The Audacious Kathleen Winter

2011-08-18 08:37:37

Because one of the things that happens – and I cannot believe we do this as a society – is that there’s a decision: Is this a penis or a clitoris? If it’s decided it shouldn’t be a penis, then it’s removed. So, whatever it was, it could feel stuff, right? Whatever it was, it was the source of sexual ecstasy for that child’s future. And as part of our comfort level with being a society that wants to have no ambiguity, we don’t even think about that.

The Remarkable, the Quirky and the Delightful, or, Why I Love the TLS

2011-08-04 08:14:56

After a certain period of time, say forty years, I think we should be allowed to admit that we no longer know somebody we used to know and be permitted to go back to the beginning and start again, I’ve known some people for so long without speaking to them and we’ve all changed so much in the interim that we need to be re-introduced.


We are all Torontonians: Philistines and the Battle for Public Libraries

2011-08-03 15:07:30

The Toronto battle has not yet made its mark nationally, but it should. If Toronto library users and supporters lose this fight, you can depend on it that other municipalities will be encouraged to follow suit. I am a Montrealer, not a Torontonian, but I know this is my battle, too. And I think it’s a battle we should all be fighting.

When it comes to the future of public libraries, we are all Torontonians.


Irresistible Small Festivals II : Quebec City

2011-07-29 13:37:45

The more our lives as writers and readers are spent online, the more we appreciate what the literary festival – of whatever size – has to offer: not only personal contact with other writers and readers, but also friendliness, warmth, and the kind of intimacy that conversations about good books bring out in people who love reading. When the festival is small, these priceless qualities are all the more concentrated. And when a superb setting is added to the mix, the small festival becomes irresistible.

Irresistible Small Festivals I : Knowlton WordFest

2011-07-29 07:27:47

Knowlton was full of summer visitors in pastel-coloured shorts and skimpy tops. Cars were sidling along rue Knowlton with their tops down, the boutiques had their doors wide open, and the village was festooned with petunias.

From Bob Chodos: Francophone interest in Quebec Jews

2011-07-19 00:19:15

The relationship between Quebec’s Jews and the francophone majority has known some rocky times ? the life of Adrien Arcand is only one part of that story. But there is a more positive story as well. These three books are evidence that this story is continuing, while the one represented by Adrien Arcand is of another time.

Fascist rally in 1930s Montreal

Photo: courtesy Inroads


Hello, out there: Fun with statistics -- with a bow to the photographers

2011-07-01 11:16:02

Amazed to discover there are people, or at least computers, in 40 countries checking out this salon, and can even correlate these visitors with what I posted on any given day. Peak time to read salon posts is lunchtime, between 12 and 2 p.m. And the number of visitors spiked on June 13th when I announced the publishing company.

Photo: Phyllis Papoulias

From Patrick Coleman: Les Boys of October

2011-06-28 22:16:25

Quebec novelist Louis Hamelin is a talented writer with a genuine passion for his cause, but his new book La Constellation du lynx is remarkable as much for what it leaves out as for what it includes.

Q&A with Bharati Mukherjee

2011-06-28 06:32:13

LL: You have been writing about the culture shock experienced by immigrants from India in the United States for 40 years or more. Do you see yourself as being a pioneer in this exploration of the immigrant experience?M

BM: My short and emphatic answer: Yes.

From Tom Ložar: Trieste and the Meaning of Ignorance

2011-06-24 13:56:44

The assumption in “One Night at the Risiera” that the Risiera killed mainly Jews and the silence about the other victims may just be examples of Morris’s fabled carelessness and the ignorance of her reviewers, in homage to her lyrical cluelessness.

So, do you believe me, or the great Jan Morris? Do you trust me or the woman who says that Toronto is on Lake Superior, that there is a great hatter on a street in Toronto called Spandia, and that Yonge Street runs all the way to the “prairie farmlands”?

In Mukherjee's India, Old Meets New

2011-06-17 22:43:00

Bharati Mukherjee’s new novel represents not only a new departure but also the latest instalment in a substantial and satisfying body of work. 

From Tom Ložar: Doctored !

2011-06-07 19:10:31

The translation, from Slovenian, of Tom Ložar's column in the Maribor daily Vecer on March 29, 2011, soon after Germany’s Defence Minister Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg resigned when it was discovered he had plagiarized his doctoral thesis.

From Elaine Kalman Naves: Peter Behrens' The O’Briens

2011-05-31 08:20:24

Members of the eponymous family are so bicultural that their conversation often and readily slips from English to French. It’s difficult not to read into the author’s intent the desire to pen “a” if not “the” great Canadian novel.

The AGO goes AbEx: All in the Family -- and a side of dystopian doom

2011-05-30 13:37:32

The family feel comes from the vivid sense of a movement, even quite literally of clubbiness that comes from the "Club" where artists and hangers-on congregated in a loft on East Eighth Street. Individual as they were and very different as is their work, they also knew each other and were keenly aware of themselves as a group.

[And the side? Edward Burtynsky's stunning "Oil," at the ROM.]



Monsieur Montreal Culture: The Passion of Simon Brault

2011-05-27 09:58:04

Not just Monsieur Culture Montréal, in other words, but Monsieur Montreal Culture. Brault wasn’t playing to a particularly mixed crowd. There might have been 300 of us in the audience, and I saw only a couple of other Anglos and one Spaniard; there were undoubtedly other non-Francophones I did not recognize, but there were no Anglophone media other than myself, if I can be counted a journalist. La Presse covered the event, but The Gazette did not. There are times, even today, when Montreal seems to live on one planet in English and on another one in French.

The Lion in Winter: Gore Vidal

2011-05-21 16:51:30

When Raboy passed the torch to the audience, a young woman went up to the microphone to ask Vidal, “What is the most important thing in life for you?”

Vidal thought for a moment before saying a single word, “Anaesthetic.” 

Anaesthetic there had been and anaesthetic there would be.

Whimsy in Granite: Hope Cemetery

2011-05-18 16:49:44





-- Inscription on Davis soccer ball gravestone, Hope Cemetery, Barre VT.

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