Today’s “Cabin Fever” column is on best picture books for the holidays. This was a fun one to research and write. Like giving me candy. Hand this mama a book, and she’s practically drooling.
Someone likes getting his hair brushed. But is he going to declare us the meanest parents ever, somewhere down the road, for dressing his gorgeous toddler self in a pink sleeper? And photographing him wearing it? And posting said photograph online? After this photo was taken, he asked to “see! see!” and when shown, he stabbed with his finger at the little person on the tiny screen and yelled out his own name, for the first time ever, to the insane delight of his entire family, who happened to be gathered ’round for bedtime snack (Kevin’s least favourite “meal” of the day).
My friend Tricia has joined a challenge to read 100 books this month–children’s books. That got me thinking that it might be interesting to keep track of what I’ve read on a given day … say, yesterday. I know that I read a lot every day, but it’s not the reading I used to do when I would sit down and devour a book for hours at a time. It’s endless little bits that add up to … not sure, really. Broader knowledge? Or shallower knowledge? Less about more?
So, here’s what I read on Wednesday, though not in any particular order …
Front section (news) of the Globe and Mail newspaper (on actual newsprint–we get it delivered). Online first-person piece by Diana Athill, from the National Post’s website. A blog about the Bookstravaganza reading I attended on Monday. Caught up on the Globe and Mail’s online book blog. An interview with Annabel Lyon on the Toronto Star’s website. A bunch of emails. Facebook content provided by Facebook friends (thanks, friends!). Dooce. Several assigned articles in a textbook called Open Boundaries, which, truth be told, glazed my eyeballs. The obituary of a famous anthropologist in the Globe and Mail. Something from Nothing (a children’s book), and Pancakes! Pancakes! (another children’s book). Part of Attack of the Giant Mutant Snow Goons, or somesuch, a Calvin & Hobbes comic book. Several recipes. A couple of my own stories, for editing purposes. My women’s studies essay, for proofing purposes. Various sheets of paper carried home in the bags of my school-going children.
There may be more that I’m forgetting now.
Read this first-person account by Diana Athill, as published in the National Post. It’s got flavour. (She and Alice Munro were the writers Kevin and I went to Toronto to see a couple of weeks ago).
Before and after. I’m surprised every time I see her with that gap. She looks so different, and it reminds me that she’s growing up. Once again, I pulled the tooth. She is crazy brave; or else has superior pain tolerance; or both. Because, seriously, she made not a peep during the removal, except when piping up to offer suggestions and advice.
I’m working on some writing news, but it’s not quite ready to unveil yet. Don’t get too excited. It’s nothing to do with the Nica stories, or any fiction or poetry or literary writing at all, actually. Not my usual writing news, she says, and thusly leaves her reader in suspense …
Meantime, I’m looking forward to a couple of writing mornings this week, and wondering where they will take me. And I actually managed to finish chapter one of Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean, which would hardly be considered a feat (it’s an amazing book, so far), except that I succeeded in reading it while babysitting this morning (parents of said babysat child: please don’t dock my pay). My usually cheerful threesome of Tuesday children went all Tuesday-ish on me last week, and there was much grumpiness and butting of heads, so I decided to stay right on top of the situation today. But soon discovered that just sitting quietly on the couch or rocking chair in the same room, being available to jump in when the tone changed from convivial to bossy, was enough supervision. So I added the book to the mix. It turned out to be a good morning. Read this book, too! Then we can chat about it, perhaps over coffee, while our children boss each other around. Just a thought.
Must direct anyone interested in the book biz to my friend Deanna’s blog post on the brave new digital future/present. Deanna was one of the first people I knew to start blogging, years before the rest of us caught on; she’s also an accomplished writer, reads at an amazing pace, and has worked in the publishing industry for years. Her enthusiasm and optimism is refreshing.