Friday, November 30, 2007

Good Mail Day

It was a good mail day because the new issue of Brick magazine arrived! I've been subscribing to Brick for so many years I've lost count of them. Never, ever does an issue disappoint me. My back issues are tucked away in nooks and crannies all over the apartment because I can't bear to part with even a single one. So far I've only had a chance to glance through the new issue but this is what has piqued my interset so far:

- an interview with Mavis Gallant

- an interview with Barbara Gowdy

- an essay on Doestoevsky by Orphan Pamuk

- an essay by John Berger

- something by Leon Rooke (now there's a man who is never boring)

- and my favourite Brick feature, Eat or Die by Jim Harrison.

Hopefully I get some time this weekend to curl up on the sofa with Brick. Check out more about the magazine here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Recently I read Inspired Lives: The Best of Real Life Yoga from Ascent Magazine. Though I had never read Ascent magazine before I had seen it on news stands. I found my copy of Inspired Lives in a used bookstore and it was cheap, and I was in the mood, so I took it home. (Please note I only do this with books.) I was a bit surprised by how quickly I devoured it. Usually with anthologies I read a bit, put it down, pick it up again later. But this was so, well, inspiring, I read it from cover to cover in just a few days. I've been doing yoga for almost twenty years and recently have begun to get interested in the yoga behind the physical postures - the spirituality and history and ancient texts. This book gathered together a fabulous collection of essays and interviews with people who are putting the philosophy of yoga to work in their everyday lives.

The other day I was passing a bookstore and went in and bought the current issue of Ascent. I like their tag line : Yoga for an inspired life. I'm enjoying it as much as I did Inspired Lives. If you are the kind of person like me who would rather read about people who are making positive changes in the world, rather than negative ones, like you so often get in newspapers, then check it out. I also noticed they have a special "give 3 gifts for the price of 2" subscription offer going on for the holidays. Check it out here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Henry's Wives

I'm not much of a tv watcher, but lately I've gotten hooked on The Tudors. I like a good costume drama, although the actors in The Tudors often find themselves sans costume. But I thought this would be an appropriate time to take down The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser from the shelf and read it. To be truthful I pulled it from the bottom of a pile - my bookshelves are overflowing - but that just doesn't have as nice of a ring to it, does it? Anyway I bought it a couple of years ago at a used booksale and even though I've really wanted to read it, something else has always made it into my hands instead. I should make an effort to read more history.

Don't you love this rhyme to remember the fates of Henry's six wives:
Divorced, beheaded, died,
Divorced, beheaded, survived.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Wee Poem

On His Seventy-Fifth Birthday
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife.
Nature I loved and, next to Nature, Art:
I warmed both hands before the fire of life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.

~Waltor Savage Landor

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rebecca West

Occasionally I read a book and get obsessed with the author (well, maybe not so occasionally) and suddenly I want to read everything they have written and plenty written about them. My latest obsession is Rebecca West. Recently I read The Fountain Overflows. God, I loved that novel! I kept trying to make myself read it slower so it wouldn't end so quickly, but finally I had to abandon that plan and promise myself to reread it. Then I discovered it is the first part of a trilogy. The other two books I just ordered from Abebooks (see my last post).

While I wait for those to arrive I've been pulling down books from my overflowing shelves and trying to learn more about Ms. West. The first thing everyone tells you is she had an affair with H.G. Wells, who is the father of her only child. More interesting, at least to me, was an essay she wrote on Virginia Woolf after Woolf's death in a book called Recollections of Virginia Woolf. I also found a Paris Review interview she did while digging around my shelves.

She had this to say about Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell: They always looked as if they had been drawn through a hedge backwards before they went out.

In her Paris Review interview she had this to say about Somerset Maugham: He couldn't write for toffee, bless his heart.

And this about W.B. Yeats: He wasn't a bit impressive and he wasn't my sort of person at all. He boomed at you like a foghorn.

And this about the Virgin Mary: You know, I don't really appreciate the Virgin Mary. She always looks so dull. I particularly hate Raphael, Raphael's Madonnas. They are awful, aren't they?

At least she didn't think the Madonna looked like she'd been pulled through a hedge backwards.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yesterday I made my first order from Abebooks. Yes, that's right, until yesterday I had resisted the charms of Mr Abe. But I have succumbed - and I suspect it is going to be a very long and expensive relationship.

Oh, I ordered This Real Night and Cousin Rosamund by Rebecca West.