Surprise! Yes, it’s long absent me. I’ve been collecting LitBits for you since SEPTEMBER. But let’s shift the focus away from how much I suck to how much these things don’t:
1. Amanda Leduc is a young Canadian author. She has a novel coming out in May, called The Miracles of Ordinary Men, from ECW Press. And because I very happily work for ECW, I had the extreme privilege of working on Amanda’s book. READ IT. It’s very good. Allegra Young is also a young Canadian, a classical music producer at the Canadian Music Centre. She’s sent me some of the music put out by and I listen to it fairly regularly. Allegra lives in Toronto and Amanda, in Hamilton, but that hasn’t stopped the two of them, as dedicated lovers of CanLit, from conceiving a new and daring project called Bare it For Books. Today, their endeavour, in support of PEN Canada and Canadian authors and literature, was featured in the National Post. Please read it here, and buy a calendar when it comes out! I can’t wait! I know at least one person, besides me, who’s getting it for a Christmas gift.
2. This is super cool!! The world’s largest collection of authors on vinyl – for sale! It seems he’s selling the collection as a whole rather than having a sale somewhere or online, so maybe an organization will buy it and make it accessible to others, or perhaps they will be archived and then sold? I would love some of these! I grew up lying on my stomach on the living room floor listening to authors on vinyl. Great times.
3. Uh oh. A new bookish place to spend our money. Gone Reading: Gifts for Readers.
4. Remember this post I did, The Rights of the Reader? So many thought it was awesome. I did too. So my sister bought it for me, in England. But you, like Inderjit Deogun, can buy it from the Book Depository! Inderjit said: “The book was nothing like what I was expecting but I mean that in the best way possible. Once you get into it, you realize it’s actually quite insightful. I really ended up enjoying it! Thanks again!”
5. You likely already know this if you followed Canada Reads this year, but February, by Lisa Moore, is the 2013 winner. For my part, participating in the chats and watching the videos, I strongly felt that this year’s discussions were the best yet. I was wholly impressed by the insight into and the debates surrounding the books, the coverage of the material within, and the lack of viciousness and cutthroat strategy we’ve seen in previous debates. This year’s books were very much respected, and I believe they were carefully considered during eliminations, and that February, while it wasn’t my choice for the win, won not totally because of Trent McClellan’s points, which I felt were somewhat repetitive and cliché, but on the merit of the book itself. How utterly refreshing and exciting. I have renewed faith in the contest. It was also exciting because all but one of the authors are alive and as such, their panelists got to know them and also react. Lisa’s reaction on the final show to her win was moving. Most of all, the passion and admiration the panelists held for their respective books themselves was palpable and portrayed exactly the kind of reception CanLit deserves. There are quite a few links to click on for the debates, the question and answer periods, and related events, on CBC’s Canada Reads page. CBC’s changes to the program this year were perfect. My thanks also go to CBC’s Erin Balser (@booksin140) for sending me the books and allowing me thus to participate in the thrilling discussion.
6. I just recently made room on my shelves for bookends. Probably the spaces will be filled before I could get one of these pairs, but have a look. Which is your favourite?
7. Who’s hungry for waffles? Giant typewriter waffles! I love the innovation.
8. I’ve noticed that many of my bookish friends are also knitters. Here are some bookish knits compiled for you by the lovely Ainsley for Random House’s Literary Retreat site.
10. I haven’t got an iPhone, or any mobile for that matter (yet), but I do like these case/wallets!
11. Have you seen this already? The Literary Gift Company has From Neverland to Wonderland: A Map of Children’s Literature in Britain. I’d love to hang this in my guest bedroom, where all my YA and children’s lit resides. Of course, feel free to browse the rest of the site!
12. Introducing ECW Press’s Poetees.
13. Ready for a product break? Grace O’Connell won my heart when I met her in Picton for last year’s IFOA, and also on Twitter, where we’ve had a little chat about her love of fairy tales. And it’s always fun to meet another bookish person who has the same books as you do on your shelves. Here’s Grace talking about the books she shares with boyfriend Evan Munday (works at Coach House, also a Canadian author). PS. Hazlitt is a great literary mag, you guys.
14. We booklovers tend to also love looking at photos of others’s shelves and the reading nooks they carve out for themselves. Where do you read? My favourite photo in this post of 10 Excellent Reading Nooks is the last.
15. Just in case you hadn’t yet heard: Penguin is publishing Khaled Hosseini’s newest, And the Mountains Echoed! I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns (I think this was my fave), and I wait for his next with bated breath.
16. And again, in case you don’t know, and I’m super excited about this, Esi Edugyan’s next book is coming out with HarperCollins. She’ll be working with Patrick Crean again, under his new imprint at HC, Patrick Crean editions. I’ll be reading her newest for sure. Half-Blood Blues blew me away.
17. LibriVox is a repository of free public domain audiobooks. This may interest both those who love audiobooks (Literary Hoarders? I’m looking at you!) and those who would like to volunteer to read to get more books in stock.
18. Classic children’s literature–inspired bedrooms. Mine would have been the Surrender Dorothy one, no question.
19. This isn’t a new post but it’s an interesting one, and in case you missed it, here is how Canada’s Orange Prize, created for women writers, was born. (A hint: out of frustration. Surprise!)
20. The official unofficial Viking / Penguin tumblr. With gifs.
22. You know what? I really like JK Rowling. I find her a fascinating, open woman. Here is Rowling talking with Jian Ghomeshi on Q.
23. I also really love Kate Beaton, the Canadian artist who did the hilarious Hark! A Vagrant. She does tee-shirts, too, among other stuff. I love this Canada tee. Here is the rest of her store. I cannot look at anything she’s done without laughing. It’s the faces. Oh, the faces. Well, and the words. Hahaha!
24. Did you guys hear that Johnny Depp launched his own publishing imprint? No kidding. Like Patrick Crean’s new imprint, Johnny’s, unsurprisingly called Infinitum Nihil, is with the ever innovative HarperCollins.
25. This is pretty neat: The Novel Diner, for hungry readers.
27. This is the most awesome book design I’ve seen. It’s for Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. There was also a F451 jacket design contest. You can see all the designs at that link, and wow, some are amazing. So much talent out there. And here is the winner.
28. What’s a LitBit post without a little more jewellery? Can’t help it, and I’m an etsy junkie. Here is Jezebel Charms: Charming Literary Creations. For the guys: in case anyone still wears cufflinks: Penguins in your sleeves, also here for a more vintage look, and here. For the Agatha Christie enthusiast: subtle Miss Marple text earrings. More bookish charms. And for the more refined: The Reader’s Catalogue, from NYRB.
29. I shared this before, but if you haven’t read Billie Livingston’s One Good Hustle, this very interesting post, “Tales from the Conman’s Daughter,” may convince you to get to it soon. I knew I wanted to read the novel before reading this, but her article made me move her book to the top of the pile. I haven’t reviewed it, which would by now require a reread, but I enjoyed it very muchJ. And Billie is absolutely fabulous, and hilarious, and awesome. She’s one of my favourite people to correspond with. Never a dull moment! On that note, I owe her an email.
I’ll leave you with this hilarious parody of JK Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy.
Till next time!