Lately I’ve been finding it hard to keep up with all the fantastic book stuff! Here’s another LitBit post of some things I’ve collected since LitBits 26.
1. I want this very badly. It’s a tent that looks like a book! My husband and I take Lucy camping every year — have done since 2000 (well, we’ve been camping that long together, but Lucy didn’t start curling up with us by the fire till 2003). Anyway, I’d camp under the stars in this tent without hesitation. It’s awesome. “Sleeps two comfortably.” It would also be cool for backyard book clubs!
2. You already know I’m all for short stories. I just finished Alix Ohlin’s Signs and Wonders for work, and it’s excellent. Short stories are perfect for breakfast or just before bed, for your commute, or during lunch. They’re great for everywhere. Here are the three winners of the Commonwealth short story contest. And for $3 I downloaded the winners of Sarah Selecky’s Little Bird contest this year; you can too! The money goes toward helping migratory birds of North America.
3. Speaking of short fiction, Kristine Ong Muslim is a writer of flash fiction based on art. Her new book, We Bury the Landscape, is a collection of 100 mini-stories about different paintings. Each flash fiction piece corresponds to an artwork she’s indicated in the book. Portions of the book have appeared in publications and have been nominated for awards and cited as exemplary by publishers. For example, these stories were early versions of the fiction pieces that were included in the book:
We Figure the Leaves in Hobart
Revenge of the Goldfish in The Brooklyner
Boy with a Propeller Head in Birkensnake
Requiem for Industry in Eschatology
Flowers, Secrets in Every Day Fiction
The book has already been reviewed in many places, http://kristinemuslim.weebly.com/we-bury-the-landscape.html, too.
4. Bookends! Which I have no room for on my bookshelves, of course, but could be used to display a little selection of Canadiana somewhere else, like on top of a bookcase or shelf. I love these, from Anthropologie. Somehow they speak to me as stories themselves.
5. And since I mentioned Canadiana: you’ve probably already heard of the 49th Shelf’s Read Local map (I have a little badge for it in the sidebar as well). The idea is to pin Canadian books on the map. I put on Sam Martin’s This Ramshackle Tabernacle, because it’s very close to where I live (the stories mostly take place between Belleville and Algonquin Park, and north of 7). (I’m going to be reading his new novel, A Blessed Snarl, as soon as it arrives, for his virtual tour. It’s going to be excellent.)
6. Fellow book blogger @jacqu83 (Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen) sent me this awesome article to include here: In Barangay La Paz, Makati (the Philippines), Hernando Guanlao is the caretaker and founder of the wondrous Reading Club, commonly known as “the library on Balagtas Street.” Check it out!
7. Introducing book-smell perfume, called Paper Passion. I’m pretty sure this is not how I want to smell, or how I want others to smell (although I’d go for it in lieu of how some people already smell. Phew). But I prefer to come across this fragrance when I walk into a bookshop or open a book. Right now I’m reading the hardcover copy of The Sisters Brothers, and I can’t stop fanning the pages. It’s such a good smell, that one.
8. My friend Alison Gresik is an author. We went to school together, sang in the concert choir, and then in 2000, a year after I graduated from my fifth year, she published her first book. I was jealous when I first came across it working at Chapters. And then she lost her way; she fell into a depression. A few years later, she and her husband decided to sell everything and leave Canada for Asia. They are now happily of no fixed address. Her journey through depression wasn’t easy but she discovered along the way that not being true to your creative self can be a very bad thing. Now she’s a creativity coach, helping artists and authors fulfill their dreams and foster their creative needs. She’s also written another book, called Pilgrimage of Desire. Recently, she and a designer friend decided that they were going to self-publish the book so they could lay it out the way they wanted. It’s beautiful. She raised over $10,000 in support of her project, a book that openly shares what she went through and will help those going through the same. Alison is a truly amazing, strong, and inspiring woman. You can check her and her book out at www.gresik.ca.
9. The term bibliotherapy makes sense to me as is. But I recently found it has a different meaning than I thought. Bibliotherapy is an academic term used to describe the beneficial mind/body reactions that occur from reading erotic romantic literature. Apparently, too, sex therapists advise their patients to get busy reading romance. While I’m glad they’re endorsing reading, unfortunately, it’s not necessarily of good literature (*cough* Fifty Shades *cough*) or even emotionally healthy sex. So what literary romance or erotica have you read? While they’re not romance novels, I admit the sex scenes in Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series were pretty breathtaking, whereas Ken Follett’s in Pillars of the Earth are deplorable. I am going to try only one more time to read that book. [UPDATE: Melanie of the blog Four Rooms: Creative self-care, wrote to inform me that bibliotherapy has a much wider use than simply sexual health. See her helpful, thorough post on bibliotherapy here.]
10. By now you’ve read the news about the government cutting funding to the Literary Press Group, which has rightfully caused a huge uproar. LPG has offered several ways to help counter this heinous act.
11. For all you digital readers out there: Thomas Allen and Cormorant Books have launched a really cool project called cStories:
cStories has made it easy for you to read short stories digitally but still support your favourite local bookstore!
cStories offers individual short stories ready for readers on-the-go. A joint initiative between Thomas Allen Publishers and Cormorant Books, cStories will make a significant number of outstanding Canadian-authored short stories available exclusively through the websites of independent booksellers.
You can also win an iPad with predownloaded ebook singles in their humorously named Get Into Our Shorts contest!
12. And speaking of cool ventures, fellow book bloggers Colleen McKie of Lavender Lines and Kimberly Walsh of East Coast by Choice have partnered to launch Fierce Ink Press, a “publishing label dedicated to producing high quality books of fiction and short non-fiction pieces by Atlantic Canadian authors who write for young adults.” I’m very excited about this, mainly because I know both of them as booklovers and active in the industry (Colleen opened her own second-hand bookshop last year and Kimberly has worked as a writer and with publishers), but also because this is exactly what the industry needs in a time of such uncertainty: fierce support for writers and hope for the book industry. It’s not unusual that we look to small and independent ventures to shine and turn things around when the going gets tough. I’m certain these girls are going to give much to the Atlantic and the YA book world in general! And get this: already they’ve been recognized and won an award, before they’ve even got started!
Fierce Ink Press is asking for submissions, too, for their Fierce Shorts imprint.
13. I love this story, because I have first-hand experience of it working but also because it’s such a lovely thing to do. I’ve said before that when I read to Colin in the car or at home, Lucy always joins us and also calms down. See what the Regina Humane Society has started: reading goes to the dogs!
14. People love making lists. Here are the fifty coolest book covers, according to shortlist.com. Of course, lists are subjective and must leave stuff out, and I can think of a few I like that aren’t on there. Depends on what you think is cool. But which are your favourites?
15. CBC Canada Writes has recently been featuring 600-word stories by Canadian authors for their Brief Encounters series:
Life is made up of fleeting moments that may be life-changing or destabilizing. What are the repercussions of an instant?
We asked ten Canadian writers to imagine a vivid meeting or confrontation: A “Brief Encounter” in 600 words or less.
Try Sarah Selecky, “The Guest Room,” Alexander McLeod, “Everything Underneath,” and Annabel Lyon, “Rusty or Ruby (Or Both).” The rest of the stories are here.
16. Last but not least, introducing the CWILA, Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. I only just heard of them today. There are some interesting literary gender stats here. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
And that’s it for today, all! Thanks, as always, for reading!