Archive for the ‘travel’ Category
What I do not know about the country in which I currently reside could fill bookshelves. And it does. So, thanks to a generous friend and a used bookstore, I have the following reading list to catch me up on Canadiana:
Margaret Atwood, Before the Flood
Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake
Mordechai Richler, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Margaret Laurence, The Diviners
Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women
W. O. Mitchell, Who has Seen the Wind
Hugh MacLennan, Two Solitudes
Rudy Wiebe, The Temptations of Big Bear
Criag Brown, Ed. The Illustrated History of Canada
Peter C. Newman, Company of Adventurers
To be fair to me, I am not a complete dolt and have read a great deal of Atwood, and taught her first novel, The Edible Woman, in Women’s Studies courses. But I haven’t read her newest stuff, which focusses more on the damage to the environment caused by the patriarchy than the damage to individual people. I’ve also read some Richler, but not his seminal Duddy, so that needed to happen.
I hesitate to ask you, gentle reader, if you have anything to add to the list, for I also have other reading that needs to happen and, well, kids and a husband and knitting that all need tending to. But, comments on your favorites are most welcome, as are things that might have been neglected in the creating of this list! (Oh, and my French is abysmal, so we’re sticking to Anglophone literature and history. A true loss, I am sure.)
Ye Olde PostADay2011 resolution fell a bit by the wayside while I was in LA. Although I cagily relied on my roommate’s laptop to be close at hand, the internet connection on the 8th floor of the downtown Sheraton in LA was miserable and my iPhone data plan took a monster hit. No blogging was accomplished.
The MLA is a crazy thing, with thousands of conference goers spread over multiple hotels, a hotel meeting area, and a conference center. Given that my colleagues and I spent two of our three non-travel days in the interview room talking to 15 candidates, I didn’t get out much. I missed people I would have liked to see; I allowed myself to get double-booked one night; and my feet hurt like hell after hoofin’ it through downtown in heels.
I had never been to Southern California before, so was keen to eat well and get at least a solid impression of LA. I managed to accomplish both.
Architecturally, the core of downtown LA is rather bland. I suppose you could be anywhere if you’re on the 8th floor of a hotel in a big city. We took two loooooooong bus rides from downtown to the Getty Center, however, and there I felt like I saw LA. The first bus traveled down Wilshire Blvd from downtown to Westwood, where UCLA is located. We crossed Beverly Dr. and Rodeo Dr. and skirted Bel Air before arriving at the foot of the hill upon which The Getty Center is perched. Other than the hideous potholes (I never knew one might need a jog bra to ride a bus), the ride was fascinating. The Art Deco buildings that cropped up on Wilshire as we headed west were awesome. Although I tend to think of California in general is in a permanent state of transition and development, always chasing (or setting the standard for) the New and the Exciting, my trips to CA remind me that the glory days of The Golden State were surely around the middle of the twentieth century. In the Bay Area, I love the houses from the 1950s and 1960s; in LA I was charmed by the faint glimmer of a pre-war glory that must have hung over the place once upon a time.
The architectural hit of the trip for me was something I saw on my very first day, though. It stood in front of us while we waited for the FlyAway bus to take us into town: