Banned books, burned books

It’s Freedom to Read Week in Canada so I thought I’d issue one of my regular reminders about how lucky we are to be in a place at a time when art is freely made and consumed. We are very, very lucky so it is important that we:

1) Make and consumer art (paint something, read something);

2) Protest if this right is challenged (get John Green to send thousands of books to towns where the school has banned a particular title);

3) Do what we can to secure this right for others (suggestions?).

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Funny Girl; or how I learned stop worrying and love punctuation in titles


I had never read anything by Nick Hornby before this week. Is that strange? I knew who he was, of course, and could even list the books he had written (About a Boy, High Fidelity) but I missed the Nick Hornby fandom train, a train I know must exist because he is one of few writers who has his name attached to movie projects (eg. Wild, for which he did the screenplay adaptation) in order to make them look more attractive. Nevertheless, charmed by the two Fever PItch* movies, I made a point of ordering Funny Girl when I saw Hornby was releasing a new book this year.

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A February weekend reading list starring David Carr

We have a long weekend (“bank holiday” for our British Red Brick Readers) here in Toronto which has meant lots of time for reading and watching over the last three days. That has meant three days to reflect on the work of a great writer, David Carr, who died on Thursday. Carr was the media critic for the New York Times. A respected, if not sexy position, Carr had an above-average level of name recognition because he was the character who stole the 2011 Times documentary Page One.

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She’s such a Samantha: Deepti Kapoor’s ‘A Bad Character’

There’s not a moral to this story. Deepti Kapoor’s main character (I didn’t realize until right this second that none of the characters have names. Huh.) snorts blow, screws strangers, and lies to her loved ones. She doesn’t wind up at the top of the heap, but neither does she wind up buried by her sins. That isn’t what this book is about.

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‘Basquiat: Now’s the Time’ and further reading

A little while ago, I wrote a piece for The Rumpus about a recently republished book about the life of Jean Michel Basquiat. The timing of the book’s re-release coincided with a major exhibition of the artist’s works at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. That exhibition opened to the public today, rung in with a kick-off party on Thursday, headlined by Grandmaster Flash. The city’s been waiting for this event like a shy teenager waits for prom after the most popular boy in school asks her. And we weren’t disappointed.

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