Word on the Street Toronto


I attended the twentieth annual Word on the Street festival in Toronto today. When I headed out, the sky was threatening rain – bad news for an outdoor festival of books and magazines. But by the time I arrived at Queen’s Park Crescent, the sun had come out. I’ve attended this event every year for several years now, so most of the vendors are familiar to me. But I did manage to find some great deals on books. One vendor was selling current paperbacks for 3 for $20. I also popped into the Victoria College Book Sale and got some great deals on used books, and supported the Pratt Library at the same time. Here is my haul:

  • The Penguin Anthology of Canadian Short Stories – edited by Jane Urquhart. This book ignited controversy when it was released in 2008. John Metcalf, a well-known literary curmudgeon, took Urquhart to task for some of her choices. Then Russell Smith took Metcalf to task – and a literary brew ha ha was born. I’m curious to read this anthology and make up my own mind about its merit.
  • Oblivion – David Foster Wallace. I was introduced to Wallace in a Writing Short Fiction class, only to be devastated when I learned of his suicide. I will treasure the words he has left behind.
  • The Tin Drum – Gunter Grass. After reading The Reader by Bernhard Schink and A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous, I’ve become interested in reading about the Holocaust and its aftermath in Germany. I’m looking forward to this modern classic by this winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • Suite Francaise – Irène Némirovsky. Again, related to my interest in Holocaust literature. It breaks my heart to learn that Némirovsky died in Auschwitz in  1942.
  • Our Lady of the Lost and Found – Diane Schoemperlen. I was fascinated by this novel about a middle-aged writer who finds the Virgin Mary standing in her living room!
  • A Room of One’s Own/Three Guineas – Virginia Woolf. Every female writer should read this book.
  • Two Years Before the Mast – Richard Henry Dana, Jr. This is the true first-hand account of a man’s voyage from New England to California in 1834.

This will keep me busy for some time!


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