Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cooking Tiger Stew





Another call last night.  Seems I've been recalcitrant in my check-writing and had snubbed the alma mater of the bucks I'd annually been giving them.  Like most dottering alumni, I have an affection for the old campus that seems to increase with age as my senses are decreasing.  My specific "love" is for a specific building, McLennan Library.  It was a building I spent many a night and weekend allegedly studying.


More so than usual, as evidenced by my grades in my major, I tended to go through the stacks and pick out books I'd drag back to my carrel and proceed to devour rather than having my eyes stare at textbooks.  I completed a self-directed major in Russian literature while in the McLennan; unfortunately my McGill degree did not acknowledge my "independent" studies.

There was also another area at McLennan was honey to this bear.  The Periodicals Library.   Aside from a plethora of newspapers (the divine Times of London with its onion-skin paper) were racks of foreign magazines.  Punch was there.  I had to take the magazines and find a very secluded part of the Periodicals Library to read them.  It was impossible not to laugh out loud reading the magazine and I was asked to leave on a few occasions until the Periodicals Librarian finally realized that I was not demented, simply an undergraduate in need of a well-crafted joke.   One of the folks involved with putting Punch together was a fellow by the name of Alan Coren

Alan Coren, the last of the great editors at Punch magazine, had decided one year to write a book based on his thesis that the book-buying public will shell out shillings for any book that covers cats, golf, & Nazis.  He concocted  Golfing for Cats, a collection of short stories which was very eye-catching with its bold red cover emblazoned with a large..make that VERY LARGE swastika.  The book, really a large pamphlet @ 160 pages, barely discusses golf...or cats...or even Nazis.  Unfortunately, Mr. Coren's hopes for a small fortune from sales of "Golfing for Cats" stayed small and of no fortune.

Channeling Mr. Coren, I was pondering the possibility of writing a book in hopes of assuring that my retirement years will have minimal need for cat/dog food casseroles.  Hmmm.... so what topic(s) should be plastered on the cover?  I'd already fixed my price point @ $9.98, a penny under Amazon's Kindle average.  All I needed was a cover.   It's been documented that most readers buy and read only the first 5 -10 pages before clicking the "BUY NOW" button for another visit from the UPS man.  I mean, even I could come up with 5-10 pages of content to keep the pages turning for that type of reader.

Glancing at the deluge (caught myself there folks!  Almost typed that "tsu..." word!) of book titles recently unloaded on us, I think my title must have the noun Tiger somewhere.   Many trees have been sacrificed for the newsprint to publish reviews about the the book AND the authors oA Tiger’s Wife: A Novel (written by Tea Obreht) and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (written by Amy Chua), Tiger, Tiger : A Memoir (written by Margaux Fragoso), Tiger: The Real Story,  The White Tiger (written by Aravind Adiga) & The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance & Survival (written by John Valliant).  So.."Tiger" seems to selling quite well these days.  For the record, I've only read Mr. Aduga's Book, "The White Tiger", a novel I recommend highly for its tightrope act of comedy and tragedy and invention.

I'd thought that, with apologies to Mr. Coren, "Golfing for Tigers" might be catchy but what with Tiger's issues, I would have been in truly bad taste along with being viewed as a blog-posting remora.

So, I'm going with "Cooking Tiger Stew", soon to be on your Cook book and Animal Studies shelves in your local brick & mortar venues or Internet Book coves.


Hmmmm...on the other hand, perhaps I'll re-think that title.


Addendum:  The Ever-Loving Wife, tired of my incessant commentating re. the hyper-apperance (don't believe me?  Here are some links just from the NYT. One.   Two.) of both "A Tiger's Wife", the book, and "A Tiger's Wife", the author, has decided to put a wet sock in my grousing by buying a copy and insisting I read it before I moan on.  A short review of the book will eventually pay a visit to these "pages".


Addendum #2:  It's Sunday morning, March the 20th and I'm reading the NYT Book Review.  New books to be reviewed this week?  Well, one would be Sarita Mandanna's "Tiger Hills".  So,  the tiger limbers on.

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Comments:
Amazon seems to think I want to read The Tiger's Wife, too. They sent me an e-mail to that effect, and when I saw the title I had a reaction similar to yours: just how many "tigers" do I have to read about?

The university library is the stuff of dreams, isn't it? When I did my university years in Manitoba I happily took a bus from U of Winnipeg's library to the U of M's library. The U of W's paltry stacks were laughable, but even so I was able to spend hours poring over the literary legacy of Mssrs Hammett, Chandler and Cain when I *should* have been focusing on Milton.

Then I relocated my academic efforts to Toronto, where the Robards library squatted like an ugly cast-off from the sets of Gilliam's Brazil. Now those were stacks! I had to be forcibly removed from its florescent-lit corridors once I graduated and my student status had expired. Tears still come to my eyes at the memory.
 
Hey WP,
Apologies for this post. You ever work on a post and put a future publication date because you're still putting a shine on it and then you forget about it or Life lunges in to disturb you and then it's posted and then it reads in a most embarrassing way?

No?! Didn't think so.

Well, with me, this happens more than enough...you'd think I would have learned by now.

Anyways...this post IS still under construction ans will hopefully be finished.
Thanks for the comment and glad to hear that another soul was happily imprisoned by the stacks.
 
I'm sorry, but it turns our you're single-handedly responsible for my orderung the blasted Tiger's Wife ... :-))) (I can't resist my own curiosity, it's not you).

University libraries ... AHhhhhh ... There's only one another university establishment that evokes such keen memories ... it's a ... student "mensa", i.e. a cafeteria ... Ahhh those crispy rolls with layers of lettuce, cheese and stuff ... I think I never left a dirty spot in any of the books, though. Not even coffee.
 
Oh, I am intimately familiar with that troubled state of compositional interruption. Please: delete as much of the post (and its comments) as you need.
 
Alcessa,
I'm very interested in your thoughts on the book once you've completed the chore. All, and I do mean ALL, of the reviews of the book have been past glowing; they've been nuclear. I was stunned to open the back cover and see Ms. Obreht's picture; she did not seem to have a halo surrounding her.
I've been (grudingly) enjoying the book so far but have yet to come to the "magical" passages referred to in all of the reviews.
If you want "magical", I strongly urge you to get any book (well...she only has 2 that I'm aware of) by Karen Russell.
Now there's a shimmering writer!
 
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