Megan Gail Coles in her own words

If you haven’t yet read MGC’s (known in this house as “Meg”) new book, Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward’s Gun Club, you really should. I’m not going to lie to you that it’s an easy read. It’s uncompromising and stark and harrowing. That said, I think it should win mostly everything this year. Here’s the author at the CBC talking about how she did it.

“Some people talk about unconditional love as if means that you will continue to love someone regardless of their flaws and without any amount of examination. But I don’t think that does anybody justice. I think it is far more respectful of people that you love, of places that you love, that you know them for everything that they are. I love Newfoundland despite all of the bad bits. I know our best bits very well — that’s what formed me, what made me who I am. But I’m also aware of the things that it can improve upon and how sometimes ignoring or refusing to acknowledge those aspects of our character can endanger people in our communities.

On bookplates

Lithub looks at a brief history of bookplates. Loved these when I was a kid. Would have DIED to have a personalized one. Now, I think…. what would happen if my friends found their book in a used bookstore with my bookplate inside? It’s bad enough when you find a signed copy in a used shop. I think it would sting more to find one with a pretentious bookplate in there as well.

Every book lover knows that books borrowed often become books lost. Perhaps you loaned a book to an excitable guest, knowing full well that she will never again grace your doorstep? Have you, out of politeness, let a precious tome slip from your grasp? Or worse, done the same to others by inadvertently failing to return books that now live comfortably among your more legitimately acquired volumes?

In the trenches

Self-published author rolls up his sleeves, puts on some dusty goggles*, and drives cross country in a car named “Thunder” to hawk his book at 50 bookstores over 50 days. Give this man a grade bump for effort.

Engel spent between $1,000 and $1,200 total on his 50-day journey. That money mostly accounted for Thunder’s fuel and groceries. Living off tuna sandwiches, carrots, celery and peanut butter, Engel budgeted $5 for food each day. Ahead of the trip, Engel reached out to friends who lived in each of the cities he stopped in and asked if he could crash on their couches for one night. He only had to spend one night in his car and two nights in the tent he packed. “I would go into a McDonald’s or Starbucks for Wi-Fi, whip out my paper towel, make my tuna sandwich and eat my carrots,” Engel said. “It sounds depressing and looks depressing in the pictures, but in the moment there was a weird element of freedom to that.” Engel’s last stop on the trip was Columbus’ very own Viewpoint Books, 548 Washington St. There, Engel hosted a brainstorming session with members of the community to not only talk about his trip, but discuss why bookstores are important and how individuals can support them. In collaboration with Viewpoint Books and several of his friends, Engel created a song and music video to convince people of the social and economic good that bookstores provide.

*I may have made up the bit about goggles.

New David Mitchell coming

Oooooh. Exciting. I’ve read all the others. I love being baffled and perplexed by this man.

Announcing the book, which will be released next June, Mitchell quoted the maxim that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”, saying that Utopia Avenue stemmed from it.

“Songs (mostly) use language, but music plugs directly into something below or above language. Can a novel made of words (and not fitted with built-in speakers or Bluetooth) explore the wordless mysteries of music, and music’s impact on people and the world? How?” Mitchell asked. “Is it possible to dance about architecture after all? Utopia Avenue is my rather hefty stab at an answer.”