The Guelph Festival of Moving Media is coming up soon, running from November 7 to 10. Since I was privileged enough to have some input into the titles that were selected, I have something extra invested in the festival this year, and I hope to attend several of the films that I have not yet seen, particularly Hole Story and Chasing Ice, which is supposed to have some absolutely stunning cinematography. The schedule also includes some great films that I have already seen, of which I would especially recommend Smoke Traders and Meet the Fokkens. There should be something for everyone, so check out the schedule, and go see something.
This book of poetry, first published in 1981 under the name of Louisa Lord, is the poetic record pf Kathleen’s eldest child, Eli, who passed away from cancer at a very early age. The writing is frank and poignant, full of a fierce and vulnerable strength. It is a poetry where many readers will find their own griefs reflected, and where they may also find the determination to endure through sorrow into hope.
I wrote a list of books more than three years ago, not a list of my favourite books necessarily, but of the books that I thought were relevant to our times, a project that I undertook because Dave Humphrey prompted me to do so. I had occasion to return to this list the other day, and I found it somewhat unsatisfactory in the light of three years of reading, so I thought I might update it, retaining all the same reservations and adding a further one, that I would include only a single title by any one author, with the understanding that any author with a book on the list is probably worth reading further.
I have dropped the idea of books that are “relevant to our time”, as the original task specified. Instead I have substituted the idea of the books that are relevant to me personally, still not necessarily my favourite books, but those that have influenced me most profoundly and that I would be most likely to recommend. I have also decided to rewrite only the fiction list and not the non-fiction.
The changes to the list are mostly due to having read some new writers — Roberto Bolaño, Mario Vargas Llossa, Jose Saramago, John Gardiner, Juan Rulfo, Elias Canetti, and others — but it is also due to a gradual reevaluation of what I think is important in writing. I recognize that the list is much more contemporary now, that it still includes only two women, and that it does not include a number of books that I would classify as children’s literature. It still only goes a short way toward representing what I read, and I am still not quite certain why some of the titles are on the list, but it will have to do for another three years or so.
Alessandro Baricco, Silk
Roberto Bolaño, 2666
Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions
Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
Elias Canetti, Auto da Fé
Albert Camus, The Plague
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Fydor Dostoevsky, The Idiot
Alaxandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Christo
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
John Gardner, Michelson’s Ghosts
William Golding, The Spire
Günter Grass, The Tin Drum
Franz Kafka, The Trial
Doris Lessing, Briefing for a Descent into Hell
C. S. Lewis, Til We Have Faces
Mario Vargas Llossa, The Feast of the Goat
Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano
Dow Mossman, The Stones of Summer
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Hundred Years of Solitude
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
Jose Saramago, All the Names