Showing posts from September, 2015

Word on the Street Toronto

This past weekend was The Word on the Street festival, an annual book and magazine festival in Toronto (and other cities across Canada.)  Or as I call it, Christmas for book lovers.

This year the festival moved down to Harbourfront Centre, which was a beautiful location because there is nothing like browsing books while looking out at the lake.  It was a little disorienting for me, as in the past it was always held at Queen's Park and so all of the booths and tents were along one street and very easy to browse while walking up and down the street.  Here, you definitely needed a map to get around as the booths and tents were in clusters rather than along the road.

But other than that, it was the exact same event - great book deals and tons of great readings and discussions.

I did all of my browsing when I got there, picking up some French books for my kids and saying hello to people.   I met André Alexis and told him how much I enjoyed Fifteen Dogs and that I'm hoping it doe…

"Fifteen Dogs" by André Alexis

Over drinks one day, Greek god Hermes wonders what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.  His brother Apollo wagers if that were the case, they would be even unhappier than humans.  And so a bet is made.
They make their way to a veterinary clinic in Toronto where a group of fifteen dogs have been boarded overnight and they grant them human consciousness and language.  The dogs make their escape but very soon they are divided into two groups - those who resist the new ways and those who embrace them.  As the dogs navigate the world with a new perspective, Hermes and Apollo watch as power struggles occur within the group and a couple of them set out on their own.  Benjy moves from home to home never quite finding a place of his own, Prince becomes a poet much to the ire of some of his fellow dogs, and Majnoun forms an intricate relationship with a very understanding couple.
A contemporary apologue, Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis is a fresh and compelling meditation on the b…

Monday Funday

It’s time for Monday Funday, a weekly collection of the things which have been distracting, delighting, or diverting me both online and offline.  Why not join in and link up over at CM Claire.
What on earth was I doing last week that has kept me so busy?  I must have been procrastinating because I can't think of why I neglected the blog all week.
Television-wise, it was all about the season premieres of Black-ish, Modern Family, and Empire.  Oooh-wee Empire, I haven't been this hooked on a drama in a long time. 
Here's an article that took up a lot of my time - Vulture ranked every single Key and Peele sketch, all 298 of them.  My favourite, that my husband and I are often quoting is this one:

Another ranked list, this time Rolling Stone naming the 50 greatest boy band songs of all time. I have some issues with the list, but it's still fun.

Daily Feed has a quiz to find out if you can name the 90's movies from a single screenshot.  I managed to get 92 of 99 correct.  …

Monday Funday

It’s time for Monday Funday, a weekly collection of the things which have been distracting, delighting, or diverting me both online and offline.  Why not join in and link up over at CM Claire.
When I was sitting down to write this post, I wasn't sure if I would have anything to share this week.  I just haven't had the time to be distracted this week.  But I did realize there are a few things to share.
This week I didn't watch much television but I did manage to watch the first episode of season 4 of The Mindy Project on and it was EVERYTHING I needed. 

My 19 year old self was dying when I saw this video on Buzzfeed of Craig David singing an updated version of "Fill Me In."  
I was pretty disappointed when I found out that The Josh Widdecombe XFM podcast was ending but then I started listening to his show Fighting Talk on the BBC and I'm happy again.  I love a good sports show.
And speaking of sports, the MLB season is coming to an end and the Blue Jays …

"The Mistake I Made" by Paula Daly

Roz is a single mother who is at her breaking point.  She has lost her business, her debts are racking up, and her ex-husband can’t be relied upon for any help.  With her rent three months late, she comes home from work one day to find an eviction notice on her door.  She is officially out of options.
One night, at her sister’s fortieth birthday party Roz meets Scott, a friend of her sister’s and a very wealthy man.  Wealthy and married.  But that doesn’t stop Scott from pursuing Roz and knowing what kind of trouble she is in, he makes her an offer- a night with him in exchange for some money.
Roz knows she is desperate, but how desperate is she?  One night and she could get enough money to pay the rent and keep her house.  Another night and she could have all of her debt paid off.  Scott is looking for a no-strings attached relationship and discretion is of the utmost importance, so what’s the worst that could happen?  
But before Roz knows it, things are out of her control.  Someon…

"Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling

As creator of The Mindy Project and author of the New York Times bestseller Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling has quickly become everyone’s celebrity best friend.  Her humour and easy-going nature has everyone wanting to have her in their lives.   
In her new book Why Not Me? Mindy once again proves why we all want her in our girl squad.  She opens up about her life with an attitude of “we should all be able to laugh at ourselves.”  She writes about university life, falling in love, moving to Hollywood, starting new friendships, and celebrity style.  But most importantly, she shows women that no matter who they are or where they are, they should take on life asking the question “why not me?”
I’m a Mindy fan-girl.  I never watched The Office so my first introduction to her was in The Mindy Project and I fell in love with her.  I’ve never really been one to consider a celebrity a “role model” but you can’t help but admire how hard she has worked and how much she has ach…

Monday Funday

It’s time for Monday Funday, a weekly collection of the things which have been distracting, delighting, or diverting me both online and offline.  Why not join in and link up over at CM Claire.
With last week being the start of the school year, I was able to settle into a routine, which includes television watching.  With the new shows starting up soon, things will become even more routine.  Right now I watch new episodes of Project Runway and The X Factor each week then spend the rest of my screen-time watching shows I've either recorded or are on Netflix.  
This week I was catching up on Coronation Street.  Usually I record the episodes during the week and watch them all together on the weekend but I haven't watched since the summer so I have a lot to catch up on.  I managed to watch two weeks worth last week and now I have just finished episodes from the first week of August.
Sigh...I miss Deirdre.

For those who are Corrie fans, here's a great article from Buzzfeed from a fe…

2015 Giller Prize

The longlist for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced today.  The Giller is one of Canada's most prestigious literary prizes and is awarded to the best novel or short story collection published in English.  Last year's winner was Sean Michaels for Us Conductors.  Past winners include Esi Edugyan, Joseph Boyden, Alice Munro, M.G. Vassanji, Margaret Atwood,  Mordecai Richler, Austin Clarke, and Rohinton Mistry.

The shortlist will be announced on October 5 and the winner will be announced on November 10.  This year's jury consists of Cecil Foster, Alison Pick, Helen Oyeyemi, Alexander MacLeod, and John Boyne.

Here is the longlist for this year's prize:

Fifteen Dogs - Andre Alexis
Arvida - Samuel Archibald
If I Fall If I Die - Michael Christie
Outline - Rachel Cusk
UnderMajorDomoMinor - Patrick DeWitt
Close to Hugh - Marina Endicott
A Beauty - Connie Gault
All True Not a Lie in It - Alix Hawley
The Winter Family - Clifford Jackman
Daydreams of Angels - Heather O’Neill

"If You Don't Know Me By Now" by A.L. Michael

Imogen has worked hard caring for her widowed father while working and going to school part-time and now it is time for her to take a giant step that will change her life forever.  She is going to chase her dreams, moving to London to make it as a writer.  Or so she thinks.
Imogen made it to London but becoming a writer is proving to be much harder than she thought.  And so she is working a dead-end job at a coffee shop, serving drinks to hipsters, yummy mummy’s, and stressed out businessman.  Not the dream she had in mind.
But when her gorgeous colleague Declan puts an idea in her head, she may end up closer to her dream after all.  Imogen starts a tell-all blog about London’s rudest customers, all anonymous of course.  What she thinks is just a tiny little blog becomes an overnight viral sensation.  But writing the blog means remaining in her job.  And it turns out, trying to remain anonymous on the internet isn’t so easy after all.  
If You Don’t Know Me By Now by A.L Michael is a …

Monday Funday

It’s time for Monday Funday, a weekly collection of the things which have been distracting, delighting, or diverting me both online and offline.  Why not join in and link up over at CM Claire.
This week I was watching Season 2 of Orange is the New Black.  I really didn't think that this would be a show that would interest me back when it was first released but one day when I wasn't feeling well I started watching and next thing I knew I was through the entire first season.  
I also started watching the new season of X Factor UK. I know a lot of people think the show is getting tired, but considering I just started watching last season, I'm still enjoying it!  One of my favourite auditions so far:

It's Back to School week here, school starts tomorrow so this past week I've been doing all things back to school and found some great back to school articles.

There is this article on the best apps for college students. I so could have used EasyBib back when I was studyi…

"Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon

Madeline Whittier is a smart, funny, typical teenage girl.  Except for one thing - she cannot go outside. Maddy has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) meaning that her immune system is so comprised, the outside air could kill her.  And so she spends her life in her house and other than her mother and nurse Carla, with very little human contact.
That is until a new family moves in next door and Maddy lays eyes on their teenage son Olly.  Dressed all in black, Olly is mysterious and Maddy is intrigued.  They make a connection online but Maddy knows she wants more.  She gets her wish but it comes with repercussions.  She makes the decision to take a giant step toward living the life she wants but what happens next will change her life forever.
Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon, is a stunning and original Young Adult novel about love against the odds and risking everything for the life you want.  Complete with illustrations and conversations through email and messenger, you don’…

"A Brief History of Seven Killings" by Marlon James

On December 3, 1976, gunmen stormed the house of Bob Marley in Jamaica, two days before he was scheduled to play at a peace concert.  Marley, his wife, and his manager were nearly killed and several others were injured.  But he would go on to perform at the concert two day laters, then leave Jamaica the very next day and not return for two years.
At the time of the concert, Jamaica was gearing up for a general election.  The country was divided between the governing People’s National Party (PNP) and the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), not just at the ballot box but in everyday life.  The parties gave power and wealth to local gangs in exchange for the allegiance of their territories, which led to decades characterized by gang warfare.  The Smile Jamaica concert was meant to bring both sides together, to work toward peace.  But because it was organized by the government, many felt that it was a political event and that by participating in it, Marley was endorsing the PNP.  

Month In Review

August was a busy month for me life-wise - barbecues, parties, picnics, baseball games, and work.  But reading-wise, it was one of the slowest months I have ever had.  There just wasn't much time to pick up a book, but thankfully at the end of the month I was hit with a burst of reading energy and some actual time to really enjoy it.  When the kids head back to school in one week, I'm hoping things will really take off.

Here is what I read in August with my GoodReads ratings:

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James *****
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling *****
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon *****
The Face that Changed It All by Beverly Johnson ****


Diversity on the Shelf (4)

What I'm Looking Forward to in September

It's the best time of the year - it's Canadian literary award season!  The Giller Prize longlist is announced on September 9 and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize finalists are announced on September 29th (the Governor General'…