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Blogger Diaries #9

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.

margaret

BOOKISH EVENTS

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!

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11 comments on “Blogger Diaries #9

  1. janceewright
    December 4, 2014

    Good luck with War and Peace. I’ve never tackled it, but I think my roommate and I may use it in an upcoming Roomie Reading Challenge. We’ll have to see. Let me know what you think!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 5, 2014

      War and Peace is one big soap opera with lots of battle scenes. The only thing keeping me going is that I like a few of the characters. Otherwise, I feel it’s too long. It could be an interesting Roomie Reading Challenge, but I recommend giving yourselves lots of time to read the book.

      Like

      • janceewright
        December 5, 2014

        Oh, we will. We always try to see who can finish first, regardless of how long that takes!

        Like

  2. Cathy746books
    December 4, 2014

    Oh how exciting, I love Margaret Atwood. Station Eleven is one book this year I would really love to read.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 5, 2014

      Station Eleven is really good and probably one of the best books I read this year. I hope you get a chance to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Naomi
    December 4, 2014

    First, I just have to say how envious I am that you got to go see all those authors. And, not just that, but that you were able to come up with something clever to say to engage Margaret Atwood in conversation. Great picture, too!
    I’m glad you liked Station Eleven, disappointed that you were underwhelmed by The Awakening (but maybe it’s good because now I can just cross it off the list), and happy to hear Between Gods is so good!
    You had a great month! Hoping you will get to the end of War and Peace by Dec. 31st, so you can tell us all about it! 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 5, 2014

      I was very nervous meeting Margaret Atwood, so I may have been just flying by the seat of my pants. If I finish War and Peace by the end of the year, I may not pick up another Tolstoy for awhile.

      Like

  4. My Book Strings
    December 4, 2014

    I’m envious you got to meet Margaret Atwood! I didn’t like the ambassador’s daughter in In the Garden of Beasts either, but the ambassador held my interest. And now I have to go check out A Map of Betrayal…

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 5, 2014

      Map of Betrayal is really good, I’m about half-way through. It explores patriotism and how the countries we live in contribute to self-identity, and all of the politics and history of China and the U.S. during the time.

      Like

  5. Brian Joseph
    December 5, 2014

    This sounds like wonderful event. I have never attended a major book festival and I really want to.

    How exciting to meet Margaret Atwood! Definitely worth attending just for that.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      December 5, 2014

      I’ve lived in the Toronto area forever and there have always been literary events, but I never attended anything until now. While it is definitely thrilling to see an author in person, I would still really like to attend something more intimate. I’ve heard of book clubs who invite an author to speak after they have finished a book and I think that kind of interaction would be so much fun and satisfying.

      Like

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