Sugar and Spice

Seriously, I have nowhere to put this thing, am not sure how often I would use it, and would most likely be annoyed to have to flip through each book to search for a recipe. However. THAT IS THE POINT!

Don’t believe me? Just ask Philippe Starck. Sometimes form is the function, and sometimes that function is just about being so cool! Especially in a postmodern era, like now. (Don’t get me started. That’s another blog post all together.)

To continue. Sugar and Spice is a novelty cake-gift box, containing sixteen small books filled with dessert recipes. Each book contains twenty recipes accompanied by vivid, colour photographs; with two titles on both sides to every cover, such as, “Lemon,” “Lime,” “Chocolate,” “Vanilla.”

Recipes can be browsed by theme, via titles, or researched through a 5 x 7″ size-ish loose card, which comes with the cake box, indexing all the recipes of the sixteen books. (You know who would be the first to lose this pragmatic piece of paper!)

I must admit. The index seems like a bit of restraint on the publisher’s behalf, who got sold on cool, and then somewhere down the line, considered to help the buyer out. The publishing spoon-feeding, if you will, merits many a cliché (how many can you count in this post?) including, too little, too late; go big or go home. It relegates the fantastic book-packaging design into a box of books instead of an interesting piece of design.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Philippe Starck. His Juicy Salif lemon squeezer doesnt come with instructions. That’s because Stark knows, in this day and age, it’s not about squeezing the cool out of you, it’s about squeezing it into you. One lemon, one lime; one chocolate, one vanilla at a time.

Librissime

Everybody was so Young by Amanda Vail is a great biography about American artist Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara; a wealthy couple ensconced in the height of visual and literary arts in 1920s Paris.

Gerald’s legacy and artistry, fascinates. Gerald’s father, Patrick Murphy bought Mark Cross company when harness-maker, Mark W. Cross, died without heirs. Also, Gerald’s foothold in the history of American Modern Art was achieved with only about a dozen canvasses throughout his artistic career.

During their lifetime, the Murphys’ were an axis to many rising stars; Hemingway, Picasso, and Fitzgerald, to name a few. Sara took on her hosting duties, assiduously. She designated social affairs as DFG, Dinner-Flowers-Gala, from a “notation made of a ship’s menu of a captain’s dinner.”

In reading Vail’s book, Sara’s nomenclature for her soirées affected me. There is an understood elevation of class inherent to a social occasion classified as “DFG.” A kind of distinction and luxury I couldn’t imagine the equivalent of in 2008 (short of an all-white party hosted by P. Diddy). That is, until I had the great pleasure of visiting librairie Librissime in Old Montreal. Read more

Adams towel

I know I’m a bit late with this news (it took me a while to get to making a graphic for this post) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE that there will be another book added to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Truly amazing!

Eoin Colfer is slated to write the next installment of the five-part trilogy (classic Adams), as per Adams’s widow, Jane Belson’s, request. Wow!

Colfer is probably best known for the Artemis Fowl series; which from many-a-disappointed-Harry-Potter fan, was a far superior read. My nephews will contest! (Airman is currently on my “Holds” list at the library.)

Apparently Adams wanted to write a sixth book following Mostly Harmless, book five of the series, but unfortunately, died before completing his work. (This might sound morbid, but I always thought that Adams was spared 9/11–he died earlier in the same year, in 2001–as maybe some greater force realized his sensitive soul would not be able to stomach such a catastrophe, especially after writing the underpinnings of the modern day world as we know it.)

I hope Colfer’s contribution to Adams’s achievement will generate interest for more books in the series since, six is too perfect, too even, a number for me. (I’m partial to odd numbers.) Douglas Adams’s strength in storytelling relies heavily on relaying to his reader about the imperfection of life, in all its humour, more than the striving of perfection, the ideal that exists differently in each individual’s imagination. That is to say, the oddity of the evenness of life, and not the evenness of the oddity of life. (Why do I feel like I just talked myself into a circle? Thank-you Adams. Thank-you very much.)

However, six conveniently, is a multiple of forty-two; which may mean, I may not have to wait millions of years to discover the Ultimate Question. Until publishing then! Deep thought persists!

IMAGE | Umbra | Conceal towel shelf

Ms Hempel Chronicles

OMG OMG OMG! New Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum book out now! Ms. Hempel Chronicles! YES! She is my favourite! And that opinion is based on some fiction she wrote for Tin House and The New Yorker. (I’m not an easy sell. I just know great when I see it!) I have yet to get my hands on a copy of her first book, Madeleine is Sleeping, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Kafka Prize. Regardless of merit, awarded or not, Bynum gets A’s in my books, and maybe one day, I can score some of my own in hers too.

I am, seriously, seriously considering taking her writing course at the University of California, San Diego where Bynum teaches writing and lit. Next year Bynum is teaching Short Fiction, for the Winter 2009 academic calendar. Perfect!

So. Who wants to put me up for a while? Seriously. This is one of my rare moments of extroversion here folks. Rarely do I raise my hand in the hopes of getting chosen. I’ll be the perfect house guest. I’m just saying. Think about it. (You’ve got three months). But not too much. My writing life hangs in the Bynum balance.

The Fiery Furnaces

So in the last while I’ve been noticing something entirely unusual. Man lit. (More trademarking!) Lots of it. In reprints and on its way to a bookstore near you. Peculiar.

Humour me.

Average Joe writes a blog about average day as being a father. Average Joe’s day includes, among other things, hockey, young son, and “hot wife.” Average Joe’s writing of average day gets noticed by more-than-average publisher. Before you know it, Average Joe blogs about tentative titles for his life-as-a-father story as beyond-average book deal is in the works. Average Joe settles on Rage Against the Meshuganah as the book’s final title.

Average Jane is flummoxed.

Again. Read more

Egg Race Damien Hirst In and Out of Love

Every so often, I take a break from my regular fiction reads, and delve into a bit of chick lit for a “mental break.” At the beginning of the year, I read Getting Rid of Matthew, and was so surprised with the read, that I considered optioning the book. (But stopped when I learned that the author is a celebrity in the UK, and figured the rights must have been bought up as part of the book publishing deal.)

Recently, I read another British author’s version of being a thirties-single something (no reason why I keep going to Brit books; I think they just have the most interesting book covers) and was equally impressed. The Egg Race by Polly Williams. At one point in the read, the story made me stop, sit up (in bed) and have a think. And then, a revelation.

There’s no “elation” in relationsham. Read more

The Tragedy of Macbeth Noah Lukeman

Noah Lukeman imagines the fulfillment of the witches’ prophecy in Macbeth, in his new book due October 2008, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Part II, The Seed of Banquo. The book is written in blank verse, following Shakespearean style – a play in five acts. As a Macbeth lover (Othello topping the list) I cannot wait to revisit the original play before delving into Lukeman’s continuation of events!

Devil May Care Cover

New Bond novel comes out today! What could be better? Daniel Craig on the big screen! That’s what!

YA Book Montage

I hate to give the man my hard-earned dollar, but Chapters booksellers has some crazy deals going on right now. There’s a lot of hardcover fiction for less than ten dollars. Insane!

My interest is in children’s fiction, as I’m currently reviewing and editing a middle grade manuscript I wrote a while back with the hope of one day giving my silly-funny story an audience. (Wish me luck!)

I keep reading and researching published themes and styles of the post-Harry-Potter craze of authors out there who wrote great works that went relatively unnoticed (eclipsed by the Rowling serial) and others who arrived on the scene much later; fresh voices offering entirely engaging and extremely well-written fiction.

This weekend I went on a bit of a shopping binge, and bought three books from the short-listed five I initially had set my sights on. Read more

It’s Just a Plant Marijuana

It’s Just a Plant is a children’s book about marijuana. Don’t believe me? Check out some sample pages of the book available online. Let me know if you were equally unimpressed at the politically incorrect part the preview ends at. (Who writes this stuff? And who on earth was sitting at the round table approving the artwork?)

A suggestion: the next book released should be about race and stereotypes, starting with breaking the general perception.