Mister Pip

Mister Pip is definitely a story that needs to be read slowly and savoured as you take this journey. This is a story of Mr. Watts, the only white man on an island that is at war. Mr. Watts takes it upon himself to teach the children in the village and reads each day from Great Expectations. Along the journey, some wonderous and heartbreaking moments happen and I’ve written out a few of them…. “In the days that followed we all worked hard to produce scraps of a vanished world. Of course I did not tell mum about our project. She was liable to say “That won’t hook a fish or peel a banana” And she was right. We weren’t after fish or bananas. We were after something bigger. We were trying to get ourselves another life.” “You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in the book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames. For me, Mathilda Great Expectations is such a book. It gave me permission to change my life.” Finally, perhaps one of the best little sections and one where you understand that Mr. Watts became “Mr. Jaggers” to Mathilda’s “Pip”. He gave the children of island the imagination to take themselves to another life and away from this island where you see once again how the human spirit can be so torn apart and crushed by other human beings. Mr. Watts gave Mathilda the power and permission to change her life after great adversity. Of course Mr. Watts didn’t exactly have an easy go of it – the adults on the island were none to impressed with how he took over the minds of the children. And also the great, great consequence of beliving in Mister Pip and Mister Dickens. “I only know the man who took us kids by the hand and taught us how to reimagine the world, and to see the possibility of change, to welcome it into our lives. Your ship could come in at any time, and that ship could take many forms. Your Mr. Jaggers might even turn out to be a log.” An excellent read. But take your time reading it.

Writers and Company

The CBC’s Writers and Company is a weekly radio show that, at first, i refused to listen to! i thought that it sounded pretentious and uninteresting. My pal, Derek, kept insisting that i would like it and would often start conversations about episodes i had never heard thinking that i had actually listened to him. I was all– who cares?? I don’t need to know about an author to like a book! Why do i need to take up an hour of my precious reading time to listen to the RADIO??? How wrong i was!

One Tuesday afternoon i was stuck in traffic. I could take no more of AM800’s amateur “The Afternoon News” and did not want to risk getting another Lady GaGa song stuck in my head so i switched over to the CBC. Host Eleanor Wachtel was interviewing the author of The Solitude of Prime Numbers, Paolo Giordano. This was a book that i really wanted to read (because of the AWESOME cover) and after the interview I wanted to read it even more. As an interviewer Eleanor has a knack for letting the author tell stories of their lives with respect to the books that they have written. She sits back and lets the author suck you in– listening to this show is just like reading a good book!

Writers and Company has introduced me to authors i don’t think i would have heard of otherwise (as if i need another source of book recommendations). Turkish writer Orham Pamuk, Ethiopian writer Dinaw Mengetu, American writer Andre Dubois III and Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh have all written books that sound soooo interesting that i can’t wait to fit them into my busy reading schedule. There is also plenty of Canadian content– being on the CBC and all.

My favourite interview this year was with comedian Stephen Fry.  I love his work in movies and on TV but i would not have even considered reading one of his books. Now, after hearing about what an interesting life he has had, I just may pick one up one day (when time allows)!!

anyways, podcasts are available. Check out this show about writers– it IS worth the listen– perhaps on a run or on a long car ride when a book is not an option! Sorry i didn’t listen to you earlier Derek!!!

What did you get?

Oprah has released a quiz which will give you its suggestion as to what you should read next. What did you get?


For me: I should be looking in to Big Machine, by Victor LaValle. Interesting, as I typically DO judge a book by its cover, and I don’t think I would ever have picked this up. And I’m still not really sure that this is something that would interest me. But Oprah knows best right??

Big Machine: A Novel

A fiendishly imaginative comic novel about doubt, faith, and the monsters we carry within us.Ricky Rice was as good as invisible: a middling hustler, recovering dope fiend, and traumatized suicide cult survivor running out the string of his life as a porter at a bus depot in Utica, New York. Until one day a letter appears, summoning him to the frozen woods of Vermont. There, Ricky is inducted into a band of paranormal investigators comprised of former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom had at some point in their wasted lives heard The Voice: a mysterious murmur on the wind, a disembodied shout, or a whisper in an empty room that may or may not be from God. Evoking the disorienting wonder of writers like Haruki Murakami and Kevin Brockmeier, but driven by Victor LaValle’s perfectly pitched comic sensibility Big Machine is a mind-rattling literary adventure about sex, race, and the eternal struggle between faith and doubt.From the Hardcover edition.