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Showing posts from September, 2011

George.

Yes. I have named this post George because this post has proven otherwise unnameable. I considered 'Spinning my Wheels' or "Blurry and lacking in focus" and "little nuggets of pure crazy" and nothing worked. I will call it George. So apparently I should put a honking big slash between the Biblio and the Mama because (and I really should have known this), I can only do ONE THING at a time. I can blog regularly, or I can do book reviews. So not surprising. Whenever people talk about working out at lunch hour or stopping at the gym on the way home from work I try not to stare at them with my mouth gaping unattractively, but I'm always thinking "huh. So not everyone has Exercise Day, where they exercise first thing in the morning and then spend the rest of the day recovering from said exercise?" I've been on this baking-for-the-lunch-boxes kick because it's the beginning of the year and I'm still optimistic and energetic (wel

Mondays on the Margins: Book Review - The Broken Teaglass

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First, I have to get this off my chest. If you're an author whose first book is called Promise Not to Tell and the cover looks like this: and then a subsequent book is called Don't Breathe a Word and the cover looks like this: don't you think maybe you need to fire your editor? Anyway. I just finished The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault. It was a quiet kind of mystery, sort of understated and faintly sad, but also quite original and thought-provoking. I can't remember how I came across it, but what hooked me, not surprisingly, was that the main character works as a lexicographer, preparing citations and definitions for a new edition of a dictionary. The eccentric characters who work at the Samuelson Company are entertainingly drawn, and I love the descriptions of how new words or definitions are decided on, and how questions from the public are dealt with. Billy, the fresh-out-of-college protagonist, is unsure of whether he really belongs there.

Letter to my Optometrist

Dear Dr. N.: On the off chance that you're curious why neither I nor my children are any longer frequenting your office, I've decided to share my reasons with you. As you know, I've been a patient of yours for twelve years, since I first moved to Ottawa. I have never had the slightest issue with your friendliness or professionalism. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your front counter staff, particularly the one older woman (I'm sure you know who I mean). I'm not sure why I put up with the customer service I've received here for as long as I have - I suspect it's a combination of laziness and the fact that I only come here two or three times a year. I've worked retail myself, and I do realize that it's a bit much to expect staff to invariably act like 'the customer is always right'. However, it is a somewhat baffling customer service model I've experienced here, one which seems to dictate that 'the customer is a blithe

Mondays on the Margins: Book Review - Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

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First of all, this book is knock-your-eye-out GORGEOUS. If I'd seen it in the bookstore before Penguin sent it to me I would have been helpless in its thrall. Second of all, it seems that Jonathan Auxier wrote the enchanting story AND drew all the amazing little pictures at the beginning of each chapter, which irritates me in the way that I was irritated when I watched Disney's Aladdin and realized that Robin Williams could also SING. It's kind of like hogging more than your fair share of talent, you know? Anyway... This is the kind of story I love. Destitute orphan with a mysterious and fascinating destiny involving a quest? Check. Eccentric characters and sophisticated dialogue, wherein people insult each other elaborately and at great length? Check. Impossible-to-believe coincidence following on wildly improbable event? Check. If I had one quibble with the book, it may be that it seems a little more like a children's book for grownups than a children

Friday Funny

Because sometimes you have to laugh or you'll be so frustrated from searching for a double loft bed for your son (after finding one in the IKEA catalogue and realizing that it's actually the PERFECT SOLUTION and MUST BE OBTAINED and then finding out that the IKEA in your city doesn't carry it any more and then searching every other goddamned furniture store that is searchable without your ass actually leaving a chair and not finding one ANYWHERE) that you'll cry. Or at least use a lot of objectionable language and feel kind of cranky. I can't remember where I came across this for the first time, but I came across a copy of it in my pictures file and it made me snort unbecomingly again. It's the corollary to those magical experiences where students come back and tell teachers what a positive difference they made in the student's life. As my son would say, Mrs. Johanson totally pwned Larry. Plus, his name is Larry - for some reason that also makes me gig

Book Review: Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne

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"The last day on earth is coming. Bring your own booze." (you know it's going to be a good book when....) I had trouble pinning down exactly what I loved so much about this book. Once given the premise of a 'secluded communal farm disintegrating' and the cast of characters - the teenage daughter chafing against the hippie constraints of her parents' philosophy, her younger brother who just wants the family to stay together, their struggling parents and the various other eccentric residents of the farm, it's not hard to guess where the action is leading, and it's only the details that need to be filled in. The details, however, are superb - we see how the seeds of the 'Community' were planted (college graduate friends and lovers living in subdivided office space), the long arc to the place the characters now find themselves in, and the ways in which they all cope with their various disappointments. Kate, the 17-year-old daughter, is an

Mondays on the Margins: Book Review - Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

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It's my day on the Canadian Bloodlines Blog Tour! Bloodlines is a spinoff series by Vampire Academy author Richelle Mead . The protagonist, Sydney Sage, was introduced in one of the Vampire Diaries books, and her decision to go against her community and help the falsely accused Rose Hathaway escape from prison and clear her name follows her into the events of this book. This universe contains humans, Dhampir - half human, half-vampire, protectors of the Moroi - mortal vampires from whom vampire royalty are drawn, and Strigoi - evil undead vampires. Sydney is a human and a member of a family of alchemists - people who use magic to protect humans from vampires, for whom alchemists harbour deep suspicion and dislike. In Bloodlines, she ends up smack in the middle of a mission to protect Jill Mastrano, who is the sister of the Moroi Queen. Because of a law which is in the process of being changed, if Jill is assassinated the Queen will be deposed. Sydney is therefore dispa

No Words

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He Who Rejects Change is the Architect of Decay

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Then BRING ON THE DECAY, I say. I don't do well with change (I may have mentioned this before). It doesn't matter if the change is mighty or miniscule, positive or pissy, it stresses me the fuck out. Not intellectually - I look forward to the changing of the seasons; I like the freedom that summer holidays bring; I also like getting back into the routine of school, piano lessons, me and the kids reading in my room at night before bed. I like the satisfaction of finishing one course and the challenge of starting a new one. But something in my body there is that does not love change (I was trying to do a takeoff on that line of poetry about something in nature not loving a wall , but I just ended up sounding like Yoda. Fuck.) The kids get out of school and I'm a panicky ball of angst. The kids go back to school and I'm a weepy mess. I got new glasses a couple of years ago and I actually wrote in my diary "I hate how they feel when I'm washing them. Th

Memorable moments from our Summer of Awesome

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Eve feeds a baby for the first time: "Oh, she's so cute, she wants the spoon."; "Dani, you have to....okay, she keeps throwing that magnet on the floor."; "Here, baby, do you want...AGH! There's yogurt ALL OVER MY HAND!"; "THIS BABY IS HORRIFYING!"; "Wait...was I this bad when you fed me?" > Angus discovers that, no matter how good a pitcher you are, you can't beat a rigged carnival game: > Eve rides a carousel, and halfway through her ride Angus and I realize all the horses on it are really freaking scary. Matt discovers, to his great disgust, that our kids suck at bumper cars: We babysit a bird for five weeks and get quite attached. The little bugger dies two hours before we're due to bring him home. At least his owner (Eve's friend) was already here and had seen him alive so they didn't suspect we'd been keeping him in the freezer or something, but still, it sucked.