7. Burqa of Skin — Nelly Arcan
8. species branding — Danielle LaFrance
this week — 20.27
to date — 92.03
I’m slowly reading my way through Nelly Arcan. It’s not an easy journey. I love her writing style, though I feel like she makes me work hard. And the content isn’t exactly uplifting. Burqa of Skin is a collection of writing predominately reminiscing on an abhorrent (she had a few in her too short life) experience appearing on an episode of Tout le monde en parle (I think that’s the name of the program) on french CBC. I watched bits of it on YouTube, but I don’t understand french, much less Quebecois french, so I was left with trying to read body language. It would be interesting, though interesting is perhaps not the appropriate word, to watch it with English subtitles. I’m also slowly making my way through the CUE Books catalogue–an embarrassing admission, given that I was its managing editor for a little over two years. I didn’t plan on following Arcan with LaFrance’s species branding though the works seem to complement each other in their exploration of the treatment of women, sex workers, and marginalization. I thought species branding was great and deserves a wider readership and critical analysis. I know where you can get a copy, ahem…
Three bouts of physiotherapy and my knee is feeling much better and I’m starting to reramp-up my running to make up for lost time. My physiotherapist seems to agree, and suggests that I don’t need to see her again for a few weeks unless knee takes [another] turn for the worse. I feel like I’m behind. I know that I’m behind. I’m nearly to the end of January and I haven’t broken 100 kilometres yet, and I need to be somewhere near 150, although I expect to be running farther frequently come autumn. Still, I feel like I should be further along, though I really don’t want to hurt myself any more and make things worse. The weather has been cooperative for the most part, although I don’t mind running in poor weather; at the least it ensures fewer meandering idiots on the sea wall for me to run into. Which is nice.
5. Submission — Michel Houellebecq
6. Magenta Soul Whip — Lisa Robertson
this week — 6.33
to date — 71.76
I enjoyed Submission in spite of finding the narrator François rather unlikable. Not dislikable. I just didn’t feel anything for him one way or the other. I like how through François Michel Houellebecq seems to be poking fun at the ridiculous notion that Islam is coming to take over the West and annihilate its culture. It’s rather smart satire, I think, in spite of my limited knowledge of French culture and politics. The ending seemed a bit too predictable. A good read regardless. This is my first Houellebecq book and I will probably read more of his stuff. Although The Weather gets (or seems to get) the acclaim, I enjoyed Magenta Soul Whip more for reasons that I can’t quite put to keyboard. I think I prefer the rambling styling of The Weather versus the familiar poetic form found in Magenta, but still I enjoyed Magenta more so. I’m not sure why, and my aching knee that refuses to be dulled by any amount of wine is hindering adequate introspection.
I didn’t run much this week, as you can see from the paltry 6.33 km logged above. My knee has been agonizing so much so that I’ve decided to explore physiotherapy. I got the official blood test results and the doctor is indeed convinced that I pushed a little too hard and nothing much more. I talked to her about my knee and asked about physiotherapy and she agreed it was probably a good idea and recommended a place and therapist nearby. I’ve booked my first appointment for January 27 and in the meantime bought an over-the-counter knee brace from London Drugs for $50. At the very least I’m hoping for a bit of placebo.
3. God in Pink — Hasan Namir
4. The Weather — Lisa Robertson
this week — 28.59
to date — 65.43
I did not like God in Pink. It’s not really a story that one likes, per se, and there in lies the problem in my opinion because it is an interesting story and arguably one that needs to be told and written and read but my problem with the book is that it is poorly executed and that’s really unfortunate. I wanted to like it, as much as it can be “liked”. I do think it deserves to be read. I just wish that it was better written. I adore Lisa Robertson’s work but up until now I had only read her in lit journals, which seems a bit of a crime. I really enjoyed The Weather from Sunday through Saturday. You can read Monday on the The Poetry Foundation’s website here and you can listen to Robertson reading Tuesday on the Coach House Books website here. [EDIT: not anymore, unfortunately.]
I haven’t gone for a run in a couple days because it seems I’ve been going a bit hard over the past few days and on Sunday had a bout of macroscopic hematuria and the doctor said that maybe I should tone it down a bit for a bit and sent me for some blood tests just to make sure it was in fact my kidneys unable to process my body’s muscle cannibalizing and not, you know, cancer or an STI. “You didn’t by chance have beets yesterday, did you?” she asks. “I have to ask,” she says apologetically.
And damn it my knee hurts.
Fifteen Dogs — Andre Alexis
Clean Sails — Gustave Morin
Kilometres to date: 36.84
I didn’t like Fifteen Dogs because it made me miss my dogs but otherwise it was a pretty great novel. I guess the fact that it won the Giller trumps whatever I might have to say about it, whether positive or critical. The nice thing about it winning the Giller is that I found a copy at Costco for $9.95. I think it was the fourth or fifth printing, but whatever. Clean Sails was really great. I really like concrete poetry and I really enjoyed Morin’s autobiographical essay at the end of the book. If you’re wondering if I think that a book that is predominately a picture book is cheating the 95 Book challenge my response is that I’m willing to bet George W. Bush “read” many picture books.
In step one of my cyborgification I bought a Fitbit Surge off of Craigslist and I love it and it was one of the more pleasant Craigslist experiences that I’ve had. The guy seemed really suspicious that I was going to no-show on him and we swapped Claigslist selling horror stories. It’s brand new, factory sealed and saved my over $100 and then yesterday Fitbit announced the Blaze that is basically the Surge but with a colour screen and more features and much finer aesthetics for less money so that makes me just thrilled. Up until Surge I was tracking my running with the Walk Tracker Pro app (it was free from one of those Starbucks free-app-card thingies a while ago) with decent success but the accuracy wasn’t always great–like when it tells me that I ran a kilometre in under three minutes–and I really didn’t want to carry my phone any more. My left knee that I had bent the wrong way in a ju jitsu class a few years [lifetime] ago is starting to hurt more than usual which is a concern. I think I should stretch once in a while.