At the beginning of the month, I made a note to gather the last of Susin Nielsen’s books. Because I absolutely loved Word Nerd (2008) and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (2012).

Tundra Books, 2008

Tundra Books, 2008

Not realizing that the characters overlap, I started with the most recent book, then read the first, and finally got a copy of the middle book last.

(See, these notebook jottings do help; I can’t remember the last time that I read all of an author’s works in a single season.)

So now I’ve just finished Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom (2010). The links between characters are tighter between this book and Word Nerd, but reading them in this order left the most delightful sense of resolution at the end of Dear George.

On my notebook’s facing page, is a note to look for the films which were recommended in Carrianne Leung’s The Wondrous Woo (those in which Cheng Pei-Pei, one of the first major female king fu stars, her legendary “Golden Swallow”, also known as “The Girl with the Thunderbolt Kick”, as well those with Angela Mao Ying, Lily Li, Karina Wei-Yin Hung, and Michelle Yeoh).

I haven’t been to the video shop for ages (I’ve never found a way to combine these two loves, so I tend to binge with either books or films and, as you likely guessed, the books nearly always win). But I really must make a point of renting because I’ve also discovered there is a new film version of Alice Munro’s “Hateship, Courtship”. (All those squished tomatoes in their ratings sound like plump juicy reds to my movie-watching taste.) Which makes me want to review Sarah Polley’s “The Stories We Tell” too (if you’re a fan of either, you’ll recognize the dotted-line connections there).

And I have another list of items recommended in Alice Walker’s The Cushion in the Road (2013) which includes the films “Frozen River”, “Follow Me Home”, “La Mission”, and “May I Be Frank”. Have you seen any of these? Would you agree with her recommendation?

She has also added to my reading list. (See? Movies, books, movies, books: neverending.) “It is the voice of those, like the Zapatistas, like Mumia [Abu-Jamal], whose love outweighs their fear. So I will ask you to read at least one of Mumia’s books, as a way to begin to feel your way into this new millennium.”

This was from her November 28, 2008 piece “We Are in This Place for a Reason”, which also served as an introduction to All Things Censored. I have a date chosen for a library fieldtrip to browse some of his books.

Alice Walker also added Nancy Stout’s biography of Celia Sànchez, Cuban revolutionary, One Day in December, to my TBR. “I read it through, then immediately turned to the first page and read the entire, more than four-hundred-page manuscript again…exactly the medicina our desperately flailing societies and countries are crying for.” Statements like this make me want to drop everything and source the book immediately: you too?

And she bumped another up my TBR, though it was already lodged there: “Reading Amy Tan’s novel Saving Fish from Drowning is the most elegant way to bring most English-speaking readers up to speed on the emerging situation in Burma. It is masterful, wise, sometimes outrageously funny, while remaining as serious as a heart attack.”

Inspired by Suzanne Sutherland’s When We Were Good, I’ve been scribbling notes about what “my book” has been at different stages of my reading life. “The book was an amulet, it was my protector. It was sacred, it was holy.” Katherine’s amulet is not the same as Suzanne Sutherland’s of course: each reader – and writer – to her own. What is (has been) your bookish amulet?

I also have a variety of notes from Room Magazine’s list of “fourteen books by Canadian women that we think you should pick up in 2014”. And I’ve only read 2 of the 14 so far: how about you?

Finally, there is a page of musings on a reading project of Quebecois writers, inspired by the series by Marie-Claire Blais and France Daigle that I’ve yet to make time for.  Blais’s series has just drawn to a close, which makes me think it would be a good time to try again (I’ve failed a couple of times) with These Festive Nights, but perhaps I’ll try one of the other authors on my list first. What reading projects have been tempting you lately?

What bookish jottings have you been making in your notebook lately?