by monique t
March 20, 2006
The find of today is Found magazine. I'm sure many of you are aware of FOUND, but those who aren't, you should check out the site.
FOUND is about found stuff.
We collect found stuff: love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles--anything that gives a glimpse into someone else's life. Anything goes.
Jason Bitner, co-founder of FOUND, is now promoting LaPorte, Indiana (Princeton), a publication detailing his find in the small town of LaPorte, Indiana.
Not long ago, in the back room of a small Midwestern diner, Bitner stumbled upon a forgotten archive: over 18,000 studio portraits, taken from the 1940s to 1960s, of the people of LaPorte, Indiana.
Jason and the Found crew will be in Canada this summer:
May 31, 2006 in Toronto, ON
July 1, 2006 in Vancouver, B.C.
July 2, 2006 in Roberts Creek, B.C.
(Details still to come.)
Here's what Jason had to say in a recent email newsletter:
"The photos are these amazing studio portraits all taken by one photographer, Frank Pease, back in the 50s and 60s. He archived an entire town in beautiful black-and-white photos--it's like a huge yearbook of the Midwest.
"Each Friday, the LaPorte Herald-Argus prints a half-dozen photos and asks readers for help identifying the subjects. Hundreds of phone calls and emails have poured in, and the mysteries are beginning to be solved.
"In the past couple weeks, we've tracked down over two dozen people from the book. It's nuts--we've been staring at these found photos for years, and they've suddenly sprung to life. And as more and more people come forward, we're beginning to reconstruct the town and reunite some friends from across the country--the book's becoming a real community event ... it's the ultimate find!"
The book is in stores now, and there's a dedicated website for LAPORTE, INDIANA, www.LaPorteBook.com
This weekend marks the third anniversary of US-led invasion of Iraq. Here's our suggested reading list.
A War against Truth: An Intimate Account of the Invasion of Iraq (Raincoast)
by Paul William Roberts
This national bestseller is a passionate eyewitness account that will forever change your view of the Iraq war. A classical scholar and one of the few journalists to have interviewed Saddam Hussein, Canadian reporter Paul William Roberts knows Iraq better than most. This is his exposé of the politics behind the recent war—and the brutal reality on the ground.
Dancing in the No-Fly Zone: A Woman's Journey through Iraq (Raincoast)
by Hadani Ditmars
As Iraq continues to weather violent occupation, theocratic thuggism and civil strife, Hadani Ditmars' book Dancing in the No-Fly Zone serves as an eerily prescient tribute to a culture and a people at the breaking point. This Globe and Mail Top 100 Book for 2005 offers a unique perspective on Iraq, before and after the U.S. invasion.
Greenpeace: The Inside Story: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists and Visionaries Changed the World (Raincoast)
by Rex Weyler
Greenpeace is a remarkable achievement: a gripping story; a snapshot of the mid-20th-century zeitgeist; a fascinating study of media manipulation; an uncompromising look at the sometimes brutal internal struggles of activist organizations; and above all, an inspiring call-to-arms that deepens our understanding of what it means to be politically engaged. Greenpeace shows why and how the revolution begins … and leads us through the aftermath.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Berrett-Koehler)
by John Perkins
Economic hit men are highly paid professionals who cheat countries out of trillions of dollars. They funnel World Bank, government and foreign aid funds into the coffers of international businesses and a few wealthy families. John Perkins was one of these hit men, and his first-hand account contains explosive revelations on Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American hotspots. He discloses the clandestine support received by Osama bin Laden as well as little-known facts about the relationship between the two most powerful dynasties in the world: the Bush family and the House of Saud.
Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy (Harcourt)
by Fawaz A. Gerges
Renowned Middle East expert and media commentator Fawaz A. Gerges takes readers into the mindset of the jihadi—the holy warrior—that lies behind so many front-page headlines yet remains nearly impenetrable. Journey of the Jihadist puts a human face to events in the Middle East over the past thirty years, from Lebanon's civil war—which Gerges experienced firsthand—to the war in Iraq and the terrorist attacks in London. But behind jihadism a battle is being waged for the soul of Islam itself.
If you've read any of these titles and have feedback, please comment on this blog or email info at raincoast dot com.
Sympathy is the story of Kerry Taylor, a former ballet dancer who slips into a catatonic state after a car accident claims the lives of her husband and son. The novel charts her progression through Dr. Michael Myatt's controversial new therapy, sympathy-based healing. This is a gripping, moving and often surprisingly funny examination of the relationship between mind and body.
Did you consciously try to weave your own understanding and belief in the mind-body connection into this book or was it something that just evolved over time? How did this book evolve? Did it start with the character who was a dancer, or from wanting to talk about grief?
I started with no idea of where this book might go, no story in mind. All I began with was a blank page and one thought: I want to explore my relationship with my mother and my history of bulimia. The catatonia was just suddenly there and, I believe now, a subconscious sense of being deeply stifled intellectually and creatively. I was kind of hoping to blame some of my struggles on my mother, but by the book's end, realized it was the patriarchal side of things that I had to come to terms with.
What kind of research did you have to do to be able to create the hospital of Rosewood and the experience of the catatonic character?
Dede: I'm afraid I did none. It was all imagined. Though when I lived in Halifax, I was invited to a clinic by a psychologist friend of mine to teach some dance moves for the patients' upcoming dance. This took place over a several weeks. There was an assortment of characters including: manic Wolfman Jack the self-appointed DJ, a suicidal, chronically depressed but sweet young woman and a catatonic man who never spoke a word. I remember being especially curious about him and several times attempting to draw him out by dancing with him--holding his hands and gently mirroring his movements. Sadly they were all heavily medicated.
I found this novel to be both very sad and very uplifting. What's your take on it? Were the sad parts difficult to write? What was the most challenging thing about the book?
Dede: I'm glad you found it uplifting and hope you found it funny at times too. I see a lot of humour in our foibles as humans. As for the grief part, I lost my father during the writing of this book. So part of the grief was for him and part was how losing someone that defines you in such a basic way, means losing that part of you. At this time I had also had to say good-bye to dance. I have fibromyalgia and after turning forty, a certain youthful physicality was lost to me. And I was always a fiercely physical person.
Writing and editing the funeral scene never failed to make me cry. I'm not sure why. And Hugo's relationship with Kerry I found very touching. Hugo is my favourite character in the book. I find him deeply feeling, creative and his sense of humour comes from understanding life's utter sadness but not being defeated by it.
The most challenging thing in writing this book was just about everything. Being my first attempt at writing, it was a huge learning curve for me. If you could have seen the first draft you would understand how far it's come. My brain often felt like a muscle as I struggled to find the structure, the authenticity of the characters and to keep all the various threads straight.
I understand that you're a former dancer. How did your background in dance prepare you for writing and how did that shape your book?
Dede: My dance training probably helped a lot with the discipline and stick-to-it ness it takes to see a book through to the end and then some. As a dancer I saw how over time, practice brought results. So when the going got tough, and I was convinced this book was destined for the delete button, I could slowly tease myself around to knowing that things have to start somewhere and that knowing something's awful means it can only get better.
As a dancer, I loved ballets with a story and emotional arc. I've always had a great imagination and writing brought it together with the love of story.
How long did it take you to write this book? What's the significance of the snipings/shooting? Is there a significance?
Dede: This book took five years in total. Two years writing nothing else. And then three years of on and off editing and revising. I write everyday, often seven days a week, which I think help allows things to percolate on a subconscious level.
I wrote the original draft of Sympathy before 9-11. After 9-11 happened I knew I couldn't set a book in a suburb of D.C. without incorporating it. I heard stories from my family who still live in the area about the day the plane crashed into the Pentagon and how militarized life was becoming. So I set [the book] in the fall of 2002 and only later realized that was the very time of the beltway snipers. So I researched that and put it in along with real incidents reported to me from my family, such as having to pump gas behind giant tarps separating them from the streets, armed guard on street corners, having to keep their kids home from school, etc.
So I realized I had a macrocosm of PTSD happening outside the microcosm in Rosewood clinic.
What do you feel are some of the themes of the book?
Dede: The most important theme to me is the interconnectedness of people. Whether we're conscious of it or not, we are influencing and continually being influenced by our environment and the people in it. And in this way, we all, as individuals, help create our world and the society in which we live. A first step to understanding this is to understand that our body and mind aren't separate from each other. And when the two are in sync, in balance--and not just conceptually so--we discover our fearlessness and our goodness, and therefore our ability to love.
Thank you to Dede and Alexis
Law One: Always make your future bigger than your past.
Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura have written a little book with big, life-changing principles. The Laws of Lifetime Growth is about how you can take charge of your future.
Dan and Catherine are teachers and coaches and the book sets out 10 principles for personal and business success. The idea is to live a life of continual growth and fulfillment.
Who doesn't want that? Well, as they note on their website, lifetimegrowth.com, there are some who believe that they've already gone as far as they can go. There are some who lack confidence or direction. And some who feel the sky's the limit but are unable to get there. So step one is to read the book.
"The Laws of Lifetime Growth offers remarkable, instantly usable insights, changing the way you think, and empowering you to take command of your future." (Lifetimegrowth.com)
Lifetimegrowth.com is its own amazing resource. Check out the authors' blog, read the laws, order the book, or sign up for the newsletter.
The second podcast in Raincoast Books' literary podcast series is now available.
Subscribe to the Raincoast podcasts via RSS at
Or subscribe to the podcast directly from iTunes. From iTunes simply search in the podcast section for "Raincoast Books".
(If you already have iTunes installed, you can follow this link.)
Indigenous Beasts is a chilling collection of stories from Nathan Sellyn--an extraordinary storyteller and a bold, young writer whose work is energetic, shocking and distrubing.
To buy the book visit
About Raincoast Books' literary podcast series:
The inaugural podcast featured original interviews and readings by author Jim Lynch, recorded when he attended the 2005 Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival. Listen to the podcast: Jim Lynch on The Highest Tide. Find out more about the novel The Highest Tide.
For further background on podcasting visit the CBC News page on "what is podcasting".
by monique t
March 15, 2006
Grab your pint and a copy of The Irish Pub Cookbook by Margaret M. Johnson (Chronicle Books).
The pub comes to your home in this beautifully photographed cookbook, which includes over 70 recipes for pub favourites like the classic Sheperd's Pie, the modern Mushroom Risotto with Clonakilty Black Pudding and the Irish Cream Cheesecake.
A culinary celebration of pubs and pub food.
Johnson includes plenty of background and history along with her focus on the food. You'll find traditional country-style cooking but also gastronomic surprises. For example, the recipe for Cider-Braised Chicken and Cabbage was developed by Bulmers, the Irish hard-cider maker, for restaurants and pubs. Cider has long been a popular ingredient in European cuisines, especially among Celts, Bretons and Normans, Johnson points out. "Irish chefs love to use it, often as a substitute for wine, because of the unique flavor it imparts to sauces, meat, and poultry."
Try the below recipes to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Cider-Braised Chicken and Cabbage
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Six 5- to 6-ounce bone-in chicken breast halves, skin on
¼ cup olive oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic
3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large onion, thickly sliced
3 bay leaves
½ cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons minced fresh flatleaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
1 cup homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, or 1 chicken bouillon cube mixed with 1 cup boiling water
1 cup dry Irish cider
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken in it, shaking off the excess.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken in batches and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a large ovenproof baking dish.
Tuck the garlic, carrots, onions and bay leaves in between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the raisins, parsley and rosemary. Place the cabbage on top, season with salt and pepper, and pour the stock or broth and cider over the meat and vegetables. Cover with foil and bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is tender.
To serve, place a chicken breast in the center of each of 6 plates, and spoon the vegetables and sauce over the top.
Makes 6 servings.
1 ½ pounds chicken pieces a combination of backs, wings and necks and bones
6 cups cold water
1 onion, chopped
1 leek white part only, washed and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bouquet garni a cheesecloth bag containing 3 sprigs fresh flatleaf parsley, 1 sprig fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the chicken pieces and bones and water. Bring to a boil and skim any foam that rises to the top. Reduce the heat to medium-low, skim again, and add the onion, leek, carrot, celery, salt, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Simmer, skimming occasionally, for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and let cool.
Refrigerate for several hours, remove the congealed fat, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes about 5 cups.
Bread and Butter Pudding With Hot Whiskey Sauce
For the pudding:
½ cup raisins
½ cup Irish whiskey
5 large eggs
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces 8 to 9 slices firm white bread, crust left on
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
For the Hot Whiskey Sauce:
½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
¼ cup Irish whiskey
To make the pudding:
In a small bowl, combine the raisins and whiskey and let soak for 1 hour. Butter a 9-inch square nonreactive baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Cut the slices in half diagonally and arrange half the bread in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping the slices. Drain the raisins and sprinkle half over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and raisins. Pour the egg-cream custard mixture over the bread and let it soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Place the baking dish in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pudding is set and the top is golden. Remove the baking dish from the water bath and let cool slightly on a wire rack.
To make the whiskey sauce:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the sugar, cream and whiskey. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Serve the pudding warm with the whiskey sauce spooned over each portion.
Makes 6 to 8 servings; about 1 cup of sauce.
First Chapter: Field Notes From a Catastrophe, by Elizabeth Kolbert
Read first chapter
First Chapter: The Weather Makers, by Tim Flannery
Read first chapter
Thank you Canadian Harry Potter fans!
You've raised over $1.7 million to aid Comic Relief
FIVE YEARS AGO, Raincoast Books published two special “textbooks” from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Under pseudonyms, J.K. Rowling wrote these two short books in aid of Comic Relief, an organization that uses comedy and laughter to help end poverty and social injustice.
Since 2001, Canadians have raised over $1.7 million for disadvantaged children around the world through proceeds from the sales of these two special Harry Potter books.
On behalf of our publishing partners, Raincoast would like to thank all our Canadian printing, media and retail partners who donated time and services to this project. Most importantly, we would like to thank a very generous author and the Canadian readers who found a way to enjoy the world's most popular book series while supporting a very worthy cause.
Dancing in the No-Fly Zone : A Woman's Journey through Iraq by Hadani Ditmars
Vancouver Public Library
Marking the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the Vancouver Public Library in collaboration with The Muslim Canadian Congress, invite you to an evening with Hadani Ditmars, accalimed international journalist and author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone: A Woman's Journey Through Iraq. Reading and video clips from Hadani's journey will be followed by questions and answers and book signing.
Monday March 20
Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level
350 West Georgia Street
Gibsons District Library
Hadani Ditmars will read from her internationally acclaimed book on Saturday, April 8th (time TBA)
Ms Ditmars is a Canadian journalist whose work has been published in the New York Times, London Independent, Globe and Mail, and Vanity Fair. She has been reporting from the Middle East since 1992.
Registration required for this FREE event
by monique t
March 10, 2006
This week's word of the week is Stibadium
A semi-circular couch: "They sat together nervously on the velvet stibadium."
(c) 2005 Ben Schott