September 21st, 2007

Links, Life, Books

You may have noticed that I have been making some small formatting changes on this page: no more big goofy picture (I found a small goofy picture, then remembered that Blogger hates uploading from Macs, so now we have nothing. I’m sure no one cares), no more blogs that are no longer being updated (guys? Where are you? I miss you! Guys?)

To fill in the gap left by my wayward friends, I’m going to do what I promised ages ago, which is provide some illuminating links to people whom I don’t actually know personally. Shocking, I know. We’ll go slow, one at a time.

If you live in Toronto, you probably know about Julie Wilson and her wonderful, high-concept blog, Seen Reading. If you are non-Toronto dwelling or just somehow missed the boat, I think it’s totally worth at least the occasional puruse. I’m gacking the concept from her site in her words, so you can see just how genius the whole thing really is:

1. I see you reading.
2. I guesstimate where you are in the book.
3. I trip on over to the bookstore and make a note of the text.
4. I let my imagination rip.
5. Readers become celebrities.
6. People get giddy and buy more books.

Because Wilson generally spots her readers on TTC subways, buses and streetcars, this practice actually combines three of my favourite things (books, transit, fantasies about the lives of strangers). And she’s general a pretty wonderful writer (her Harry Potter post was a tour-de-force), and the people of Toronto pretty wonderful book recommenders, in my opinion. Plus fashion tips!

Ahem. Other things making me happy lately are butterscotch pudding, writing Thursdays with Kerry, and the promise of weekend sloth. Last weekend and the one before were jam-packed with fun and excitement, but a full day of fun is still a full day, and by Monday I was a bit puzzled as to why I didn’t feel at all rested. Couple that with going somewhere or other almost every night this week, you can see why this morning was a wee bit hard. I am in the midst of an enormous coffee right now, but we’ll see how far beyond sunset I get before I just keel over.

Before that, though, I have to dart off to the post office and pick up my exciting book order! Even if ordered online and prepaid via credit card, anything that comes in the mail feels sort of like a present, doesn’t it? And I feel that this book order is sort of a leaf-turning (oh, god, terrible use of metaphor, coffee hasn’t kicked in yet) moment.

Here’s a confession for you: I rarely buy books, and almost never new. Isn’t that terrible? I am a constant reader and writer and believer in supporting writers, but somehow I never equated that with how I got my reading matter. Until last month, I worked in the biggest library in Canada, and regularly passed several others that are quite good. I also work in publishing, where free books are as common as daisies (and just as charming), and have many bookish friends who are happy to lend me things.

And fair enough—those are all legitimate sources of reading material, and up until last month I was fairly poor, anyhow. I think it was good enough that I was talking up the books I read and reading them spine-out on the subway. But writers struggle, especially in Canada but really the world over, and if even those of us who claim to love them *best* aren’t bothering to buy their wares, who will?

So I’m going to buy books. Not everything I read, obviously—the joy of the library is that you can try an author you’ve never heard of or a topic you normally dislike on a wing and a prayer, and if it doesn’t work out, no harm done. I’d be far less experimental in my book choices if I had to back them all up with $25. But anything I’m reasonably confident I’m going to like, and think I’d be proud to own, I think I’ll pay for it from now on.

I’m not saying this is some sort of moral victory, but it feels important to me. I even bought a hardcover, which I loath (these are not designed for transit readers!) Canadian writers forever!

Let’s just skip the boring parts / Chapters one through three

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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