Monday, January 12, 2009


Me love books. Me like cookie monster, but with books. Well, no blue fur, either. And I don't eat the books. I hope I have a better vocabulary. OK, me not like cookie monster.

Me book monster!

Here are some books I really, really, really enjoyed, and on the theory that my taste is impeccable, I am listing them assuming that everyone in the world can benefit from my impeccable taste. I am leaving out highly popular current authors, as you've heard of them.

Disclaimer: my taste is only considered impeccable by me. And only for books. If you don't like a book I list, I can't give you back the time/money you've spent. But think of all the time wasted watching celebrities on the red carpet - any of these books is way better than that!

1. The Water Method Man - John Irving. I have read this book many times. It cannot be made into a movie, it is far to incoherent. And hilarious. My mom kept my dad awake, because the bed was shaking with laughter.
2. The Shadow of the Sun - Ryszard Kapuscinski. Poland's first African correspondent. This is a terrific series of articles, and you can feel his love for his subject. Not at all condescending, beautifully written, and not a bucket of tears.
3. The Price of Water in Finistere - Bodil Malmsten. Highly readable, enjoyable, some laughs, much enjoyment. Her translation of her French is terrific. Almost as funny as David Sedaris' translation of his French in Me Talk Pretty One Day.
4. God is Not Great - Christopher Hitchens. OK, this is a best seller, but I have it here because it's funny, totally unlike anything Richard Dawkins seems capable of writing. So if you want to read a tract by an avowed atheist, this one's actually quite a lot of fun.
5. Coming Through Slaughter - Michael Ondaatje. Way before The English Patient, Ondaatje wrote some beautiful books. In the Skin of a Lion and Running in the Family are highly recommended too.
6. Molly Ivins. I am currently reading anything I can by her. What a loss - she died in 2007. Her political commentary is savage and funny and highly readable.
7. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy. Sad, but incredible. After you read this, if you haven't yet, read Midnight's Children, the 25 year Booker prize winner by Salman Rushdie.
8. A Student of Weather - Elizabeth Hays. Starts out as a Canuck prairie book, but goes very far away from that.
9. Larry's Party - Carole Shields. Happy endings for all, and no schmaltz! How hard is that?

Thanks to those who've given me great book suggestions - The Know-It All by A. J. Jacobs was a lot of fun. I'm still waiting to get back Absurdistan - the problem with giving people books you want to read is that they don't always lend them to you.

Lots more, I know, I just have a terrible memory so this is highly weighted towards books I've read in the last few months, with a few of my top-ever added in.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I scream like a girl.

Last night I was about to leave my room, likely to tell Hugh something as we were watching separate TV shows in separate rooms. Odd, that - the TV used to be a family thing, now we have so much choice we need multiple TVs.

I noticed a brown object by the door and wondered what the kids had left. I bent over to look and pick it up, and it started moving. It was very clearly a bat, opening its mouth and trying to scare me as it back frantically under the door back into my closet.

Note to young single women who think a husband is great for romance, southern travel, walks on the beach and other rare and wonderful things. A husband is for icky things. Dead mouse in the wall covered in maggots? Grain moth larvae dropping from the ceiling? Bat under your door? The automatic reaction for me is to scream Hugh! Hugh! Help!

In this instance, Hugh misinterpreted my words, although the tone did bring him in. He thought I said my back! My back! as I'd been painting, and it was wonky. A bat! A bat! I ran screaming downstairs as he searched for the tiny winged mammal. I came back up with the boys, who were extremely excited. My daughter remained in the basement, playing Wii with her friend Tyler.

The bat now lives in a small box, with a piece of apple and a sock from our extensive collection of single socks. What do you feed a bat in the Ottawa winter? Despite the plethora of wildlife invading our home periodically, none of it seems like bat food. Was it eating the grain moths?

Time to google bats. Unless it died of fright in its new home. At least I know what Hugh will be doing for the next few weeks - bat care. As long as he doesn't start raising insects to feed it, all will be well.