The Best Company - 25 Years of the Public Lending Right Commission, by Katia Grubisic

21 February 2012

In the must and age and rainy days of those European libraries many moons ago, I was in a place that was mine; I was home. I might have been in another time; I was outside of time. Back then, I hadn’t yet published a line, and now I wait, along with thousands of other writers, for a slip of paper that reminds me not only that my words exist in the world, but that they are alongside countless other worlds. In libraries we are utterly ourselves, and we are in the best company.

 

Better than Downton Abbey: Nabokov's Ecstasy

8 February 2012

"This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love." -- Vladimir Nabokov

Review of A Wicked Company

3 February 2012

by Kenneth Radu

Wicked company, therefore, is to be understood as the hostile official attitude towards men (mostly men) of intellectual daring who challenged the assumptions of religion and society. Inconvenient thinkers could be imprisoned and atheists could still be executed at the time, a practice I believe some would wish to continue today. That was the purpose of the radical salon: room for a coterie of free thinkers to converse bravely on many subjects, including dangerous critiques of the ancien régime and the Church, without fear of reprisal, at least from their fair hostess.

Il Trovatore at the Opéra de Montréal

31 January 2012

I’ve reached the point where I will forgive an opera almost anything if the music is beautiful enough and there are one or two spectacular singers. Which is very much the case here, not only with Soprano Hiromi Omura’s Leonora, who has the entire audience in the palm of her hand, but also with the darker figure of Azucena, sung by the thrilling Italian mezzo Laura Brioli.


Monsieur Lazhar

31 January 2012

What I loved about Monsieur Lazhar is its delicacy. So much of what is most powerful here is touched on glancingly. There is genius at work in the casting and direction of the children, among whom Sophie Nélisse as Alice and Émilien Néron as Simon are standouts, and of Monsieur Lazhar himself, played by Algerian actor, comedian and author Fellag.

Fellag, as Monsieur Lazhar

From Guy Tiphane: Letter from… Antigua, Guatemala

25 January 2012

All this would be simpler had I had an electronic book reader, I thought on my way home. Sooner or later, it was now clear to me, I would have to surrender to the commanders of progress who want to sell us devices and an endless supply of books in electronic format.

Art’s Art: Arthur Holden’s “serious farce” Ars poetica

20 January 2012


This is a fun play, and a satisfying play, ably performed and directed at a clip by Guy Sprung in this excellent Infinithéâtre production. Arthur Holden is a playwright to watch.

Noel Burton, Danielle Desormeaux and Elana Dunkelman in Ars poetica
Noel Burton (George), Danielle Desormeaux (Diane), and Elana Dunkelman (Naomi) in Arthur Holden's Ars poetica. Photo: Brian Morel.
Who's looking it up?

19 January 2012

Why are so many people looking kawaii up in the dictionary? And are they the same people who are looking up get?

Annie Ernaux: from L’Autre Fille (The Other Daughter)

14 December 2011

When French author Annie Ernaux was ten years old, she overheard her mother conversing with a customer outside the family-run small grocery. The mother confided that there was a daughter before Annie, a six-year old girl who contracted diphtheria and who “died like a little saint.” L’Autre fille (The Other Daughter) is Annie Ernaux’s letter to the departed.


      Annie Ernaux  [Photo: Catherine Hélie, Gallimard]

From Guy Tiphane: Letter from San Francisco

8 December 2011

Can machines select the next book for you to read? In this view of the future, a book's DNA can be compared to your “reader DNA,” and the bookseller – no longer a human but a machine automatically channeling books to you – is guaranteed growing sales forever.

To Isaac Babel from his daughter

30 November 2011

"Well, here you are at last. We've been puzzled about you for so long; although you left behind much love and devotion, you bequeathed us very few facts." -- Nathalie Babel, 1964

From Sophie Legrand: Q & A with Katherine Govier

15 November 2011

I think landscape forms character. The people I write about are formed by a particular landscape. Maybe it’s harsh, maybe it’s dangerous, it affects what they are and who they are. I like to go and place myself in those landscapes.

Katherine Govier in Matsumoto, Japan

From Judith Fitzgerald: Winning ReLits & Righteous Fitz Bitz

11 November 2011

L-R:  Craig Francis Power, Tony Burgess, Dani Couture, and ReLit Founder Kenneth J. Harvery.

ReLit winners show off their rings: (L-R) Craig Francis Power, Tony Burgess, Dani Couture, and ReLit founder Kenneth J. Harvey. (Photograph of ReLit Award recipients © 2011 John W. MacDonald. Used by written permission. All rights reserved. Duplication, reproduction, storage, or transmission of this work in whole or in part in any medium without the express written permission of its copyright holder is strictly forbidden. Just so you know, y'know?)

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