For the reading list…

Here’s a sample of the writing I loved last week:

Ship Spotting, by Claudia Goodine, is a Walrus Magazine article about oil tanker traffic in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. I knew this was a concern, but I didn’t understand quite how big a concern until now. A minimum clearance of 1.35 metres between tanker bottoms and the ocean floor? Seriously? After reading this article, I couldn’t understand why we weren’t all climbing into boats and blockading the harbour.

On a more sentimental note, this Ian Brown article on the meaning of fatherhood was thoughtful and wise. I dare you to read it without crying.

And, if you have a secret love of early chapter books like I do (or, okay, if you have a six-year-old in the house), Jacquie Pearce’s Flood Warning is great. It’s the story of the 1948 Fraser River flood, from the point of view of a resourceful boy who must help his mother find a way to save their small herd of dairy cows from the encroaching water. Jacquie’s writing is always lovely, and this is a page-turner of a mini-book. You’ll have to read it all in one sitting.

Happy reading!

The Serendipity debrief

You will be happy to know I was dressed appropriately at Serendipity this weekend. Well, mainly because Norma Charles caught me just as I was entering. She suggested that I rearrange my name tag so that my name faced out, and then she untucked my sweater from the back of my pants. (You thought I was joking about my inability to dress myself, didn’t you?)

Because 50 Burning Questions won the Information Book Award (thank you, Roundtables!) I talked about non-fiction for a while at the beginning of the day. And I was very, very happy to have spoken first because the next speakers were so mind-blowingly poignant and funny and wise that I would have been much too intimidated to speak afterwards.

The theme of the day was Year of the Dragon: Asian Themes for Young Canadian Readers. Paul Yee, author of Money Boy (a copy of which is now on my beside table) talked about embracing one’s own personal identity, past and present. Editors Marjorie Coughlan and Corinne Robson talked about Paper Tigers, an amazing website. Allen Say, with a lovely combination of gravity and dry wit, told stories from Drawing from Memory that made everybody cry. In the afternoon, Lisa Yee talked about contemporary fiction in which ethnicity is a factor, not a focus.

Looking for a quiet corner to eat my lunch, I found myself in a side room with Norma Charles, Jacquie Pearce, Ellen Schwartz, Beryl Young, Irene N. Watts, and Deborah Hodge. We had a lovely hour eating sandwiches and talking books, and I felt honoured to be in such company.

Oh. And I learned some Bollywood dancing. Yup. About three minutes after I leaned over to Shannon Ozirny and whispered, “maybe we should move back, in case they ask for volunteers,” we were on the stage. It’s even on video. But I’m not telling where.