Thursday, June 07, 2007

Recent Acquisitions: The Prairie Edition

I acquired many new books on my recent travels. There was ample opportunity for book shopping. In Saskatoon, there was the vast book fair attached to the conference that I was attending—book stalls representing a glorious array of publishers, large and small, corporate and indie, Canadian and international, academic and literary. I confess that despite the fact that I was there in my academic capacity, I bought mostly fiction and poetry; however, I did note down the titles of many tantalizing academic tomes for future purchase. In both Saskatoon and Winnipeg, there are branches of McNally Robinson Booksellers, a Western Canadian outfit which manages to blend the best features of the big box stores with the ethos of the indies. There, as always, I stocked up on the prairie titles that are often regrettably absent from Toronto bookstores, as well as whatever else jumped out at me from the shelves. In Winnipeg, there was also a visit to a very good second-hand bookstore called Aqua Books—recommended by my friend Ben who very graciously provided me with a tour of downtown Winnipeg. To my purchases from these various sources, add a generous stack of belated birthday presents from my parents, acquired during their recent trip to Victoria—several Emily Carr titles selected by my mom, and a couple of wonderful old Scottish books that my dad picked up at the gloriously named Haunted Bookshop (Vancouver Island’s Oldest Antiquarian Bookshop)—and imagine how heavy my suitcase was on the return journey…

Here’s the list:

Fast Forward: New Saskatchewan Poets
     edited by Barbara Klar & Paul Wilson;
Rental Van by Clint Burnham;
Two Families: Treaties and Government by Harold Johnson;
The Letters of James Schuyler to Frank O’Hara
     edited by William Corbett;
Biography: A Brief History by Nigel Hamilton;
The Winnipeg Connection: Writing Lives at Mid-Century
     edited by Birk Sproxton;
Reading Life: Books for the Ages by Sven Birkerts;
The Go-Away Bird and Other Stories by Muriel Spark;
The Literary Essays of Ezra Pound;
The Book of Small by Emily Carr;
Klee Wyck by Emily Carr;
This and That by Emily Carr;
Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr;
Letters On Shetland by Peter Jamieson; and,
Traditions of Edinburgh by Robert Chambers.

Several of these books lend themselves to dipping in and out, so I am taking great pleasure in ricocheting between them.

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