29 July 2013

D is for Doppelgänger

There was a Brian Busby who lived two blocks from the house in which I grew up. Our paths never crossed – he was eight years older – but I was aware of his presence and remember the day his family moved. There was also a Brian Busby who attended our church and another who worked for the CBC. I can't tell you what the latter did, but his name did leap out as credits rolled. I came to the illogical conclusion that while "Busby" wasn't terribly common, "Brian Busby" was.

All this is to explain why I used my full name on my early writing.

Austin Clarke did something similar at the beginning in his career to set himself apart from Irish poet Austin Clarke.

Amongst Thistles and Thorns
Austin C. Clarke
Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1965
Collected Poems
Austin Clarke
London: Allen & Unwin, 1936
A New Canadian Library reissue of Amongst Thorns and Thistles aside, the last I've seen "Austin C. Clarke" used by a North American publisher was on McClelland & Stewart's 1967 first edition of The Meeting Place – thus avoiding further confusion with this man:

2001: A Space Odyssey
Arthur C. Clarke
New York: New American Library, 1968
You wouldn't think a name like Austin Clarke would cause such trouble. Thomas King, I can understand...

King's Explanatory Arithmetic
Thomas King
London: The Author [c. 1920]

Lisa Moore and William Gibson, too.

Merveilleux Voyage
Lisa Moore
Toronto: Harlequin, 1986
A Vision of Faery Land and Other Poems
William Gibson
Boston: Munroe & Co., 1853
Even John Metcalf.

Milk for Babes; or, A Catecism in Verse
John Metcalf
Northampton, MA: The Author, 1840
But Clarke seems a particularly, peculiarly problematic surname for Canadian publishers. Forget publisher Clarke Irwin, consider my friend, poet George Elliott Clarke...

Execution Poems
George Elliott Clarke
Kentville, NS: Gaspereau, 2009
... who has followed fellow Canadians George Herbert Clarke...

The Hasting Day
George Frederick Clarke
Toronto: Dent, 1930

...and George Frederick Clarke.

That would be the same George Frederick Clarke who wrote David Cameron's Adventures.

David Cameron's Adventures
George Frederick Clarke
London: Blackie & Sons, [1950]
Some British readers may prefer this edition:

David Cameron [David Cameron's Adventures]
George F. Clarke [W. Joosten, trans.]
Amsterdam: De Verkenner, 1953
Go, Dog, Go!

Addendum: Don't get me started on Robert Finch.

24 July 2013

C is for Canada Monthly

The October 1912 issue of Canada Monthly, purchased late last year for the humour – black humour – of its cover:
Agnes Deans Cameron's Last Article
In fact, Miss Cameron survived, dodging sailboats and steamers, only to succumb to pneumonia shortly after her return home to Victoria.

"The liveliest, most entertaining, most thoroughly Canadian of the magazines published in Canada" was owned, edited and published by Herbert Vanderhoof, a Chicago publicity agent who made his fortune pushing land in our four westernmost provinces. The District of Vanderhoof – "Geographic Centre of British Columbia" – was named in his honour.

It makes perfect sense that Miss Cameron was one of Herbert Vanderhoof's writers; she spent much of her forty-eight years encouraging western settlement. That trip down the Thames was made possible in part by an Ottawa that was eager to promote British immigration.

Agnes Deans Cameron isn't the biggest name in this particular issue; Isabel Ecclestone Mackay contributes a particularly bad poem. For my money – I paid $2.80 – the most interesting offering is this bit o' verse by Dorothy Livesay's mother:

Most writers in this "most thoroughly Canadian of the magazines published in Canada" are American. Lesser names like Wilbur D. Nesbit, best remembered for "A Song for Flag Day", a jingoistic ode to the Stars and Stripes, populate its pages. Canada Monthly was never intended to be a showcase for this country's writing, but as a means to sell the West. Nesbit's countryman Arthur I. Street contributes "How Many More? What the Business Man Can Make in Canada", in which he appeals to our greed:
An increase of nine and three-quarter millions in population, a million and a half in dwellings, and three-quarters of a million in the number of farms would mean an increase in farm values of nearly two billions. And that's your particular "baby", isn't it? Increase your land values? Isn't that where you make your money? Isn't that the temptation that leads you into a new country?

A century later the West is still chasing that "increase of nine and three-quarter millions in population".

The caption on this accompanying W.C. Sheppard [sic] illustration reflects Street's optimism...

...as do the advertisements.

Twenty-two months later, on August 4, 1914, everything changed. It seems oddly appropriate that the pitch for property in Fraser Lake is followed by this advert for the infamous Ross rifle:

"You Buy a Rifle to Last Your Life-time..."

The cruelest joke of all.

22 July 2013

The Heart Accepts It All in the Rural Mail

Copies of The Heart Accepts It All: Selected Letters of John Glassco, edited and annotated by yours truly, arrived at our home on Friday – brought, appropriately, by the rural mail. Expect to see it in all of our finest bookstores by early next month.

Featured are 147 letters written by Glassco between 1929 and 1980 to family, friends, foes and fellow writers, including:

Rosalie Abella
Bernard Amtmann
Margaret Atwood
Alma Balster
Henry Beissel
Beatrice Bishop
Kay Boyle
Brian Brett
Glendon Brown
Marilyn Bowering
Philip Core
Malcolm Cowley
Viginia Dehn
Louis Dudek
Leon Edel
Marian Engel
Douglas Fetherling
Andrew Field
Sheila Fischman
Hugh Ford
Northrop Frye
Michel Garneau
Gary Geddes
Donna George
Paul J. Gillette
Maurice Girodias
Beatrice Glassco
Elma Glassco
Michael Gnarowski
Gérald Godin
Eldon Grier
Ralph Gustafson
Gilles Hénault
Daryl Hine
Milton Kastilo
Margaret Laurence
Irving Layton
Jean Le Moyne
Sandra Martin
Seymour Mayne
Robert McAlmon
Al Purdy
Stephen Scobie
F.R. Scott
A.J.M. Smith
F.M. Southam
Fraser Sutherland
John Sutherland
Ronald Sutherland
Julian Symons
William Toye
Gael Turnbull
Geoffrey Wagner
George Woodcock

and a transvestite from Chibougamau named Carmen.

The book also features previously unpublished photographs and verse, including "For A.J.M. Smith", written by Glassco on occasion of his friend's seventieth birthday.

My thanks go out again to Carmine Starnino and Simon Dardick, publisher of Véhicule Press, for their good work in making this book possible.

            Scraping the crumbling roadbed of this strife
            With rotting fenceposts and old mortgages
            (No way of living, but a mode of life),
            How sift from death and waste three grains of duty,
            O thoughts that start from scratch and end in a dream
            Of graveyards minding their own business?

            But the heart accepts it all, this honest air
            Lapped in green valleys where accidents will happen!

                                                     — John Glassco, "The Rural Mail"

18 July 2013

B is for the Bombardier Guide to Canadian Authors

My introduction to Canadian literature came in the pages of National Lampoon. No joke. Canada's writers weren't taught in the Montreal public schools I attended. The assigned reading for my Grade 10 English class featured ShaneThe Pearl, Walkabout, The Chrysalids and, predictably, Lord of the Flies. Of these, my favourite was The Chrysalids, in part because it takes place in post-apocalyptic Labrador, as opposed to, say, nineteenth-century Wyoming.

So it was, just as I was preparing to shift my focus to the Australian Outback, that I bought the March 1978 issue of National Lampoon, featuring the first selection from The Bombardier Guide to Canadian Authors.

"Financed by the Bombardier Snowmobile Company," written by Ted Mann, Brian Shein and Sean Kelly, the format of the guide was simple: a brief entry, followed by a rating on a scale of zero to five skidoos.

The first to be so honoured was Margaret Atwood (one skidoo). This brief except provides a fair example of the guide's style:
She is best known for advancing the theory that America and Canada are simply states of mind, the former comparable to that of a schnapps-crazed Wehrmacht foot soldier and the latter to that of an autistic child left behind in a deserted Muskoka summer cottage playing with Molson's Ale cans, spent shell casings, and dead birds hung from the light fixture, who will one day become aware of its situation, go to college, and write novels. She is better known, among Margaret-watchers, for taking gross offense at the suggestion (in a crudely dittoed literary periodical) that she may have sparked an erection in a considerably more talented Canadian author who shall here remain nameless (see Glassco, John).
That last sentence would've been my first encounter with Glassco's name. The incident described is one that demanded particular care when writing A Gentleman of Pleasure. Rosalie Abella, the lawyer Ms Atwood hired to go after the "crudely dittoed literary periodical", now sits on the Supreme Court.*

And here's Glassco again in the entry for "Callahan, Morely":

As The Bombardier Guide to Canadian AuthorsThe Bombardier Skiddoo [sic] Guide to Canadian Authors, and, finally, The Bombardier Skiddoo [sic] Guide to Canadian Literature, the reference work appeared sporadically throughout 1978, then returned five years later. By that time, Grade 10 was far behind me and I was at university with two of Sean Kelly's kids. A coincidence worthy of Isabel Ecclestone Mackay (not covered), I suppose; much more predictable was the presence of Frederick Philip Grove on my reading lists. The April 1983 issue, marking the return of the guide, brought this well-timed entry:

The skidoo awarded Grove may have been an act of generosity. Sensitive Canadians all, the critics never left any writer empty-handed. Farley Mowat rated two snowshoes; Mazo de la Roche received two bags of cash. There was also some playing around with the skidoos, most notably the two awarded George Jonas and Barbara Amiel, "Canada's most formidable literary spouse-and-spouse team and toast of Toronto's propeller set" (see below).

Every bit as relevant as The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, and at times just as funny, I've held onto my copies.

It's doing a bit of a disservice to reduce the guide to a list of ratings, but the following gives a good idea of its scope.

Northrop Frye

Lady Flora Eaton

Émile Nelligan
Malcolm Lowry
Society of Jesus

Stephen Leacock
E.J. Pratt
Mordecai Richler
Lubor J. Zink

Ralph Connor
Robertson Davies
Timothy Eaton
John Herbert
Brian Moore
F.R. Scott
George Woodcock

John Buchan
Morley Callaghan
Bliss Carman
William Henry Drummond
The Four Horsemen
Robert Fulford
Louis Hémon
Archibald Lampman
Eli Mandel
James Reaney
Sir Charles G.D. Roberts

Irving Layton

Margaret Atwood
Pierre Berton
Earle Birney
bill bisset
Louis Dudek
Alan Fotheringham
Hugh Garner
Oliver Goldsmith
Frederick Philip Grove
Guy F. Claude Hamel
Hugh MacLennan
Marshall McLuhan
Jay McPherson
Susanna Moodie
John Newlove
Marjorie Pickthall
Al Purdy
Duncan Campbell Scott
Scott Symons
Charles Templeton

George Bowering (one skidoo, one baseball bat)
John Buell (two skidoos, two crosses)
Leonard Cohen (two skidoos, one razor blade)
Octave Crémazie (one flag bearing a fleur de lys)
Mazo de la Roche (two bags of cash)
Thomas Chandler Haliburton (one horse-drawn skidoo)
Hugh Hood (five baseball gloves)
Pauline Johnson (one canoe)
George Jonas and Barbara Amiel (two skidoos, mating)
A.M. Klein (three skidoos, three Stars of David)
John McCrae (one skidoo, one cross)
W.O. Mitchell (one skidoo, two rocking chairs)
Lucy Maud Montgomery (one skidoo, one bonnet)
Farley Mowat (two snowshoes)
Robert W. Service (one skidoo drawn by three huskies)
Joe Wallace (one skidoo, one hammer and sickle)
J. Michael Yates (one skidoo, two snakes)
Scott Young (one broken hockey stick)

There never was an entry for Glassco.

* Shameless plug: Still more on the scandal is found in the brand spanking new Heart Accepts It All: Selected Letters of John Glassco, edited by yours truly. 

15 July 2013

Harper Hockey Book Watch: Year Ten, Day 27

Another July brings another Quill & Quire Fall Preview issue and the usual embarrassment of promised riches. Nothing from me, I'm afraid, and nothing from Stephen Harper either.

But that can't be right... We were told months ago by agent Bruce Westwood and publisher Simon & Schuster that the Prime Minister's long-awaited hockey history would be landing in November.

So, why no mention in Quill & Quire? Why nothing in the publisher's fall catalogues? Most intriguing of all, why is there not one word about the book or its author on the Simon & Schuster website?

For a while there it seemed like the stars were aligning for Mr Harper. In May, just three months after Simon & Schuster was outed as the PM's publisher, Heritage Canada announced that it would allow the company to publish Canadian books in Canada.

The reasons behind the decision remain a mystery. Never mind. For Simon & Schuster it was a twelve-year-old dream realized. And it couldn't have come at a better time for Stephen Harper, saving him the humiliation of having his book blocked from publication in the country he governs.

Since then, Mr Harper's heavenly bodies have really gone out of whack. The country has been beset by disasters both Shakespearean and Biblical in nature, including a massive flood that seemed intelligently designed to disrupt the Conservative Party's National Convention. In this, the summer of our discontent, Simon & Schuster suddenly finds itself saddled with an author who, like stablemate Paula Deen, is becoming more unpopular with each passing day.

The good news is that the convention has been rescheduled for All Hallow's Eve; perfect timing for the book's launch, presuming it's still slated for a November release. Curiously, the Conservative Party website maintains that Mr Harper is still working on it.

In related news, the man who should've been Mr Harper's chief foe in the last election has a new title coming this fall from Random House Canada.

It should be an interesting read. Michael Ignatieff may have been a bit of a wash as a politician, but he sure can write.

And he can skate.

Related posts:

10 July 2013

Toronto Noir, Montreal Noir and the Dark Road Between

Flee the Night in Anger
Dan Keller [pseud. Louis Kaufman]
Toronto: Studio Publications, 1952
The name's Danny Keller, ex-convict, three years for manslaughter. I hit a man. He fell and struck his head on a fire hydrant. He was a rat. I'm not sorry he's dead, but I'd rather be dead beside him than do time again.
It's not such a bad beginning, but as with so many post-war noir novels the writer just can't keep it up. Twenty pages in, with three hundred to go, I'd become much more interested in the back cover:

Is the man in the photo Louis Kaufman? Did Kaufman really serve in the RCAF? Did he enjoy swimming, sailing and pecking at the keys of a second-hand piano? Or are these just elements of Kaufman's Dan Keller persona? And why take the name of your protagonist as a nom de plume when it's clear that Dan Keller the ex-serviceman and Danny Keller the ex-con cannot be one and the same?

I know nothing about the author, but believe I've got a pretty good handle on the protagonist.

Danny Keller is an unlucky man. After his stint in Kingston Penitentiary, he tries for a new life in Toronto but finds that no one is too impressed by his criminal record. Desperate, Danny makes a mistake in considering a shady job, becomes a bit hotheaded during the job interview, and walks away convinced that he's accidentally killed his prospective employer.

An honest man would turn himself in, a dishonest man would skip town, but Danny takes the route of a stupid man by keeping an appointment that had been arranged by the dead man. In a dark and wet cocktail lounge he meets with "some looker; tall and supple, dressed in a light, filmy summer frock that did nothing to hide her assets and plenty to promote them." It's only then that he finds out the nature of the job: Danny is to retrieve a briefcase from the checkroom at Union Station. Simple enough, except the befrocked looker has only one half of the check slip. Two days later, she shows up at his flat with the other half. She defrocks, they have sex, and he's off to Front Street.

Union Station, Toronto, c. 1952
Now the problem: The two halves don't match!

Danny phones his flat, but the babe in his bed doesn't pick up. On his return he finds that she has a hole "like a torn socket bereft of its eye" beneath her left breast. Our hero fears a set-up, moves the dead woman's body to her apartment, then splurges on a Trans-Canada Air Lines ticket to Montreal.

"Montreal appealed to me as a good place to disappear from," he tells us. Don't you mean "in which to disappear", Danny? You're trying to disappear "from" Toronto.

Never the smartest guy in the room, it's only after our Danny books the flight that he remembers finding a bill from a Montreal lingerie store in the dead woman's apartment. Like many a rube before, he sets out to clear his name before the coppers – his word, not mine – slap on the cuffs. The task is not nearly as unpleasant as it sounds. Danny enjoys a couple of tumbles with Belle Doan, a former burlesque dancer who is now a mob boss wife, and has several similar encounters with a coltish, well-scrubbed girl named Joan. Think Ginger and Mary Ann... or Lili St. Cyr and Madeline Kronby.

Flee the Night in Anger is unique in our post-war noir in that it moves back and forth between Toronto and Montreal. The pace is fast, and becomes even more so in the 1954 American "Complete and Unabridged" Popular Library edition, which cuts roughly a quarter of text. A lot of the sex is lost, including a pretty hot encounter in which we read of Belle's masochistic tendencies. She does like to be knocked around. Die hard noir fans will want to read the Canadian edition, and may wish to skip the paragraphs that follow. There be spoilers.

Three people are killed in Flee the Night in Anger. As befits a mystery, the deaths of the first two are explained in the closing chapter. For the third, the reader must wait for the very last page, in which the lead detective explains:
As near as we can tell from the evidence, he tripped over the chair and put out his hand to save himself as his full weight fell on the seat of the chair, forcing it down. A broken spring inside the chair caught the trigger of the gun and fired it. The bullet hit him in the stomach; as he fell he pulled the gun free, upsetting the chair over himself before he died.
So, you see, it was just a freak accident. These things happen.

In the Canadian edition, Danny then heads upstairs for sex. The American ends in a kiss.

Dedication: "For this, his first novel, Keller insists upon the dedication: 'For My Doll.' As publishers we accede to his request with the knowledge that his 'Doll' is none other than his charming wife..." These words come from the back cover to the Studio Publications edition, yet no dedication is found within its pages.

Objects: Short-lived Studio Publications aren't remembered, least of all for the quality of their books; my copy all but fell apart in the reading. The lesser, slimmer Popular Library edition holds up much better.

The uncredited cover to the Studio edition has a disembodied Danny hovering above what I presume is meant to be Montreal. No, it doesn't look much like the city, but it sure ain't Toronto. The Popular Library front cover by A. Leslie Ross finds Joan surrounded by an unnaturally calm, green Lake Ontario. That's Danny and Belle on the back.

Access: With no listing on Worldcat, Studio's truly complete, unabridged Flee the Night in Anger is pretty rare. As of this writing just two copies – both from bookseller Nelson Ball – are being offered online. At $10 and $15 they're great bargains. Go get 'em.

The University of Toronto, the University of Calgary and York have copies of the Popular Library edition. Fourteen copies of are listed for sale online, ranging in price from US$1 to US$35. As is often the case, the bookseller at the highest end is misinformed, offering the tardy abridgement as a "First Edition".

08 July 2013

A is for Amtmann

I complain.

The narrow focus of this exercise – this casual exploration of our suppressed, ignored and forgotten – has prevented comment on the contemporary, the celebrated, and even the passing of friends. I made an exception once, when it didn't seem too personal. I'm doing so again in recommending The Pope's Bookbinder, a new memoir by antiquarian bookseller David Mason.

One might expect that such a book would find good company amongst Canada's ignored, but this has been far from the case. The National Post, The Toronto StarQuill & Quire... attention has been paid. Here's the Washington Post review:

David Mason’s ‘Pope’s Bookbinder’ features lively recollections of a life filled with books

Buy it.

For someone like myself, a buyer not a seller, the book has provided an entertaining and informative look into a culture with which I have much to do, but of which I am not a part. I've come away with an even greater appreciation of those in the business... the honest ones, at least. It's proven to be my favourite read this summer.

Buy it.

One of the honest souls mentioned in the book is Bernard Amtmann, whom Mason describes as "the father of the Canadian antiquarian book trade". Thirty-four years after Amtmann's death, collectors chase his catalogues, so you'll understand my delight last month in coming across the nondescript items pictured at the top of this post: twenty-four catalogues dating mostly from 1961 and 1962, with a few more from the late 'sixties. Bound in black card stock, the two volumes set me back two dollars.

Always fun looking through old catalogues, imagining a time when, say, George Vancouver's A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World... (London: Robinson, 1798) was going for $650 (the equivalent of $5,080 today). A cursory look online reveals five copies on offer right now, beginning at US$58,500. The most expensive, yours for US$95,000, includes free shipping!

As they say – antiquarian booksellers, I mean – condition is everything, so it surprised me to discover that Amtmann's listings provide little in the way of description. This, from the earliest catalogue (#146), is typical:
CAMPBELL, Wilfred. Ian of the Orcades... New York [etc.] [n.d.] $3.00
The inside back cover of each catalogue features this blanket notice:
Books and other material listed may be assumed to be complete and in very good condition unless otherwise stated.
All this has me wondering about dust jackets. Not a one is mentioned in the twenty-four catalogues. Surely some were missing. Take Ian of the Orcades, which was published in 1906 – you don't see many dust jackets from that year. I turn to Mason, who in an anecdote from his earliest years in the trade writes that the dust jacket was once much less significant, "not yet having reached the ludicrous point it occupies today."

The Campbell is typical of the prices found in these catalogues. The vast majority of the items are priced between $2.00 and $5.00 (roughly $15.50 to $39.00 today). Here are a few of the items that caught my eye:
ALLEN, Grant. The British Barbarians, a Hill-top novel. London, 1895. 2d ed. Cf Watters, p.170.    $5.00
BARTON, Samuel. The battle of the swash, and The capture of Canada. New York, Dillingham [1888] 131 p. Not in Can.Arch. $7.50
BARTON, Samuel. same. with: [also a patriotic speech by Dr. W. George Beers, of Montreal, in reply to the toast of "professional annexation." Authorized Canadian edition.] Montreal, Robinson [1888] 137 p. Can.Arch.II, 1253.    $7.50
CHINIQUY. Why I left the Church of Rome. London: Protestant Truth Society [n.d.] 24 p. cover-title.    $2.50
GREGORY, Claudius. Valerie Hathaway. Toronto, 1933.    $5.00
RIEL. Poesies religieues et politiques, par Louis "David" Riel. Montreal, 1886. 51, [1] p.    $10.00
Bargains all, even when converted into 2013 dollars. That said, anyone thinking that books are a sure investment is advised consider this listing from catalogue #151 (1961):
DUMBRILLE, Dorothy. Stairway to the stars. Toronto: Allen [1946] vii, 72 p. (verse) Watters, p. 44.    $3.00
By coincidence, I purchased this very book as part of the very same haul that brought the catalogues. It cost a buck, less than 13¢ in 1961 dollars.

And it's signed.

I was a high school student when Bernard Amtmann died. The most valuable book I then owned was probably a first of Two Solitudes ($3.00 in catalogue #146). Though I'd inherited it from my father, back then I cared much more about Ian Hunter's Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star. My first encounter with Amtmann's name came years later when I first began researching John Glassco. The bookseller had several dealings with the poet/pornographer, selling various rare books and the odd letter. On three occasions, he handled collections of Glassco's papers. It was in this role, the Amtmann received the most revealing letter ever penned about Memoirs of Montparnasse:
Dear Mr Amtmann 
     Re: Documents in the Glassco Collection 
With regard to the first item (A. 1) of the list I supplied you last month, I would like to make it clear that these six scribblers of Memoirs of Montparnasse date, to the best of my recollection, from somewhere between 1960 and 1961, and not from 1931-2 as might be inferred from the Prefatory Note to the published book. They comprise of course the first, only and original manuscript of the book itself, and its only holograph record. 
                    Yours sincerely 
                                    John Glassco
Dated 28 September 1973, the letter is just one of 147 found within The Heart Accepts It Allthe forthcoming collection of correspondence edited by yours truly.

Buy it.

Enough about me. In his book, David Mason writes that much is owed Bernard Amtmann, "not just by the Canadian book trade but by the whole country." He then adds some words of caution:
Bernard did himself enormous damage by his unceasing attack on the institutions who ignored or denigrated Canada's cultural heritage. He died broke in the honourable tradition of the trade but his influence is still felt amongst those who care about Canada's heritage.
Oh dear.

04 July 2013

Washington Crossing the Niagara and Other Fantasies for the Fourth of July

George Washington and his Continental Army return from the dead to fight alongside William Lyon Mackenzie in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. "Remember the Caroline!"

Well, not really.

What we have here is just another inept print on demand package of John Charles Dent's 1885 history of the conflict. The guilty parties this time are Zhingoora Books and their enablers CreateSpace (read: Amazon). The talent behind the cover is the very same fellow who gave us this:

Address your complaints to Mandsaur's Court Collectorate.

When you do, please make mention of the font. I mean, really, just how much of this can anyone take?

Zhingoora Books aren't alone, of course. Old pros Nabu ask us to imagine a world in which the Rebellion brought to ruin buildings that pre-date the colonization of the Americas:

Meanwhile, BiblioBazaar again make use of Heathcliff's ever reliable girl's bicycle.

I'm losing focus. This day belongs not to us but our American cousins. In their Spirit of '76, here are a few of the fine publications offered by VDM and their bastard offspring Bookvita and Betascript:

How far our two great nations have come, bound in friendship, the longest undefended border and all that stuff... but it would be wrong not to acknowledge the many samurai who sacrificed their lives in the War of 1812. Lest we forget, Tutis Classics will remind.

Best Fourth of July wishes to all my American cousins.

A Bonus:

The Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion
John Charles Dent
Toronto: C. Blackett Robinson, 1885