the (anti) shopping list


Here is my not-quite-but-almost annual list for them wot don’t especially like ‘stuff’… Also, coincidentally, it’s a list of my favourite things to both give and receive… (note for those intent on giving:  the asterisked books? got ’em.
But I’m wide open for all the food items… leave baskets on the porch).

1.   Food. Any form. You can’t go wrong with cheese. If you live in the vicinity of Country Cheese… fill my stocking with the goat brie (coated in ash). It’s absolutely heaven sent, this stuff. Appropriate for the time of year, no?

2.   A book about  food. I’m mad for anything Laurie Colwin, also *The CanLit Foodbook  and most recently, *a Taste of Haida Gwaii,  by Susan Musgrave. And… Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus.  I can’t believe I don’t own this.

3.   Music by Laura Smith.

4.   Gift certificate to a garden centre. My choice would be Richter’s Herbs for the following reasons: the staff know things and are pleasant (this is no longer the case at all garden centres). The selection is amazing and mostly edible. They play classical music to the seedlings. (Also, and not insignificant, the route home goes right by my favourite place for pizza.)

5.   Gift certificate to my favourite place for pizza. (This is an excellent gift and comes with a good chance of being invited to share a slice.)

6.   If you have made anything pickled, I would welcome a jar. (FYI, I’m not much for jam.)

7.  Honey. Unpasteurized of course. Local please. Or a kombucha mother. And who would say no to a bag of Atlantic dulse???

8.  And because we can’t ever have enough… books, books and more books from across this literary land. One from each province/territory — mostly published this year:

YUKON — Ivan Coyote’s *Gender Failure (Arsenal Pulp Press) actually came out in 2014. So sue me.

NWT — Ramshackle: a Yellowknife Story,  by Alison McCreesh (Conundrum Press)  (this review by John Mutford sold me)

NUNAVUT — Made in Nunavut,  by Jack Hicks and Graham White (UBCPress) Because we could stand to know more about this part of the country.

BC — Please don’t think Amber Dawn’s *Where the Words End and My Body Begins  (Arsenal Pulp Press) is only for those in love with poetry. It’s for anyone who loves words. Trust me.

ALBERTA — Rumi and the Red Handbag  (Palimset Press), by Shawna Lemay.

SASKATCHEWAN — *The Education of Augie Merasty  (University of Regina Press), by Augie Merasty and David Carpenter.

MANITOBA — A writer new to me, Katherena Vermette. I want very much to read her North End Love SongsAlso the more recent The Seven Teachings  (Portage & Main Press, 2014/15).

ONTARIO — A Rewording Life,  a fabulous project by Sheryl Gordon to raise funds for the Alzheimers Society of Canada. 1,000 writers from across the country were each given a ‘word’, which they then returned in a sentence. Essentially, it’s an anthology of a thousand sentences. I’m proud to have been invited to join the fun. My word was ‘nettles’.

QUEBEC — Okay. This came out in 2013, not 2105, but I haven’t read it and have always meant to and now it’s long listed for Canada Reads. So it’s time. Bread and Bone  (House of Anansi), by Saleema Nawaz.

NEW BRUNSWICK — *Beatitudes  (Goose Lane Editions),  by Hermenegilde Chiasson. This was published years ago (2007) but I include it because it’s truly one of my favourite books ever and I don’t get to talk about it enough.

NOVA SCOTIA — *These Good Hands  (Cormorant), by Carol Bruneau.

PEI — *Our Lady of Steerage  (Nimbus Publishing), by Steven Mayoff.

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR — Ditto the Canada Reads argument for Michael Crummey’s 2014 *Sweetland   from Doubleday.

9.  Donations to any number of good causes. And a few more ideas (some repetition, but also not). And this, recently discovered: The Native Women’s Association of Canada.

10.  The gift of art.

11.  The gift of lunch, or a walk, a phone call, an hour to really listen to someone who needs to be heard. A visit to a nursing home. A poem tucked into a card. An invitation, a freshly baked pie for the neighbour who could do with some cheering. The gift of letting someone give to us too. Margaret Visser wrote a wonderful book on that… The Gift of Thanks.

12. The gift of a promise kept.

13.  And never to be overlooked or forgotten: the gift of massage.

You’re welcome.

And thank you.

20 thoughts on “the (anti) shopping list

  1. Utterly fabulous post, as usual!
    Those books sound delicious (along with the foodie items), and they’re now in my wish list notebook.
    Thanks Carin! Enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful year ahead!

    1. Thanks, Diana. The food books (except for the Haida Gwaii) are ancient favourites; happy times perusing them. Something so relaxing, reading about food. What is that? Glad you enjoyed the list!

      A happy xmas to you, and all good things for the new year…

  2. What was the sentence you made with nettles?
    And, on an unrelated topic, I used to know Herménégilde Chiasson quite well when we were young and I had a large and beautiful drawing he did of me but I threw it out because I thought it made me look fat. Things you regret later in life.

    1. Oh, I can’t remember. Something about soup. I have yet to get a copy of the book. As for Chiasson… a) well aren’t you silly, and b) I can’t imagine anything making you look fat. Which reminds me of a story… When I was a kid, maybe eight or nine, I used to get teased for being skinny. Bony ugly skinny, or at least this is how I interpreted it. At about that time this new girl began calling me Fatso and I was thrilled. I loved the idea of being fat. (I was still skinny of course but we really don’t see ourselves beyond how others see us at that — any? — age, so my perception of myself was based on what she said.) Then, one day, when I was all smiles about being called Fatso, she said “I always call people the opposite of what they are.” The meaning of which took a moment to sink in.

      Have you read Beatitudes?

      1. No, and I tried to Google it but only got hits about the eight beatitudes, or is that what you meant? I am thinking not. And, yes, I was silly, but it was long ago. Never silly now. Hermé, could you please draw me again now that I’m sensible?

          1. Ah, of course. I missed the title above and wasn’t actually aware of the book but your review makes me realize I want to read it. Thank you!

        1. I was correcting myself – I said “had” but it should have been subjunctive. Maybe I was being pedantic to myself though.

          1. I’m not sure if I should admit this in public but I actually woke up last night and realized I meant the pluperfect, not the subjunctive. I did manage to get back to sleep though.

  3. I love your list of books. I even had to look a couple of them up, because I wasn’t sure what they were about. I’m curious if you know if there are any fictional books out right now from Nunavut?
    I just finished reading These Good Hands (spurred on by your review) – what a story!
    I hope you get everything you want. :)

    1. I may have some more info on that very thing in the next little while! I’ll let you know. In the meantime, a good resource for northern books (and Canadian in general) is The Book Mine Set blog, run by John Mutford. Glad you enjoyed These Good Hands. It’s incredible to think the Camille Claudel story is so little known here. All the best to you for the holidays!

  4. What a great list, Carin, thank you. Based on your recommendation, I just ordered myself a copy of Rumi and the Red Handbag. Because Christmas can be a gift you give yourself. :)

    1. Lovely! The gift to self, yes. Important. I hope you like the book. I’ve heard so much about it, haven’t yet read it though. Happy xmas to you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s