Friday, September 28, 2007

Lisa Moore Gets the Metcalf Stamp of Approval

John Metcalf, curmudgeonly Canadian critic extroardinaire is back in the saddle with a new book wherein he mentions Rattling Books' own Lisa Moore as one of a new generation of writers whose work we should be paying close attention to.

A Gadfly Revitalized
A new book and a new job give critic and writer John Metcalf new energy -- and new outlets for his caustic views

By Charles Enman
The Ottawa Citizen
September 24, 2007
John Metcalf -- fine short story writer, mentor to a generation of upcoming Canadian writers, and gadfly to the Canadian literary establishment -- is back with a new book and a set of opinions as pointed, uncompromising and heartfelt as ever.
Metcalf will be reading from his latest book, Shut Up He Explained, at the Manx Pub on Saturday. That will be the book's launch, part of the Plan 99 Reading Series that has been running for seven years.
For years, Metcalf was senior editor at the Porcupine's Quill, perhaps the country's premier small press. Now 69, and newly installed as fiction editor at Biblioasis, a small press based in Windsor, he says he's caught new breath at an age at which he was starting to feel he should fade into the background.

he new book, he says, is "something strange, something that goes in three or four directions -- part memoir, part history, part criticism, and part an attempt to engage people with good prose and show them how to read it."
Canadians, he's been saying for decades, have never really learned to read well. They've been seduced by the belief that Canadian writing takes its virtue from being Canadian, and not from any intrinsic merit in the quality of the prose.
"We've had almost a total confusion between literature and nationalism. Large claims have been made for books simply because they are written by Canadians -- and I have irritated many people by insisting that this is an appalling basis for judgment."

Click here to read the entire article.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Preparation for a Contest: tongue-twister

Rattling Books hereby gives notice
that we are preparing a contest.

It will be related to words.
It will be fun.
It will twist your tongue.

In preparation let us consider what Wikipedia has to say about the term tongue-twister.

Tongue-twisterFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (we have abridged the following; to see the complete entry on Wikipedia click here)

A tongue-twister is a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly. Tongue-twisters may rely on similar but distinct phonemes (e.g., s [s] and sh [ʃ]), unfamiliar constructs in loanwords, or other features of a language.

The hardest tongue-twister in the English language (according to Guinness World Records) is supposedly The sixth sick sheikh's sixth sheep's sick. William Poundstone claims that the hardest English tongue twister is "The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us."[1]


Many tongue-twisters use a combination of alliteration and rhyme. They have two or three sequences of sounds, then the same sequences of sounds with some sounds exchanged. For example, She sells sea shells on the sea shore. The shells that she sells are sea shells I'm sure.

This one won grand prize in a contest in Games Magazine in 1979
Shep Schwab shopped at Schwab's Schnapps shop;One shot of Scott's Schnapps stopped Schwab's watch.

Some tongue-twisters are short words or phrases, which become tongue-twisters when repeated rapidly (often expressed as "Say this five (or three, ten, etc.) times fast!"). Examples include toy boat, Peggy Babcock, Irish wristwatch, and Red Leather, Yellow Leather. Big whip is another that is difficult for some people to say quickly, due to the lip movement required between the "g" and "wh" sounds.


Some tongue-twisters are specifically designed to cause the inadvertent pronunciation of a swearword if the speaker stumbles verbally (see spoonerism). An example in Polish is ząb, zupa zębowa, dąb, zupa dębowa (a tooth, tooth soup, an oak, oak soup). The word dąb forces an unsuspecting victim to further utter dupa dębowa (oak arse).

An English example of this sort:
I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's mate,And I'm only plucking pheasants 'cause the pheasant plucker's late.I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's son,And I'm only plucking pheasants till the pheasant pluckers come.

Or another:
I am a mother pheasant plucker.I pluck mother pheasants.I am the most pleasant mother pheasant plucker,to ever pluck a mother pheasant.

Loanwords and other language elements

Certain loanwords contain unfamiliar constructs, which are used in tongue-twisters. For example, Finnish strutsin perhe (the family of an ostrich) has the consonant cluster "str", whereas such consonant clusters do not occur in native Finnish words. Repeated, this might be pronounced as "strutsin perse" ("ostrich's arse").

September Song Circle

The monthly Song Circle

THE CROW’S NEST OFFICERS' CLUB, off Duckworth Street, east of the War Memorial, St. John's, Newfoundland

Anyone interested in singing or listening to a song as well as anyone who wants to perform a recitation is more than welcome.

Young people may attend free, accompanied by an adult. We collect $3 from adults to pay for the rental of the club.

Hosted Linda Byrne and Eleanor Dawson

To get in the mood, listen here to Simone Savard-Walsh singing the ballad Fair Fannie Moore. This recording of Simone comes from the Rattling Books poetry CD by Agnes Walsh In the Old Country of My Heart.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Library Journal Review of The Grey Islands audio edition: "Highly Recommended"

Steffler, John. The Grey Islands. 2 CDs. unabridged. 2½ hrs. Rattling Bks. 2007. ISBN 978-0-9737586-0-3. $24.95. poetry

In these narratives, which mingle poetry and prose, the listener hears the enchanting accents of voices that infuse the language with rhythmic beauty. A ghostly tale of a wife’s death, a mock census read like an obituary, a fisherman teaching his son to fish—these and other stories evoke Newfoundland’s spirit and the history of its people. The individual voices are framed by the tale of a young man, his marriage nearing shipwreck, who comes as an outsider and describes what he sees in modern Newfoundland. The text is accompanied occasionally by the sounds of coastal birds, the sea washing onto the shore, the sounds of life lived close to the land, sea, and wind. The narrative voices (the author and others) vary with the mood and subject matter, a resonant male voice telling of a young wife’s death long ago, another delivering with religious fervor a history of Newfoundland’s people and the sins for which they have been punished by being delivered to this harsh environment. Vivid descriptive details create an unforgettable sense of life in that place, starkly beautiful and hauntingly remote. Highly recommended.—Bernard E. Morris, Modesto, CA
Library Journal, week of September 25, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Lure of Wallace's Home: further details


Home of 1900 Hubbard Expedition Arctic Explorer and Writer, Dillon Wallace. Establish-er of the Boy Scout movement in Dutchess County. Listed as a Mansion in the tax records, it is one of the most spacious homes you will find in Beacon, NY. The home features 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths. The 4 car garage is located opposite the home on the property and all the .75 acres are fully fenced in for privacy. Plenty of space to put an RV or boat!!! The home features hardwood floors throughout and there are 4 fireplaces with original handcrafted details. Additional rooms exist for possible in-law space, office, den or sitting rooms. All 3 full baths have been updated with ceramic tile floors! One bath is handicap accessible, and the other features a jacuzzi tub!If additional space is needed, the attic is 1,700 sq ft with high ceilings. It has a private entrance and stairs leading from the second floor. The basement is equally spacious with over 1,500 sq ft. It is a walkout basement. Back when the Wallace's lived there it was used as a summer kitchen to produce jams and jelly during the Depression. If you are interested in a home with a solid foundation and excellent construction that has survived the test of time, than this is the home for you!!!


101 Union Street Type: Residential Style: Colonial "Listed as Mansion in Town!" Bedrooms: 5 "With extra rooms!!!" Bathrooms: 3 "All updated!!!" Garage: 5-Stalls, Detached "4/5 Garage or workshop!!" Basement: Yes, Walkout "Full & Unfinished!!!" Size: 4,485 sq. ft. "Room to grow and breathe!!!" Lot Type: Rectangular Lot Size: 0.75 acres n/a "Larger lot in Beacon,NY!!!" Has Suite: Yes Year Built: 1900 "Many Updates!!!" Taxes: $8,000.00 (2008) Condo Fees: $0.00 MLS: 2726102

For further detail or to take the virtual tour of Wallace's former home:

Lure of a Union Street House

Lure of the Labrador Wild Author's House for Sale


Dillon Wallace was an explorer who participated in the Hubbard Expedition to the artic. He wrote several books and manuscripts regarding his adventures. We will be having an Open house at 101 Union Street, Beacon NY on October 14, 2007 from 1-4pm. This was the home where Dillon raised his children and wrote many of his novels. It is a mansion on the corner of Prospect and Union. It has 5 Large bedrooms and 3 full baths. It is also available for purchase. Please feel free to tour the home at this time. Call Alicia Eliason C21 at 845-489-8037 or visit my website for more pictures..


The unabridged audio edition of Lure of the Labrador Wild, Dillon Wallace's account of the failed canoe expedition through the Labrador wilderness that resulted in the death of journalist Leonidas Hubbard, is available from Rattling Books.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Coming Soon: Michael Winter's The Big Why

Pre-purchase The Big Why and Save 30%

Prepay for your copy of the unabridged audio edition of The Big Why by Michael Winter, narrated by Robert Joy, and save 30% on the purchase price.

Order between now and September 30 and pay only $20.95 ($29.95 regular price); we will mail you your MP3 CD as soon as they are released (November 2007).

Click here to go to the Rattling Books website.

The Big Why

By Michael Winter; narrated by Robert Joy
Listening Time: approximately 11 hours

10-digit ISBN: 0-9737586-3-5
13-digit ISBN: 978-0-9737586-3-4

The Big Why is both Michael Winter's dazzling reinvention of the historical novel and a passionate and witty faux memoir of Rockwell Kent, the famous illustrator of Moby Dick.

Focusing on the year Kent and his family spent in Brigus, Newfoundland on the eve of the First World War, Winter offers up the private emotions of a man whose outer ambitions betray his inner feelings. Kent vows to be faithful to his wife, to live close to the sea, and document, through paintings and woodcuts, a picturesque land and society. But he also desires everything, including the young woman who cares for their children. His friend, the explorer Bob Bartlett, explains how the artist's beliefs and way of life run drastically against those of this small seafaring community.

Funny, surprising, and thoroughly honest about our desires and contradictions, The Big Why bares all: it is about a man who was not fully understood or accepted in the time and place in which he lived. And it is about how we all try to find our place in the world, to gain wisdom, but in the end must humbly accept the transcendent fallout of our actions.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Winter's Tales

Kathleen Winter's boYs Now Available in Stores

Kathleen Winter's Metcalf-Rooke award winning collection of short stories, boYs, is now available for purchase at bookstores everywhere--the sensible ones, at least. The first story of the collection,
You Can Keep One Thing, was recently selected for inclusion in an upcoming volume of Best Canadian Stories. Congratulations, Kathleen.

Check out these two links for more information on Kathleen Winter: The first is a profile published in The Scope, St. John's' sassy fortnightly; the second is a link to Winter related entries from her publisher's (Biblioasis) blog. Or have a look at Winter's blog.


For more fine short fiction, check out Rattling Books' website.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More on the Nutty Professor

Calling Dr. Jones
Andy Jones teaches students the art of comedy

By Kerri Breen
The Muse

While other students will spend their semester groaning at their profs’ bad jokes, students in English 4401 will learn how to make their own comedy from veteran comedian Andy Jones.

In his version of the course, called Producing The Play, students will focus on reading, producing, and understanding comedies.

The class is set to independently produce three or four cabaret nights without assistance outside of Jones and another theatre classes who are helping with props, sets, and lighting. Some of these events will be open to the public.

“As much as possible I want to give [the class] the responsibility of putting it together and figuring it out,” said Jones, who received an honorary doctor of letters degree from Memorial in 2000.

“I divided the class into two acting companies. So everyone is in an acting company and they’ll have another job too, like publicity, or production, or management,” he said.

Jones’ 30-year career has prepared him well for the gig. Known for his work as a writer, actor, producer, and director of various projects, notably the 1980s theatre and television institution, Codco, he was also a founder of the Resource Centre For The Arts. He has won several prestigious awards and has been involved countless projects in Canada and beyond.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Letters from Uncle Val, a series of fictional letters from Andy Jones' incomparable comedic character of the stage play An Evening with Uncle Val, is available from Rattling Books. Written and performed by the author.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Best in Boston

An Evening of Newfoundland Culture and Song

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Reception: 7:00 pm
Presentation and Performance: 8:00 pm
Venue: The Cloud Foundation, 647 Boylston St., Boston,

Memorial alumni and fellow Newfoundland and Labradorians are invited to an evening of education and song as fellow alumna Ms. Millie Rahn talks about the Boston-Newfoundland Connection, followed by a performance by fellow alumna, Ms. Anita Best, at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, September 19th at The Cloud Foundation on Boylston Street. Come and connect with other Memorial alumni and expatriates from the province who are living in the Boston area.

For more than a decade Millie Rahn has been collecting oral histories from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the "Boston States" with an emphasis on the Boston Barrel Tradition. She has completed a compilation for the provincial Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development on the 400 year relationship and cultural ties between both regions entitled "An Overview of the Cultural and Historic Connections Between Newfoundland and Labrador and New England".

Anita Best has spent a lifetime exploring and celebrating the rural Newfoundland lifestyle and culture. In the process she has become one of the province's most prominent traditional singers. Her name is synonymous with traditional song in Newfoundland and her work as a performer, as well as a folklorist, archivist and teacher, has helped to preserve songs and stories that might otherwise be forgotten.

For more information, please see Memorial University's alumni event page.


Anita Best has narrated several Rattling Books titles. You can hear her performing on Mary Dalton's Merrybegot, Susan Rendell's In the Chambers of the Sea, and Robin McGrath's Coasting Trade--all available in unabridged audio formats from

Monday, September 17, 2007

REDEFiNE iT: using the Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Rattling Books has started a word game/group on facebook :
REDEFiNE iT: using the Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Current word of the week:


N.B. the creation of the game REDEFiNE iT was inspired in part by the recording of Mary Dalton's collection of poems Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition of which is performed by Anita Best and Patrick Boyle and is available from Rattling Books

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hynes, Walsh and Winter at Word Fest

Rattling Books Authors Infiltrate Word Fest

Three Rattling Books authors will form the Newfoundland contingent at this year's Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival. Joel Thomas Hynes, Agnes Walsh and Michael Winter will be appearing at the Word Fest 2007. For a listing of all featured authors, please follow this link. For a complete festival event listing, click here.


from Rattling Books:

The unabridged audio edition of Down to the Dirt, Joel Thomas Hynes' award winning first novel, is narrated by Joel Thomas Hynes, Sherry White and Jonny Harris; Agnes Walsh's first poetry collection, In the Old Country of My Heart is narrated by the author and features ballads sung by Simone Savard-Walsh and pump organ music by George Morgan; Michael Winter's acclaimed novel, The Big Why, is currently available for pre-purchase at a 30% discount and is narrated by Robert Joy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lisa Moore in Conversation

On Empathy
A roundtable discussion on empathy in fiction
excerpted from's fall 2007 magazine

LISA: Virginia Woolf has said: “Life is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning to the end.”

How to create empathy for a character? That is certainly what I want when I write, and what I want when I read. Here are the characters with staying power that instantly leap to mind: Anna Karenina, Jay Gatsby, Hans Schnier in Henrich Boll’s The Clown, Madame Olenska in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Duddy Kravitz, Richard Ford’s Frank Bascomb, Humbert Humbert, Hans Castorp, Suttree, Olanna in Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Half of A Yellow Sun, Mrs. Ramsay, Mrs. Dalloway, Mrs. Dalloway, Mrs. Dalloway — and they come to me in a sort of emotional shorthand.

I see Heinrich Boll’s clown in face paint on a dark stage, in a spotlight, performing with an oversized ring of keys. The keys are made of ice and they are melting in his hand as he tries to open an invisible door. This is an image of such torpid impotence and grim humour, that I knew, as soon as I read it more than twenty years ago, I would never forget it. Mrs. Ramsey, during the evening meal in To The Lighthouse, silently commanding Lily Briscoe to rescue a socially maladjusted young man. Lily Briscoe moving the salt shaker. Frank Bascomb’s son getting hit in the face by a baseball, down for the count — these brief gestures, these tiny moments, are as real to me as any brief moment in my own life: watching my son swim under the waterfall in Northern Bay, watching him emerge with his hair glossy and plastered down, his eyelashes spiky, his gaping, open-mouthed ecstasy, or: the thick chain that chokes my neighbor’s Rottweiller, slithering crazily through the dirt, the slathering 150-pound beast yanked by the neck, mid-air, and slammed back into the ground a yard from my feet.

To read the rest of the discussion, please click here.


The unabridged audio edition of Open by Lisa Moore, narrated by Lisa Moore, Holly Hogan and Mary Lewis is available from

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Poetry: The Next Latte #1

Poetry 1, Latte 0
Mounting evidence that poetry is set to usurp the latte's seat of power in the hearts and minds of the populace.
Read the article below to see the lengths to which one rabid poetry fan will go for his verse fix. Italy--not only the land of espresso and the home of Dante, but now the birthplace of the world's first honest to god poetry shootout. Dear readers, we ask you: would anyone attempt murder for the sake of a milk diluted shot of caffeine?
Actor Roberto Benigni's poem on love and the afterlife interrupted by shots
Aug 29, 2007

ROME (AP) — Roberto Benigni was reciting a page from Dante's poem on love and the afterlife when he thought hell had come to Earth.

Shots rang out Tuesday night as the Oscar-winning actor and director was performing in a piazza in the southern Italian city of Cosenza, police said. Upon hearing the gunfire, Benigni said: "What, is hell here, too?" - then resumed his performance, the news agency ANSA said.

Police said a security guard had stopped a man who was trying to get into the show without a ticket. The man pulled out a gun and fired six shots, five of which hit the security guard in the legs, local police spokesman Angelo Cosentino told The Associated Press by telephone Wednesday.

The guard was hospitalized but the injuries were not life-threatening, police said. A 45-year-old man with a police record for minor crimes was arrested for attempted murder.

Benigni said Wednesday he regretted the incident but at the same time thought it was poetic.

"The poetic greatness is that he did that just to hear Dante," ANSA quoted the actor as saying. "I'm sorry, and I feel for the kid's family, but he did it for poetry, and that's a great thing."

To read the rest of this article, please click here.


Rattling Books--leading the poetry revolution since 2003.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chronicle Herald Review of Agnes Walsh's Going Around with Bachelors

Words of surprise from Toronto, proud lyrics of NewfoundlandThe Chronicle Herald
September 11, 2007
George Elliott Clarke
ELANA WOLFF is a Toronto poet and winner of the 2004 Lichen Magazine Tracking a Serial Poet Contest. You Speak to Me in Trees (Guernica, $15) is her third verse outing.
Newfoundland poet Agnes Walsh is the inaugural St. John’s Poet laureate. Her second collection, Going Around with Bachelors (Brick, $21), includes a CD of some of the book’s poems, recited by the author [...]
Agnes Walsh means to map Newfoundland, its speech and cultures, in proud lyrics that sound like stories: "The sun was all cultures, in proud lyrics that sound like stories : "The sun was all hallelujah and gave the grass that warm, green smell . . . / I looked at the clouds moving / fast in the sky above and felt that shiver of life / when it holds you and shakes you between not knowing / and knowing something . . . " Really, the poems are overlooked monologues: "that night your sister came round / to my back door with the November wind . . . / and her talking through her hair to me, // . . . and she was telling me to come to you . . . / you had your mother a prisoner of fright in her own home . . . // And Jesus, I swore then, / I’ll never go around with another bachelor."

To read the rest of this review, please click here.

In the Old Country of My Heart, Agnes Walsh's first book of poems, is available as an unabridged audio recording, read by Agnes Walsh with unaccompanied ballads by Simone Savard-Walsh and pump organ music by George Morgan, from Rattling Books.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Double Hynes on the Rock

from Rowdymen of the Rock
Alison Gzowski
The Globe and Mail

September 7, 2007

ST. JOHN'S — Sooner or later the question had to be asked: What about the book? It's Saturday afternoon and Ron Hynes, Newfoundland's man of a thousand songs, has been setting up what must be his thousandth show at the legendary St. John's bar, the Ship Inn. Dressed for the sound check, with a red flannel shirt and sneakers, the 56-year old still sports his trademark fedora and, on occasion, sardonic grin.

e's a natural raconteur, quick with a playful line or sharp analysis wherever the conversation goes.

Today he's talking about music (“Songs define a culture – who you are, where you come from, what happened to you, who your people are, what you love and why”); and about his province, “this unforgiving place” that he keeps returning to in both body and song; and he's greeting tourists who pop by to tell him they're coming to the show because they hear he's the best (“Write that down”).

He'll tell you that he draws bigger audiences off the island, but walk the streets with him and be prepared for a leisurely stroll; he can't go a block without encountering someone who knows him or his music.
He's a mentor to many here, including Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle who says: “Few writers of song, poetry, or prose can portray a character as effectively. After only a few lines about the Man of a Thousand Songs, the lonely cabbie, or the grieving widow, Ron somehow makes us all feel like he is describing a person we've known our entire lives.”

But forget, for a moment, the awards, the honorary degree, the 30-year international success of his folk classic Sonny's Dream or even his profoundly haunting Atlantic Blue, about the sinking of the Ocean Ranger on Valentine's Day in 1982, called “a masterpiece of understatement” in a recent collection of academic essays.

There is, right now, a more tantalizing topic to be discussed. What about the book by his 30-year-old nephew Joel Thomas Hynes?

To read the rest of this article, please click here.


The unabridged audio edition of Down to the Dirt, Joel Thomas Hynes' award winning first novel, is narrated by Joel Thomas Hynes, Sherry White and Jonny Harris; Hard Light: 32 Little Stories, a collection of poems by Michael Crummey, is narrated by Ron Hynes, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and the author. Both are available from Rattling Books.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Architects Are Here...Everybody Look Busy

An Excerpt from Michael Winter's New Novel
published in EXILE The Literary Quarterly, Issue 29.4

David Twombly had introduced me to Nell but he didnt seem proud of it. He looked worried, as though he didnt approve of our decision. Nell had been married in New Mexico, to Richard Text. She was still married and that didnt sit well with David. He had wanted me to find someone so that he could invite us over to dinner, or dine out as a foursome. Perhaps it was complicated for him, that Nell had gone out with his father, that somewhere a half-sibling existed, and Nell was a reminder of this. Her marriage didnt bother me. Nell had told me about Richard, how their love had strayed. She had given me clear answers that you could put in a jar and see through them and not notice a flaw. I knew all this about her.
We had lived together for a year, and we were both excited to know what the weather would bring and how we could plan to grow tomatoes on the roof and put away the winter slippers for the lighter Chinese slippers Nell had found on Spadina Avenue. We marvelled at how much food we cooked, how little we used the restaurants except for the favourite two. There was a Vietnamese one and a sushi bar which we lined up to eat at after watching a movie at the repertory cinema that no longer had many old films at all, but simply showed the new films that had come out six months before. We loved the movies and the simple food and the walk home along Bloor Street to our apartment on Roncesvalles Avenue, which is a Polish area of Toronto. I was sometimes surprised that we could walk the mile home without feeling bored or unloved and I took that as a sign that she loved me and was happy. It was true that I’d find her sometimes crying or the evidence of crying appeared on her face and when I asked if anything was wrong she cheered up and said it was allergies.
Sometimes after the sushi we cut down to College Street and had a drink at Ted’s Collision. It was warming now and I admired the first cluster of drinkers who pushed a table out onto the street and preferred to drink in the cold open air full of exhaust fumes from the traffic, and while the music was smaller here you had to contend with the streetcars and the pedestrians who might brush your shoulder accidentally and not say they were sorry.
We ordered the local microbrewery beers and sometimes just a plain old-fashioned beer our fathers drank and we always drank from bottles rather than the pints that were poured from hoses. I was convinced draft beers were home to mould in the tubes and also the mixing agents were not as clean as a bottled beer, especially during the warm months. In winter I’d give in and order a pint of Guinness.
From Ted’s we sometimes met up with David Twombly and his wife Sok Hoon, but in the past few months David and Sok Hoon had separated. Sok Hoon had moved to Montreal and taken Owen with her. It made us think how lucky we were not to let the world cleave us, that we understood and were both in our thirties and had survived early relationships when jealousy, ambition and your own boredom crept in and destroyed any good thing.

To read the rest of this excerpt, click here.


The Big Why, Michael Winter's dazzling reinvention of the historical novel and witty faux memoir of the American artist Rockwell Kent, is being published in an unabridged audio edition by Rattling Books. From now until September 20 you can pre-purchase your copy of the MP3 CD and save 30%.

Click here to listen to a clip from The Big Why.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Real Lisa Moore

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
September 4, 2007

The author of today’s post, Lisa Moore, Ph.D., is a scientist in the Climate and Air program.

On Wednesday, the DailyTech Blog said that an update to a 2004 survey shows that the scientific community is moving away from a consensus that humans are causing global warming. The survey was submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, but is as yet unpublished.

So is it true? In a word, no, because scientific consensus cannot be surmised from subjective surveys [...]

To read the rest of this post, click here.
Get to know the real Lisa Moore.

The unabridged audio edition of Open by Lisa Moore, narrated by Lisa Moore, Holly Hogan and Mary Lewis is available from

Lure of the Labrador Wild, excerpt #5

The following excerpt is from Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillon Wallace. Wallace's account of the failed canoe expedition through the Labrador wilderness that resulted in the death of journalist Leonidas Hubbard was first published in 1905 by Fleming H. Revell, New York. The unabridged audio edition is narrated by Jody Richardson and is available from Rattling Books.
June 24th was my birthday, and early that morning, before we sailed from Halifax, at which port we lay over for a day, Hubbard came into my stateroom with a pair of camp blankets that he had been commissioned by my sisters to present to me. He had told me he had enough blankets in his outfit and to take none with me. How strangely things sometimes turn out! Those blankets which Hubbard had withheld in order that I might be agreeably surprised, were destined to fulfil an office, up there in the wilds for which we were bound, such as we little suspected. We reached St. Johns on the morning of Friday, the 26th, and promptly upon our arrival were introduced to the mysterious ways of the Reid-Newfoundland Company. The Virginia Lake, we were told, already had gone north to Labrador, was overdue on her return trip and might not be in for several days. Hubbard, however, set immediately to work purchasing the provisions for his expedition and supervising their packing. The following day, on the advice of the general passenger agent of the Reid-Newfoundland Company, we took the evening train on their little narrow-gauge railroad to Whitbourne, en route to Broad Cove, where we were informed we should find excellent trout fishing and could pleasantly pass the time while awaiting the steamer.

The Reid-Newfoundland Company failed to carry out its agreement as to our transportation to Broad Cove, and we had considerable trouble in reaching there, but we found that no misrepresentation had been made as to the fishing; during the two days we were at Broad Cove we caught all the trout we cared for. Having received word that the Virginia Lake had returned to St. Johns, and would again sail north on Tuesday, June 30th, Hubbard and Mrs. Hubbard on the morning of that day took the train to St. Johns, to board the steamer there and see that nothing of our outfit was left behind. George and I broke camp in time to take the evening train on the branch road to Harbour Grace, where, it was agreed, we should rejoin the others, the steamer being scheduled to put in there on its way north.

When I had our camp baggage transferred next morning to the wharf, and George and I had arrived there ourselves, we found also waiting for the steamer several prospectors who were going to "The Labrador," as the country is known to the Newfoundlanders, to look for gold, copper, and mica. All of them apparently were dreaming of fabulous wealth. None, I was told, was going farther than the lower coast; they did not attempt to disguise the fact that they feared to venture far into the interior.

Around the wharves little boats were unloading caplin, a small fish about the size of a smelt. I was informed that these fish sold for ten cents a barrel, and were used for bait and fertiliser. My
astonishment may be imagined, therefore, when I discovered that on the Virginia Lake they charged thirty-five cents for three of these little fish fried.

At ten o'clock our boat came in, and a little after noon we steamed out of the harbour, Hubbard and I feeling that now we were fairly on our way to the scene of our work. Soon after rejoining Hubbard, I learned something more of the mysterious ways of the Reid-Newfoundland Company. The company's general passenger agent, avowing deep interest in our enterprise, had presented Hubbard with passes to Rigolet for his party. Hubbard accepted them gratefully, but upon boarding the steamer he was informed that the passes did not include meals. Now such were the prices charged for the wretchedly-cooked food served on the Virginia Lake that a moderately hungry man could scarcely have his appetite killed at a less expense than six dollars a day. So Hubbard returned the passes to the general passenger agent with thanks, and purchased tickets, which did include meals, and which reduced the cost considerably.

The Virginia Lake is a steamer of some seven hundred tons burden. She is subsidised by the Newfoundland Government to carry the mails during the fishing season to points on the Labrador coast as far north as Nain. She is also one of the sealing fleet that goes to "the ice" each tenth of March. When she brings back her cargo of seals to St. Johns, she takes up her summer work of carrying mail, passengers, and freight to The Labrador--always a welcome visitor to the exiled fishermen in that lonely land, the one link that binds them to home and the outside world. She has on board a physician to set broken bones and deal out drugs to the sick, and a customs officer to see that not a dime's worth of merchandise of any kind or nature is landed until a good round percentage of duty is paid to him as the representative of the Newfoundland Government, which holds dominion over all the east coast of Labrador. This customs officer is also a magistrate, a secret service officer, a constable, and what not I do not know--pretty much the whole Labrador Government, I imagine.

The accommodations on the Virginia Lake were quite inadequate for the number of passengers she carried. The stuffy little saloon was so crowded that comfort was out of the question. I had to use some rather impressive language to the steward to induce him to assign to me a stateroom. Finally, he surrendered his own room. The ventilation was poor and the atmosphere vile, but we managed to pull through. Our fellow-passengers were all either prospectors or owners of fishing schooners.

There was much ice to be seen when the heavy veil of grey fog lifted sufficiently for us to see anything, and until we had crossed the Strait of Belle Isle our passage was a rough one. It was on the Fourth of July that we saw for the first time the bleak, rock-bound coast of Labrador. In all the earth there is no coast so barren, so desolate, so brutally inhospitable as the Labrador coast from Cape Charles, at the Strait of Belle Isle on the south, to Cape Chidley on the north. Along these eight hundred miles it is a constant succession of bare rocks scoured clean and smooth by the ice and storms of centuries, with not a green thing to be seen, save now and then a bunch of stunted shrubs that have found a foothold in some sheltered nook in the rocks, and perchance, on some distant hill, a glimpse of struggling spruce or fir trees. It is a fog-ridden, dangerous coast, with never a lighthouse or signal of any kind at any point in its entire length to warn or guide the mariner.

To be continued.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Readings By Agnes Walsh and John Steffler

Brick Books and Rattling Books authors Agnes Walsh and John Steffler will be reading at the following events:

Sunday, September 9 - EDEN MILLS, ONTARIO - Eden Mills Writers Festival, 12 noon to 6 p.m. John Steffler

Thursday, September 27 - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - THIN AIR Winnipeg International Writers Festival. Agnes Walsh reads from her new book Going Around with Bachelors. Campus Event, University of Winnipeg, 1 - 2:20 p.m.

Thursday, September 27 - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - THIN AIR Winnipeg International Writers Festival. Agnes Walsh reads from her new book Going Around with Bachelors. Mainstage: Writing on the Rock, 8 p.m., Manitoba Theatre for Young People.

Thursday, October 11 - CALGARY, ALBERTA - Agnes Walsh reads from her new book Going Around with Bachelors. WordFest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival. "Word of Mouth" spoken word poetry event at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 13 - BANFF, ALBERTA - Agnes Walsh reads from her new book Going Around with Bachelors. WordFest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival. "Banff Poetry Cabaret" at 9:30 p.m. at the Banff Centre.

Saturday, October 20 - VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Vancouver International Writers Festival. Agnes Walsh reads from her new book Going Around with Bachelors.

"Poets Laureate", with moderator Gary Geddes. 2 - 3:30 p.m. at Performance Works. Four honoured poets read from their work and chat about the pleasures and challenges of being a Poet Laureate. George Bowering was Canada's first Poet Laureate. George McWhirter was recently named Vancouver's first Poet Laureate. Agnes Walsh is St. John's Poet Laureate and Carla Funk is Victoria's first.

Saturday, October 20 - VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Vancouver International Writers Festival. Agnes Walsh reads from her new book Going Around with Bachelors.

Friday, November 3 to Sunday, November 5 - DURHAM, ONTARIO - Words Aloud Spoken Word and Storytelling Festival. John Steffler, Canada’s poet laureate, will be reading with Clifton Joseph and Shane Koyczan on Sunday, November 4 from 3 - 5 p.m. Other authors appearing this weekend are Louise Bernice Halfe, Ivan Coyote, Lorna Crozier, Rukhsana Khan, Robert Priest and Reza Baraheni. Durham Art Gallery, 51 George Street East.

Tuesday, November 27 - TORONTO, ONTARIO - Art Bar Poetry Series. S.E. Venart reads from her new book Woodshedding with John Steffler - 8 p.m. at Clinton’s, 693 Bloor Street West, by Christie subway station.

Wednesday, November 28 - LONDON, ONTARIO - Poetry London - John Steffler. 7:30 p.m. at the Fred Landon Branch, London Public Library, 167 Wortley Road. Phone 519-439-6240.

Thursday, November 29 - ANCASTER, ONTARIO - afternoon reading - John Steffler. 777 Garner Road East. For more information, contact Deborah C. Bowen at

Thursday, November 29 - HAMILTON, ONTARIO - Hamilton Poetry Centre - John Steffler. 7:30 p.m. at Bryan Prince Bookseller, 1060 King Street West.


In the Old Country of My Heart, Agnes Walsh's first book of poems, and John Steffler's celebrated poetry collection, The Grey Islands, are available as audio recordings from Rattling Books.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Nutty Professor

Comedic star takes on instructor role

By Leslie Vryenhoek

Andy Jones, star of stage and screen, takes on a very different role this fall. The St. John’s performer is slated to teach Memorial students in the Diploma in Performance and Communications Media program the ins and outs of mounting a play.

It’s a craft the local writer, actor and renowned funnyman knows well. For 30 years, he’s been delighting audiences and garnering critical acclaim.

A former member of the Newfoundland comedy troupe CODCO, he has written five one-man comedy shows: Out of the Bin, Still Alive, King O’ Fun, To The Wall, and, most recently, An Evening with Uncle Val. The latter had a successful run at Eastern Front Theatre’s On the Waterfront Festival in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia this summer. Jones has toured extensively across Canada, the UK, and Ireland, and last spring performed in Australia.

Mr. Jones has also had major roles in several films, including Rare Birds and Young Triffie. His numerous awards include two Gemini awards, Emmy and Genie nominations, election to the Newfoundland Arts Council Hall of Honour, The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council’s Award of Excellence, and the ACTRA Award of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement.

Now students of English 4401: Producing the Play will benefit from his experience and talent.

In the course, they will learn the ropes from developing a script to a mounting a full production with actors, sets, costumes and lights.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.


Letters from Uncle Val, a series of fictional letters from Andy Jones' incomparable comedic character of the stage play An Evening with Uncle Val, is available from Rattling Books. Written and performed by the author.

Monday, September 03, 2007

On the Cover of the Rolling Globe - Michael Winter

Michael Winter graced the cover of The Gobe and Mail's Books section this weekend (September 1, 2007).
The review inside by T. F. RIGELHOF of Michael's new book The Architects are Here put Winter in the company of Henry James (see below).

Excursions, in friendship
September 1, 2007
By Michael Winter
Viking Canada,
371 pages, $34
'The novel can do simply everything," Henry James wrote under the heading, The Future of the Novel, more than 100 years ago. He was both stating a fact about the form - "its elasticity is infinite" - and issuing a challenge to would-be novelists to be as "various and vivid" as life itself.
What Henry James wrote then is worth remembering now when you read Michael Winter's The Architects Are Here, because this flamboyant gem of a novel is so wide-angled and crowded with dramatic incident that it's likely to stretch even an unusually generous reader's literate mind and loving heart beyond normal limits. He attempts to do more of everything with far fewer words than James was wont to use on anything.

Winter is a writer who embraces adult life and examines sexual relations in just the sort of straightforward ways that James insisted novelists must do to enlarge, rather than diminish, our sense of human possibility - that is, by getting outside the bed and the bedroom and into the daylight side of life even when the sun is weak and occluded.
(to read the entire review click here)
In addition to his new novel Michael has an unabridged audio edition of The Big Why upcoming from Rattling Books this fall, narrated by Robert Joy.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rattling Books can be found in iLike

Thanks to you can now find some audio clips from Rattling Books in iLike.

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