SDL: Jour 1, mercredi

SDL2018

SDL-2018

Mercredi, 14 novembre, le salon du livre (SDL) était ouvert gratuitement au grand public. Tel que promis, j’y étais. J’avais peur qu’il y ait une foule monstre mais finalement il n’y avait pas tant de monde que ça. La journée des bibliothèques (où l’on peut entrer gratuitement avec une carte de membre des bibliothèques de Montréal ou de la BAnQ) est maintenant le jeudi! Il est clair que le salon fait de grands efforts pour être accessible à un plus grand public.

Cette année, les invités d’honneur sont Joséphine Bacon, Samuel Champagne, Martine Devaux, Marianne Ferrer, Dany Laferrière, Heather O’Neill, Alain Vadeboncoeur et Bernard Werber. On note quelques innovations dont une zone SDL ADO (c’est tout un engagement de tenter de dynamiser les visites des adolescents au salon. Bonne chance!) et une présence accrue d’éditeurs et d’écrivains anglophones, entre autre avec la présence de l’Association of English Language Publishers of Quebec et la Quebec Writer’s Federation, ainsi que des librairies anglophones (Drawn & Quarterly et Paragraphe).

IMG_3895Comme à mon habitude, j’en ai fait le tour dans tout les sens, afin de prendre le pouls de l’édition cette année. Mais il y a tellement de chose à voir (des BD, des romans, des tonnes de documentaires, des livres pour enfants, des livres audio, et j’en passe) que s’en est accablant. La tête me tourne juste à y penser…

Je note d’abord l’absence du cahier-guide habituel qui a été remplacé cette année par une charmante carte beaucoup plus pratique et, surtout, écologique. On a pas vraiment besoin des articles qu’offrait auparavant le cahier. C’était la carte qui était le plus utile. Bon choix.

Chrysanthe1GFCette année, je n’ai rien vu dans les nouveautés qui ait particulièrement éveillé mon désir. Un livre m’a intrigué: Shinrin Yoku; Les bains de forêt, le secret de santé naturelle des Japonais par Pr. Yoshifumi Miyazaki [Biblio-Mtl]. Et il y a bien sûr les plus récentes parutions chez Alire: Les Pierres et les Roses 2: La voie des roses et Les Pierres et les Roses 3: La Balance et le Sablier par Élisabeth Vonarburg, Radio Vérité: la radio du vrai monde par Jean-Jacques Pelletier, Neiges Rouges par François Lévesque, Chrysanthe 1: La Princess perdue  par Yves Meynard, et Les Traitres du Camp 133 par Wayne Arthurson. Ne manquez pas de mettre la main sur leur Catalogue 2018-2019!

J’ai profité du salon pour prendre contact auprès des distributeurs de BD et de manga pour quêter quelques services de presse. Je n’ai pas eu recours à des services de presse pour faire des commentaires de lecture depuis très longtemps (pendant plus de vingt ans j’ai écris sur la SF francophone quand je faisais Samizdat et sur les mangas en anglais quand je faisais Protoculture Addicts). Mais je fais ce blogue depuis plus d’une dizaine d’années alors il serait temps que commente un peu plus de nouveautés… Et pour ça, je vais avoir besoin de recevoir des services de presse. On verra ce que ça donne.

IMG_3900J’ai aussi assisté sur l’Espace TD à une intéressante conférence sur la “Philosophie fiction” avec Karoline Georges, Elisabeth Vonarburg, Esther Rochon et Bernard Werber. Mais n’est-ce justement pas l’attribut de la science-fiction (et des littératures de l’imaginaire) de raconter des histoires qui se déroulent hors de notre quotidien ou de notre réalité pour se questionner sur la nature humaine et ses possibles devenir? Des extraits video de la conférence seront ajouté au blogue dans les jours qui suivent.

 

 

Je remarque qu’il n’y toujours pas de présence des bibliothèques de Montréal au SDL (en fait, cette année, je crois que même la BAnQ n’avait aucun kiosque). Cela est très décevant car le SDL est pourtant l’endroit idéal pour rejoindre des lecteurs. Étrangement, beaucoup de citoyens de Montréal ignorent qu’ils ont accès à un vaste réseau de bibliothèques où ils peuvent emprunter gratuitement tout les livres qu’ils désirent (ou presque)!

En fait, plus je fréquente les bibliothèques et plus je me rends comptes que je n’ai plus (et ne ressent plus) le besoin d’acheter des livres, puisque je trouve tout ce que je veux dans les bibliothèques (même les nouveautés — avec un léger délai). Je n’achète donc plus de livres — à moins, bien sûr, d’un énorme coup de coeur (ça arrive). Et puis, il faut tout de même en acheter quelques uns pour faire vivre les libraires, les éditeurs et, surtout, les auteurs!

IMG_3898Le SDL est donc à voir absolument. C’est l’endroit idéal pour avoir une vue d’ensemble de l’édition francophone, pour découvrir les dernières nouveautés et pour faire ses emplettes des fêtes!

Moi, j’y retourne samedi pour le lancement du numéro 208 de la revue Solaris (au kiosque d’Alire). Au plaisir de vous y voir!

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Isabella Bird: Femme Exploratrice, vol. 3

IsabellaBird-v3-cov“Le Japon du XIXe siècle hors des sentiers battus !”

“Pour rejoindre Niigata, première étape de son périple, Isabella Bird a choisi une voie secondaire, rarement empruntée par les voyageurs étrangers. Au fur et à mesure que l’intrépide exploratrice s’enfonce dans la campagne japonaise, l’agitation des grandes villes et la splendeur des sites historiques s’effacent devant la misère du monde rural… Aux divers chocs culturels s’ajoutent des conditions de voyage de plus en plus difficiles, si bien qu’Ito lui-même a du mal à faire face à cet aspect de son pays qu’il ignorait. Mais l’aventurière refuse de se laisser abattre, et c’est sans fléchir qu’elle s’engage sur le dernier tronçon de la route d’Aizu !”

“Lancez-vous à la découverte d’un Japon traditionnel désormais disparu à travers les yeux de l’intrépide Isabella Bird ! Basé sur les écrits réels de l’aventurière, Isabella Bird, femme exploratrice est un récit passionnant sur la rencontre d deux monde; dessiné avec un rare souci du détail par Taiga Sassa, un nouveau talent prometteur !”

[ Texte de la couverture arrière ]

Je continue la lecture de cette série dont j’ai déjà commenté le deux premiers volumes.

IsabellaBird-v3p010Juin 1878. L’exploratrice britannique Isabella Bird et son guide japonais Tsurukichi Ito continuent leur chemin sur la route d’Aizu en direction de l’île d’Ezo (Hokkaido). La route est difficile et les villages qu’ils rencontrent sont plongés dans une pauvreté si grande qu’elle surprend même Ito. Pourtant les villageois semblent travaillants et déterminés. Le palefrenier engagé pour prendre soin des chevaux leur explique que la région a été dévastée par la guerre de Boshin. L’armée de l’ouest, menée par les clans de Satsuma et de Chōshū, y a écrasé l’armée de l’est. Les paysans ont été enrôlés de force dans l’armée, beaucoup sont morts, les villages ont été pillés et brûlés. Dix ans plus tard la région n’a toujours pas récupéré. 

IsabellaBird-v3p020À Tsugawa (Aga), l’expédition fait des emplettes, Ito se bourre de friandises et prépare un repas gastronomique pour Isabella. Elle en profite pour commenter (à sa soeur, à qui elle écrit) que la gastronomie japonaise, par la propreté des ses instruments, “la parcimonie et la précision de chaque geste, la délicatesse de la présentation, l’incroyable variété des mets, absolument tout, est imprégné d’une beauté particulière”. Le lendemain, ils prennent une barque pour un voyage mouvementé sur le fleuve Agano jusqu’à Niigata, où Isabella passe quelques temps chez les Fyson. 

Pendant ce temps à Tokyo, un botaniste nommé Charles Maries rencontre le consul général Harry Parkes et James Hepburn car il désir poursuivre en justice Isabella parce qu’elle lui aurait volé son guide, Ito, qui était toujours sous contrat avec lui. Maries considère que son travail pour découvrir de nouvelles plantes est beaucoup plus important que les pérégrinations sans conséquences d’une simple voyageuse. Parkes objecte qu’au contraire l’intelligence sur la géographie et les moeurs des habitants de régions reculées fournit par les aventuriers est indispensable au développement de la diplomatie et des échanges commerciaux de l’Empire Britannique! Il lui refuse donc son support.

Isabella Bird est un autre manga historique au récit passionnant et instructif, mais aussi plein d’humour. La fluidité de l’action est assez bonne. Et, si le dessin est loin d’être parfait (parfois les proportions ou les expressions des personnages sont bizarres), il demeure très agréable à l’oeil et surtout bien détaillé pour donner une très bonne expérience de lecture. À travers le récit divertissant des aventures d’Isabella Bird, nous découvrons deux cultures assez opposées: celles de l’Angleterre Victorienne et celle du Japon de la restauration Meiji. C’est un sujet très intéressant et je recommande donc chaudement ce manga.

Isabella Bird, femme exploratrice T03 par Taiga SASSA. Paris: Ki-oon (Coll. Kizuna), avril 2018. 208 pg, , 13 x 18 cm, 7,90 € / $14.95 Can., ISBN 979-10-327-0248-2. Pour lectorat jeune (7+). stars-3-5

Vous trouverez plus d’information sur les sites suivants:

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat — Youtube ]

© 2016 Taiga Sassa. All Rights reserved.

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Capsules

Books of Ours

MBAMOn October 16th, after a lengthy trek in the Mount Royal Park to admire the autumn foliage, we went to the Museum of Fine Arts to have a look at a small exhibition about books of hours. Titled “Resplendent Illuminations” the exhibit displays Books of Hours from the medieval and Renaissance eras (13th to the 16th Century) but the interesting part is that they are all from Quebec (seven private and public collections). The exhibit, born from in-depth academic research, offers more than 50 artifacts (leaves, complete manuscripts, prints) and is held at the MMFA (pavillon Jean-Noël Desmarais – niveau S2) from September 5, 2018 to January 6, 2019.

Created for the Christian faithfuls (not for men of the cloth but for lay people), Books of Hours offered a collection of calendar of holy and religious feasts as well as passages from the gospels and prayers. They were used for devotion but also to learn reading. What’s characterize them however is that they were personalized with family information (births and weddings) and illuminated with miniature paintings (illuminations) illustrating the life of Christ, the saints or the Virgin Mary. Very minute and beautiful art.

It is really amazing that the faithfuls of New France would bring such beautiful manuscripts with them (or order them abroad) to express their devotion and that those books ended up being so well preserved. Unfortunately, to satisfy the thirst of modern collectors, such beautiful manuscripts were often cut open and sold by the pages (to maximize profits). That’s why many of the artifacts displayed are simple folio. I am quite surprise to see that most Books of Hours are so small, usually in duodecimo book format (each folio has been folded four times to make twelve leaves or twenty-four pages). A detail that I didn’t know: some books of hours were produced AFTER the invention of the printing press (c1450)… The exhibit display seven of those, where wood- and metal cuts replaced illuminations.

Catalogue_raisonné_des_livres_dHeuresThe catalog of this magnificent exhibit (and more) has been published (in French): Catalogue raisonné des livres d’Heures conservés au Québec, edited by Brenda Dunn-Lardeau. Québec, Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2018. 468 pages. $48 (softcover)/$55 (hardcover), ISBN 978-2-7605-4975-3. [ Amazon / BAnQ / Biblio / WorldCat ]

It is a small exhibit (only two rooms) but it is quite enlightening and well-worth seeing for all (ancient) books lovers. You really should take the time to go see it.

Here are some pictures that I took as a memento:

First room

Second room

More pictures are available on my Flickr album. View the legends for all pictures after the jump

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Pictorial chronicle

Today’s bounty

Today I took a day off at the library to go… visit another library! This afternoon, my wife and I went to the Atwater Library and Computer Center. Founded in 1828 as the Montreal Mechanics’ Institution (the first in continental British North America) to “educate workers for the emerging industries”, it is now registered as charity and acts as a community library, digital learning centre and meeting place. It is a private library but it is opened to everyone (for an annual membership fee of $35 — and, as they say, “[u]nlike municipal libraries, we don’t ask people to show ID documents or proof of their address”). Like all anglophone cultural institutions it relies mostly on donations and volunteer service. It receives over 100,000 visitors annually as it offers “courses and workshops to help young and old master technology in the digital age, (…) literary and educational events, financial literacy sessions, exhibitions on literature and history, (…) and much more.” The library is housed in a heritage building (built between 1818 and 1820) located in Westmount (1200 Atwater Ave., corner of Tupper St.). It is a beautiful place. The floor of the mezzanine is made of glass panels. It has a respectable collections of books and audio-visual documents (nearly 40,000 titles).

Our main reason to visit the library was its Annual Fall Books sale. The donations of documents that doesn’t make it to the library’s collection are sold to help raise funds. There’s a wide selection of new and used books, CDs, DVDs available at very reasonable prices (between $0.50 for paperbacks and $1 for hard covers, to a range of $5 to $20 for larger art books). There was a lot of interesting books, but I had to limit myself because most of them were rather voluminous. I found quite a bounty.

Today's Bounty

It purchased only two books but they were quite a find. First, I got The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker ($15, a huge book of 11.25 x 13.25 inches, 2 inches thick and weighting about six pounds!) which presents a collection of the editorial and comical illustrations published in the famous magazine since its founding in 1925 up to 2004 (date of publication of the book). I really love those cartoons and can’t wait to read that (although it’s quite heavy to manipulate)! [ Amazon / Biblio / Goodreads / WorldCat ]

Since I am currently writing about Books of Hours, it is quite serendipitous that the second book I purchased was The Belles Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry ($5). It offers colour reproductions (with commentary) of every folio of the beautiful devotional illuminated manuscript (now hosted in The Cloisters Collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art). It was commissioned around 1409 by Jean, duc de Berry to the Limbourg brothers just a few years before they also illustrated the more famous Très Riches Heures for the same patron. It is a very beautiful and amazing book. It will probably take me a while before going through it.  [ Amazon / Biblio / Goodreads / Wikipedia / WorldCat ]

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Notable News (w32-w41)

Since our previous status report, nearly three months ago, a lot has happened. On the domestic front, I am happy to say that I have felt improvement at work. I guess I found better ways to deal with all the irritant “mammoths” (a plethora of usual absurdities, incompetence, and running arounds that made me crazy and drained my energy). However, following the “heat episode” I mentioned earlier, I complained to the union. The union director for the borough came to the workplace and said he could not do anything. A few weeks later he submitted his report to the employers. His conclusion? The section head and the three employees who left early because the excessive heat made them sick … should have stayed at work to show solidarity with their colleagues! Who needs a heartless employer when you have a union of traitors and assholes like that! A real nest of collusion. Madness!

As I keep saying, library work can be quite physical and exhausting (who knew!). I remember someone saying that, at my age, “if you don’t feel pain somewhere when you get up in the morning, it means that you’re dead!” Well, I can say that I feel quite alive. Pain is good. It certainly makes me feel I am there.

What has probably helped is that it has been a very good time for writing. My mind felt clear, I’ve been producing a lot, and everything was doing so well that I could only fear that it would all crash down soon. Maybe it’s the Algernon’s syndrome  or, to paraphrase Nelligan, “I am happy, so happy, that I am afraid to burst into tears!” Hopefully not… It is true that I wrote a lot, mostly about movies (Winchester, The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Isle of Dogs, Ready Player One, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library), particularly with the coverage of the World Film Festival (list of Japanese films, red carpet, Samurai’s Promise, Zone Out, Life in overtime, Think again, Junpei, The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, wrap-up). After a while I had enough of movies and it felt like I should go back to comment on books and manga—which I did with The Ghost in the Shell 1.5: [Human Error Processer], Un siècle d’Animation Japonaise, Souvenirs d’Emanon, Le Guide du Mauvais Père 4 and The Little Broomstick. I also wrote a suggestion list of adult manga. With all this the blog’s stats have soared!

I kept busy. I took walks in the park or visited the museum, a farm fair or the Italian week. I also reflected on the electoral conundrum (before accomplishing my citizen’s duty —in anticipation— with disappointing results), against Facebook, about writing (1, 2, 3) and about reading (or not). 

Eventually, by mid-September, everything started to slow down again and I wrote less. So many things to do. I feel that I cannot accomplish anything. What I need is more time! Time… Time is the enemy. We fight it to do more. We fight it hoping not to get old too fast and still have a little time left to do more. I wrote a haiku.

I started writing in a new notebook. The thirty-fifth. Some could be surprised that, in this digital age, one would still use a paper notebook. However, I find this physical form strangely reassuring. After all, electronic information can be so vulnerable. The good old notebook doesn’t need any batteries and fears only fire and water. Its sequential way of working—to write, read (or re-read)—is so much more appropriate for the human brain capacity. It is easier to get an overview of the text, to positioned yourself in the three dimensions of the writing. It’s more confortable for me. Of course, most of the time, it is just a glorified to-do or grocery list, but it serves as backup for my capricious memory. That way, in a few scribbles, I can preserves ideas that would otherwise be too fleeting to be useful. It is also the witness of my daily life.

I’ve watched a few interesting TV series. First, The Miniaturist mini-series. It is good and yet disappointing. It looks similar to the Girl with a Pearl Earring. It’s another show about the powerlessness of women in the end of the Middle Age (or early Enlightment). It concludes with an open-ending. “I can do this”, she says… I also binge-watched the first season of the Jack Ryan TV series on Amazon Prime (a thriller similar to 24), the new seasons of Walking Dead, Doctor Who and also the very good Press TV series. 

Apple has announced new products (iPhone and watch) and released new operating systems. How come, when you do a software upgrade, you always loose something you like? Why is removing something cool and useful is considered an upgrade? New operating systems always offer a basket of frustration…

I am trying to improve my reading habits by reading more, more often and better literature than just manga. I started with The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart and I am currently reading the first novel of the Poldark series by Winston Graham. But it is hard. In the olden days, I could read about sixty pages in an hour. Now, I read only a few hours per week, before going to bed, and barely thirty pages per hour. After two or three days of starting a new book, I am barely at page fifty! What’s happened to me? Fortunately, as I go forward, it is starting to get better… However, manga are pilling up on my nightstand, so I will soon have to pay attention to them…

“Summer is officially dead. It smells like Fall outside and I heard a flight of geese passing over the house”. Then, Fall officially came. It got colder and rainy. We even had some light snow. It became a little warmer for a while, but now we can feel that Winter is around the corner. Flowers and plants are shrivelling, twisting and taking the brownish colour of death. Winter is coming…

The lights have started to flicker again. Same time than last year…

On the world stage, we find the usual disasters (increasing numbers of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and volcanoes) but my attention had been particularly focused on the trumpian saga of corruption scandals (Stormy Daniels, the Mueller’s investigation, of course, but particularly the Kavanaugh confirmation) growing in a crescendo as the midterm elections are closing by. Such craziness! (For all the details see the 2018 events for the months of August, September and October as well as the links bellow).

Despite all this, I surprisingly succeeded to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered over two-hundred notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order; please note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual) after the jump.

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Japanese Film Festival

The 35th edition of the Montreal Japanese Film Festival will be held on Friday November 30th and Saturday December 1st at the Cinémathèque québécoise (web). There will be three Japanese films screened for free. The event is presented by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal. The films are in Japanese with English subtitles. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations is required but you’ll need to take a ticket at the box-office.

Karera_ga_Honki_de_Amu_Toki_wa-tpClose-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは、/ Karera ga honki de amu toki wa / lit. “When they seriously knit”): Japan, drama, 2017, 127 mins; Dir.: Naoko Ogigami.

After being abandoned by her mother, 11-year-old Tomo is taken in by her uncle and his transgender girlfriend. Close-knit offers a heart-warming reflection on discrimination and ignorance and, more importantly, on the true meaning of family.

Screening on November 30 at 18:30.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / JMDB / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

Chihayafuru_Part_3-p001Chihayafuru: Musubi (ちはやふるー結びー / Chihayafuru – knot) : Japan, Youth drama, 2018, 127 min.; Dir.: Norihiro Koizumi.

The young members of a competitive karuta (classic Japanese playing cards) team stand together against the odds and the emotional turmoil they face, seeking to capture and hold on to a treasured moment forever. Can they overcome their opponents?

Screening on December 1 at 13:00.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

La_La_La_At_Rock_Bottom-p02La La La at Rock Bottom (味園ユニバース / Misono Yunibasu) : Japan, Drama, 2015, 103 min.; Dir.: Nobuhiro Yamashita.

Redemption is key in this humorous story about an amnesiac thug turned singer. A powerful and moving tale that reveals human complexity, baring charms and faults alike, and will make anyone want to believe in second chances. Added bonus: great musical moments!

Screening on December 1 at 15:15.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

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Festival du Nouveau Cinema 2018

FNC47-logo-horizontal-noir.png

The 47th edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema (FNC) will be held in various Montreal theatres (Cinema Impérial, du Musée, du Parc, Quartier Latin, Theatre Maisonneuve, Cinémathèque Québecoise, etc.) from October 3 to 14, 2018. In their own words, this festival is a gathering to “celebrate our shared passion for film, (…) for cinema of all types, from offbeat, one-of-a-kind niche works to crowd-pleasers to daringly innovative big events”.  It is “resolutely forward-looking, has long been the unfailing advocate of new technologies“ making it “the best place around to preview the cinema of tomorrow”!

This year, it will offers over three-hundred movies including ten from Japan (click on the links for details & schedule):

Press review:

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