New Patrick DeWitt novel! New Patrick DeWitt novel!

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If you haven’t yet read Patrick DeWitt’s marvelous The Sisters Brothers, you have until September to get on that, because the Oregon based writer has a new novel, and some exciting new cover art, coming our way.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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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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