Friday, September 30, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
As a publishers’ sales rep I spend a lot of time in my car driving to libraries and bookstores, or just the office. In January someone gave me a gift of The Room on CD, and since then I’ve become hooked on listening to books in my car. Now, getting caught in traffic on the QEW is much less aggravating.
The Toronto Public Library has a wonderful selection of books on CD. When it comes to listening to books, fiction works best, and one of my recent favourites was The Help. It is performed like a play, with different actresses taking on the voices of various characters. (I think I developed a slight southern drawl during the week I spent listening to this). A surprise hit for me was a spiritual book called, The Shack. It’s a story about a man who spends a weekend at a shack where he meets and talks with God. I also got very involved in all the Jackson Brody literary mysteries by Kate Atkinson. They’re very dark, but Atkinson is a beautiful writer who is very good at creating characters with a lot of depth. Start with Case Histories and you won’t be able to stop until you’ve listened to all four books in the series.
Unfortunately, non-fiction doesn’t work as well on CD, but the exception is biography because it’s usually got a strong narrative like fiction. I was surprised that I enjoyed My Life by Keith Richards as much as I did – even though I still think the guy’s a jerk. It's read by Johnny Depp, Keith Richards and a British actor. However, my favourite biography on CD is When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub, a Hollywood producer who started in the music business managing John Denver. He also has some great stories about working with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and many contemporary and actors like George Clooney. With a distinct Bronx accent, Weintraub reads his own story for the audio, and it’s an entertaining, funny and poignant tale of a very interesting and full life.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction Shortlist
The six books, selected from the longlist of 13, are as follows:
- Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending (Random House Canada)
- Carol Birch Jamrach’s Menagerie (HarperCollins Canada)
- Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (House of Anansi Press)
- Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues (Thomas Allen)
- Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (House of Anansi Press)
- A.D. Miller Snowdrops (HarperCollins Canada)
The winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on Tuesday October 18.
The jury selected 16 titles out of 143 books – a record-setting number of submissions – put forward by 55 publishers from every region of Canada. And for the first time ever, the longlist includes a Reader's Choice nomination:
- THE FREE WORLD by David Bezmozgis (HarperCollins Canada)
- THE MEAGRE TARMAC by Clarke Blaise (Biblioasis)
- THE BEGGAR'S GARDEN by Michael Christie (HarperCollins Canada)
- THE ANTAGONIST by Lynn Coady (House of Anansi Press)
- THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick DeWitt (House of Anansi Press)
- HALF-BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan for her novel (Thomas Allen Publishers)
- THE LITTLE SHADOWS by Marina Endicott (Doubleday Canada)
- BETTER LIVING THROUGH PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES by Zsuzsi Gartner (Hamish Hamilton)
- SOLITARIA by Genni Gunn (Signature Editions)
- INTO THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY by Pauline Holdstock (HarperCollins Canada)
- A WORLD ELSEWHERE by Wayne Johnston for his novel (Knopf Canada)
- THE RETURN by Dany Laferrière for his novel (translation, David Homel) (Douglas & McIntyre)
- MONOCEROS by Suzette Mayr (Coach House Books)
- THE CAT’S TABLE by Michael Ondaatje (McClelland & Stewart)
- A GOOD MAN by Guy Vanderhaeghe (McClelland & Stewart)
- TOUCH by Alexi Zentner (Knopf Canada)
- EXTENSIONS* by Myrna Dey (NeWest Press) *Reader’s Choice
The shortlist will be announced at a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday, October 4th.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
And finally Lev Grossman wrote a very cool history of the book "From Scroll to Screen" also from the NYT.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Hugo (the Hippo) and Bella (the Bird) are best friends, but when they are invited to a costume party they can't agree on what outfits to wear. Hugo wants to wear a princess costume and tries to convince Bella to dress up like a pea, but she refuses. Bella offers several alternative ideas for matching costumes, such as a mermaid and a rock, but Hugo is offended. He does not look like a rock!
Eventually the two friends come up with an innovative solution and have a wonderful time at the party. I don't want to be a pea! is a warm and funny story about the give and take of friendship. The book is illustrated with simple, brightly coloured pictures and it would be great for reading aloud at storytime.