Friday, February 24, 2012

Good Book Overload

 I have felt like a bit of a literary deadbeat the past two weeks!  But the truth is -- I have been reading like a maniac, just ... not the same book.  I seem to be having "Book ADD" right now.  Each time I turn around, a new and fabulous looking book has arrived into work, or goes on sale at Chapters Indigo, or I have won it somewhere.  I can't keep track and I want to read them all!  My goal to stop buying new books and read all the old ones I have hoarded, has slowly slipped out of reach.  I pick up a book, read the first 50 pages and then grab another and do the same.  I have read the beginning of far too many novels in the past two weeks and have finally settled down to two.  Except for the two orders I placed recently that will most likely both arrive next week.  Oh ...no.  New goal: finish these two books and happily read the new ones that come in then!  Problem: THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME just came out... and DELIRIUM is now in paperback... and Anne Rice just wrote a new book...

Anyone feeling this kind of dilemma?  Ok -- it is written out and now I will stick to it!  Here is the potential reading list for the next month and a bit:

Finish recommendation from friend Alexis at Gin & Rhetoric, THE STRAIN (love me some horror lately!) and THE GILLY SALT SISTERS which is turning out to be completely different than I originally expected.

Read THE HUNGER GAMES before the movie comes out because I think I truly am the last person to read this book.  Next, THE SMALL HAND for Alexis' Book Club on the Gin & Rhetoric Facebook page!  I have never participated in a Book Club read and actually very excited!  Then will probably read SOULLESS and CHANGELESS, which I have been gushing over since I came across the series on Goodreads.  It comes highly recommended from friends and bloggers, so here we go!  Then I will most likely start my adventure into the world of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES -- another series I missed the bandwagon with!  Or I might buy DELIRIUM or THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME.  Because I just can't help myself..


What are your reading plans?!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Lover's Ball Recap

Ahh *happy sigh*.  The Book Lover's Ball.  I don't even know where to start with how fabulous the whole evening was.  Being a volunteer was an eye-opening experience for me.  This was the first "event" I have seen be built from the ground up and brought to life in a matter of hours.  The night before, myself, my new friend Nabila and a few other ladies met up at the Fairmont Royal York to help put together the gift bags for the guests.  Six HUNDRED gift bags.  Three hours later, we headed home, having accomplished this:

The next morning, we were all back for 8:45am to start setting up.  Though the Royal York is beautiful already, the events team, Hala Events, turned it into the most glamourous venue I have seen in ages!  Tables, a stage, a red carpet, everything -- felt a little like I was prepping for the Grammys.  I almost melted when I was given the task of placing the authors books on their tables.  Putting Ami McKay, Lawrence Hill and Margaret Atwood's books on tables, knowing in a few mere hours, the people I have thought of as celebrities my whole life will be sitting right here, made me giddy like a child. 

When the event actually started, I helped check in the guests right at the foot of the red carpet.  Everyone looked absolutely fabulous from authors to publishing personnel to sponsors to TV personalities.  As dinner neared, I snuck into the silent auction room where I could mingle with other volunteers stationed there and catch sight of the authors as they slowly made their way to dinner.  I stood across a table from Jeanne Beker, slipped past Kevin O'Leary while he took a picture with a fan and even shook the hand and spoke with one of my literary favourites, Lawrence Hill and his lovely wife Miranda (highlight of my evening). 

One of the major attractions of the night was the Sweet Fix table.  A television show similar to Cake Boss actually made a cake out of books from authors in attendance.  My pictures won't do it justice but seriously -- this cake was AMAZING.  Camera people taped us almost all day, prepping and moving things around, and I am embarassed to say that I was caught yawning with one of the men pointing the camera directly at me.  Dear Sweet Fix people: please cut that.  I have no idea where to find where the show will air but once I do, I will post it here!  (See the picture at the bottom -- the small book pile is a real example of the books, the larger one is the cake!)

And that was my Book Lover's Ball experience!  One word: fabulous.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Buying Addict

Confession:  I just spent over an hour going through all of my books.  I tallied up the books I own compared to the books I've read and the numbers are NOT pretty.  I am clearly a book buying addict.

I have realized recently that there will never be enough time in my life for me to read every book I want to.  It is simply impossible.  Tons of new, wonderful sounding books come out every day!  But, I keep buying them in hopes that at some point, I will be able to take 45 on vacation and get through them all (...okay, maybe not 45).  So, I'm curious -- is this something we should start a help group for or something?  Let's see how many of you are addicts, just like me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Little Love

Yes, it's Valentines Day; a day full of both those who want everything to be romantic, those who want down with love, and those who are indifferent.  Though I'm sure I have been a bit of all three at some point in my life, I think I have finally decided what today is for me.  It is a day to relish in all the love around you -- your friends, a significant other, family, even yourself.  You love someone, and someone loves you. 

I hope you all told someone you love them today! 

And while I'm here, I wanted to write a little quote that made me smile last night.  This one's for the girls:

A few more glasses of wine and a night of playful banter passed in what felt like seconds [...] We talked about the pressures of the job hunt, the rat race, the career world.  We talked about the pros and cons of settling down young.  We even talked about pensions and mortgages, for God's sake (even though pensions and mortgages seemed a very long way off yet).  The early twenties female mind is a confusing and panicked place, I can tell you that, but I think we all walked away feeling like a few things had been picked apart, analysed and put back in a better order than they had been before.
- Jessica Thompson, THIS IS A LOVE STORY

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: The Space Between

Before you even open them, some books just scream your name -- the cover is beautiful, the synopsis is captivating and the feel of them in your hands is perfection.  This is how I felt about THE SPACE BETWEEN.  I had read a fantastic review of the book by Maja from The Nocturnal Library and had to read it right away.

THE SPACE BETWEEN centers around Daphne, the daughter of Lucifer and Lilith.  She resides in Hell, where everything is made of chrome and steel and the center of it is a giant furnace that burns away anything that does not belong in hell.  When Daphne's one true friend, her brother Obie, runs away to earth to be with a human woman, Daphne is sent by her mother to bring him home.  Demons who choose to walk the earth run the risk of being killed by Azrael, the Angel of Death and his tormenting "sidekick" Dark Dreadful.  When Daphne finally finds herself on Earth for the first time, she knows exactly where to start searching for Obie: find a boy named Truman.

When his mother died, Truman's life spiraled into a dark abyss.  After too much torment, Truman attempted to take his own life, but was only briefly brought to hell, where he met a girl with long black hair and perfect pale skin.  When Truman wakes up in a hospital bed, he meets Obie, a kind doctor who tends to his wounds and befriends him.  Almost every night, Truman dreams of a dark voice, taunting him about his suicide attempt, but then he sees the dark haired girl.

THE SPACE BETWEEN was one of the most creative books I have ever read.  Yovanoff did a wonderful job of illustrating hell and of creating a character who knows compassion, but has never felt love.  My favourite part of the book was definitely the descriptions of hell and the traditional biblical figures that exist in it.  I also really enjoyed Truman's character -- a dark, hurt and broken boy who just cannot lift himself off his knees.  Daphne and Truman's blossoming affections for each other are unlike other YA romances, as Truman is extremely damaged and Daphne is a creature of the underworld, presumably incapable of feeling tenderness and love for a human being.  Yovanoff handled their romance with a delicate touch, but it also made it difficult as a reader to throw yourself into their relationship.  It was just so unique.

There was quite a bit of "searching" in the book, and because of Daphne's lack of feeling for certain things, brutal scenes were swept over as she was unable to react to them the way Truman did.  The end of the novel was action packed and my mouth fell open a few times, but I wish this could have happened a bit more during the novel.  All in all, I enjoyed THE SPACE BETWEEN and would recommend it for fans of demon books where even angels have darker sides.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (2)

Phew!  This has been one of the busiest weeks of my life!  For anyone who has talked to me, read the blog or any of my tweets, you will know that this week was The Book Lover's Ball!  I will post a recap of the event this week (sneak preview: I met one of my favourite literary people)! And to make up for my crazy week, I am spending the day watching movies and reading on the couch in my robe and fuzzy slippers.  Oh. Yeah.

This was also a great week in books for me!  I got a copy of Julianna Baggott's PURE, which I can't wait to read but am waiting for the right mood to strike.  I have heard wonderful things about the novel and have read a previous book by Baggott (which I really enjoyed) but at the moment, I am not really in the mood for dark and depressing.  Maybe later on in the week?

I also got BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and BLOOD RIGHTS.  I had ordered them a few weeks ago and was super excited when they arrived on Friday.  I am late getting on the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES train but better late than never!

Also, I met up with my friend Amy yesterday and since we are both huge book hoarders, we picked out a few on our shelves that we were willing to separate with and swapped.  She gave me Mindy Kaling's book IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? which I was drooling over when it first came out.  If you haven't noticed, I am a huge fan of celebrity essay/bio/memoirs.  This is definitely something I will get to this week!  She also lent me her copy of DAMNED by Chuck Palahniuk.  I have heard amazing things about Chuck's books, but have never picked one up for myself.  His reputation as an extremely dark humor writer has me hoping I will be as drawn to his books as I am to Douglas Coupland.  You either love Coupland, or you can't stand him.  I am on the LOVE side of things.  Hopefully the same thing will happen with Chuck!

And that's it for me!  Stay tuned for upcoming posts -- review of THE SPACE BETWEEN and a recap of The Book Lover's Ball!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Lover's Ball is Coming!

I feel like a terrible blogger.  I haven't written, reviewed or even made an appearance in a week.  BUT there are good reasons for this.  And this is one of them:

The Annual Book Lover's Ball! If you have no idea what this is (which was me a few months ago), definitely go and check out their website.  Each year, this ball is organized for authors, industry professionals and important guests to celebrate food, fashion, but above all, literature.  Renowned chefs appear, a multitude of Canadian personalities and of course, the authors that we all love.  There is a silent auction, dinner and a fashion show, which is inspired by a selection of chosen books.

So this year, bent on not missing the action, I volunteered to help with the event.  Hala Events and the Toronto Public Library Foundation have put together what is bound to be the most glamourous evening I have ever experienced!  I am extremely excited.  But, due to the prep work, I have had little time to do much else.  Last weekend, Jay and I went to visit friends of ours in London, which was such a nice trip, but that didn't result in much reading either.  I just finished Brenna Yovanoff's THE SPACE BETWEEN and will have a review up shortly!  Just pondering over it a bit for now..

Hope everyone has had a fantastic week so far!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: Bossypants

As previously stated, on my first day on the job, I was lucky enough to get to take home a copy of the new paperback edition of Tina Fey's memoir, Bossypants.  Before the book, I really liked Tina -- I watch 30 Rock, have always liked her on SNL, love her movies (Baby Mama is by far my favourite) and I find her to be just a genuine nice lady.  Now, after reading her book, I REALLY like Tiny Fey.  Here is why.

Many celebrities go out of their way to make people think they are "just like everyone else" and that is not always the case.  But reading Tina's book made it feel like you were sitting and listening to a friend talk.  She requires no special attention; no need to be viewed as a high-end celebrity.  She idolizes her father, drives eight hours to visit her husband's family at Christmastime and reminds herself that, while she is having anxiety bouts over whether or not to have a second child, people are out fighting in wars and she just needs to relax

Of course the book is filled with her signature hilarity and I probably read half of it out loud to my boyfriend while laughing to the point that I was incomprehensible, but it is also full of powerful insight.  Tina clearly does not think she is a beauty queen and many parts of the book address how women feel about themselves (sometimes comically, sometimes not).  She reveals the origin of the scar on her face and explains why, next to revealing how she got it, she does not bother speaking about it.  She speaks at length about women in the workplace and her own inner debate on whether she wanted to continue with a successful career or take time away for a second child.  (Tina did in fact have a second child and spoke about the experience with David Letterman in this interview.)

While Tina addressed all of the things people are obviously curious about (how her career began, working on 30 Rock and SNL, the Sarah Palin skits), she also just talks about life in general; what comes your way and what doesn't, decisions that have to be made, times where you feel down and out and times where you can't believe just how fortunate you are.  She relishes in the simple parts of life and despite spending many years of her life in front of and behind a camera, still treats work as WORK.  She writes about long days where the writing crew for 30 Rock would be in her living room until 3am.  Though everyone associates TV with glamour, it is still very much an extremely demanding career path.

I could probably go on and on about how much I enjoyed reading the book and about how much I respect Tina Fey, but you don't need to hear it from me.  Everyone knows who she is.  But I honestly think you should pick up this book -- to smile and laugh, to learn more about a fabulous woman, or even just to feel good about being a woman yourself.