Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolution Contest! December 31 - January 14 Based on REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Instead of the usual Word of the Week we issue a challenge!

December 31 - January 14

In one sentence state a New Year's Resolution using all of the Words of the Week issued thus far by the facebook group REDEFiNE iT : Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

Your statement must include your resolution but may also include an explanation of its motivation or any contingencies you anticipate in the application of your resolution.You may ply the words in the sense indicated by the Dictionary of Newfoundland English definitions of the words or one of the "redefinitions" of the words posted to this group. It's up to us to guess the meaning of your Resolution.

A Jury will be struck and two weeks from now a winner and two runners up will be announced.Criteria for judging the winning three entries will be articulated by the Jury on announcing their final decisions!

The winner will recieve one full set of Rattling Books audio titles (18 in total).The two runners-up will each recieve a copy of Merrybegot by Mary Dalton, the book that inspired this Facebook Group and a copy of The Big Why by Michael Winter in which the term "blue drop" appears so beautifully.

Here is the List of Words to include in your New Year's Resolution:





blue drop











nuzzle tripe

Post your Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.

This contest is sponsored by Rattling Books.

May the Gud be with you in the Blue Drop!

On the 7th Day of Christmas Rattling Books did give to me

on the seventh day of christmas
did give to me

30% off
on seven titles

historical non-fiction (extreme adventure)
The Last Voyage of the Karluk by Captain Robert Bartlett
Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillon Wallace

contemporary fiction
Open by Lisa Moore
In the Chambers of the Sea by Susan Rendell

In the Old Country of My Heart by Agnes Walsh
Merrybegot by Mary Dalton

children's christmas fiction
The True Meaning of Crumbfest by David Weale

may happiness betide you!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Shore Pebble from Author David Weale: A New Year Wish

We are, no doubt about it, the unhappiest species on the face of the earth, and the most fearful. As a child I was informed it was because of all the sinful things we did, but these many years later I am more inclined to think it is the opposite, and that our chronic suffering is more attributable to all the "bad" things we didn't do. In other words, I am inclined to think that my angst, and that of others, is because of what we have repressed. That is the haunting...the misery of those demons of desire who have been locked up in the psyche and continue to make us unhappy until we free them.

If that is the case the solution would seem to be a simple one: release the pent-up energies. Unfortunately there is such a history of fear attached to those buried passions that their release seems the most dangerous thing in the world. They have been "put away" for a reason, and releasing them would be akin to emptying all the prisons at once. If that were to happen they would surely overwhelm the storylines that hold our lives together, and plunge us all into the emotional chaos that the psychiatrists call psychosis. The process of liberation must, it seems, be patient and methodical.

I find it helpful to remember that the passions or instincts themselves are not the earth-destroying energies we see around us. The destructiveness is entirely a function of the repression (or compression) that turns small atoms of passion into atom-bombs of anger.

Is this not what is alluded to symbolically in those stories and myths where the beast is discovered to be quite lovely, and always wants to be known for what it is, and not feared and loathed for being so ugly and scary.

So I guess that's my New Years wish for myself and others, that we will have the courage to welcome the demons of darkness into the light of consciousness, and welcome them as living parts of who we are ...and in so doing, set the prisoners free.

David Weale is the Author of The True Meaning of Crumbfest. The unabridged audio edition of The True Meaning of Crumbfest, performed by Antonia Francis is published by Rattling Books.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Recipe from Andy Jones: Salt Cod Valentine

Salt Cod Valentine
(Brandade De Morue Avec Twist Terre Neuvienne)
(A Xmas Pâté for Celia)
Preparation Time: 70 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 13 hours
Yield: about 3 cups

1 pound center-cut salt cod (the thickest part of the fillet)
1 medium baking potato (6 ounces)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium White Onion, minced
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus several whole sprigs for garnish
pinch of Newfoundland Savoury
1 loaf bread, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and toasted
1/2 cup white wine
Soak salt cod in cold water in the refrigerator 12 hours, changing the water three times.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Bake potato until tender, about 50 to 60 minutes.

While the potato is cooking, drain and rinse salt cod, then place in a medium pot covered with cold salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool in liquid. As soon as the potato is done, split it in half, scoop out the steaming flesh, and pass through a sieve or a ricer.
Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Add garlic and white onion; cook until soft, then add cream and simmer 7 minutes. Stir in the white wine during these seven minutes. Remove from heat. Drain cod and pat dry. Remove the skin and bones, then pulse a few times in food processor to break into coarse pieces. With the machine running, add the garlic-cream mixture in a steady stream. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the potato and a pinch of Newfoundland savoury, and stir until everything is mixed well. Season with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add more salt and/or lemon juice if necessary.

If not using the salt cod Valentine immediately, cover and refrigerate. (It will keep for up to a week.)
To serve, place in a large iron pan and warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until heated through. Stir in parsley, spoon into a serving bowl, and serve surrounded by toasts. Garnish with a few olives.

Uncle Val is the creation of Andy Jones, the author and performer of Letters from Uncle Val.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Catherine Bush Interviews Michael Winter

Winter's Wonderland
Michael Winter interviewed by Catherine Bush (Audio)

Michael Winter's The Architects Are Here, infamously "serialized on, and now available at a reputable bookstore near you, is garnering much critical acclaim -- not to mention a spot on the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. Architects follows Gabriel English, a character (and authorial alter ego) Winter fans will recognize from previous work, on a winding, impossible, slightly-futuristic road-trip from Toronto back to Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Michael's long-time literary fascination with the fine line between truth and lie, where fiction plays with memoir, was something that interested us here at Bookninja, so we sent novelist-provocateur Catherine Bush to interview him in Toronto. The two get at the nitty-gritty of truth and lies, how language use influences the way a text is read, the writer's development and the mutability of dialogue.

[Spoiler Alert: plot details revealed at around 26 minutes...You can skip about two minutes of interview to be sure you miss it, if you feel strongly about it.]

To visit the bookninja page (where you can listen to the audio clip), click here.


The unabridged audio edition of The Big Why, narrated by Robert Joy, was recently published by Rattling Books. It is available from as either an MP3 CD or Digital Download. Listening time 10.5 hours.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

REDEFiNE iT Word of the Week

Word of the Week

This week we give you a word that goes with going in the woods to get your Christmas Tree. May the only limbs you shive be those on the tree!

Word of the Week (December 17, 2007):


Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English ( :

shive v To trim off (limbs of a conifer); LIMB (OUT).
P 41-68 The starrigans must be shived. c 75-146 Wattles are fence-rails—small trees shived out for fence-rails.

Now, we invite u to REDEFiNE iT!

Just visit the following facebook group page and REDEFiNE away or have your say another way:

N.B. Any Word of the Week receiving more than 10 redefinition posts will trigger a prize from Rattling Books for our favourite.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Montreal Stories by Mavis Gallant narrated by Margot Dionne: AudioFile's Best of 2007 List

Rattling Books Title Makes AudioFile's Best of List

Rattling Books' unabridged audio production of Mavis Gallant's Montreal Stories, narrated by Margot Dionne, has been selected as one of 2007's twelve best fiction audiobooks by the U.S. audio book magazine AudioFile.

Read more on the AudioFile website .

The stories by Mavis Gallant included in this collection were selected by Russell Banks and printed in Canada by McClelland and Stewart Ltd. in 2004 under the title Montreal Stories and simultaneously in the United States by The New York Review of Books under the title Varieties of Exile. Thirteen of the fifteen stories first appeared in The New Yorker.

The unabridged audio edition of Montreal Stories by Mavis Gallant, produced by Rattling Books is narrated by Margot Dionne, the classical actor and Audio-nominated narrator of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assasin.

To read more about Montreal Stories on the website or to purchase the MP3 CD or Download click here.

Agnes Walsh Nominated for Book Award

Agnes Walsh's second poetry collection, Going Around with Bachelors, has been nominated for the 20th annual Lambda Literary Award for poetry.

The Lambda Literary Foundation is America’s leading organization for LGBT literature. Their mission is "to celebrate LGBT literature and provide resources for writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, and librarians – the whole literary community."

"Lambda Literary Awards are presented in twenty-one categories . In determining whether a book should be nominated, consider that the Lambda Literary Awards are based principally on the quality of the writing and the LGBT content of the work. The sexual orientation of the author is secondary."


Going Around with Bachelors, published by Brick Books, is available as a digital download on the Rattling Books website (the print version can be found on Brick's website). Agnes Walsh's first poetry collection, In the Old Country of My Heart, is available as an audio book from Rattling Books.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gower Wassail: a song from South Wales and an event in St. John's today!

Gower Wassail
(From Wikipedia)

The Gower Wassail is a wassail song from Gower in South Wales. It is printed in A.L. Lloyd's book Folk Song in England (1967), having been heard from Phil Tanner.

The Gower Wassail is also a Christmas Carol Singalong in the Gower St. United Church, St. John's, Newfoundland.

Today, December 15 is the 2nd Annual Gower Wassail organized by the Folk Arts Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.
3 - 5 pm
For more info.


The present chair of the Folk Arts Council and one of the featured performers at this year's Gower Wassail is Anita Best.

Anita Best performs on three Rattling Books recordings. She is the voice of Mary Dalton's poetry collection Merrybegot and narrates two stories from Susan Rendell's In the Chambers of the Sea. She also narrates Robin McGrath's Coasting Trade along with Robert Joy and Rick Boland.

Wasssail, Wassailing

Wassail (pronounced wossayl or woss’l)
(the following definition is from Wikipedia)

[1] is a hot, spiced punch often associated with winter celebrations of northern Europe, usually those connected with holidays such as Christmas, New Year's and Twelfth Night. Particularly popular in Germanic countries, the term itself is a contraction of the Old English toast wæs þu hæl, or "be thou hale!" (i.e., "be in good health"). Alternate expressions predating the term, with approximately the same meaning, include both the Old Norse ves heill and Old English wæs hāl.


Wassailing is the practice of going door-to-door singing Christmas carols until paid to go away and leave the occupants in peace. In modern times it is most commonly known through reference in various traditional Christmas carols (e.g., "Here we come a-wassailing / among the leaves so green"). The term also refers to the practice of singing to trees in apple orchards in cider-producing regions of England.

Origins of wassailing

Some scholars prefer a pre-Christian explanation of the old traditional ceremony of wassailing. How far the tradition dates back is unknown but it has undeniable connections with Heathen ritual. Of recent times the word Wassail (from the Anglo-Saxon toast wæs þu hæl, "be thou hale" — i.e., "be in good health") has come to be synonymous with Christmas. The word wassail is old English and so dates from before 1066. Christmas was not celebrated anywhere before the third century, and only gradually moved northwards through Europe. Charlemagne was crowned on Christmas day 800. It was probably the Normans who brought the celebration to England. Many sources claim that William was crowned king of England on Christmas day 1066. However if you check the words of the Anglo-Saxon Cronicles (see reference below), it was described as "childer-mass day", Holy Innocents Day, or 28th December. Therefore the tradition of wassailing outdates the celebration of Christmas. Trolley the Wassail is celebrated on Twelfth Night (6th January). However most people insist on wassailing on 'Old Twelvey Night' (17th January) as that would have been the correct date before the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752.

The practice has its roots in the middle ages as a reciprocal exchange between the feudal lords and their peasants as a form of recipient initiated charitable giving, to be distinguished from begging. This point is made in the song "Here We Come A-Wassailing", when the wassailers inform the lord of the house that
"we are not daily beggars that beg from door to door but we are friendly neighbors whom you have seen before."
The lord of the manor would give food and drink to the peasants in exchange for their blessing and goodwill, i.e...
"Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you
a Happy New Year"
... which would be given in the form of the song being sung. Wassailing is the background practice against which a carol such as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" can be made sense of.

Although wassailing is often described in innocuous and sometimes nostalgic terms, the practice has not always been considered so innocent. In fact in early New England wassailing was associated with rowdy bands of young men who would enter the homes of wealthy neighbors and demand free food and drink in a trick-or-treat fashion. If the householder refused, he was usually cursed, and occasionally his house was vandalized.

The example of the exchange is seen in their demand for "figgy pudding" and "good cheer", i.e., the wassail beverage, without which the wassailers in the song will not leave, "we won't go until we get some."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Download Single available on Firebug by Joel Thomas Hynes, narrated by Jonny Harris

New Short Fiction Single available from - Firebug by Joel Thomas Hynes, narrated by Jonny Harris
New Single available on!

by Joel Thomas Hynes (Short Fiction Single)
Narrated by Jonny Harris.


Firebug is drawn from Down to the Dirt. The complete edition of Down to the Dirt (roughly six and a half hours of listening) is available from our fiction section as both an MP3-CD and as a Digital Download.

Lure of the Labrador Wild, excerpt #11

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.


It was nine o'clock on Wednesday morning, July 15, that we made the start. Our canoe, laden deep with our outfit, was drawn up with its prow resting snugly on the sandy bottom of the little strait that is locally known as the Northwest River. Mackenzie and a group of swarthy natives gathered on the shore to see us off. All but the high-spirited agent were grave and sceptical, and shook their heads at our persistency in going into a country we had been so frequently warned against.

The atmosphere was crisp, pure, and exhilarating. The fir trees and shrubs gave out a delicious perfume, and their waving tops seemed to beckon us on. The sky was deep blue, with here and there a feathery cloud gliding lazily over its surface. The bright sunlight made our hearts bound and filled our bodies with vigour, and as we stood there on the edge of the unknown and silent world we had come so far to see, our hopes were high, and one and all we were eager for the battle with the wild.

"I wish I were going with you; good-bye and Godspeed!" shouted Mackenzie, as we pushed the canoe into deep water and dipped our paddles into the current. In a moment he and the grave men that stood with him were lost to view. Up through the strait into the Little Lake we paddled, thence to the rapid where the waters of Grand Lake pour out. With one end of a tracking line, Hubbard sprang into the shallow water near the shore below the swift-running stream, and with the other end fastened to the bow of the canoe, pulled it through the rapid. A "planter's" family in a cabin near by watched us wonderingly.

Then we were in Grand Lake. Hubbard remarked that it looked like Lake George, save that the hills were lower. For a few miles above its outlet the shores on both sides of the lake are low. Then on the south come bluffs that rise, stern and grand in their nudity, almost perpendicularly from the deep, clear water, while on the north come lower hills, the most part wooded, that retreat more gently from the rocky shore. Heading for the extreme upper of the lake, where Low's map and the natives had led us to expect we should find the Northwest or Nascaupee River, we paddled along the north shore to a point where we stopped among the rocks for a
luncheon of flapjacks and syrup.

We were away without waste of time, paddling diagonally across the lake to the south shore. The fleecy clouds had now thickened, and a few drops of rain had fallen. In our course across the lake we passed Cape Corbeau (Raven), but were so far out that the mouth of the river of that name, which is just east of it, escaped our attention. Cape Corbeau, it had been named by a French missionary, because the ravens build their nests on its rocky top, and, perched high up, croak at you warningly from afar. Always the ravens are there. Involuntarily, as one croaked above our heads, "Nevermore" echoed through my mind. "And my soul from out that shadow shall be lifted nevermore." There were dark shadows ahead of us among the rocks and the forests, and--But in a moment the thought was drowned and forgotten in the beauties of the scenery. Beauties?--yes; for bleak and desolate Labrador has a beauty and a charm all its own.

Two hours after passing Cape Corbeau the rain began to pour, and at 7.30 o'clock, when we made camp on the south shore, we were well soaked. We resumed our journey at 5.30 in the morning. A stiff breeze was blowing, but by keeping in the lee of the shore we made good progress. At ten o'clock, when we found it necessary to cross to the north shore so as to shorten the distance, there was a rising sea, and we had to lighten the canoe and ferry the cargo over in two loads.

It was soon after one o'clock that we reached the upper end of the lake, where we found a stream about 125 yards wide that flowed with a swift current from out a little lake. Into this lake after luncheon we paddled, and when we reached its upper end, there was the mouth of a river, which we immediately hailed as the Nascaupee, the stream that was to lead us up to Lake Michikamau. Its mouth was wide, and it seemed to answer so well all the descriptions we had heard of the river for which we were searching that the possibility of our being mistaken never once entered our heads; in fact, we remained under the impression that it was the Nascaupee
until the last.

But we were mistaken. We had passed the Nascaupee five miles below, where it empties, together with the Crooked River, into a deep bay extending northward from Grand Lake. At its mouth the Nascaupee is divided by an island into two streams, and this island is so thickly covered with trees, and the streams on either side of it are so narrow, that when we crossed along in front of the bay no break in the line of woods at the mouth of the river was perceptible. Perhaps it will be said we should have explored the bay. I know now myself that should have been done, but in justice to Hubbard it must be remembered that none of us then had any reason to suppose we should find a river at any place other than the extreme upper end of the lake. Time and time again Hubbard had asked the few natives who had been there if the Nascaupee entered Grand Lake at its extreme upper end, and the answer invariably had been: "Yes, sir; he do." Furthermore, it will have to be taken into consideration how hard pressed Hubbard was by the fear that the short summer would end before he had completed his work, and by the consequent necessity of pushing on with all possible speed.

The river up which we started to ascend with light hearts was the Susan, a river which was to introduce us promptly to heart-breaking hardships, a river which is to me associated with the most tragic memories.

On the southerly side of the little lake Porcupine Hill raises its spruce-covered head a thousand feet above the water. Proceeding up the Susan, we found that the river valley was enclosed by low ridges covered with spruce and a few scattering white birch and aspen trees. For the most part the banks of the river were steep and high; where they were low the river formed little pond expansions. For a mile above its mouth we had good canoeing. Up to this point the river was not more than thirty yards wide, and was deep, with little current. Then it began gradually to widen and become shallow and swift, with a boulder-strewn bottom. Soon we had to jump into the water, and with Hubbard at the end of the tracking line, and George and I at either end of the canoe, haul, lift, and push the heavily laden boat up the river, while we floundered over the boulders. Sometimes we would be able to get into the canoe and pole, but never for long. Around the worst places we portaged the whole outfit, canoe and all. It was desperately hard work, and when night came on and we went into camp, we were only two miles above the little lake.

To be continued.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Concert at The Rooms

An Amber Christmas at The Rooms

Don't miss a magical evening with renowned artists Pamela Morgan, Anita Best and George Morgan. Tickets are just $10!

9 Bonaventure Avenue, St. John's
Wednesday and Thursday, December 12th and 13th
7 - 9 pm, Level 2 - Theatre

Click here to see The Rooms' website.


Anita Best is the narrator of Rattling Books' unabridged audio version of Mary Dalton's prize-winning poetry collection, Merrybegot. The pump organ of George Morgan appears on Agnes Walsh's poetry collection, In the Old Country of My Heart. Christmas gifts, anyone?

Where to buy your Rattling Books in St. John's, Newfoundland

For the audio book consumer in St. John's, Newfoundland this Christmas:

St. John's is the fabulously cultured capital of Newfoundland and Labrador and the closest shopping metropolis to Tors Cove, the home of Rattling Books.

The best stores to pick up your Rattling Books from include the following (in alphabetical order):

Bennington Gate Bookstore, Churchill Square

Devon House Gift Shop, Duckworth St.
Downhome, Water St.

Fred's Records, Duckworth St.

Granny Bate's Bookstore, Bates Hill (children's titles only)

Historic Sites Association Stores

O'Brien's Music, Water St.

The Travel Bug, Water St.
And of course for those of you not blessed by living within striking distance of our fair nation's capital you can always order cds or digital downloads of our titles from our website at

John Steffler's Poem of the Week, January 7-13

Follow this link to Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler's Poem of the Week website. This week's poem, Melt, is by Patricia Young.

from John Steffler's word of introduction:

"The Poem of the Week website features a new poem by a Canadian poet each week. The initiative, which was started in 2003 by Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Bowering, and continued by his successor, Pauline Michel, has proven very popular as a way of showing readers everywhere a sample of the work of Canada’s contemporary poets. The support of the Library of Parliament makes it possible for me to keep the project alive.

There are many fine poets writing in Canada today. My aims are the same as those of George Bowering and Pauline Michel: to try to offer an inclusive representation of contemporary Canadian poetry in both English and French from all the country’s regions.

Here you will encounter the skill, imagination, and wide variety in Canadian poetry and gain a special insight into life in this country..."


The unabridged audio edition of The Grey Islands by John Steffler (narrated by John Steffler, Frank Holden, Janis Spence, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and Darryl Hopkins) is available from

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Michael Winter Reading in Toronto

Literary Event to Benefit Trans Canada Trail


Royal St. George’s College in Toronto is playing host to a trio of well-known Canadian writers tomorrow night - Tuesday, Dec. 11th - at 7:30 pm. The evening, billed as Great Canadian Roadtrips will feature three fascinating yet very different takes on the notion of journey.

Roy MacGregor, a passionate Canadian and gifted storyteller, will be on hand to share anecdotes and observations from his latest work, Canadians: A Portrait of a Country and Its People. A journalist and author for over thirty years, MacGregor’s investigation of the Canadian psyche tackles our obsession with hockey, our attachment to the land, our “highly exportable” sense of humour, who we are at home and how we behave when we’re not. He has traveled the country extensively and has achieved that most elusive of successes, a fiction series popular with tween boys - the Screech Owls mysteries.

Ray Robertson’s new novel What Happened Later tells the parallel stories of Jack Kerouac’s mid-seventies road trip to Rivière-du-Loup in search of his Québecois roots and a young man’s quest to own a copy of Kerouac’s classic On the Road. His journey leads him to discover the world beyond his small-town, working-class environment and his own French-Canadian heritage. Mr. Robertson is the author of several novels and a non-fiction collection entitled Mental Hygiene: Essays on Writers and Writing. His novel Moody Food won the 2007 Independent Publisher Regional Book Award for Eastern Canada.

In The Architects Are Here, acclaimed author Michael Winter sets his popular protagonist, Gabe English, on the road from Toronto to Corner Brook, Newfoundland with a childhood friend. The two friends, now grown men approaching middle age, head back home to investigate the disappearance of Gabe’s father. Along the way, they encounter their fair share of Canajun oddballs, and their own fears, failings, and hopes for the future. Mr. Winter is the author of two short-story collections and two novels and has served on the Giller Prize jury for 2006.

Tickets are still available so visit Royal St. George’s College to book. The event will be held in St. Alban’s Chapel, located on campus at 120 Howland Avenue. Please dial 416.533.9481 for more information.


Rattling Books has just released an unabridged audio version of Michael Winter's prize-winning novel The Big Why, narrated by Robert Joy. Follow this link to have a look and listen to a preview.

Latest News from our friends at Brick Books

Brick Books is delighted to share with you some recent awards:

Don Domanski has won the Governor General's Award for Poetry for his book All Our Wonder Unavenged. This was announced in Montreal on Tuesday, November 27. This was Don's third nomination for this award. The award will be presented to Don in Ottawa at Rideau Hall on Thursday, December 13.

The judges had this to say: "Stunningly beautiful and delicate, All Our Wonder Unavenged is a deeply moving vision about the intricacies of the everyday world. A spiritual and metaphysical triumph."Congratulations, Don!!and on Saturday, November 24 in Regina at the Saskatchewan Books Awards, Sheri Benning received the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award and the City of Saskatoon Award for her second book of poetry Thin Moon Psalm. This book was also nominated for the Book of the Year.Congratulations, Sheri!!and congratulations also to Elizabeth Philips for her 2 nominations for the Poetry and City of Saskatoon Awards!!


A few things to share with you:1. The Brick Book Club is back... Just in time for Christmas!!How would you like to get all the 2007 poetry books from Brick Books delivered directly to your own home? How convenient!!!And all for the low price of $120 – a savings of more than 25%** [shipping and taxes included] .Go to for all the details.2.

Author interviews on the internet

Craig Rintoul of BookBits interviewed Steven Price at the Eden Mills Writers Festival and Mark Abley in Toronto:

Steven Price talks about his first book Anatomy of Keys, a poetic biography of Harry Houdini .

Mark Abley, literary executor for Anne Szumigalski and her posthumous collection When Earth Leaps Up talks about Anne and her writing .

Monday, December 10, 2007

REDEFiNE iT Word of the Week

Word of the Week


Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English

waddock n A football.
1898 The Record 14 The name Rugby Football is known here as 'Kicking the Cod' and 'Rushing the Waddock.' 1904 MURPHY (ed) 39 But give to me the 'waddock' / As we kicked it on the Mall.

Now, we invite u to REDEFiNE iT!

Just visit the following facebook group page and REDEFiNE away or have your say another way:

N.B. Any Word of the Week receiving more than 10 redefinition posts will trigger a prize from Rattling Books for our favourite.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Razorbill Colouring Sheet to print from Rattling Books

Rattling Books would like to wish you a safe and unhurried season of preparing for Christmas. If you find yourself stressed by all the things you may think you should be doing we reccomend the following.
1. take out some crayons
2. colour a picture
It has a calming effect.
3. put the picture on your fridge
4. if you have kids you could let them colour too!
As our Christmas gift to you we had the wonderful designer Mike Mouland make a Christmas version of one of our iconic Razorbills. You can print out as many free Christmas Razorbill Colouring Sheet as you like by clicking on the link below.
So haul out the crayons and print out your Christmas Razorbill Colouring Sheet to calm your nerves this hectic season.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy season.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Crumbfest on AudioFile's All Ears Podcast

A Merry Crumbfest

AudioFile calls it "wonderfully refreshing!"

Find out what you think...


The True Meaning of Crumbfest, by David Weale, is available as an audio CD from Rattling Books.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

New Short Fiction Single available from - Estate of Grace by Susan Rendell, narrated by Francesca Swann

New Single available on!

by Susan Rendell (Short Fiction Single)
Narrated by Francesca Swann.


Estate of Grace is drawn from the collection of short fiction entitled In the Chambers of the Sea. The complete collection is available from our fiction section as both an MP3-CD and as a Digital Download.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lure of the Labrador Wild, excerpt #10

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.

We were sitting in the office of the post on Sunday, comfortably away from the fog that lay thick outside, when we were startled by a steamship whistle. Out we all ran, and there, in the act of dropping her anchor, was the Pelican, the company's ship from England. In the heavy fog she had stolen in and whistled before the flag was raised, which feat Captain Grey, who commands the Pelican, regarded as a great joke on the post. Once a year the Pelican arrives from England, and the day of her appearance is the Big Day for all the Labrador posts, as she brings the year's supplies together with boxes and letters from home for the agents and the clerks. From Rigolet she goes to Ungava, then returns to Rigolet for the furs there and once more steams for England.

We found Captain Grey to be a jolly, cranky old seadog of the old school. He has been with the Hudson's Bay Company for thirty years, and has sailed the northern seas for fifty. He shook his
head pessimistically when he heard about our expedition. "You'll never get back," he said. "But if you happen to be at Ungava when I get there, I'll bring you back." "Sandy" Calder, the owner of lumber mills on Sandwich Bay and the Grand River, who came from Cartwright Post on Sandwich Bay with Captain Grey on the Pelican, also predicted the failure of our enterprise. But Hubbard said to me that he had heard such prophecies before; that they made the work seem all the bigger, and that he could do it and would.

At noon on Monday Dr. Simpson came with the Julia Sheridan, and we said good-bye to Rigolet. The voyage down the inlet to Northwest River Post was without incident, except that the good doctor was much concerned as to the outcome of our venture, saying: "Don't leave your bones up there to whiten, boys, if you can possibly help it." We reached Northwest River at two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, and found the post to be much the same as Rigolet, except that its whitewashed buildings were all strung out in one long row. The welcome we received from Mr. Thomas Mackenzie, the agent there in charge, was most gratifying in its heartiness. Mr. Mackenzie is a bachelor, tall, lean, high-spirited, and the soul hospitality. Hubbard promptly dubbed him a "bully fellow." Probably this was partly due to the fact that he was the first man in Labrador to give us any encouragement. We had not been there an hour when he became infected with Hubbard's enthusiasm and said he would pack up that night and be ready to start with us in the morning, if he only were free to do so.

To our great disappointment and chagrin, we found that Mackenzie had no fish nets to sell. We had been unable to obtain any at Rigolet, and now we were told that none was to be had anywhere in that part of Labrador. Hubbard realised fully the importance of a gill net as a part of our equipment and had originally intended to purchase one before leaving New York; but he was advised by Mr. A.P. Low of the Canadian Geological Survey that it would be better to defer its purchase until we reached Rigolet Post or Northwest River, where he said we could get a net such as would be best adapted to the country. Hubbard had no reason to doubt the accuracy of this information, as Mr. Low had previously spent several months at these posts when engaged in the work of mapping out the peninsula. Conditions, however, had changed, unfortunately for us, since Mr. Low's visit to Labrador. Seeing the quandary we were in, Mackenzie got out an old three-inch gill net that had been lying in a corner of one of his buildings. He said he was afraid it was worn out, but if we could make any use of it, we might take it. We, too, had our doubts as to its utility; but, as it was the best obtainable, Hubbard accepted it thankfully and Mackenzie had two of his men unravel it and patch it up.

During the afternoon we got our outfit in shape, ready for the start in the morning. Following is a summary of the outfit taken from an inventory made at Indian Harbour: Our canoe was 18 feet long, canvas covered, and weighed about 80 pounds. The tent was of the type known as miner's, 6 1/2 x 7 feet, made of balloon silk and waterproofed. We had three pairs of blankets and one single blanket; two tarpaulins; five duck waterproof bags; one dozen small waterproof bags of balloon silk for note books; two .45-70 Winchester rifles; two 10-inch barrel .22-calibre pistols for shooting grouse and other small game; 200 rounds of .45-70 and 1,000 rounds of .22-calibre cartridges; 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 pocket folding kodak with Turner-Reich Verastigmat lens; thirty rolls of films of one dozen exposures each, in tin cans, waterproofed with electricians' tape; a sextant and artificial horizon; two compasses and our cooking utensils and clothing.

At Indian Harbour we had four 45-pound sacks of flour, but Hubbard gave one sack to the pilot of the Julia Sheridan, and out of another sack he had given the cook on the Julia sufficient flour
for one baking of bread, and we had also used some of this bag on our way from Indian Harbour to Rigolet. This left two 45-pound bags and about thirty pounds in the third bag, or 120 pounds in all. There were, perhaps, 25 pounds of bacon, 13 pounds lard, 20 pounds flavoured pea meal, 9 pounds plain pea flour in tins, 10 pounds tea, 5 pounds coffee, 8 pounds hardtack, 10 pounds milk powder, 10 pounds rice, 8 pounds dried apples, 7 pounds salt, 7 or 8 pounds tobacco and 30 pounds sugar.

This outfit, it will be remembered, was designed for three men. Hubbard tried to hire some of the native to accompany us a few miles into the interior and carry additional provisions that we
might cache, but failed; they were all "too busy."

Mackenzie treated us royally during the evening we spent at his post, and we enjoyed his hospitality to the utmost, knowing that it was to be our last night under shelter for weeks to come. Now we were on the very edge of the wilderness. To-morrow we should enter the unknown.

To be continued.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

REDEFiNE iT Word of the Week

Word of the Week

Play REDEFiNE iT's word of the week for the chance to win a prize from Rattling Books.


Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English

bawn n also bon [phonetics unavailable]. EDD ~ sb 4 Ir; JOYCE 214; DINNEEN badhún for sense 1.
1 Grassy land or meadow near a house or settlement.
1897 J A Folklore x, 203 Bawn ... particularly where the Irish have prevailed, is the common name for the land about the house. P 113-55 Setting spuds on the bawn (flat expanse of freshly-turned sods). 1968 DILLON 131 'We have to break up some bawn tomorrow.' 'When cattle are dry, they're out on the bawn in the spring o' the year.' M 69-29 About half-way between my house and the theatre there was a big grassy bonne (meadow) and this was a favourite place for courters to go. C 71-24 [In Calvert] a baun was an enclosed pasture which was used for the grazing of sheep. In Carbonear [it] meant ground that hadn't been ploughed before. C 75-136 ~ a plot of grass land where children play and where fishermen spread their trap when they take it up to dry or mend.
2 Expanse of rocks on which salted cod are spread for the quick-drying process of the Labrador and Bank fisheries; BEACH. Cp FLAKE.
1895 GRENFELL 66 Newfoundlanders spread [cod] on poles called 'flakes,' or on the natural rocks, called 'bournes.' [1900 OLIVER & BURKE] 34 "Fanny's Harbor Bawn": Which caused this dreadful contest on [Fanny's] Harbor Bawn... / So pray begone, all from the Bawn, or I'll boot you in your bloom. 1936 SMITH 17 [The fish] would then lie in the waterhorse for twenty-four hours. It was then brought out on the bawn and spread 'heads and tails.' 1937 Seafisheries of Nfld 47 When the fish is dried by natural means, it is placed upon flakes, beaches, rocks and bawns (i.e. artificial beaches), where the sun and wind are permitted to perform the task of extracting the moisture. 1955 DOYLE (ed) 78 ... " 'Twas Getting Late Up in September": To spread fish on the bawn makin' wages / We went there without much sleep. T 393-67 This is where they'd make their fish—on all those small rocks about the size o' your fist. They used to call it the bawn. M 71-117 Finally the fish would be taken in hand-barrows to the bawns—something like flakes except that the boughs were laid on the rocks—and spread to dry. 1977 Inuit Land Use 218-19 First, the cod were washed to remove the salt, then they were placed on small flat stones called bons to dry. The bons were loosely separated to permit air to circulate around the fish.
3 Phr make bawn: to prepare beach for drying salted cod by making a flat expanse of rocks.
C 70-10 Sometimes the fishermen would fill in the crevices with beach rocks, and this would be called making bawn. My grandfather said that he has made bawn down in Labrador while fishing there in the summer-time.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Riddle Fence Launch Tonight

When? 8pm

Where? The Ship Pub on Solomon's Lane (off Duckworth Street, St. John's)

Why? Stupid question: Because you'll never forgive yourself if you miss it...and who wants that kind of psychological baggage?


Not convinced? Read an article from The Telegram:

Riddle Fence Makes a Good Neighbour
Heidi Wicks
special to The Telegram
December 3, 2007

The province has a new literary journal, Riddle Fence - published as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Revving up the party are contributions from the likes of Susan Rendell, Mary Dalton, Lisa Moore, Don McKay, Michael Crummey, Joan Sullivan, Agnes Walsh, Marjorie Doyle, Robert Chafe and more. There is fiction, as well as essays on writers and writing in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Before Riddle Fence, there was no literary journal produced in this province. Earlier ones, such as TickleAce, have folded, leaving a gap - particularly when you consider the mass of writers who call this place home...

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