Monday, October 13, 2008

Posting and reading are slow this term ....

This academic term, I decided to teach five courses (post-secondary). I have about 410 students, many of whom send me e-mail within three days of an assignment due date or test.

I have some very bright students and some great discussions in class, but it was silly of me to have taken on this many courses.

As a result, I'm not reading much fiction. Wait, I suppose much work in bioethics and logic counts as fiction, so let's say I'm not reading much literary fiction.

I hope soon to post something about Robertson Davies' Fifth Business, which I'm reading as part of the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge. After that, I wasn't (until just recently) sure of what Canadian books to read. Shamefully, I've read maybe two Canadian novels, so the world is my oyster.

Fortunately, just last week I met Virgil Duff, an executive editor at the University of Toronto Press. There I was on the patio of the Artful Dodger, drinking a pint while reading Fifth Business, when a man at the next table, Virgil, put down his own book and inquired about what I was reading. After some discussion of Canadian authors, he offered me a 6-page photocopy of a list of Canadian novels that he's read, with the best ones listed in bold. Actually, he said, he's given copies of this list to anyone he meets who has an interest in CanLit. He used to be an editor for the Macmillan Company of Canada, and in that capacity ushered some novels through the publication process.

Needless to say, I take this chance meeting as a divine intervention in my aimless CanLit reading and will duly include some of these titles in my Book Challenge endeavours. Thanks, Virgil, for your reading advice.  wasn't I just whining about my heavy work load this term? And yet, there I was on a pub patio just last week?! Well, you must understand that in Toronto, when in October one happens upon a lovely, sunny day that is so warm that the pub patios are open, and one has just finished a hard day's work, one would have to be possessed of superhuman powers of puritanical self-abnegation to saunter, amble or meander right on past the patio at one's favourite pub. After all, one thinks at the time, this is likely the last 'quality patio time' until May.


Anonymous said...

Two synergies here - I read all Robertson Davies books a few years ago and enjoyed them all and was left thirsting for more. You have reminded me to revisit them.

Pub patios - we have been blessed with fine weather for the last two weeks but any day now it will change and winter will be here. YES, make the most of the pub patios before those dreadful gas heaters are in place belching out fumes and creating horrible hot spots

Great post and thanks for visiting mine - now, lets see if your Captcha thingy works this time . . .

praymont said...

I hope you post a review of Davies, Tom. I'd be interested to see what you think about his work. Cheers.