‘Out­house book’ looks to lure new an­glers

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS - By Bob Arm­strong

IT takes a mod­est writer — or one with a keen mind for book mar­ket­ing — to call his book “an out­house book.” That’s one of the ways John Toone de­scribes Fishin’ for Dum­b­asses. The book, from Great Plains Pub­li­ca­tions, is an off­beat, in­for­ma­tive and com­i­cal in­tro­duc­tion to fish­ing that will keep campers and cot­tagers oc­cu­pied in the small­est read­ing room. It started out, says Toone, as a book for hip­sters in­ter­ested in catch­ing their own lo­cally sourced food, but mor­phed into a book about the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence of fish­ing. “When your mind­set is catch­ing, a good day is mea­sured by what ends up in the cooler. But when you are out there for the fish­ing, that ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes the prepa­ra­tion, the jour­ney, the sac­ri­fices and in­dul­gences, the time with fam­ily in the great out­doors.” Toone, who wrote a pair of comic books about fish­ing pub­lished by Al­chem­i­cal Press (Catch that Cat­fish! and Hope and the Wall­eye), is a long­time an­gler who has vol­un­teered for more than 20 years with Fish Fu­tures. He’ll be sign­ing copies of the book from 2 to 4 p.m. on May 31 at McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. For­get about the Chicago of the North or One Great City — we’re liv­ing in Elec­tric City. That’s the ti­tle of a new spe­cial edi­tion of the lit­er­ary jour­nal Prairie Fire that fo­cuses on writ­ing from Win­nipeg. Elec­tric City con­tains work from “a baker’s dozen of Win­nipeg’s newly es­tab­lished and up-and-com­ing writ­ers,” in­clud­ing Kather­ena Vermette, win­ner of the 2013 Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Award for po­etry, Méira Cook, win­ner of the 2013 McNally Robin­son Book of the Year Award, and three years’ worth of re­cip­i­ents of the John Hirsch Award for Most Promis­ing Man­i­toba Writer: poets Jennifer Still, Kris­tian En­right and Jonathan Ball. The book launch is June 2 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. Dud­ley brings back her ver­sion of the mytho­log­i­cal fig­ure Pelops, who was given to the gods of Olym­pus as a sac­ri­fi­cial meal in the tra­di­tional story, and in Dud­ley’s hands was turned into a su­per­nat­u­rally gifted chef. In Kraken Bake, Pelops has to fig­ure out how to cook kraken, the gi­ant sea monster of Greek myth, and win an Athe­nian cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion. She launches the novel June 3 at 8 p.m. at McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. Words don’t just live on paper. That’s the idea be­hind the first Win­nipeg Spo­ken Word Fes­ti­val, run­ning Wed­nes­day to Sun­day. Per­for­mance poets, mu­si­cians, im­pro­vis­ers and other spo­ken-word afi­ciona­dos from Win­nipeg, Van­cou­ver, Toronto and Ed­mon­ton will gather at the Gas Sta­tion Theatre for a se­ries of events, in­clud­ing the Win­nipeg Po­etry Slam Fi­nals, the Haiku Death Match and an evening of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween poets and im­pro­vis­ers. Two work­shops are also on the agenda for the week. For full de­tails and sched­ule, check win­nipegspo­ken­word­fes­ti­val.com. File this one un­der “Nice work if you can get it.” Bri­tish nov­el­ist Ian McEwan re­cently sold his lit­er­ary ar­chive to the Henry Ran­som Cen­ter, a hu­man­i­ties re­search li­brary at the Univer­sity of Texas in Austin, for $2 mil­lion. Ac­cord­ing to The Guardian, the ar­chive in­cludes early drafts of nov­els, aban­doned sto­ries, letters from var­i­ous lit­er­ary friends, and 17 years’ worth of email. Other writ­ers whose ar­chives have been ac­quired by the Ran­som Cen­ter in­clude Doris Less­ing, J.M. Coet­zee, Ju­lian Barnes and Tom Stop­pard. Win­nipeg mys­tery nov­el­ist-turned­comic fan­tasy writer Karen Dud­ley of­fers up a sec­ond help­ing of Greek mythol­ogy in her up­com­ing Kraken Bake: An Epi­curean Epic.

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