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PQ Weekly Roundup: 22 Nov 2019

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Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

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What a lovely assortment of fresh book links to enjoy today. I hope you manage to peruse in cozy style, perhaps with a hot cuppa and a warm sweater.

Have a great weekend,
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From the Vault: A Touch of Literary Whimsy to Boost the Spirits

Touch of Whimsy: Quirky Literature to Boost the Spirits

Doesn’t life feel so serious around now? The news is always heavy, the weather is gloomy and cold, and we’re all varying degrees of stressed whether it’s due to work, finances, the impending holidays or what have you. So how can we unwind, take a breath of fresh air and, god forbid, crack a smile?

Whenever I find myself spiralling into a black cloud of grumpiness, I head to the stacks for a little whimsy. There’s truly nothing like a few quirky characters, a smattering of nonsense verse, or a touch of slapstick to turn that frown upside down. Here are five books that just might help pull you out of your funk.

 

The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark

by Lewis Carroll and George A. Walker

We have to start this list with The Hunting of the Snark. Lewis Carroll’s nonsense verse is always able to inspire a smile, but the addition of George A. Walker’s satirical wood engravings elevates this title to a new place on the amusement scale. If you’re feeling demoralized about the state of world politics or find yourself sighing over another day of impeachment hearings, this skewering of contemporary American politics will make you helplessly giggle.


 

Casanova in Venice

Casanova in Venice

by Kildare Dobbs

For a little bite in your search for whimsy, try Kildare Dobbs’s Casanova in Venice, a witty and subversive poetic investigation into the psyche of Casanova. Styled as a “raunchy rhyme”, you won’t be able to help enjoying the outrageous trysts and double entendres. Illustrated with a few fanciful engravings by Wesley Bates, this droll volume will keep you entertained for hours.


 

The House on Major Street

The House on Major Street

by Leon Rooke

If poetry’s not your thing, may we suggest a novel? Leon Rooke’s The House on Major Street has whimsy in spades. This charming tale is peppered with a whole cast of wacky but lovable characters. Their foibles and flightiness naturally lands them in all kinds of hot water, but gosh is it ever fun to read. This book goes off on a vast array of flights of fancy, but it manages to be both heartfelt and hilarious. This is one of those books that just makes me inexplicably happy.


 

Oddballs

Oddballs

by Jim Westergard

Jim Westergard’s Oddballs is proof that truth is stranger than fiction. The whimsy to be had in this slim little volume is two-fold. First, you get the insanely detailed and infinitely charming portraits of real people in history. Then, you get to read about the strange behaviours and circumstances that led to these historical personages becoming famous—or infamous, as the case may be. This book will remind you that no matter how strange you might find the people around you, there are many people through history that would have been much harder to put up with!

 

PortraitI hope the books we’ve dusted off and presented to you here will help you overcome the blahs and inspire a chuckle or two—at the very least a small smile!

Enjoy,Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 15 Nov 2019

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Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

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Quite the range of links today–here’s to hoping you’ve found an interesting tidbit or two. Keep warm!

Cheers,
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Meet the Press at … Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market

Now that Halloween’s over and we’ve officially had our first accumulating snowfall, a little holiday cheer is starting to seep in. Store displays are fully stocked with gift ideas and the colour red is overtaking all the fixtures in sight.

Since many among us are probably already starting to think about getting their holiday shopping in full swing, I thought I’d take a moment to mention an upcoming opportunity to pick up some unique and interesting gifts for the readers in your lives.

The Toronto-based Meet the Presses collective puts on an annual Indie Literary Market at Trinity–St. Paul’s Centre, where indie book publishers and magazines come together to sell their wares, many of which are not available in stores. You’ll find books, chapbooks, broadsides, recordings and more.

Admission is free, so there’s really no reason not to stop by and check out this great literary event this coming Saturday, November 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Our very own Tim Inkster will be there selling a nice selection of PQL books, including the just-published political satire that is The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll and George A. Walker. Stop by and say hello!

Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market Info

PortraitWe hope to see you at the event this Saturday. Happy shopping!

Cheers,Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 08 Nov 2019

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Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

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Thanks for checking out this week’s best bookish links. We hope you’ve been amused, entertained and enlightened!

Cheers,
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Ruthless Machinations of an Herbicidal Porcupette, or, News for November at PQL

It’s time I confess to the evil campaign I’ve been plotting. My machinations involving a sharp blade and no small amount of calculated ruthlessness can no longer remain hidden. This weekend, I plan to commit … herbicide.

The winter season has, for weeks, been knocking its frigid knuckles on the door, and I can ignore the unwelcome caller no longer. The hostas in front of the porch look woefully bedraggled and must be pruned to oblivion and put out of their misery until next spring. The leaves have mostly fallen from the trees, causing a right mess of small, wet leaves in the back and no small number of dessert plate-sized monsters in the front. I’ve got a hot date with a rake, which is kind of depressing, it must be said.

secluded nest and shrub in field

Sorry to the little leafy clumps clinging to life by the front porch. Your days are numbered.

These horticultural preparations are not among my favourite aspects of homeownership. I’ve never had much of a green thumb, as evidenced by the poor little aloe plant I almost drowned—metaphorically with love, and literally with water—before our fearless leader, PQL Publisher Tim, swooped in and rescued it from my tender attentions. He also (recklessly, it must be said) entrusted me with the gift of two lovely house plants to spruce the place up—a beautiful blooming peace lily and a rather pedigreed dracaena (long story)—which came with strict instructions, nutrient sticks, and idiot-proof planters that even I (hopefully) can’t mess up.

With all this seasonal yard work in mind, it’s little wonder that I’ve been thinking of all the lovely books with floral themes that remind us of the natural world over the winter months. A reader seeking some botanical bounty might pluck from the stacks Gerard Brender à Brandis’s A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare. The poetic minded among us might seek out the late Joe Rosenblatt’s The Bird in the Stillness. A wild Canadian lanscape plays an important role in particular in one of the stories in Daniel Bryant’s Rerouted. For sheer visual appeal, one might pick a bouquet of poetry, indulging in any one of over a dozen of volumes from our Essential Poets series (including the latest, The Essential Kay Smith, selected by Michael Oliver), whose charming covers each feature a flower from Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s Les liliacées.

I, for one, am pleased to have a few undemanding blooms in the house, in the form of these botanically inclined books. At least I don’t have to plot their inevitable demise via garden sheer.

 

What’s happening this month…

At PQL.

The Hunting of the Snark

Lots of balls in the air at this time of year. Tim is currently printing George A. Walker’s The Hunting of the Snark, which should be in print fairly soon, while Elke finishes the checks on Robert Reid and Wesley Bates’s Casting into Mystery. With a new issue of our journal of the printing arts, the Devil’s Artisan, on the radar, we’ll surely be keeping busy.

In Sarnia.

Sharon Berg is the Author of the Month at Lawrence House in Sarnia, and will be reading from her collection Naming the Shadows on November 1.

In Toronto.

Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market

PQL will have a table at the Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre in Toronto. Catch Tim behind the table, with a selection of PQL books, on November 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m.

Also in the Big Smoke, Daniel Bryant will be taking part in a panel discussion for Canadian Authors – Toronto entitled “What’s Your Day Job?”. You can find him on November 28 speaking alongside JF Garrard and Wendy Gruner at the Centre for Social Innovation on Spadina.

In Ottawa.

Rerouted author Daniel Bryant will be taking Ottawa by storm, first taking part in the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair at the Jack Purcell Community Centre on November 23, and then at a book signing at Perfect Books on November 24. Come out and support this great debut author!

In British Columbia.

Naming the Shadows by Sharon Berg

After her Sarnia event, Sharon Berg will be touring a number of venues in British Columbia this month. Catch her at the Spoken Ink Reading Series in Burnaby on November 19, at Metrotown Indigo in Burnaby on November 21, at the Surrey City Centre Library on November 22, at the Poetic Justice Reading Series in New Westminster on November 24, and at the Planet Earth Poetry Series in Victoria on November 29. You have lots of opportunity to meet Sharon, so make sure you come on out and say hello.

In the world.

November 8 is Cook Something Bold Day, which honestly seems like a recipe for disaster. (Yeah, I said it.)

November 12 is Young Readers Day—a great opportunity to foster literacy in children and encourage a lifelong love of reading.

November 16 is International Tolerance Day, because we can all use a bit of a reminder of the meaning of tolerance these days.

 

From the porcupette’s corner.

I’m juggling edits on three of our upcoming spring books among all the day-to-day tasks that crop up. It feels like a lot, but now that the days are short and cold, it’s not exactly hard to stay in, keep my head down and get to work. The only trouble is staying on task when there always seems to be another emergency job that needs immediate tending. It surely is teaching me to try to keep my priorities in order.

small man with huge pen atop large notebook

Sometimes those big jobs feel, well, huge.

 

portraitThank you all for stopping by to see what we’ve been working on lately at the Porcupine’s Quill. We hope you’ve enjoyed this update, and we hope to see you at one of our wonderful events in the coming weeks!

Cheers,Steph


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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.