Saturday, May 3, 2008

Nerding Out in the South

I spent the last week in Ottawa, my first visit to the Nation's capital. In continuing with the whole getting spoiled theme, I was sent down to get some training for work. One hears a lot about the itch to go down South when staying up here but I have to admit that after being in Iqaluit for only two weeks, I wasn't as excited as I would have been if I had been up here for a few months. Nevertheless, the opportunity to explore a new city is one I always cherish.

This won't surprise anyone but I of course, being a nerd, checked in to my hotel and was off to the bookstore shortly after, eager to purchase my first load of books. For some reason, I have never been a keen user of public libraries, always preferring to buy my own books. "Read books for free....whaaaa?" And speaking of public libraries, the Iqaluit library is decent enough for its size. You can search their catalog here.

Ottawa itself is a nice city, at least from my limited exposure to the core. It reminds me very much of Calgary, complete with a sort of successful pedestrian mall. Parliament Hill was of course very nice. I checked out the Museum of Civilization which was quite good and the National Gallery which was excellent. Sadly, the exhibition on Inuit art was closed. I was really hoping to see pieces by Paddy Aqiatusuk who is featured in Melanie McGrath's excellent The Long Exile: A true story of deception and survival in the Canadian Arctic, which is one of the books I picked up. Of course I don't know how long this haul of books will last me, at least Chapters offers free shipping for orders over $50, even to Nunavut. And I guess I could take out some books from the public library...

Out of my haul I am most looking forward to:

1. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. A semester in Barcelona has certainly left its mark on me and I hope to re-live some part of it through Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War.

2. Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan. Sagan is a hero of mine because of his gift of making science and the cosmos seem so wonderful.

3. Habermas: A Very Short Introduction by James Gordon Finlayson. I'm glad this is a very small book, it's Habermas after all. I used his theories in my thesis work and I have to admit that I could barely understand any of the Habermas that I read. I hope this clears up a lot of questions I had.

I wonder if there's a book club in Iqaluit?


Francesca said...

Libraries = Good.

Think about it this way: You've already paid for it, and if you want to find people interested enough in books to form a book club.. they often hang out at libraries.

Anonymous said...

I believe there is a book club in Iqaluit, check out John Mutford's blog, the Book Mine Set, I imagine that he could help you find one.