Sunlight, Fresh Air, and the Smell of Ink and Paper … and Other News for May at the Porcupine’s Quill

It is official. It has happened. Not to jinx it, but … I have consumed both literature and coffee on the patio today and I am optimistic that the spring sunshine is here to stay.

I can’t oversell the effects of a bright sunny day on the reading experience. The fresh air, the gentle breeze, the sunlight dancing across the printed page…. Granted, the nature of said reading experience requires a good old paper book or at least an e-ink display and not a tablet. This may or may not suit your fancy.

Sunny courtyard.

Oh Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun, please shine down on meeeee (while I read on the patio, please).

I’m not just whimsically expressing my preference for the spring weather here. Reading outside is a great idea, and you don’t just have to take my word for it. Research has shown that stale air in your home or office can lead not only to health problems, but also affect your cognitive function. So actually, the fresh air outside might help you read better.

But let’s not stop there. Many researchers have noted that sunlight is an excellent mood booster. Furthermore, it, along with sunlight-derived vitamin D, has been proven to protect us from cognitive impairment. Do we even need to go into the effects of plants and nature on our mental function and well being? Put it all together and you have the makings of a productive reading session in which your brain is at peak performance to understand and enjoy all of the intellectual stimulation you are feeding it.

The science is clear, ladies and gents. I encourage you to brew up some coffee or tea, drag out the patio furniture, and settle in with a book. Your mind will thank you.


What’s happening this month…


Printing, printing, printing! That’s right, May will be chock-a-block full of printing two rather large additions to our spring list: Jan in 35 Pieces by Ian Hampton and The Rising Tide by Mark Frutkin. We need to have both printed, folded, bound, trimmed and ready for some spectacular launch events in June. Stay tuned!

In Toronto.

Quill friend Tony Calzetta will be showing some new artwork at yumart this month. If you loved Fabulous Fictions and Peculiar Practices, you won’t want to miss his show, “Sophisticated Scribbles and Stories, Grim and Grin. Check them out May 5-26.

In Guelph.

Shane Neilson will be at The Bookshelf in Guelph to read from his book of poetry, Dysphoria. He’ll be joining fellow writers Ronna Bloom (The More) and Sarah Tolmie (The Art of Dying). Don’t miss what promises to be a brilliant event.



Book Expo logo

This porcupette is off to the Big Apple! Book Expo is one of the ultimate book events of the year. Packed with informative panel discussions, interesting presentations and a wide variety of exhibitors, it has a little something for publishing folks everywhere. If you’re going to be wandering the conference and would like to have a chat, get in touch! I’d love to meet up.

In the World.

May 2 is International Scurvy Awareness Day. Were you aware? Now you are.

May 16 is Biographers’ Day. I love a good biography as much as the next girl, so this should be a breeze to celebrate. I’ve been meaning to get to that book on Queen Elizabeth… (P.S. The history of Biographers’ Day is kind of cool. Check it out here.)

Image of Elizabeth and court.

I once took a course entirely about Elizabethan pageantry. Hey, it was grad school. Don’t judge me.

Finally, May 31 is Speak in Complete Sentences Day. In an era dominated by slang, emojis, and the dreaded, single-character text “k”, we need a day to remind ourselves of the power of human language when expressed grammatically and completely.


From the porcupette’s corner

It’s funny how making website changes can take you down a rabbit hole in which time and space lose all meaning. Looking back on this month’s work, I’m noticing just how much time it takes to develop interesting web content. (It’s for a project we’re not quite ready to show yet, so hold your horses!) I’m also noticing how quickly time flies when you’re tackling said content. I had a blast building pages and modifying images and figuring out just how to present information in a way that is digestible, interesting and useful.

Artist sitting at writing desk and looking out window.

Me, trying to design a poster that doesn’t completely suck. It takes many drafts and much staring about hoping for inspiration to strike. That’s my process. Again, don’t judge me.

I also had fun starting to prepare for the upcoming book launches on their way in June. Designing posters and invitations and other such materials allowed me to indulge my creative side and (slowly, gradually) teach myself a bit more about design.

All in all, a month of time-consuming but fun and rewarding projects. Be honest—aren’t you jealous?


Thank you very much for stopping by for my continued rambles. Also, here’s a PSA for you: don’t forget to enter our “Myth and Memory” book bundle giveaway before May 2nd!


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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.