley, and I wish I could join them at McNally next weekend. I was very sad to hear a few weeks ago that Wayne wasn’t looking great and then to hear that he’d passed away at the fine age of 66.

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Moon Lake and Red Rock are two of my favourite Wayne Tefs novels and I’m looking forward to reading Barker.

Farewell, Wayne.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WORD Vancouver 2014

imageWORD Vancouver began today with readings at Paper Hound Bookshop and Banyen Books & Sound. The next couple of days are also filled with events are various venues (including pop-up magazine stands), all culminating in the big festival day on Sunday the 28th in and around the central branch of the VPL in downtown Vancouver.

  • Thursday: Banyen Books & Sound at 6:30 pm | Cottage Bistro at 7 pm
  • Friday: Christianne’s Lyceum at 6:30 pm | Historic Joy Kogawa House at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday: Vancouver Public Library 11-5 | SFU Harbour Centre 1:30 pm
  • Sunday: Main Festival Day at Library Square 11-5 pm

This is WORD Vancouver’s 20th year and admission is FREE. Want to help keep it free? Contribute to the WORD Vancouver Indiegogo campaign.

View the official program guide for the full schedule of events, or visit WordVancouver.ca for the most up-to-date information.

And, come join me on Saturday at 1:15 pm in the Alma Van Dusen Room to talk about “Creating an Author Profile”.

WORD Vancouver 2014

imageWORD Vancouver began today with readings at Paper Hound Bookshop and Banyen Books & Sound. The next couple of days are also filled with events are various venues (including pop-up magazine stands), all culminating in the big festival day on Sunday the 28th in and around the central branch of the VPL in downtown Vancouver.

  • Thursday: Banyen Books & Sound at 6:30 pm | Cottage Bistro at 7 pm
  • Friday: Christianne’s Lyceum at 6:30 pm | Historic Joy Kogawa House at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday: Vancouver Public Library 11-5 | SFU Harbour Centre 1:30 pm
  • Sunday: Main Festival Day at Library Square 11-5 pm

This is WORD Vancouver’s 20th year and admission is FREE. Want to help keep it free? Contribute to the WORD Vancouver Indiegogo campaign.

View the official program guide for the full schedule of events, or visit WordVancouver.ca for the most up-to-date information.

And, come join me on Saturday at 1:15 pm in the Alma Van Dusen Room to talk about “Creating an Author Profile”.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two Greats Gone: Gabriel Garcia Marquez & Alistair Macleod

I always cite 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as my favourite book and Alistair Macleod as my favourite author. To have lost both authors in such a short span of time is heartbreaking even though it’s been years since either put out a new work. What I loved about both was that neither ever misplaced a word. The sentences were tight, the quality of the storytelling was epic and their magnitude as authors was greater than great.

I never met Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I did spend 2 months in his country of birth and the culture of that part of South America was heavily infused in his writing. Reading Marquez was a way to venture back to that place and to basically feel like a time traveller.

A Nobel Literature prize winner. A great author. He died on April 17 at the age of 87.
http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/04/17/gabriel-garcia-marquez-dies-at-age-87/

My favourite copy of 100 Years of Solitude is in shabby condition, thanks to an ill-fated lending of said copy to my now husband. I should note that he bought me a lovely collector’s edition as an apology, but I held on to my original version and still prefer it.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Love in the Time of Cholera are two other favourites. And there are countless scenes that will stick with me forever, in particular the clouds of yellow butterflies.

I wish Alistair Macleod had stayed with us until 87 but he was only 77 years young when he passed away on Easter Sunday, April 20. 
http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/04/20/alistair-macleod-author-of-no-great-mischief-dies-at-age-77/

His first short story collection, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, is a slim volume that packs a hefty punch. Each story is a masterpiece. Before I was properly introduced to Alistair Macleod’s writing in a Canadian literature class in university, I was familiar with the cadence of his voice from listening to some of the stories read on CBC radio. Every time I read Macleod’s writing, I can hear his voice. It’s a wonderful experience.

When he published No Great Mischief in 1999 I had the pleasure of meeting him at BookExpo in Toronto. I had two girlfriends who were working at McClelland & Stewart at the time and one had the task of typing up pages and pages of text from Macleod’s handwritten, yellow foolscap. When he won the $10,000 Trillium Book Award, he chuckled that the kids could get another topping on their pizza now. I have my signed copies of Lost Salt Gift of Blood, No Great Mischief and Remembrance.

Macleod and his economy of words will always be my barometer for good writing. Be brief, be brilliant, be gone. I suppose it’s fitting that the last time I saw Alistair Macleod was at the Vancouver International Writers Festival and he read from his short story “Remembrance.”

 

Officer of the Order of Canada and multiple award winner, Alistair Macleod will be greatly missed.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

My Reading List for 2014

Mark Medley @itsmarkmedley has compiled the 25 most anticipated Canadian books of 2014 along with the best reads of 2013. Of course I want to read all of them, but there are a few on that list that immediately stand out. Also, I’m looking forward to what 49thShelf.com calls out as the top reads since they often has a handle on the smaller presses as well.

1. Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue (HarperCollins Canada/April) I didn’t read Room but this topic is intriguing: 3 former circus performers in 19th-century San Francisco.

2. The Confabulist, by Steven Galloway (Knopf Canada/April) I have loved all of Galloway’s novels, in particular Finnie Walsh and The Cellist of Sarajevo. This novel is about the life and death of the legendary magician Harry Houdini.

3. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, by Heather O’Neill (HarperCollins Canada/May) I enjoyed O’Neill’s Canada Reads-winning debut Lullabies for Little Criminals. It was dark. Not sure if this one is as dark but it’s about the twin children of a famous Québécois folksinger.

4. Walt, by Russell Wangersky (House of Anansi Press/September) Anansi always publishes very clever, quirky fiction and I’m really looking forward to this one about a grocery store cleaner who believes the police are trying to frame him for his wife’s disappearance. And as Medley says, “Oh, I forgot to mention his peculiar quirk: He collects discarded shopping lists people leave around the store.” Love it.

5. The Doomsday Man, by Ian Weir (Goose Lane Editions/September) Weir’s debut, Daniel O’Thunder was a pretty fun read. I’ve been participating with Ian in the Vancouver Sun Book Club and having heard about the novel first hand, I can’t wait to read his exploration of early surgeons and amputations. Seriously.

6. Into the Blizzard, by Michael Winter (Doubleday Canada/November) Winter is a crazy guy and I enjoyed The Big Why and All This Happened. I haven’t read Minister Without Portfolio so I’ll have to add that to my list as well. This book explores the history of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

More to come once I see what 49thShelf is touting!

Friday, December 20, 2013

3 Canadian Libraries Are Among the Best in the World

A report published in this month’s edition of Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services ties Vancouver and Montreal for the top spot, while Chicago, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Toronto rounded out the top five.

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/12/vancouver-public-library-number-one-library-world/

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent — Leaving the Sea

Leaving the Sea: Stories

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Love this cover. Reminds me of The Flame Alphabet, which is his previous book. I loved the writing but couldn’t get into the story (too dark for me as a new sleep-deprived mom, it was about children’s voices killing their parents) so I’m looking forward to reading these short stories instead.

Considered one of the most innovative and vital writers of his generation, Ben Marcus’s new collection showcases 15 tales of modern anxieties and peculiarities.

Ben Marcus is the author of three books of fiction: The Age of Wire and String, Notable American Women, and The Flame Alphabet, and he is the editor of The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories. His stories have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, Granta, Electric Literature, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Tin House, and Conjunctions. He has received the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction, three Pushcart Prizes, and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Advent — Top 100 Books

Critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923—the beginning of TIME. And, I’d read whatever Lev tells me to read. I’ve bolded the ones I have read below. I guess this is my new “to-read” list.

See the full article for links and info on how the list was created.
http://entertainment.time.com/2005/10/16/all-time-100-novels/slide/all/

A - B

The Adventures of Augie March
All the King’s Men
American Pastoral
An American Tragedy
Animal Farm
Appointment in Samarra
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
The Assistant
At Swim-Two-Birds
Atonement
Beloved

The Berlin Stories
The Big Sleep
The Blind Assassin

Blood Meridian
Brideshead Revisited
The Bridge of San Luis Rey

C - D

Call It Sleep
Catch-22
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange

The Confessions of Nat Turner
The Corrections
The Crying of Lot 49
A Dance to the Music of Time
The Day of the Locust
Death Comes for the Archbishop
A Death in the Family
The Death of the Heart
Deliverance
Dog Soldiers

F - G

Falconer
The French Lieutenant’s Woman
The Golden Notebook

Go Tell it on the Mountain
Gone With the Wind
The Grapes of Wrath

Gravity’s Rainbow
The Great Gatsby

H - I

A Handful of Dust
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter
The Heart of the Matter
Herzog
Housekeeping
A House for Mr. Biswas
I, Claudius
Infinite Jest
Invisible Man

L - N

Light in August
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Lolita
Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Rings
Loving

The Moviegoer
Lucky Jim
The Man Who Loved Children
Midnight’s Children
Money
Mrs. Dalloway

Naked Lunch
Native Son
Neuromancer
Never Let Me Go
1984

O - R

On the Road
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The Painted Bird
Pale Fire
A Passage to India
Play It As It Lays
Portnoy’s Complaint
Possession
The Power and the Glory
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Rabbit, Run
Ragtime
The Recognitions
Red Harvest
Revolutionary Road

S - T

The Sheltering Sky
Slaughterhouse Five
Snow Crash
The Sot-Weed Factor
The Sound and the Fury
The Sportswriter
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
The Sun Also Rises

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Things Fall Apart
To Kill a Mockingbird
To the Lighthouse
Tropic of Cancer

U - W

Ubik
Under the Net
Under the Volcano
Watchmen
White Noise
White Teeth
Wide Sargasso Sea

There are a couple of letters there that need attention.

Read more: TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2005/10/16/all-time-100-novels/slide/all/#ixzz2nsdhtOyf

Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent — Bookshelf Porn

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Why are book lovers obsessed with bookshelves? Maybe because our imaginations are so vivid that we just like to look at books and spaces for reading those books and are magically transported to other worlds upon viewing interesting shelves. Maybe. Just maybe.
http://bookshelfporn.com/tagged/favorites/

Friday, December 13, 2013

Advent — How to Read a Book

Francis Bacon once remarked “some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” Today’s StumbleUpon advent find is this article on How to Read a Book, which looks at the four levels of reading Mortimer Adler wrote about:

Elementary
Inspectional
Analytical
Syntopical

In short, the goal of reading determines how you read.
http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/how-to-read-a-book/

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advent — BookSeer

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BookSeer.com helps you find what to read next.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent — Bookmobile

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Chicago, 1940

My StumbleUpon advent calendar stumbled upon my cold that laid me up in bed for the last few days. Alors, here we go with an archive photo of a travelling library. This photo reminds me of a similar one in Todd Babiak’s Edmonton Public Library Centennial book.