PQ Weekly Roundup: 05 Jul 2018

pqroundup2Every 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.



The heat continues. Do yourself a favour. Stay inside and read. (Unless you’re in Hamilton, in which case come visit us at The Spice Factory for Zineposium!)


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Of Writerly (and Readerly) Superpowers, and Other News for July at PQL

Can we take a moment to recognize just how impressive it is to be a writer?

Not just a person who writes, mind you, because we all do that, but an honest-to-goodness writer, who puts in hours of hard graft every day to give a new story its voice. Someone who sits in front of a blank text document, blinking cursor mocking them as they try to give shape to that all-important first sentence. Someone who jots down thoughts and impressions at all hours, pen and paper always within reach so as to catch fleeting inspiration when it strikes. Someone who endures hours of reading and revising, who makes hard choices and painful cuts, who ultimately consigns his or her words to their fate at the hands of a ruthless editor. Someone who does all this, over and over again, despite the hardship and the toil, to entertain us, to educate us, to make us feel something we haven’t felt before.

It is at this point that I can solemnly declare that I am NOT a writer, though I do admire them. I have long realized that my imagination is not one that lends itself well to creating new worlds or finding something original or exciting to say about our own. On the other hand, my voracious appetite for reading has given me an intuitive grasp of the possibilities of language, and my fixation on logic sometimes allows me to see gaps and fissures in plot or characterization that might otherwise be missed. So while I am still NOT a writer, I have cultivated some writerly powers over the years, and while I’ll probably never write a novel or a collection of poems, I can wield these writerly powers for good, in the service of other people’s stories.

And if that is not the dream of every great reader, I don’t know what is!


What’s happening this month?


We have to apologize. We are quite woefully behind on Jim Westergard’s clever and adorable book of wood engravings, See What I’m Saying. Sorry! But don’t worry—we are hard at work making sure we get this book out and in the world as soon as possible. We promise it will be worth the wait!

In Hamilton.

We’re trying something new this month! We’ll be attending this year’s Zineposium in Hamilton, a small little fair featuring cool zines and “wonky art objects of all kinds”. Stop on by The Spice Factory on July 8—the event is free and open to the public.

In Detroit.

We are so pleased to be back at the Detroit Festival of Books at Eastern Market this year! Last year’s inaugural event was such a treat, so of course we’re excited to this year’s bigger and better festival. We’ll be at Table 10 in Shed 6 (AKA the Gallery) on July 15, so be sure to find us and say hello.

In Orillia.

Shane Neilson will be taking part in the Leacock Summer Festival’s Poetry Night. This event is still shaping up, so be sure to check back on our website for more details.

On the radio.

Plastic author Margaret Gracie will be featured on the radio this month! She will be interviewed on the radio show “Storylines” by host extraordinaire Christine Cowley. Tune in to Hunters Bay Radio on July 14 for some insight into the process of writing a collection of linked short stories.

In the world.

July 4th is Sidewalk Egg Frying Day. Given that the forecast in my neck of the woods is going to be in the thirties (that’s over ninety Fahrenheit), I can certainly see why.

Cow and calf.


July 15 is apparently Cow Appreciation Day, so feel free to go locate a cow and tell it how amazing it is. (Fun fact: I once petted a cow on an honest-to-goodness farm. The experience was both exhilarating and deeply disappointing.)

Finally, July 30 is the International Day of Friendship. So to all you Quill friends out there, know that I appreciate you!


From the procupette’s corner.

Old man punishing boy.

Me, punishing myself for screwing up a scan for the third time.

I’ve learned, this past month or so, to deeply respect designers who deal with the reproduction and preparation of images. I’ve been struggling with scanning, processing, resizing, and hopefully not utterly destroying images meant for print. I also learned what moiré is. It is not good. At any rate, image processing requires a lot of experimentation and a fair amount of starting from scratch.

Designers, I salute you!


PortraitSo that’s what’s hip and happening at the Porcupine’s Quill in July. We thank you for checking in on our progress and we hope to see you sometime at our upcoming events!


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 29 Jun 2018

pqroundup2Every 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.



It’s shaping up to be a scorching hot Canada Day weekend, so I definitely recommend keeping cool, drinking lots of water, and settling in for a good book or two.

Have a great holiday!


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Out and About with the Quill: Printers Row 2018

Reader, you know I love travelling to new cities and experiencing book events. You know I enjoy talking to all the book lovers who stop by the table, and I absolutely adore it when I can match new readers to a great book. You know this about me, so naturally, you’ll understand that I was excited to attend the Printers Row Lit Fest in the iconic Printers Row neighbourhood of Chicago, an outdoor event dedicated to reading, writing and the love of books that took place June 9th and 10th.

One of the vendors at the festival sold wooden type. I could not resist snapping a photo.

But reader, it rained. It rained so much.

I suppose in retrospect we were pretty lucky. I knew the forecast called for a pretty wet weekend, so I was able to do a little preparation by hitting up the local Target and investing in a sort-of-waterproof tablecloth, a plastic storage bin, and some truly lifesaving–or rather, booksaving–sealable plastic bags. (What I did not buy a roll of paper towels–good note for next time.)

On Saturday morning it was drizzly and a bit chilly, but I lugged my spoils and a selection of books a few blocks down Dearborn Street to begin setting up. When I arrived at the PQL table, I quickly determined that I liked my spot. Shady tree in case of sun? Check. Close to the attention-grabbing and always-busy bookstore tents? Check. Near the outdoor stage for a bit of music and entertainment. Check. All in all, a pretty good deal. Only problem? Everything was wet.

Setup for Printers Row

Readying for a day of rather wet bookselling. Must-haves include: protective plastic bin, waterproof(ish) tablecloth, preferably with a bit of weight to it, and definitely a good umbrella.

The drizzle let up just long enough for me to lay out the tablecloth, put the books in their protective bags, and generally get myself geared up for a day of (hopefully dry) bookselling.

It was not to be.

View from under the umbrella at Printers Row

My early view of the fair was somewhat mediated by my hardworking umbrella.

But of course, Chicagoans are made of sterner stuff, so despite the clouds and the drizzle, festivalgoers started to arrive.

Printers Row, rainy

Mere raindrops, puddles and chilly temps won’t keep a true book lover from a book festival!

But then, something magical happened: the sun came out! After that, people came out in droves to Printers Row. It was quite the family event, with children and pets coming along to join in the fun. The stage behind me had a couple of short concerts, and if they were primarily geared towards kids and sounded like something out of The Wiggles, well, who was I to judge? I bopped along anyway.

Printers Row, sunny

The sunshine definitely lifted this porcupette’s mood. (And core body temperature, probably.)

Chicago Public Library pen and cup

I even got a nice visit from the fine folks at the Chicago Public Library from the booth across the way. And they bought presents!

Of course, nothing gold can stay. Day two of the festival on Sunday was decidedly drearier. It was downright cold, and by lunchtime I was dreaming of some steaming hot soup for dinner. The rain came down like mad, and even the hardy midwesterners stayed inside for most of it.

Books in the rain

Told you those plastic bags were essential. Imagine the bookish carnage otherwise. *shudders*

In the end, I think last year’s sizzling temperatures and full sun during the festival were slightly more uncomfortable than this year’s rain, so let’s call it a win, shall we?


Thanks to everyone who stopped to buy a book from us in Chicago–or just to chat! It was so lovely to meet you all, and we hope you enjoy your books.


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 22 Jun 2018

pqroundup2Every 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.



Thanks for stopping by to check out our best book links this week. Hope you’ve found something to suit your reading fancy!

Happy Friday,

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Out and About with the Quill: BookExpo 2018

If you haven’t heard of BookExpo, it’s the ultimate book and author trade show in North America. Publishers, booksellers, bloggers and book lovers descend upon the Javits Convention Center in New York to find out about the most exciting books and authors of the coming year. Readings, signings, panel discussions and other book-related talks abound, and there are a great many free books floating around for attendees’ reading pleasure. Plus, it’s always fun to meet up with new publishing folk–and some familiar faces, too.

Yours truly had the opportunity to attend this year’s event—and it was fabulous! There was so much for a book lover like myself to see and do, so it was definitely a fun and enlightening trip. Here are a few highlights in photos.

Javits entrance.

Immediately upon entering the Javits Center, you know you’re in the right place. Massive bookish banners dominate the landscape.

Welcome to BookExpo

Get ready to enter the show floor!

BookExpo show floor

Inside, attendees vacillate between rushing to each special event and galley drop and moseying along to take in all the action.

BookExpo show floor.

It’s nice to find a relatively clear lane from which to navigate the madness.

Simon & Schuster booth.

Some exhibitors went above and beyond spending a fortune to create huge, customized booths.

Macmillan booth.

I particularly liked this idea to engage with book lovers. Good thinking to the folks at Macmillan!

London Book Fair booth

For me, the booth with the coolest furnishings was the London Book Fair’s booth. Those giant books looked fantastic!


PortraitAnd there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what the giant bookish trade show actually looks like. Certainly the whole thing was lots of fun, and a fantastic excuse to visit the Big Apple!


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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.