Wednesday, 7 August 2013


As I've been moving about, house-sitting (mainly minding cats) for friends, I've been pulling out intriguing books from their shelves when I've had the opportunity. Frequently, this means that I've become engrossed, and writing my own words (both in this public blog and my private journal) gets left behind.

So I thought it was time to share those as well. As I have pointed out to others in the past, I go in phases: reading very little as fun for long stretches at a time, and then immersing myself in (usually) non-fiction tomes. The pictures, as usual, are selected from some of my recent adventures when my nose hasn't been stuck in a book....


In May, I found a copy of Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Faragó, which was the prime source for the original screenplay of the movie Patton, which is one of my personal favourites -- likely because I have a thing for bull terriers -- and this book told me everything I wanted to know, and more: watching the movie on DVD after finishing the book, was a real education. At 800+ dense pages, even reading this book at my regular speed (which is pretty quick) took ages.


I followed it up with Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, because it was recommended by two of my friends. Not being much of a fiction reader -- life, for me, truly is much more interesting than someone else's imagination -- I really enjoyed this book. Likely being familiar with typography and New York City gave me two good reasons why it held my interest until the end.

Final output

Next up was a fleshed-out version of Neil Turok's recent (2012) Massey Lectures for CBC Radio's Ideas, titled The Unknown World. This is not a book for the faint-of-heart, but it's pretty good if you enjoy books about the intersection of science and philosophy, and I quite liked his writing style. Coincidentally, CBC is rerunning the series of radio programs again this week.

Poppy Plaza #1

Then was Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which made me grateful I've been trying to eliminate as much preprocessed food as possible. It doesn't mean I'm perfect -- I still get cravings for junk food -- but compared to some of my friends, I do OK.


And now, to the smallest of these books, which will be my companion this evening: Art Lessons: Reflections From An Artist's Life, by Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord. As an artist who is still struggling (although less so than even six months' ago) with finding my way back to a productively creative life, I'm looking forward to cracking it open. Susan has embarked on an unusual way of getting the book into the hands of readers by releasing 61 copies -- one to every state, plus the District of Columbia, in the United States, and one to every province in Canada: I am the lucky recipient of the copy initially sent to Alberta -- out into the wild, traced by Book Crossing.

Because I have been working in earnest on a similar print-on-demand book of my photographs from my year of travel, I'm curious to see how this practice works: not sure I will use this method of distribution, but I think it is an interesting way of both gaining publicity and obtaining distribution.

You might think that there's no common thread to any of these, or that I've been using reading as a stalling tactic for my own work: nothing could be further from the truth. All of these have provoked a fair bit of thought, and a lot of notes about possible projects, which qualifies as time well spent.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Books for Sale

The shop is currently empty.