Salon du livre

Le Salon du livre de Montréal est de retour pour une 40e édition, du 15 au 20 novembre 2017. Comme toujours, il aura lieu à la Place Bonaventure.

On y retrouvera plus de 2000 auteurs, romanciers, poètes, et illustrateurs qui présenteront et signeront leurs oeuvres. Les dix invités d’honneur sont Sophie Bienvenu, Josée Bisaillon, Rose-Line Brasset, Andrée A. Michaud, Jean-François Nadeau, Louise Penny, Éric Plamondon, Felwine Sarr, Aude Seigne et Fanny Britt. De nombreuses activités souligneront, entre autre, la Journée mondiale des écrivains emprisonnés et l’accent sera mis sur Montréal (célébrations du 375obligent).

Comme par les années passées, les détenteurs d’une carte de bibliothèque de Montréal (ou de BAnQ) pourront entrer gratuitement au salon mercredi le 15 novembre 2017, entre 15h et 21h. J’y serai.

Source: Radio-Canada

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Ishiguro gets Nobel Prize in literature !

British writer Kazuo Ishiguro (mostly known for his books The remains of the day [1989] and Never let me go [2005], which were both adapted into movies) has received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. The award was announced on October 5th. Sara Danius, the secretary of the Swedish Academy, said that his novels showed “great emotional force” as he was uncovering “the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” She also described his style as a “mix of Jane Austen, comedy of manners and Franz Kafka.” His recurrent themes seem to be identity, memory, time and self-delusion.

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 but moved to Surrey, England, at age five because of his father’s work as an oceanographer for the NOCS. He always stayed close to his Japanese roots because, until age fifteen, he had planned to go back to Japan but, instead, his family decided to settle in England (he received British citizenship in 1982). He graduated from UKC in English and Philosophy in 1978 and received a Master in creative writing from UEA in 1980.  Before starting his writing career in 1982, he wanted to be a musician and worked as a social worker. Strangely, his life background and relationship with Japan is very similar with Belgian author Amélie Nothomb and their writings share some themes.

To celebrate Ishiguro’s Nobel Prize, NHK World re-broadcasted a two-part special where the writer gives a lecture about his work. Originally broadcasted on October 22nd and November 5th 2016, the show is titled “First Class [in literature], Kazuo Ishiguro: My Secret of Writing” and is still available for streaming until October 25th, 2017 [Part 1 and Part 2]. It is also partly available on Youtube [in English and in Japanese]. It is very interesting and well worth watching.

Sources: BBC, Le Devoir, Goodreads, HazLitt, Japan Times, NHK World, Wikipedia.

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L’art subtil du commentaire-critique

On me demande souvent quels sont les critères que j’utilise quand j’écris des critiques (reviews) de livres ou de films. En fait, j’utilise les même critères que j’ai développé au cours des années alors que j’écrivais des critiques d’abord pour Samizdat (un fanzine de science-fiction et fantastique québécois, 1987-1994) et, par la suite, pour Protoculture Addicts (un magazine sur la culture, le dessin animé et la bande-dessinée japonaise, 1987-2008). J’ai été rédacteur-en-chef pour ce dernier pendant plus d’une vingtaine d’années et ce sont ces même critères auxquels je demandais à mes collaborateurs d’adhérer. Je vais donc profiter de la présente occasion pour vous expliquer un peu comment je procède. Et je suggère à quiconque qui désire écrire des critiques de suivre ces quelques lignes directrices.

J’aimerais d’abord définir la critique comme étant un simple commentaire et non pas une critique analytique. Cette dernière cherche à étudier, en profondeur, les moindres aspects d’une oeuvre: les motivations des personnages, les choix narratifs, le message de l’auteur, etc. Une simple critique, quant à elle, n’est qu’un commentaire qui se veut ni objectif, ni constructif, ni négatif : c’est juste une opinion, un ressenti, que l’on exprime. On aime ou on aime pas, et on tente d’expliquer pourquoi, en décortiquant brièvement les impressions que l’oeuvre nous a laissé.

Je préfère d’ailleurs parler de “commentaire” et non de “critique” car ce dernier terme fait plus pompeux et peut aisément être confondu avec son cousin analytique. Un commentaire donne une impression plus modeste. On ne cherche pas a donner de leçon mais simplement à dire ce qu’on en pense. Dans le cas d’un livre, on pourrait parler de commentaire de lecture mais comme on peut commenter aussi des documents audio-visuels (des BD ou des manga, des films (vu au cinéma, en Dvd, ou Blu-ray), ou même de la musique (concert, CD)) je préfère m’en tenir simplement à “commentaire.” Bien sûr, l’approche sera un peu différente selon le type d’ouvrage  que l’on commente (livre, cinéma, musique).

Une autre question que j’entend parfois c’est “pourquoi se donner la peine de faire un commentaire” alors que l’on pourrait bien se contenter d’apprécier une oeuvre pour ce qu’elle est sans trop se poser de question. Je dois avouer que pour moi c’est plus une déformation professionnelle. J’ai écrit tellement de commentaires pour les publications pour lesquelles je travaillais que maintenant je ne peux pas m’empêcher d’analyser et de penser à ce que je ressens au fur et à mesure que je progresse dans le livre que je lis ou dans le film que je visionne. Et tant qu’à avoir des idées ou des opinions, pourquoi ne pas les partager? Car la raison fondamentale d’un commentaire c’est cela: partager ses coups de coeur (ou de foudre!), son amour (ou parfois son aversion) pour une oeuvre, ou simplement donner son opinion. Parfois, aussi, il s’agit de vouloir aider les autres à comprendre et à mieux apprécier une oeuvre ou, tout au moins, à partager la façon dont nous percevons une oeuvre (à travers le prisme de nos expériences personnelles, de notre savoir, de notre vécu). Si nous sommes passionné par un sujet, il est tout naturel de vouloir partager cette passion. Le lecteur (du commentaire) en fera bien ce qu’il veut…

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Genres et littératures (3)

Sources et Bibliographie complémentaire

Pour compléter mon essai sur les Genres et littérature (0: Introduction, 1: Littératures rationnelles, 2: Littératures de l’Imaginaire) je vous présente ici la liste des sources que j’ai utilisé ainsi qu’une bibliographie complémentaire pour ceux et celles qui désireraient pousser plus loin sur le sujet.

Sources

ALLARD, Yvon. Paralittérature. Montréal, La Centrale des Bibliothèques, 1979. 728 p. ISBN 2-89059-000-3. [ BiblioWorldCat ]

AMALRIC, Hélène. Le guide des 100 polars incontournables. Paris, Libris, 2008. 110 p. ISBN 978-2-290-00919-2. [ BiblioWorldCat ]

BARETS, Stan. Catalogue des âmes et cycles de la S.F.. Paris: Denoël, 1979. 298 p. [ BiblioWorldCat ]

BARETS, Stan. Le Science-fictionnaire 2. Paris, Denoël (Présence du Futur #549), 1994. 332 p. ISBN 978-2-207-30565-1. [ BiblioWorldCat ]

BOGDANOFF, Igor & Grichka. Clefs pour la science-fiction. Paris, Seghers, 1976. 378 p. [ WorldCat ]

Collections : La revue de la littérature d’ici pour les bibliothèques d’ici. Montreal, Association Nationale des Éditeurs de Livres, 52 p. Vol. 1, No 3 (Avril 2014): Le roman historique, Vol. 1, No 4 (Juin 2014): Polars, thrillers et romans policiers et Vol. 2, No 6 (Novembre 2015): Littérature et imaginaire.

Éditions Alire: Catalogue 2015-2016. Québec, Éditions Alire, 2015. 98 p.

JANELLE, Claude. Le DALIAF: Dictionnaire des auteurs des littératures de l’imaginaire en Amérique française. Québec, Les éditions Alire, 2011. 535 p. ISBN 978-2-8961507-4-8. [ BiblioWorldCat ]

Lire: Special Polar (Juin 2010).

SPINRAD, Norman, ”Les Neuromantiques” in Univers 1987. Paris: J’ai Lu (#2165), pp. 256-278. [ WorldCat ]

J’ai également essayé d’inclure le plus d’hyper-liens possible (principalement vers Wikipedia) afin de renvoyer les lecteurs vers des références plus développées et ainsi limiter cet essai à un bref schéma visant simplement à introduire le sujet. Veuillez prendre note que d’autres hyper-liens seront ajouté avec le temps (pour les auteurs et les titres).

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Genres et littératures (2)

Littératures de l’imaginaire

J’ai précédemment parlé des genres littéraires rationnels (les genres ordinaires, voir banal — mundane comme ils disent en anglais) qui sont ancrés dans la réalité. Il me reste donc à vous entretenir des genres littéraires de l’imaginaire. Un collègue les avait sommairement définit comme “des histoires qui ne se peuvent pas”, qui se déroulent dans un monde entièrement ou partiellement créé par l’auteur. Ils se divisent en trois grandes catégories qui se définissent grossièrement comme suit:

  1. le fantastique, où l’on imagine ce qui est, mais autrement, ce qui existe en dehors des normes, de façon irrationnel, caché, ailleurs ou au-delà de notre réalité quotidienne (par exemple: le surnaturel)
  2. la fantasy, où l’on imagine ce qui aurait pu être dans le passé ou dans un autre monde (par exemple : la magie)
  3. la science-fiction, où l’on imagine ce qui sera dans un avenir immédiat ou lointain (par exemple : un empire galactique)

Les genres tendent à être définit par leurs styles littéraires et les thèmes qu’ils utilisent. Je ne m’attarderai pas vraiment sur le style mais plutôt sur les thèmes et les sujets qui caractérisent un genre. De ce point de vue, les trois grands genres de l’imaginaire sont assez aisé à définir. Ce qui est plus difficile à définir ce sont les nombreux sous-genres pour chacune de ces catégories. Non seulement les érudits ne semblent pas s’entendre sur leur nomenclature mais la frontière est parfois floue entre les différents sous-genres (leurs multiples variantes ont parfois des tonalités assez similaires). Alors, comme je l’ai fait pour les genres rationnels, je vais vous présenter ici les principaux genres des littératures de l’imaginaire, les définir du mieux que je peux, en expliquer les sous-genres majeures (ou les regrouper selon leurs similarités) et donner quelques exemples d’auteurs ou de titres.

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FFM 2017 wrap-up

The 41st Montreal World Film Festival (FFM) is now over. This year was a slim pick for the Japanese cinema aficionado since there was only two Japanese movies (two others were co-productions with non-Japanese directors). Besides that, the festival went smoothly for me. However, the only question remaining above our heads is: will there be a festival next year? Of course Serge Losique wants to be reassuring and said that the FFM was here to stay. He even announced the dates for the next two years: August 23rd to September 3rd 2018 and August 22nd to September 2nd 2019 !!

One of the event that I would have liked to attend (but couldn’t by lack of time) was the press conference and Master Class held at L’Astral by Chinese Martial Art Filmmaker Xu Haofeng (The Hidden Sword) on Monday August 28th. It seems that it was one of the rares (if not the only one) press conference held at the FFM this year. I really miss those… (and the film market and the press room!)

The closing film of the festival was a surprise to be announced after the awards, just a few hours before its free screening. It was meant as a gift for the movie fans.

A press release announced the awards for the 48th Student Film Festival: for the Canadian competition it went to Land by Samiramis Kia (York University, Toronto) and for the International competition it went to Elene by Seven Kayhan (Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey).

Another press release announced the awards for the festival itself: the Grand Prix of the Americas (Best Film) went to And Suddenly the Dawn by Silvio Caiozzi (Chile) and the Special Grand Prix of the Jury went to Dear Etranger by Yukiko Mishima (Japan). Check the press release for the other awards.

To summarize, I’ve seen and commented on two Japanese movies:

I also wrote a few informational posts about the festival:

Finally, here are the latest comments about the FFM in the media:

 

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Monthly notable news (w26-33)

On the domestic front, in the last month or so, the condition were still rather horrible at work: it was way too hot (ventilation is working but there’s absolutely no air conditioning so we regularly work at temperature of 28~33 ? including the humidex — 23~25 ? with 45%~55% humidity) and we are still running like crazy… Therefore, most of the time, I come back home totally exhausted.

When I was not busy chasing quotes for the balcony and masonry repairs on the duplex, I was taking care of the stray cats, but this year’s cat saga has finally concluded: the two females have been sterilized & released and their kittens have been adopted through a good samaritan shelter. Despite all this (and maybe thanks to the omega 3 supplement I am taking? Nah…) I wrote much more than the previous months (many capsule reviews including commentaries on the Ghost in the Shell and Valerian live-action movies, as well as the superb Pline manga)  and I also started contributing to the Irrésistibles blog (with a version of my commentaries on Animeland #214 & #215, dBD #115, Pline #1, and the movie Silence).

In the news, everything was about the Trump circus. I was literally consumed by the news of this train wreck in the making, like watching an accident where you know you shouldn’t but just can’t turn you gaze from it. So we’ve spent countless hours watching news reports on MSNBC (mainly Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell shows) about the latest trump scandals — and there’s a new one almost every day! It never stops: the Buzzfeed Russian “dossier” (Wikipedia, document), the possible election tempering collusion and financial involvement with Russia, the healthcare repeal & replace disaster, the sabre-rattling with North Korea and, finally, the controversial comments following the Charlottesville violence contributing to inflame the supremacist and racist agenda! When will the republicans realize they have bet on the wrong horse and decide to put him out of his misery? I can’t believe it has gone this far…

I have also watched today’s partial eclipse of the sun (58%) on TV and with my own eyes (using a home-made filter) but, unfortunately, I was not able to take any respectable pictures (by lack of preparation and appropriate equipment). But, at least, the weather was cooperating and I was able to see it. The next opportunities for such event will be June 10 2021 (partial at 85%), October 14 2023 (partial at 29%) and on April 8 2024 (a total solar eclipse!).

As always, I tried to remain acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered oven an hundred notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly separated in a few categories of interest), after the jump.

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Italian Week 2017

Today we visited the 2017 Montreal’s Italian Week that was held from August 4 to 13 in the Little Italy. Amongst other things, we’ve seen a Fiat and Ferrari car exposition, a colourful parade and listen to some folkloric music! The parade was organized by one of the multiple Italian associations of Montreal,  from Sicily (probably the Associazione messinese di Montreal). I have also discovered quite an interesting musical instrument: the bufù (a.k.a. caccavella or putipù) is a friction drum that is played by rubbing a bamboo stick through an animal skin membrane to make it vibrate and produce a deep sound. The music was played by the people from the Associazione Casacalendese di Montreal.

I made a short video as a memento of this visit, available also on Vimeo:

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Monthly notable news (w20-25)

On the domestic front, after much hesitation, the summer has finally arrived. At work, it is crazier than ever with the start of the vacation loan, the TD summer reading club, the twenty-days of amnesty, the summer clean-up and all this often in a sweatshop-like environment (hot and humid, because the ventilation and AC doesn’t work properly). It is so exhausting. I’ve applied for a job with more responsibilities (and pay) but flunked the interview (for the second time!). I am either good for nothing else or there’s something rotten in the HR kingdom.

I felt quite depressed lately. With all the problems with the house and at work, as well as the fact that I have not written or read much in several months, it’s no surprise. I come back from work with all my energy spent. I feel worthless. I feel I give a lot to the people around me and doesn’t get much (attention, respect, gratitude, etc.) in return. I hate it when dark thoughts keep me from enjoying life. But, hey!, it’s summer so lets enjoy the sun, the parks, the museums, the flowers, the cats, the people and particularly the few remaining days of my second ten-day summer vacation. There’s lot to do around the house and so much writing (hopefully) to catch up (I’ll try to go at it with smaller bites)!

In the news, Apple has announced some great software updates (iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4) and some new products (iMac & MacBook Pro, or iPad Pro updates, as well as a new iMac Pro and the HomePod, a speaker that they say will reinvent music at home) and my evenings have been consumed with listening to the latest Trump craziness on MSNBC. Everyday brings a new lie! More on the news in the links bellow…

I have always enjoyed the stray cats in my backyard but this year it is a real infestation: a battered dominant male [Toffee], two females (mother [Grisou] and daughter [Chaussette/Socks], their FIVE kittens and a couple of tomcat challengers. That’s TEN cats! They have laid waste to the backyard garden so I had to do something to control the situation. Unfortunately, the lack of consistent animal management policies in the city (and particularly in this borough, VSP) puts all the burden on the citizen and doesn’t give much help. My only option is to bring them to the Berger Blanc (which has a terrible reputation and an almost all-kill policy — also, for some mysterious reasons [$$?], my borough doesn’t deal with the SPCA) which I refuse to do. So far, I’ve caught all the females and their kittens, and I’ll see what I can do from there (any suggestions?)…

I’ve also started taking some omega-3 supplements, which (according to an NHK World report) is supposed to be good against cholesterol and dementia, amongst other things (like cancer or arthritis). It’s messing up with my digestion, but strangely I feel that my mind is a little clearer. Placebo effect? Anyway, we’ll see…

Strangely, I kept busy during the last month by doing lots of little things (cleaning up the garage, buying a new couch, burying my mother’s ashes, etc. — daily routine stuff) about which there’s little to say (or I just can’t recall some of them). I confess that I also probably watch too much TV. Anyway, that’s about it for now…

Although, as always, I continued to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered nearly a hundred notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly separated in a few categories of interest), after the jump.

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Weekly notable news (w17-19)

Another few weeks have passed quickly without anything significant happening: More crazy weeks at works and rainy week-ends where I don’t feel I accomplished anything. I am tired and really need a longer vacation. Next week I’ll start a ten-day holiday where I’ll be able to rest (sleep late!), catch up on stuff (writing, work around the house), travel around (Ottawa’s Tulip’s festival, Quebec City, botanical garden, museums, the libraries book sale, bury my mother’s ashes, etc.) and, above all, completely forget about work for a while. Or so I thought!

In hope for greener pastures, I have applied for a new library job (more responsibilities, further from home, but a greater challenge for my skills and a much better salary). However, after a lengthy processus, they scheduled an interview right in the middle of my vacation and at nine o’clock on the morning of my BIRTHDAY! Not only they made me filled a psychological test online (it’s called “an inventory of personality” and it will probably reveal that I am a total psycho) but they didn’t even bother to reply when I asked if it was possible to reschedule, so I’ll do my best to be there and we’ll see. Que sera, sera.

The weather has really been lousy lately. May is supposed to be the nicest month of all (and not only because it’s my birthday). Overall, it has been cold and rainy. It even snowed a little last week. In may! Hopefully, it will not portend that the summer will be likewise, and it will soon improve (at least for my vacations, please!).

Something strange happened at the beginning of the month: out of the blue, one late afternoon, I started to smell a vague odour of gazoline in the basement. It didn’t come from the obvious source, the garage. Usually, such smell comes from the sewage (through a dried P-trap) or from a dead animal but, in this case, it seemed to come from the pit of the water-pipe entry. I called the city and was told not to worry, it was “probably” not toxic and might have come from some work on the pipes in the neighbourhood (I couldn’t locate any nearby). I cracked open a window and the next morning it was gone. I never knew what it was.

The unlucky streak didn’t stop there. Not only I broke a piece of tooth while eating a granola bar during my lunch break at work (and I am still waiting for the dentist to find some spare time for an appointment), but I also discovered that the damage to the rear balcony of the house is more extensive than I first thought. The supporting posts are not planted deep enough (they rest on concrete supports that are just on the surface while they should be in soil deep enough so it never freezes in winter — who are the morons who built this house?!) so the ground expansion due to the freezing is slowly ripping the balcony off the house. So much that it has now become worrisome. We will have to do the repairs sooner than expected and it will probably be quite costly! What an exciting boring life!

Again, I must remind myself not to let the outside world rattle my core. Carpe diem, my boy, carpe diem!

Finally, I managed to stay acquainted with some of the affairs of the world and gathered notable news & links of interest — which I share with you (in both french or english, and organized into a few basic categories), after the jump.

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