bedtime book club

Lately Geoff and I have been reading out loud to each other before bed as a means of having a quiet nighttime routine (as opposed to my stay-up-until-I-crash technique that hasn't worked out too well for me over the years). He recently finished reading Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis and now I am reading The Torontonians by Phyllis Brett Young.

We had both read Lucky Jim before; it is one of my favourite books, ever. The "academic satire" genre is one that is quite dear to me (cf. David Lodge's Small World, for example), especially when the academics being skewered are medievalists. I have been a medievalist (although I have never been on an "arty weekend"), so it is particularly hilarious to me. We cracked up every night.

I have also read The Torontonians before, and I loved it. I haven't had much luck recommending it to others, though, as I'm not sure that the people who read it after my recommendation really enjoyed it. I am particularly fond of literature from that period -- it was published in 1960 -- and there is really nothing from that era that is set in Toronto (plenty of Montreal novels, though, and some prairie ones as well). It is another book about a bored housewife, but the book is so beautiful and powerful to me. I'm not writing very intelligent things about this book, but basically I am so grateful that it exists. It's a gem.

Today I stopped by The Workroom for a quick visit and I picked up a meter of this cotton from India ($8.50/m). I made it into a little runner, and I'm pretty pleased with it! Cheap thrills, folks. Cheap thrills.


Patricia Ann: Aw, ha. I think I'll hang onto it for a little while longer!

jody mcdowell, Verhext: I know, Oreo is so weird! Our crackpot theory is that she was traumatized when she was dropped off at the Humane Society by her original owners. Trying to get her into her cat carrier is tear-inducing, torturous stuff.

CARLY WAITO: I did the same thing! Over and over and over.

Celine: Haha! Yeah, Geoff thinks we can make the opening bigger for Oreo but I think even a modification won't make her go in at all. She's funny. I hope your cats will love it if you get it!

carly: I know, it's so good! And thanks, I hope she will go in!

Juli: Hmm, Oreo is one of those weird cats who doesn't care for cat nip! What the...? Oreo is definitely a percher so I may try putting the box on top of our dresser. I'm not too hopeful, though! Thanks for the tips.

St├ęphanie, Danielle, Hollie, She Can't Decide: I'm glad you like it!

nice-etc.com / caitlin: Aw, I'm glad to hear you have funny/weird cats too! I hate hate hate the linoleum. It's dingy and ugly to me. I will never like it! When I see other people's houses with pretty hardwood... I feel so sad. Oh well. One day?

shegallivants: I guess the life expectancy of the box depends on the cat! I mean, this thing will last forever in Oreo's presence.


  1. Anonymous24.6.10

    i looooove The Torontonians! mainly because i grew up in Leaside and i like to think that it's the neighbourhood which Rowanwood was based on. (same location, ish? same values circa 1960s?) also, when reading it last winter the bf and i were up at a cottage and i couldn't stop bothering him to read passages outloud--a good book to share indeed!

  2. I love reading at night, we mostly read for a few minutes until we get real tired. Right now I'm reading 100 years of solitude, which is my sister's favorite book but reading it in 10 min. increments is not proving to be helpful, I am so confused!

  3. I think it's so great that you read to each other - since I discovered the beauty of podcasts I've been loving the radio and realised that I've become so hypervisual. It's a real pleasure to just lie on the floor and LISTEN to something. It's a skill I'd forgotten or maybe never even had, and such a great way to be present and focused.

  4. I really love this idea! I'm terrible for staying up until I crash, I have some weird block about going to bed at a normal time if I'm not falling asleep tired. Maybe I'll have Richard read to me before he goes to work!

    Speaking of academic satires, have you read White Noise? I haven't yet but Richard has mentioned it and I think I'll try pick it up soon!

  5. you guys are the cutest ones i know! i'm happy for your book recommendations - i don't read enough print these days. thanks for the visit today, sorry i was tied up ordering new fabrics! (love the runner!)

  6. falling asleep to my husband reading is my favorite too!

  7. Anonymous25.6.10

    What a wonderful idea! I pray the man I marry and I will delight in this activity. :)

    I'll have to read those books now~

  8. this is perhaps The Most Romantic thing i've ever heard of. i just love it and ps i think i'm going to read your book reccomendation!

  9. Anonymous26.6.10

    Lucky Jim is such a hilarious book .... I read it for a class (a wonderful class, might I add) in undergrad and fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I love it when Jim makes secret faces behind people's backs!

    Lovely lovely . :)

    nancy j

  10. And it has an absolutely fabulous cover.

    I'm having a fine art giveaway over at my blog if you might be interested in an 8 x 8 giclee original (by me):


    xo, WHP

  11. we saw the movie The Reader recently, which has inspired us to start reading out loud to each other. it's been the bestest way to end the day and i look forward to it throughout the day....

  12. good gracious, those covers are great! enjoy your quite time, we all need to make more room for that...