Saturday, November 20, 2010

Women who read

I've heard this before but came across it again. I found it funny even the second time ao I thought I would share it here:

Never Argue With A Woman Who Reads

A couple goes on vacation to a fishing resort. The husband likes to fish at the crack of dawn. The wife likes to read. One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a short nap. Although she isn't familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and continues to read her book. Along comes the game warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside her and says,"Good morning, Ma'am, what are you doing?" "Reading my book," she replies, thinking isn't that obvious? "You're in a restricted fishing area," he informs her. "But officer, I'm not fishing. Can't you see that?" "Yes, but you have all the equipment. I'll have to take you in and write you up." "If you do that, I'll have to charge you with rape," says the woman. "But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden. "That's true, but you do have all the equipment." MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I haven't read the book The Sentimentalists which won the Giller, published by our highly esteemed and principled local press . I had to go to the Gaspereau Press website to find out what the book was about since this hasn't been the subject of much of recent the press I have seen The publisher says,

Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel connects the flooding of an Ontario town, the Vietnam War, a trailer in North Dakota and an unfinished boat in Maine. Parsing family history, worn childhood memories, and the palimpsest of old misunderstandings, Skibsrud’s narrator maps her father’s past. ... a daughter’s wrestling with a heady family mythology.

But before I read that blurb I imagined what a novel with that title might have to say. I wondered if it might discuss by way of fiction the Canadian psyche because most Canadians, let's face it, are sentimentalists. Emotion and feelings inform their beliefs and their political biases, not empirical evidence or even, it seems, bitter experience. Wishful thinking is so much more agreeable than rigorous thought, easier too.

Hmmm - "heady family mythology." Perhaps I am not far wrong; perhaps the author captures that in her novel after all. We'll have to try to find a copy - not an easy thing I guess - to see if I am right.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gaspereau Press has a decision to make

Johanna Skibsrud has won the Giller prize with her book The Sentimentalists. Her publisher is The Gaspereau Press a quality, small press just down the road from us in Kentville. They can manage only a tiny run. This has unlocked a whole Pandora's box of trouble for the author and for readers who are clamouring to read the book.

Skibsrud bit her lip when Gaspereau co-publishers Andrew Steeves and Gary Dunfield spurned offers from Toronto-based publishers to reprint and distribute The Sentimentalists widely after the Giller jury made it a finalist. Now she openly admits to being “concerned” about the partners’ decision to continue hand-printing her prize-winning first novel at the leisurely rate of 1,000 books a week.

Concerned? I guess. We have to ask ourselves, will another author choose Gaspereau Press if they know their choice of publisher could limit sales down the line if they win an award? I think Gaspereau Press will win only in the short run but not in the long run if they don't allow a partnership to allow the book to be more widely available NOW, when it is wanted. As it is I don't think I will be able to find a copy to give as a gift at Christmas.

There is not a single copy of The Sentimentalists available in any of the Indigo Books & Music stores, company president Joel Silver confirmed. “The Giller lights a match,” he said, “but you still need to feed the fire. … If people aren't reading about it and talking about it, then I think it'll fizzle out faster.”

We may have to get a copy from the British publishers if we want one. We love the Gaspereau Press and hope they resolve this issue. If they do the right thing by the author it can only enhance their reputation. If they don't well ...
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)