Musings on Place, Travel, Books, Literature, Poetry, Literary Criticism, Collecting, Media, Life and the Arts

Archive for January, 2006

January 22nd, 2006 • Posted in Uncategorized

Antigua with a soupcon of rum


January 22nd, 2006 • Posted in Uncategorized

How to start the day

Following my father’s lead, I have taken recently to lighting a candle upon rising, reading a psalm and sitting silently in the lit darkness attending to breath and body.

January 20th, 2006 • Posted in On Collecting

John MacDonald: AUDIO Book Collector Interview with Nigel Beale

John MacDonald is a fellow book collector/fanatic who tirelessly documents literary events taking place in Ottawa, Canada. Check out his website at He takes extremely good photographs. He also writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen which appears in the Books section every alternating Sunday. We talked recently about his passion for collecting books, and Canadian literature. Here are some excerpts:

Collecting Limited Editions, Hugh Hood, etc…

The Completionist

Copyright © 2006 by Nigel Beale

January 19th, 2006 • Posted in Uncategorized

Amusing Emus

“To Amuse Emus
On Warm Summer Nights
Kiwis Do Wiwis
From Spectacular Heights”

By Roger McGough

Ottawa booklover/collector Di Bethune’s current favourite poem.

January 17th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Audio Interview with Andrew Miller by Nigel Beale

 ANDREW MILLER was born in Bristol…in 1960 (induced, according to the family legend, by his mother eating a large supper of fish and chips). At age eleven, having convincingly failed his Eleven Plus, he went to boarding school in Wiltshire…Master of Arts in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia in 1991…PhD from Lancaster University…In February 1996, after six years of writing, ‘Ingenious Pain’ his first novel, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Grinzane Cavour prize & the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Ingenious Pain & his second novel Casanova are being/have been adapted for Film. His novel, Oxygen, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2001. His books have been published in over twenty countries. He now lives in Brighton and believes that on clear days he can see the coast of France. His latest novel is THE OPTIMISTS, published in March 2005.

We talk about it, literary prizes, Shakespeare, Hardy, Lawrence, stylism, and Miller’s looks and wish to be a fat woman. Please listen here:

Copyright © 2005 by Nigel Beale.

January 17th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Tracy Quan: Audio Interview with Nigel Beale (BF #2)

TRACY QUAN is an author and former prostitute living in New York. Her novels include Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, and Diary of a Married Call Girl. She has slept with thousands of men, and so knows us like few women can. She took and takes her profession seriously, works to better the lives of those in it, and is a member of the Network of Sex Work Projects. I interviewed her in a secluded alcove at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa. Among other things, we talk about adultery, marriage, how to have sex with prostitutes, Flaubert and drama queens. She is a confident, articulate, attractive woman with defined opinions and definite sex appeal!

The Biblio file (BF #2)

Copyright © 2005 by Nigel Beale

January 17th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Audio Interview with Author Anne Degrace conducted by Nigel Beale. (BF #1)


ANNE DEGRACE is a librarian journalist who lives in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. She has owned a used bookstore, raised a child on her own from scratch, and co-authored two books of photographs on the West Kootenay region. TREADING WATER, about early Mennonite pioneers, sufferagettes, voyeurism and progress, is her first novel. It made Heather Riesman’s hit list.

Anne is a delightfully open woman who shines the luster of those who live their dreams. I interviewed her in Zoe’s Lounge at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa. It is their cutlery you hear rattling around in the background.

The Biblio File (BF)  #1

Copyright © 2005 by Nigel Beale

January 16th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

My favourite Shakespearean Sonnets, as of a list compiled in June 2001 are as follows: 5,7,27,55,60,77,81.91,95,105,106,111,116,124,129,154.

1. The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
2. Is lust in action: and till action, lust
3. Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
4. Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
5. Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
6. Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
7. Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
8. On purpose laid to make the taker mad.
9. Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
10. Had, having, and in quest to have extreme;
11. A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
12. Before, a joy proposed; behind a dream.
13. All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
14. To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Hell?? Damned those Catholic priests anyway… You can find all the rest, along with commentary at my favourite Shakespearean Sonnet site: The Bard Rocks

January 14th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Audio Interview with Author David Gilmour conducted by Nigel Beale. BF #3


Novelist and acclaimed critic David Gilmour was born in London, Ontario in 1949. His first novel, Back on Tuesday, was published in 1986, followed by How Boys See Girls in 1991 and An Affair with the Moon in 1993. Lost Between Houses, published in 1999, was nominated for the Trillium Book Award. Sparrow Nights, his fifth novel, was published by Random House to rave reviews. His latest novel, A Perfect Night to Go to China, won Canada’s 2005 Governor General’s Award for Fiction. I met with him in the foyer of the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa the morning after he received his award from the Governor General at Rideau Hall.

We talk about winning it, sex, suicide, kids, the perfect woman, wearing spandex at discos and the fact that for him, conquering for women and affirmation are not the same thing. He is a candid, funny, sensitive man worth listening to. Hope the background Christmas carols, and what sounds like a flock of little tweety birds, aren’t too distracting…

The Biblio File (BF) #3  Subscribe to the Podcast here

Copyright © 2005 by Nigel Beale


January 13th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Audio Interview with Tim Winton by Nigel Beale

Australian Tim Winton wrote his first novel, An Open Swimmer (1982), at the age of 19. It won the Australian/Vogel National Literary Award. Born in Perth, in 1960, he is the author of Shallows (1986), a novel set in a whaling town, and Cloudstreet (1991), the story of two working-class families rebuilding their lives. Both won Miles Franklin Awards. The Riders (1995) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won a Commonwealth Writers Prize. He is also the author of two collections of short stories, Scission and Other Stories (1987) and Minimum of Two (1987), and co-author of several travel books about Australia, including Land’s Edge (1993). Dirt Music (2001), was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize.

I spoke with him during the 2005 Toronto International Writers Festival about his latest book The Turning, a series of linked stories. He seemed tired, a bit bummed about having been away from home for so long. The bloody tape ran out right in the middle of a lovely story he was telling about his converting wood from an old weir into a set of bookshelves for his library. An extremely likable, self effacing man with interesting ideas about the relationship between writing and music, as you will hear if you choose to listen…

Copyright © 2005 by Nigel Beale