Friday, March 31, 2006


The US edition of Story-Wallah came into my possession yesterday, though minus the exclamation mark from the Canadian edition. As people have been asking me recently for book recommendations, this anthology of short fiction from South Asian writers is a great read and if you're into reading guides it has one here.

I spent months editing this collection and thought I practically knew the stories off by heart, but I began reading the book last night after being away from it for a year and a half and became immediately engrossed again. Shyam Selvadurai did a brilliant job selecting the fiction for this collection and for additional reading, this is an interesting article from Time written by Selvadurai about setting up house as a gay man in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Unfinished Church

These photographs were taken last Saturday at the Unfinished Church in St. George's, Bermuda. The building of this gothic structure began in the 1870s but was abandoned a few decades later after being hit both with natural disaster and congregation infighting. The rest of the photographs I took can be found in this Flickr set.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Back From Bermuda

I returned this afternoon from a relaxing weekend in Bermuda. I've been to the island several times in the past few years, but did some things on this trip that I've never experienced before. I spent a morning in St. George's touring all of the churches and the following day went to the Bermuda Aquarium & Zoo. A giant, tropical rainstorm hit while I was in the zoo and I found myself trapped in the wallaby exhibit for ten minutes - they seemed to enjoy the company. Click on the photos below for a larger view and the rest of my Bermuda photos are here.

Bermuda Shoreline Bermuda Boat Bermuda Sunset

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This Book Will Self-Destruct in Fifteen Seconds

Taking a cue from John, I have taken some photographs of the books in my collection that are signed and they can be found in this Flickr set. All were specifically signed for me and some are particular favourites - the Austin Clarke, in his gorgeous handwriting, and the Melanie Little because they were books I worked on. Also all three Dan Rhodes titles, which were signed the day after a fun drunken evening during IFOA in 2003.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Adventures of Tim Harvey

I blogged last year about my old, dear friend Tim Harvey and his incredible adventure from Vancouver to Moscow by human power. He cycled north from Vancouver, eventually reaching the Bering Sea which he rowed across. Then it was back to hiking and bicycling through the frozen wilderness of Siberia, until finally Tim reached his goal of Moscow a year after this great journey began. But this wasn't enough for Tim! He then bicycled from Moscow to Lisbon often cranking out 150 kilometres per day and completing this leg of the journey in just a month and a half. From here, Tim rowed from Lisbon to the Canary Islands, then jumped onboard another boat with a bunch of Swedes and rowed from there to Venezuela - yes, he sailed/rowed across the entire Atlantic Ocean.

Here you may think, wow - what a journey. But he's not done yet. Tim is now heading from Caracas (still by zero-emission power) to the very dangerous Darien Gap, which he will hike, eventually joining his brother in Panama for the final bike to Vancouver. In this journey he will have completed a true global circumnavigation because he crosses all lines of longitude, with a total mileage of at least 35,000 kilometres. Tim writes that his adventure "is a 42,000 kilometre, 26-month push west by zero-emission means, touching five continents and ending at the point where the journey began" where his goal is to "move himself without ever burning a drop of fossil fuel, to promote a lifestyle joyously free of the common automobile, the primary cause of global climate change."

I find it hard to put into words how impressive and inspiring this journey is and how much I respect Tim. And the best part is that he was been documenting this entire journey to be made into a film upon his return, so we will be able to experience by proxy this incredible feat he will have accomplished. You can follow Tim's progress by reading his dispatches and I have also posted his website on my blog sidebar.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

My second book recommendation for 2006 is a hearty one. I just finished The Night Watch by Sarah Waters and loved it. I had previously attempted to read Waters' Tipping the Velvet but not being a fan of period pieces or historical fiction, I abandoned it fairly quickly. However, The Night Watch is set in wartime London, something that fascinates me, partly because when I lived there I used to wander around looking at which buildings survived the Blitz and which didn't (like Kings College London where I spent my days). And partly because I read a fascinating account of the effect the Blitz had on Londoners in A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century.

The book is comprised of four storylines that center around individual characters, but they are all connected in some way. Kay, a former ambulance driver, who now dresses like a boy and spends her days spying on the patients being treated by her landlord. Viv, who is consumed with loyalty to her married ex-soldier boyfriend and her brother, Duncan, recently released from prison. And finally Helen, who cannot stop second-guessing her lover for some mysterious reason.

Waters' style is somewhat cold and clinical, but this turns out to be extremely effective as she layers the story until small nuances are picked up and the connections between characters are realized. The book also reads backwards - beginning with the post-war exhaustion of 1947, through the numbness of 1944, to the disbelief and suspended normalcy of the Blitz in 1941. A piece of work I will have to read again to truly see everything Waters has built in this story - and very much recommended. For a much better review that this, The Guardian comes to the rescue.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Rather unbelievably to me, Something Slant is one year old today! I've been looking back through the blog archives and it has been a helpful reminder of how many good experiences I've had in a year that has often been focused on the death of someone very close to me.

I've moved continents (again), caught both Wimbledon and the US Open, saw one of my favourite bands (again), not to mention all the travelling. Journeys to Bermuda, Amsterdam, Madrid, Cannes, Tuscany, San Francisco, and Hawaii were all wondrous.

So thank you for visiting Something Slant. I am constantly amazed by how many people stop by here each day (though many of you remain anonymous to me, my page counter tells me you're here). Happy Blogiversary to me!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Balanchine's Ballet

Last night I went to see the National Ballet's Balanchine Triple Bill. It was tear-wellingly brilliant.

George Balanchine created the kind of ballet I love - the perfect mix of modern and classical. The Four Temperaments was originally subtitled "A Dance without a Plot" and declared that ballet no longer needed to be airborne and pretty, but could be non-narrative, evasive and challenging. This resulted in pushing the dancer's body to the limit, which is so beautiful to watch in the delicate lighting, slim-fitting costumes and quick music. But then Theme and Variation was choreographed, as Balanchine wrote, "to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tchaikovsky's music." Pretty tutus, big jumps, soloists flying across the stage - ahhh.