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All stories relating to David Bezmozgis

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Bookmarks: snobbery in the age of Kindle, Kerouac and the canon, and bigamy proves a boon

Some book-related links:

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Richard Poplak and more in the May Q&Q

Jet-setting author Richard Poplak travelled to 17 different countries to research his latest book, which looks at the influence of American pop culture in the Muslim world, and he’s Q&Q’s cover subject in the May 2009 issue. Also in the issue, we look at the surprising success of Harlequin Enterprises at 60 and at how print-on-demand is changing the bookstore of the future. Our Library Special Report examines the tricky task of putting Canada’s archival history online. Plus reviews of new books by Colin McAdam, Emily Schultz, Giles Blunt, Lynn Johnston, Barry Callaghan, and more.

Pop goes the world
Richard Poplak bets that tawdry TV and banal bubblegum can bring cultures together

Print-on-demand: The dream and the reality
The bookstore of the future, and why POD machines are waiting for books in the present

Love wins out
While other major publishers are bleeding money, Harlequin Enterprises is raking it in. How the firm has managed to beat the odds

History, bit by bit
What’s the best way to put our national heritage online?
AND MORE IN THE LIBRARY SPECIAL REPORT: Coping with rising patron demand, and learning to LOL at the reference desk


  • Ninety minutes with Stuart Ross
  • Comedy is easy, kidlit is hard
  • The adventures of Pierre Turgeon: a timeline
  • Cover to Cover: Lauren Kirshner’s Where We Have to Go
  • Snapshot: Alexandra Moore of Word on the Street
  • Breakwater unbroken
  • David Bezmozgis moves from control to collaboration


  • Heaven Is Small by Emily Schultz
  • Though You Were Dead by Terry Griggs
  • The English Stories by Cynthia Flood
  • Plus more fiction, non-fiction, and poetry


  • Dance Baby Dance by Andrea Spalding
  • Dracula Madness by Mary Labatt and Jo Rioux
  • Soccer Sabotage by Liam O’Donnell and Mike Deas
  • Swim the Fly by Don Calame
  • Plus more fiction, non-fiction, and picture books


Lesley Choyce
does the math on three decades in writing

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Bezmozgis film to hit Sundance

Q&Q‘s onetime cover star David Bezmozgis has made a film feature called Victoria Day, and it’s set to premiere at next month’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The film site indieWIRE describes the film thus:

Over the course of one week in 1988, the search for a missing teammate, parental expectations, a burgeoning sexual awakening and the rock concert of the century all threaten to jolt a sixteen year old into adulthood. Cast: Mark Rendall, Sergiy Kotelenets, Nataliya Alyexeyenko, Holly Deveaux, John Mavrogiannis.

Victoria Day is one of 120-odd films to screen at Sundance 2009, chosen from a pool of 3,600-plus submissions.

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Bookmarks: Olympic mascots, a giant atlas and more

  • Vancouver publisher Whitecap Books is set to publish a book about the Vancouver 2010 Olympic mascots, Miga, Quatchi, Sumi, and in-print only sidekick, Muk Muk
  • A limited edition atlas, called EARTH, weighing in at 19 kilograms and 580 pages, will be unveiled at the Sharjah Book Fair in the United Arab Emirates. Two editions — blue and gold — totalling 3,000 copies will be printed, after which the plates will be destroyed, so that only a lselect few will ever hold the EARTH in their hands
  • Author David Bezmozgis will direct his first feature film, Victoria Day, about a 16-year-old Triple-A hockey player who lends money to a friend for drugs at a rock concert, and later discovers his friend never made it home. There’s also a romantic subplot involving the friend’s younger sister. Hockey, drugs and rock and roll – all the things good coming-of-age stories are made of

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Love letters by CanLit icons are for adults only

Canadian authors are well represented in a book of fictional love letters, titled Four Letter Word, which is being published by Knopf Canada in 2008. Prior to its release, Times Online is inviting readers to sign up for free excerpts, which will be sent to their inboxes beginning Oct. 29, by contributors such as Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen.

In the meantime, lonely hearts may find some consolation from a similar series of love letters published in The Walrus in 2005, which also featured contributions by Atwood and Cohen, as well as David Bezmozgis, Sheila Heti, M.G. Vassanji, and Jonathan Lethem.

That earlier series varied widely in terms of tone and delivery – from bald lasciviousness (Cohen: “When I caught her in the flesh / And floated on her hips…), to squalid romanticism (Bezmozgis: “My love has brought neither of us any happiness”), to outright weirdness (Lethem’s entry is addressed to and from inanimate objects) – but remained consistently G-rated. Times readers might be in for something a little racier: the promotion is prohibited to minors under the age of 18.

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David Bezmozgis on Leonard Michaels

Over at Nextbook, David Bezmozgis writes a lengthy tribute to the late American author Leonard Michaels, a writer who not only served as a formative influence on Bezmozgis, but eventually become a mentor, friend, and confidante.

I should say at this point that though I was a dedicated reader and entertained writerly ambitions, I knew next to nothing about the practical realities of publishing. I paid no attention to and couldn’t distinguish between the various publishing houses and knew nothing about their relative merits or reputations. I knew nothing about the arcana of lists, deals, rights, advances, tours, covers, print runs, or anything else. All books looked the same to me. They all participated equally in the wondrous, enviable state of being published. A more savvy reader, noting the poor availability of Michaels’s books, might have deduced from this something about the state of Michaels’s career, but this never occurred to me. I thought that anybody who wrote as well as he did had to be a great success, on par with Philip Roth or Saul Bellow or any other writer deserving of serious consideration. That his books were almost completely out of print I perceived only as matter of personal inconvenience to me, not anything that would be of consequence to Michaels himself. After all, he had written the books and they had been published. They existed. I imagined that anything beyond that was trivial.

Also at Nextbook is “Honeymoon,” a short story by Michaels that Bezmozgis once wrote a screenplay for, which is what began the relationship between the two writers. (The movie was never made – it’s about a young bride who falls for her mambo-dancing waiter at a Catskills resort. “Many were of the opinion that Dirty Dancing had exhausted the subject,” Bezmozgis writes.)

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Canada Reads, Day 1: nobody voted off yet

Canada Reads 2007 logoAfter the first day of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads program, all five books – Natasha and Other Stories by David Bezmozgis, Children of My Heart by Gabrielle Roy, Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor, The Song of Kahunsha by Anosh Irani, and Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill – remain in contention. Host Bill Richardson decided to let the debate go on another day before asking that the panelists – Steven Page, Denise Bombardier, Jim Cuddy, Donna Morrissey, and John K. Samson – vote the first title out.

This year, Richardson will be writing a running “colour commentary” in the form of a blog. (Read it here.) The first entry was actually written the night before the debates, and is mostly about Richardson’s state of mind only hours before they were to begin. Some of Richardson’s digressions fall under the heading of Too Much Information: “I am writing this in bed, propped up on several over-stuffed pillows, my laptop atop my lap, broadcasting mercy knows what deleterious waves in the direction of my generative organs (fat lot of good they’ve done me, anyway).” But he does make one, perhaps unintentionally revealing comment about this year’s list of books.

[Novels by Mordecai Richler have] twice been shot down in the early rounds of the game. Humour or satire has never fared well in Canada Reads, a lesson this year’s All Stars must have taken to heart. None of this year’s titles is, first and foremost, funny.

At least not “deleterious waves in the direction of my generative organs” funny, anyway.

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Vanity Fair comes to town

Vanity Fair‘s promised survey of the Toronto literary scene has materialized on the magazine’s website. VF writer Anderson Tepper hit the International Festival of Authors at Toronto’s Harbourfront in October, inspired by an earlier visit to McNally Robinson Booksellers’ Manhattan location. In his online piece, Tepper talks to such writers as Dionne Brand and David Bezmozgis, and he sings Toronto’s praises himself: “Toronto: a mini–New York; an anti–New York; a younger, more global, more tolerant New York. I didn’t want to leave this city—with its neighborhoods shoulder to shoulder, its puddled streets reflecting a maze of steel and shimmering words, and where its literary godfather, Michael Ondaatje, seemed about to materialize just around every corner.”

Related links:
Click here for the Vanity Fair article
Click here for an October 2005 Q&Q Omni article about Tepper’s visit

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