Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Highlight reel

Howdy from the Broughton Archipelago. Internet is scarce, so here's a quick update of some of the things we've seen and done in the last four weeks.

1. Me at the helm. Yes, I really do sail and motor our boat.

2. The dinghy. My father laughed when I mentioned the dinghy; he said he never imagined knowing someone who had a dinghy. Well, now he does!

3. Orcas! We finally saw some north of Village Island — and have the pictures to prove it.

4. Crabs. If you ask a fisher about his catch, he might share some of it with you. We let these crabs go right after we took the picture — I wasn't prepared for seafood for supper.

More soon, I hope!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

From a little acorn

It's Zak's birthday today. Happy birthday, Zak!  Here are a few pictures to celebrate the boy he was.

1. May 1992, Long Beach (near Tofino): Zak in his stroller on his first trip to the West Coast. Next stop, Japan!

2. August 1995, Canmore: Zak's first trip in a helicopter. Definitely not sure whether he likes it.

3. August 2002, Rock Lake: One of the last pictures in which Zak is shorter than I am.

Looking forward to watching you continue to learn and grow in the year ahead. Cheers!


Friday, August 21, 2015

What I'm Reading Lately

Three weeks into our voyage to the Broughtons and area, and I've been doing a fair amount of reading. Haven't kicked my insomnia, and days on anchor tend to be quiet. So, in lieu of an update, here's a quick rundown of my recent reading.

Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking
I have only lately come to be fan of Amanda Palmer, mainly due to old habits dying hard. This book is based on AFP's TED talk, which has had some ten million-plus views, but encompasses so much more about her background, her personal life, and her artistic process — a cross between a guidebook and a musician's memoir. Perfect for me! AFP has a lot to say about asking for help, being a creator, dealing with impostor syndrome, and living in the present. I really admired this book and feel I read it at exactly the right moment in my life.

Mary Norris, Between You and Me
Another cross, this one between an editor's memoir and a grammar handbook. I laughed out loud repeatedly while reading this book: it's smart, funny, nerdy in all the right ways, and soundly informative. I found the copyediting of the book itself fascinating, and of course devoured the discussion of editorial processes at the New Yorker. I doubt this is a good pick for a grammar neophyte, but for anyone who enjoys word play, precise punctuation, and technical grammar, it's a winner.

Keith Houston, Shady Characters
Not quite a companion to Norris' book, this book discusses English punctuation marks and how they evolved, from the pilcrow to the irony mark. Not in any way a guidebook, but its discussion of history (particularly the examples from medieval manuscripts and early print) will fascinate anyone who thinks about typography and publishing conventions.

David Downie, A Passion for Paris
I'd been reading this book off and on since late April. Yet another cross — part travel writing, part cultural history — this book discusses famous creators, all of them living in a concentration of Paris neighbourhoods, and their various romantic intrigues. Rooted primarily in the nineteenth century, it provided valuable back story to aspects of Modernism with which I was already familiar and encouraged me to learn more about certain French writers I've largely avoided. Not my usual kind of book, but I won it on LibraryThing and am happy I did.

Heidi Pitlor, The Daylight Marriage
In case you think I'm reading nothing but non-fiction on this trip, I should mention this novel, another book I won through LibraryThing. I was surprised by this book: I was expecting a typical domestic novel of middle-class ennui. Instead, it was a tightly composed literary text about emotional climate change, wrapped around the outlines of a crime novel. It was skillfully written and rich, but I suspect in reviews the book suffered from the dismissive descriptor "women's novel." (No way I can check this suspicion just now, though...)

Nina George, The Little Paris Bookshop
A sweet, sweet book about love, reading, and the canals of France. Having travelled by canal boat repeatedly (and having spent time in the centre of Paris), I could follow the characters' journey easily. The characters are quirky, and the story is heartwarming. If you liked The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, you'll probably like this novel, too. Again, I suspect this book is easily dismissed as a "women's novel," but that's unfair, as there's much to admire in these pages — and it's selling well, which is quite an accomplishment in the current publishing market.

Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes (illustrated edition). In a word: masterpiece.

There have been a few other titles in my reading mix, too, but the ones I've just listed have overlapped and entwined in unexpected ways. I'm filling up my word reserve, getting ready to start capturing some of my own on screen (and eventually on paper).


Now reading: Michael Crummey, Sweetland