I received a membership to audible.com for Christmas and have my Kobo for taxis, but as you can see, I’m a book-in-the-hand person at heart. I read several at a time, as a line or a passage in one can cause me to put it down and revisit the title it brings to mind. I complete them all eventually. This is why I like to read here in my home office: All of my books are within reach.
But the one I’m reading came to me from artist Charlie Pachter. I was over at his Moose Factory in Toronto and, after a flurry of inspiring Canadiana, he trustingly loaned me this delicate first edition: Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada, by Anna Jameson. This British writer spent 1836 and ’37 in Ontario and faithfully recounted her impressions. “What Toronto may be in summer, I cannot tell; they say it’s a pretty place. At present its appearance to me , a stranger, is most strangely mean and melancholy,” she writes. You don’t say.
The book was published by McClelland & Stewart in 1923, and the editor’s note strikes another current chord : “We are growing more curious in Canada ‘to see ourselves as others see us.’ Plus ca change.” I swore to Charlie I would guard Studies and Rambles with my life and return it within a fortnight. I will continue to do the former but have not managed the latter. It’s been a while.
Suzanne Boyd is the editor-in-chief of Zoomer magazine.