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All stories relating to Derek McCormack

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Book links roundup: Toronto arts community comes together in support of Derek McCormack, Obama and the Wild Things, and more

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Book links roundup: The Hunger Games attracts older audiences, no one is buying Mike Daisey’s book, and more


Dave Bidini apologizes for case of mistaken identity

Dave Bidini might want to call on the services of his Canada Reads defender, Stacey McKenzie

Sometimes it’s hard being Dave Bidini.

On Saturday, the CBC Canada Reads finalist and National Post columnist wrote about his quest to find a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, a book he hoped would help him “stop being a terrible person.” Unfortunately, Bidini’s journey was thwarted by a bookstore clerk who “wore horned-rimmed glasses and an ironic, squaresville sweater” and was probably named “Malcolm or Derek or Phillip.” The clerk explained to Bidini that the shop only carried copies of the satirical Eat, Pray, Fart, and so Bidini walked away, shocked that this independent bookstore did not have a “single copy of one of the top-selling books of the last 10 years.”

The description of the store and the clerk offended fans of Toronto’s Type Books and its occasional staff member, writer Derek McCormack (who happens to sport distinctive eye wear). As the Twitterverse mused why anyone would “make fun of” Type and McCormack, Bidini wrote another column, this time, a direct apology to both.

Bidini writes:

In the piece … certain living figures found themselves tarred by a brush I hadn’t intended to wave around. For instance, there was a composite figure that some people misidentified as being Derek McCormack, the great Toronto writer and occasional bookseller. Even though I don’t think the portrait of the character was too unflattering, it was never my intention to draw Derek as the character’s model…. I have known Derek for twenty years, and consider him to be a friend. His co-workers, reacting as I’d hope my co-workers would, felt I was taking a shot at him, and fair enough, but, again, I was not. If this was misconstrued, I am sorry.

I also wrote about an independent bookstore that people thought was Type; it was not, even though I described it as being adjacent to a park. Some also thought I was making fun of independent bookstores for not stocking Eat, Pray, Love, but this was not my intention. Really, I could care less about Eat, Pray, Love and whether anyone stocks it…. I am indebted, as a writer, to stores like Type — independent bookstores — and to people who work there. I feel like a jerk for even suggesting the slightest hint of this, and let me state, unequivocally, that I believe independent bookstores are the backbone of Canadian bookselling, and that, when it comes to Chapters/Indigo, well, I wouldn’t make fun of people who work there, either. At least, if I did, it would be in the context of good writing, something that was probably lacking in my last Post column.

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Bookmarks: Arthur C. Clarke’s birthday wish list, the LongPen in the NYT and more

Some book-related links:

  • Arthur C. Clarke makes his wish list for his 90th birthday (The Guardian)
  • Have you heard about this LongPen thing? Some people haven’t, apparently (The New York Times)
  • Derek McCormack’s fashionable Christmas wish list (The National Post)
  • The day the plane hit the booktore (WKRC in Cincinnati – so close!)
  • Mystery author Maureen Jennings on her brush with death (Toronto Star)
  • Christian bookseller in China arrested (USA Today)
  • California library accepts food donations in lieu of overdue fines (North County Times)
  • China’s oldest library stays open late (China View)
  • Write books, lose weight (Everything Alabama)
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Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Eva Stachniak poses with a copy of her book, Empress of the Night

Tea and snacks inspired by Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Rimma Burashko with author Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak talks to the audience about the best and worst of Catherine the Great's favourites

Eva Stachniak smiles as she signs a copy of Empress of the Night for a fan

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