Hello friends! Can you believe December is already here? There are so many books I want to read, and reviews or features I want to blog, but never enough time.
INSPIRE! TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR
The inaugural year for Inspire! was pretty stellar. I was overwhelmed with how many amazing authors were attending the festival. I went twice and everywhere you looked well-known authors were either on stage or signing books.
On the Friday, I saw actress Meg Tilley (Behind the Scenes), Jeff Kinney (Diary of A Wimpy Kid), Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) and Jeanne Beker (Fashion Television host) speak, but the highlight for me was a Writer’s Trust of Canada panel with Miriam Toews (All My Puny Sorrows), Charles Foran (Planet Lolita) and Alissa York (Effigy). They discussed the importance of literary awards, as prize money allows authors to write full-time, how winning or being nominated helps gain readership, and that even though they want us to buy their books, they hope we will take a chance on lesser known authors.
Saturday I saw Colonel Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth), Sylvia Day (Crossfire Series), Kathy Reichs (Bones, Temperance Brennan series), Claire Cameron (The Bear) and Heather A. Clarke (Elephant in the Sky). However, the only one I was really there for was Margaret Atwood. She had a 20-minute interview with Mark Medley, the books editor from the Globe and Mail, and then a Q&A with the audience. I snuck away early so I could line up for the book signing.
Margaret was fairly mute signing my book, so I asked her what is was like visiting the Buzzfeed office in New York. She laughed and said that it had been fun. My husband works for a law firm that hosted an event to promote Longpen, a remote robotic signing device that she invented. I asked her about the progress of Longpen, she paused and looked up at me, then launched into a passionate discussion about her signing technology. I wasn’t expecting her to become so animated and just nodded along, adding my two cents here and there, and becoming completely lost in her big, blue eyes. I felt the stare of hundreds of impatient fans boring into my back, so I politely asked if we could have a picture taken and ran off squeeing in delight.
Nonfiction November – Although I was sad to miss other November events, I had a smashing good time and highly recommend Nonfiction November to all of you.
Willa Cather Reading Week – I’m all set for this event hosted by Ali. I will now be listening to My Antonia by audio book.
BOOKS RECENTLY FINISHED
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Gripping story, but sad. I would be so pleased if there was a travelling Shakespeare troupe at the end of the world.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin – Underwhelming.
The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes – Underwhelming. Jojo, I thought you could do no wrong!
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson – Fascinating, but I didn’t care about the American family at the centre of the drama.
Between Gods by Alison Pick – Extraordinary personal story about finding and knowing one’s self. Two thumbs and a pinky up!
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick – Intense and horrific, completely absorbing. I listened to the audio book every spare minute I got.
BOOKS ON THE GO
A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin – A Chinese-American woman retraces the life of her Chinese father who was a spy living in America.
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín – Mothers haven’t changed much over time, have they?
The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde – A TLC blog tour and so far it’s a sweet story about family and friendship.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – Man, this book is so long! Still aiming to finish by December 31st or I may just cry.
What are you reading in December? Happy holidays and all the best!