Sunday, September 10, 2006

A bad week for young Stephen

...losing the Toronto Book Award and getting remaindered at the biggest local chain. Poor Stephen Marche. The prestige of such a nomination is as good as nullified by the 'reduced to clear' phenomenon. It helps if a published writer is able to separate the idea of the book as a product of intellectual rigour from the idea of the book as a stylized marketable good. The biggest local chain better have enough courtesy not to sell the Toronto Book Award finalist's work at a reduced price at Word on the Street, which will have a reading stage set up at the event, presumably with a table selling all the finalists' offerings. Somehow, I have a feeling that the biggest local chain would not have any hesitation about selling Marche's book for just $4.99, a little way down the street, with only a hot dog cart and a lemonade stand to keep young Stephen from seeing the big red sticker on the cover of a pile of his books. Alas, I am sure he already knows.

Music: past/present/future

Blast from the past: Collapsing New People by Fad Gadget (most recently heard on David Marsden's show on Pulver Radio)

Best current feel-good indie pop song: Publish My Love by Rogue Wave

Best current ode to urbanism: City I Love You by Bravo Silva

Best contemporary classical offering: Affairs of the Heart by Marjan Mozetich

Most anticipated albums of the fall: The Information (hmmm...that sounds familiar...) by Beck & I Am Not Afraid of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (also qualifies for best album title) by Yo La Tengo

Danielewski redux

Having now seen Only Revolutions in the flesh, I am certain that this is either the most experimental work of fiction ever, or the most gimmicky. I didn't really get it. Perhaps my sense of the literary avant garde is somewhat compromised, but it's just comes off as so much shiny, pretty nonsense. But then again, I am just a common philistine.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Festival of Authors

With autumn comes vibrant foliage and author readings. I am still not certain whether I find author readings enjoyable or merely something I think I should enjoy, but the fact remains that each year's announcement of IFOA participants makes my heart leap a little with anticipation. In my mind, the most notable of this year's participants is Cynthia Ozick, having recently published a collection of essays, the most excellently titled The Din in the Head. However, my guess is that there will be a bigger buzz around the likes of Man Booker longlister Claire Messud, and cult writer Mark Z. Danielewski. Everything I read about Messud's The Emperor's Children makes me think of Jay McInerney's Bright Lights/Brightness Falls/Good Life triumvirate. My, but I do love New York, but the writing that revolves around life there can sure be cliché. As for media whore Danielewski, his imminent release has been subject to a bloated marketing frenzy, and is sure to excite and confuse those who have been MZD worshippers ever since House of Leaves made its postmodern presence felt virtually and otherwise. Despite all of my negatively bent speculations, I am sure that they are two very fine books.

And here's an innovative idea for a festival feature: an interview with Margaret Atwood. Very original. Never before done, I think. I am quite sure that CanLit cannot continue to revolve around the inventor of the Unotchit. Very soon, she will invent a device to sell side by side with the remote autograph signer, that being the remote author reading device. Harbourfront is sooo far away from the Annex! Despite all of my snarky musings, I am sure that she is a very lovely woman.

To sum up: two very fine books, a very lovely woman, and listening to successful writers read from their published works...what could be more fucking enjoyable than that?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My guess is t-shirts

How is this for absurdity?

The $3,000 was intended to fund a pamphlet on the avant-garde, which the editors hope to publish in the fall. It was also meant to offset the cost of producing the tote bags, which was much more expensive than expected.

It is a relief that the tote bags are more expensive to produce than the avant garde pamphlets.

All of this begs the question, what is n+1 magazine doing to finance to their twice yearly publication?


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