farm city!

country heroes.

January 18, 2011
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Jim McGuire. Nashville Portraits.

Johnny Cash (with Dr. Billy Graham), Townes Van Zandt, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins and a real young Steve Earle.
See a bunch of other important folks in American music here.

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top shelf 2.

April 7, 2010
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Essex County Volume Two: Ghost Stories. Jeff Lemire.

Ghost Stories is basically the story of an old, deaf man from rural Southern Ontario.
I picked up the book because of the tags on the back:

Farm Life / Hockey / Graphic Novels

I was previously enamored with one of their publications for very similar reasons and posted on it here.

Anyway, hockey and farming and loneliness and alcoholism and regret and family are all themes of this novel. It’s sad, it’s hard, it’s life. I enjoyed it immensely.
The illustrations speak for themselves – missing from this collection I’ve posted are Lemire’s great renderings of the City of Toronto and the County of Essex.


top shelf.

February 2, 2010
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That Salty Air. Tim Sievert.

I just read a bunch of graphic novels / comics that I got at the library. None of them were that great, but this one had some really great elements.

Page one features a bicycle-riding postman. I like that.
The next best thing about the short novel is the tag on the back cover.
It reads:

Graphic Novels / Nautical Literature / Oceanic Revenge / Seaside Heartbreak

Any novel with tags like that is worth reading, is right up my alley.

That Salty Air is Tim Sievert‘s first novel. It’s published by Top Shelf Productions.


revolutionary equipment.

January 4, 2010
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Ivan E. Coyote. Bow Grip.

“I hung up hard, wishing I didn’t always sound like such a fucking idiot on the voicemail. For some reason, answering machines always made my heart pound. Something about my words being on a machine; a permanent record of me not knowing what to say.”

I just finished reading this novel about a man whose wife leaves him after five years of marriage, leaves him for the big city, leaves him for another woman.
And then I found this advertisement for a revolutionary concept. Featuring the telephone. And answering equipment.
I guess I was drawn to this particular quote because I am anti-message. I never leave them and don’t have voicemail service, so people can’t leave me messages either.
Maybe I’m scared of the permanence, but I think I’m actually always too-caught-off-guard, not witty enough…


everything i know about writing, i learned from music.

November 9, 2009
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Haruki Murakami. My Man in Japan.


“She started asking me all kinds of personal questions – how many girls had I slept with? Where was I from? Which school did I go to? What kind of music did I like? Had I ever read any novels by Osamu Dazai? Where would I like to go if I could travel abroad? Did I think her nipples were too big? I made up some answers and went to sleep, but next morning she said she wanted to have breakfast with me, and she kept up the stream of questions over the tasteless eggs and toast and coffee. What kind of work did my father do? Did I have good grades in high school? What month was I born? Had I ever eaten frogs? She was giving me a headache, so as soon as we had finished eating I said I had to go to work.
‘Will I ever see you again?’ she asked with a sad look.
‘Oh, I’m sure we’ll meet again somewhere before long,’ I said, and left. What the hell am I doing? I started wondering as soon as I was alone and feeling disgusted with myself. And yet it was all I could do. My body was hungering for women. All the time I was sleeping with those girls, I thought about Naoko, about the white shape of her naked body in the darkness, her sighs, the sound of the rain. The more I thought about these things, the hungrier my body grew. I went up to the roof with my whiskey and asked myself where I thought I was heading.”

Norwegian Wood

I just finished reading another novel by Murakami. He combines all the things I love about life, about literature – women, sadness, sex, loneliness, music, drink.