Tuesday, November 16, 2010

True Discovery

I admit: I often root for the dark horse, the underdog. This year, in our incessant Literary Awards Season, I was pleasantly surprised to find indie-press books on short lists and writers I had never heard of become winners.

I look forward to getting a copy of Johanna Skibsrud's The Sentimentalists next week, when it becomes available in stores. I may also check out GG winner Clear Water for my winter break reading list.

Please read, read, read. Don't always buy the winner, or the short-listed books, or even the long-listed books for that matter. Discover a book in a remainder pile that is extraordinary and tell your friends. There are so many wonderful novels, story collections, volumes of poetry that never make it on any List. But with a bit of luck, perhaps they will end up on your nighttable and will move you, literally take you from one place to another, if only in your imagination.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


This past weekend, a handful of teenage boys were down on the train tracks in Montreal, either planning to tag, or checking out the grafitti spray-painted below. It was about 3 a.m. A train came barrelling through. Three of the boys, ages 17-19 were instantly killed. Two scrambled to safety.

Apparently, in the place they were hanging out, it is difficult to hear the approaching train until it's nearly right up in your face. And trains can't stop easily. Suddenly.

This tragic news made me terribly sad. And a subterranean anxiety lingers. I have two teens: a 17-year-old son who was an aquaintance of one of the lost boys (a friend of a friend), as well as a thirteen-year-old girl, who turns fourteen in less than two weeks.

When you're a seventeen-year-old guy hanging out with a group of pals on an autumn Saturday night, eve of Halloween, this mother suspects no good ideas arise after midnight.

Go home. Please.