Friday, February 6, 2009

The heat is making everyone a little slow

And this morning as the Weatherpixie climbs into her bikini for the God-knows-how-manyth time this year already, I have another look at that pile of books in the previous post. One title in particular catches my eye: I went on a determined footslogging trek through the wilds of Adelaide to find that James Orbinski book, An Imperfect Offering, after I heard Orbinski talking to Phillip Adams on Late Night Live.

He (Orbinksi not Adams) is a Research Scientist and Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Political Science (say what?) at the University of Toronto. He lectures internationally on humanitarianism and global health; he is a past president of Médecins Sans Frontières. He has worked in the field in many countries in chaos and crisis, including Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan and Zaire. The full title of his book is An Imperfect Offering: Dispatches From the Medical Frontline.

With hymns of praise going up all over the blogosphere to Orbinski's fellow-Canadian Leonard Cohen and not least from me, you'd think I would have got it earlier. But no. I sat five rows from the stage and heard him sing this less than two weeks ago and still didn't make the connection.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

18 comments:

fifi said...

oh, wonderful!

Adele said...

Have you got any advice on recommended book stores for a fellow Adelaidean? I can't seem to find what I want in the bigger chain bookstores in the Mall or other shopping centres. I suspect I am finding it difficult because the YA lit I want isn't serialised, pink-covered or about rich, snotty girls.
Got any places that will make me want to go out in the heat?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Adele, there used to be a shop on Norwood Parade that was exactly what you're looking for, but alas it is a thing of the past. I don't know as much about children's and YA lit as I should, but if I were you I'd head for the Parade anyway -- there's a really excellent Angus & Robertson outlet there that may have what you're looking for. That and the various ABC shops are probably your best bet. Imprints in Hindley St is the best bookshop in Adders, but I don't think they do children's or YA.

Anonymous said...

Hey Adele, as a rural person (not to suggest Adelaide is anything like rural - if only I lived anywhere that had adelaide food, markets, nightlife) I resort, frequently, to the Readings website - free postage for two items or more. I know it doesn't answer your browsing out of the heat desires, but when desperate...
Tyaakian

Helen said...

Ah, Nord Prade, I remember thee.

I love those little moments of discovery.

I'm just reading Revolutionary Road - it's so good Why haven't I read anything by this guy before? WHY WASN'T I TOLD? He's like John Updike but much better.

Amanda said...

ZOMG. I also have this book on my shelf (unread as yet ...), have also been 24/7 Len for weeks and ... never occurred to me either. Ta for dot joinery.

ThirdCat said...

Peggy Williams bookshop in Collinswood, in a rather unassuming (okay, ugly) set of shops opposite the ABC building...best children's bookshop in Adelaide and used to have a good YA range. It's not on the street front, so you have to keep looking even when you think you're lost. Only thing is, I haven't been there for a few years, and all of a sudden I'm wondering whether it's still there.

Also, I would guess it's air conditioning is not ace.

ThirdCat said...

its

Pavlov's Cat said...

Heh.

Ampersand Duck said...

I love those lyrics. I've always subscribed to the Persian rug weavers' art philosophy: always allow a mistake to exist in your work as proof that you are merely human. Perfection will offend God, for [s]he is the only one who is perfect.

Dunno about the divinity part of it, but it's a healthy way to view flaws :)

Francis Xavier Holden said...

I very much was impressed with your piece in The Age today.
I had one quibble with something but I'm so upset by the fires and now numbed by a few shirazeses that I've forgotten what my niggle was.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Why thank ya, FXH. I too am floored by today's events (no shiraz, though I think I am about ready for some Laphroiag), and anxious for news of some friends. Let me know when you remember the niggle.

lucy tartan said...

It's looking very dicey up there - if I hear anything I will let you know.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Oh, Laura, thank you. Yes, I just watched the another news update and didn't like it one little bit.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Yes, I was wondering about them too. What's the name of the place I should be looking out for?

Pavlov's Cat said...

S -- check yr email -- xx

Francis Xavier Holden said...

" Barnard was so devastated that she came down with pneumonia."

Poetic licence or an editor?

Niggle - health authorities will be interested to know of a new cause of pneumonia - has hitherto been thought to be due to infections and treated with anti-biotics.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Stress-induced weakening of the immune system, by all accounts -- she seems to have been very run down. Overdetermined, really -- she was treated badly by FDD, probably eating and sleeping badly in consequence, holding down a fulltime job, living with and looking after elderly parents at home, writing a difficult novel and living through some of the darkest days of the war, after it had already been dragging on for three years. I am reminded of an academic colleague who is wont to say 'Oh good, it's mid-semester break. Now I can relax and get a virus.'

I should definitely have added a word or two to indicate the causality was indirect, though.

(Antibiotics as we know them were still in their infancy and almost certainly not being used on civilians in hospital.)