The Porcupette Braces for Inevitable Belletristic Assault and Other News for August at the Porcupine’s Quill

I never thought I’d say this, but my bookshelves have, of late, engendered some slight consternation on my part.

To write this feels akin to insanity—how could I, of all people, ever feel anything but the warmest regard when faced with the bewitching sight of a well-stocked shelf? But to my profound dismay, every time I peruse those wooden edifices of erudition to select something new to read, I find that the books on them have, seemingly of their own accord, managed to multiply. Every few weeks, a new bookish soldier sneaks past the battlements to join its brothers. I now fear that a belletristic assault is all but inevitable.

two men fencing, with pen versus sword

The oft-overlooked martial prowess of books can include (but is not limited to) tripping unsuspecting book lovers, maiming them with paper cuts, and beating them about the head, kamikaze-style.

The unfortunate truth is that books are among those marvellous entities that, like rabbits and lemmings, can’t help but reproduce at a rather disquieting rate. If you enjoy a particular book, naturally you’ll seek out a few more volumes by the same author. Perhaps a good friend recommended a title—naturally you’ll pick that up, if only in solidarity. Of course, there are always those books that you procure in order to read for school or work. If you noticed a good review of a book that everyone is talking about, well, you’d better buy that, too, so you can keep up with the conversation. And let’s not even mention the shopping sprees that crop up every time your favourite bookstore has a particularly tempting sale.

Like magpies—or addicts—we disciples of print culture pick up books here and there, placing them reverently among our other treasured literary possessions until one day we look over and wonder, “when did I get so many books?” and “just how much of my paycheque does this collection represent?” and “is it time to cull some of these for donation?” and, my particular favourite, “will one more book topple that stack?”

Luckily the side effects of this addiction—empathy, enlightenment, enjoyment—are ones that I readily embrace!


What’s happening this month…


Mrs RomanovIt’s a printing bonanza! With a couple of reprints in the cards and the Fall 2018 season looming just around the corner, the shop will be abuzz as we prepare for some truly exciting new releases, including a positively beautiful collection of poetry by Lori Cayer called Mrs Romanov. This book will bring the Russian Revolution to life through the lens of the very flawed but very compelling tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, a loving mother, a stalwart wife, and a rather hated political figure. Also look out for Overtime, a book of photographs and interviews by Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen, which documents the disappearing trades, arts and cultural practices of the Waterloo Region. It is fascinating to learn about the inevitable shifts in the labour market over the years, especially given the rapid increase of automation and the reliance on technology nowadays.

In Toronto.

The work of PQL poet and artist Joe Rosenblatt will be on display at yumart in Toronto August 4 to 18. His show, entitled “Strange Appearances”, features recent paintings and works on paper.

In Stratford.

And for you artistically minded out there, don’t forget to check out Gerard Brender à Brandis’s exhibition of A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare at Gallery Stratford. The event is running now through September 30.

In the world.

August 8 is Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbour’s Porch Day, which is proof positive that there is a holiday for everything.

August 15 is Relaxation Day, which I think we can all agree is a great holiday to get behind.

man relaxing next to cat

Now that’s some Grade-A relaxation right there.

And August 27 is Global Forgiveness Day, which is, I suppose, a good time to forgive that friend who cracked the spine of your favourite book. Or spilled wine on it. Or dropped it in the bath. Or otherwise mangled it.


From the porcupette’s corner…

For some reason, it feels like more of a mad dash than usual when it comes to our Fall new releases. I couldn’t be more excited about the books that are on their way, but my goodness, have they been coming down to the wire. I can’t wait to actually hold finished copies in my hands—and to know that launch plans have gone off without a hitch!

Also this month, tipsheets, my old friends, are back again. I’ve been diving deep into a couple of the fascinating and somewhat educational books that are coming down the pipe for Spring 2019. I’m particularly a fan of the new Essential Poets book for the spring season. Something about the bold, dynamic poetry just gives me the shivers. But more on that soon enough—I don’t want to give too much away just yet.


PortraitIn the meantime, I bid you adieu, and wish you a lovely (and air conditioned) month. Don’t forget to take advantage of all the festivals, fairs, exhibitions and shows that happen during the summer. So many literary and cultural events, so little time!


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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.