Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday Salon (and CCSpin Number Reveal!)


Last Week

Posted Chicago poet Keith Preston on 'Reading in Bed As A Fine Art'.

Blogged about Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh, a book from my Classics Club list.

And signed up for the latest Classics Club spin #33. The spin number is 18,

which means Honoré de Balzac's Cousin Bette for me. A good choice!

Some other books, including The Songs of Kabir, tr. Arvind Krishna Mehrotra:
The mind's a shortchanging
Huckster with a crafty 
Wife and Five
Scoundrel children.
It won't change its ways.

The mind's a knot, says Kabir,
Not easy to untie.

On The Stack

In addition to the Balzac, that's Early Irish Myths and Sagas, the Rae Dalven translation of Cavafy, and a volume of selected David Slavitt poems I'm making my way through.


I went to see the Eleanor Catton at the main Toronto Public Library talk about her new book Birnam Wood. Except there's apparently some suspense, so while she read from it, she didn't necessarily talk about it much. Not so long ago she wrote the screenplay for a version of Emma, so she mostly talked (very astutely) about that. She's impressive.

But now I do want to read the book. The Toronto library system bought a hundred copies, but I'm afraid I'm only five hundred on the list, so it will be a while...

I was going to post the video of the talk, but it doesn't seem to be available yet, though the library usually does post them here. I've also got tickets for Rebecca Makkai in May.

Eleanor Catton was born in Canada and lived here until she was six. (Her father was a grad student at the University of Western Ontario.) The Luminaries won the Canadian Governor General's award for fiction, as well as the Booker. The interviewer tried to absorb Catton into the Canadian borg, a thing which has been tried before and which I knew from some interview I read earlier, she politely resists. But based on her vowels, she's definitely a New Zealander, which you could check for yourself, if I could post the video... reflict, attintion, togither. 😉 

Chocolate Pots-de-créme, all gone now sadly...

How was your week?


  1. Great spin result!
    One day, I want to read all of Balzac - I have only read a few, during my years and studies in France

    1. I've only read a few Balzacs as well, and then only in translation (I suspect you've read them in French) but I like the ones I've read.

  2. Oh, that's a great book to get. I've only read a couple of Balzac's books from the Human Comedy, but I'd like to read some of his more well-known novels soon.

    I've been hosting a poem of the month in a Discord group so I've been getting my share of poetry and loving it. I'd really like to study it more.

    The Luminaries is a book I've wanted to read but haven't had the time to devote to it. I didn't know she had another book out so thanks for the heads up.

    Hold 500?! I think the most I've ever been is about 50. So you win! 😂

    1. Oh, they get even higher than that. Michelle Obama's book was over a thousand for a while. Life in the big city! ;-)

      I enjoyed The Luminaries when I read it, and while it's kind of long, it also zipped along pretty well.

      I've been reading more poetry than I used to, and liking it.

  3. Interesting poetry selection -- I often mean to read poetry (like Cavafy) but it really doesn't work for me. Your image of a chateau reception room or whatever it is looks very neat.

    best...mae at

    1. It's Madame de Stael's salon room. (The French salon person from the 1700s? I think.) I found it online somewhere.

      I find I read more poetry than I used to. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. There's nothing that refreshes me more than hearing an author speak. I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing many authors at the library conference next month. Inprint hosts many authors here in Houston, and it takes a while for the video of the event to be posted online.

    I have Balzac on my list to read, but this spin brought me Tortilla Flat.

    1. I liked Tortilla Flat, so here's hoping you do, too.

      The downtown public library here has a nice series--it was sad when it went away during the pandemic & I'm glad it's back.

  5. Congrats for getting Balzac! Can't wait to read your thoughts on it.

    1. Thanks! Hopefully my thoughts prove up to speed... ;-)

  6. Hope you enjoy reading Cousin Bette! :D

  7. Thx for the Catton talk recap. I think she was in Calgary recently too which I missed. Are you a dual citizen? I just became one in 2022. Happy reading.

    1. Got my Canadian citizenship ten years ago now. Feeling pretty settled here at this point...

      Thanks for dropping by!