Ragdoll (@ My Tragic Right Hip), a friend of the blog and a Canadian, hooked me up with an incredible book that is set in the northern reaches of Canada. I’m keeping the book under wraps until I’m done (post coming soon), but believe me when I tell you its fantastic. Now that I’m well steeped in flannel fiction, I was intrigued to read that this year’s Costa Award (formerly the Whitbread) was awarded to Stef Penney for her book, The Tenderness of Wolves. The book is a “murder saga set in the snowy wastes of 19th-century Canada.” The surprising thing, to me, is that Ms. Penney has never been to Canada. She researched the settings and customs in the British Library. For dialog she just added an “eh” to the end of every third sentence. No was apparently the wiser. A follow-up article explains that the reason she had to research the book exclusively in the library is that she’s agoraphobic (fear of places where escape may be difficult) — not so agoraphobic that she couldn’t put on her green party dress and get her award, just too agoraphobic to go to Canada. There’s no escape from Canada. (Actually, it says that she is now over her condition.)
Please note our new “Comix” category in the sidebar. Right over there. Since Shaft’s post yesterday now means that there are now two of us befouling the blog with graphic novels, I’ve made it easier to track them.
Get yourself some culture and check out the paintings of Kehinde Wiley. Wiley creates huge portraits of black men in a stylized version of the old master paintings of European kings and Popes. The December/January Believer Magazine came with a pack of note cards depicting reproductions of several Wiley’s paintings. I mailed one to each of our readers, but I think that they got lost.