Kazuo Ishiguro calls out our buried giants

Last night at the Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon, Kazuo Ishiguro stopped by to speak about his new novel The Buried Giant. To a sold out crowd, Ishiguro talked about his inspiration, the flack he’s getting for including pixies and ogres, and his long history of plagiarizing Charlotte Bronte.

Continue reading


Searching the globe for the real James Bond

New York Magazine’s The Vulture has a piece today about Ian Fleming’s post-war life in Jamaica. Fleming built a house called Goldeneye and it is believed that Fleming’s Jamaican life is the source of the James Bond character. At his Jamaican home Fleming wrote all of the Bond novels and rubbed elbows with artists who began to seek refuge on the island, including Noel Coward, Graham Greene and Truman Capote. But the James Bond character began to germinate before Fleming’s time in Jamaica, while he was serving as a British Naval Intelligence Officer for MI5 and was sent to stay at a luxurious hotel in Portugal.

Continue reading

What to do with ‘The Coldest Winter Ever’


This is something of a wayback playback, but I want to talk about Sister Souljah’s The Coldest Winter Ever. The 1999 novel by the Brooklyn MC is about the daughter of a New York City drug lord. The daughter, Winter, loses her wealth and status when her father is arrested and their assets are seized by the FBI. Winter survives by moving in with another drug dealer, exchanging her body for the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed. When that arrangement ends she lives briefly with family, flees child services, greases up her face and takes off her fake nails before a  girl-fight, and in a key scene, shaves her pubic hair into a cute shape to try and woo a famous rapper into sleeping with her. If this sounds crazy please keep in mind this was the nineties, so women still had pubic hair.

Continue reading

‘Six characters in search of an author’ (or the unexpected virtue of ignorance)


Luigi Pirandello’s Six characters in search of an author is the 1921 selection for the 100 year book club. The Italian play is about a family seeking a theatre company and a writer, so that the company might take the family’s drama and act it out, thus absolving them of it. Are you following? Through the play the family reveals its crimes; adultery, incest, abandonment, to the theatre manager and his actors until the full truth of their anger and sorrow is revealed.

Continue reading

First position: Ballet 422 and your Sunday reading list

If you’re someone who makes things, if you’re someone who loves beautiful things, or if you’re someone who needs to know how things are made, seek out the documentary Ballet 422. The film follows 25 year old corps de ballet member Justin Peck of the New York City Ballet as he choreographs the company’s 422nd ballet. As a corps member, Peck is a bottom-tier dancer with the company, but his work in a choreography workshop was promising enough that was been entrusted with the commission of an original ballet. And hilarity ensues.

Continue reading