Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer Reading

It's vacation time for the Imagining Toronto project!

I'll still be researching and writing (including finishing a solid draft of the Imagining Toronto manuscript (although some other interesting writing opportunities have come up and might get priority) and writing for Spacing magazine and Reading Toronto and finishing a commissioned piece for Library and Archives Canada and writing a talk for Walk21 and preparing for fall term teaching and reformatting the Imagining Toronto website and ...) but these activities will now be interspersed with time spent lolling languidly in the sun, gardening (and garden-partying) and reroofing our garage.

I am looking forward to catching up on some excellent Toronto reading, including a thoughtful re-read of Phyllis Brett Young's The Torontonians, which is being reissued by McGill-Queen's University Press later in 2007. Also on tap: more Raymond Souster, Morley Callaghan, Catherine Bush (The Rules of Engagement and Claire's Head), Katherine Govier's Hearts Aflame, and dozens of other books piled around my study. I'll try to update the list of some recently acquired promising-sounding works. My usual reading preferences are for intelligent, philosophically challenging works, but lately I've had a craving for lighter, plot-driven fiction suitable for reading in the sun. Catherine Bush is hardly fluff, but it's much more rewarding to take the time to read her novels slowly, and I'm looking forward to spending whole days with her novels. I'm also reading some of Maureen Jennings' excellent set-in-Victorian-Toronto detective novels.

I tend to use this blog to update on recent and forthcoming activities. Here are a few recent ones.
  • In May Peter and I co-wrote an essay called "Acts of Salvage" (a summation of our urban scavenging adventures) which Coach House Books will publish later this year in GreenTOpia, an anthology of Toronto-focused environmental writing.
  • I chatted about Toronto literature and the imaginative qualities of cities with Matt Galloway on CBC Radio One's "Here and Now" program on May 30th, a day before my "Imagined City" talk as part of the 2007 Toronto Festival of Architecture & Design.
  • On June 2 the Toronto Star published "The Book on Toronto", an 'Ideas' feature article I wrote by accident after a reporter called asking for information on Toronto literature that would have taken hours to compile. I called his editor and told him I was not a research assistant. Many thanks to Ideas editor Gabe Gonda for the resulting invitation to write the piece.
  • Library and Archives Canada has commissioned me to write an essay on Toronto literature for a national project on regional literature they'll be releasing in 2008. More details forthcoming. I'm excited to be participating as a new look at the shifting landscape of Canadian literature is vastly overdue.
  • And I'm quite grateful to Spacing magazine for making me a contributing editor and letting me write a regular column on Toronto literature.
  • Oh, and the Imagining Toronto course (code GEOG 4280 3.0) will run again in the Department of Geography at York University. I think enrollment has filled up already, but there might still be room for one or two more students.
That's all for now. I'll still be answering emails (albeit perhaps a little more slowly than usual) and will, as always, be happy to chat about Toronto literature. I'll also try to update here occasionally with short notes about interesting Toronto works.

Happy summer!

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