Posts Tagged ‘popular literature’
Jim Coyle’s Toronto Star article is delightful.
Besides being a sweet way to travel, trains are machines made for stories.
The clickety-clack cadence, the lulling sway, the passing landscape of pastoral calm or gritty urban clutter — the factories, apartment blocks, laundry lines and fleeting glimpses of other people’s lives.
A mind in transit is a mind ripe for narrative.
Stephen Leacock knew that, or he wouldn’t have started a story by writing, “It leaves the city every day about five o’clock in the evening, the train for Mariposa.”
Anne Bailey knows it, too.
Bailey is Toronto Public Library’s director of branch libraries. It was her idea to have the library install a book-lending kiosk at Union Station, where there are trainfuls of prospective readers.
“We’re tossing ideas around all the time,” she says of TPL, which watches what other libraries are doing; what banks or airports are trying in an increasingly mobile, self-service world; what other service providers are offering wherever people congregate or pass through in numbers.
I’ve been thinking of Doris Lessing, particularly of her 1985 book of essays, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside. The book version of the CBC’s Massey Lectures from that year, available for listeners at the website of the CBC, , this very good book is Lessing’s attempt to explain why people are willing to behave in ways others would think irrational. What is going on? How can we save ourselves from making these mistakes?
This year I want to extricate myself from my prisons. I’m not sure what there are, where they are, even the extent to which they can be escaped, but I do know that I have allowed myself to be terribly circumscribed. Some of these limits have justifiable reasons, some do not, but–I hope!–most can be escaped. Here’s to doing just that.