I hope everyone's been staying cool this past week- my goodness, Toronto is blazing!! No complaints though- sunny days are always a good thing- but make sure to cover yourself up with sunscreen and treat yourself to a lovely ice cream or iced tea! __
Toronto is so vibrant around this time of year: there's always something fun to do, whether it's fun strolls along the beach, attending Shakespeare in High Park, or biking around the islands!
Whatever it is that you do with family and friends, make it a great one!
See you all very soon!
Thank you to everyone who attended our recent meeting! Brunch at Antler was very lovely - we discussed our latest read, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper which had an overall positive feedback- a charming read and a great story to pass onto loved ones!
This month's theme we turn to non-fiction picks: it was a pretty clear win with this selection as there are a couple of us heading over to Scandinavia this year (And lots of us who love all things Scandinavian in general!)
Summary: A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children.
Moving to America in 2008, Finnish journalist Anu Partanen quickly went from confident, successful professional to wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life—from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare—was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland. At first, she attributed her crippling anxiety to the difficulty of adapting to a freewheeling new culture. But as she got to know Americans better, she discovered they shared her deep apprehension. To understand why life is so different in the U.S. and Finland, Partanen began to look closely at both.
In The Nordic Theory of Everything, Partanen compares and contrasts life in the United States with life in the Nordic region, focusing on four key relationships—parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and government and citizens. She debunks criticism that Nordic countries are socialist “nanny states,” revealing instead that it is we Americans who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realize. As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do.
Partanen wants to open Americans’ eyes to how much better things can be—to show her beloved new country what it can learn from her homeland to reinvigorate and fulfill the promise of the American dream—to provide the opportunity to live a healthy, safe, economically secure, upwardly mobile life for everyone. Offering insights, advice, and solutions, The Nordic Theory of Everything makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild our society, rekindle our optimism, and restore true freedom to our relationships and lives.
Trust yourself, then you will know how to live. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Matchbook Book Club presents:
The June Edition
Is it really almost summertime already??
I am so very excited that June has arrived at our doorstep: I'm looking forward to brighter days and cherished moments where we can lay back and read our favourite titles under the sun.
HAPPY 5 YEARS, DEAREST MEMBERS!
We've landed a mini milestone in this little book club of ours. I'll never forget that we first met at this vegan place called Rawlicious in Yorkville, and that our first book was The Paris Wife!
Many meetings later, with new faces, and author visits, we are still going strong. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for believing in this book club and making it as incredible as it is.
Cheers to more good times ahead!!
Thank you to everyone who came out to our meeting and had a super lovely brunch at Provo! We discussed our previous pick, Restless! Overall, it was a good read by all with very intricate characters and plot- worth recommending to others.
Our next read in light of our travel theme, which was Barb's choice:
Summary: in this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.
But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.
Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.
Already we're into the first week of May- and again so many incredible things have taken place: firstly including moving into my new space: which means a new potential space to host the book club in!
Many of us will either be doing a bit of travel, checking out new events, rekindle a classic film noir, or perhaps explore a different part of the city on a sunny day!
Whatever it is, be sure to enjoy the simple things.
Speaking of travels: I wanted to give everyone the heads-up that I will be away from May 13th- May 29th and as I will be away, the book club will be taking a short bookish break for the month of May. It would be even more fun: as this coming June will be our book club's FIFTH anniversary (hooray!!)
Stay tuned though as I will provide a Doodle for earlier June dates and location. Huge apologies!
In the meantime, have a wonderful upcoming weekend and I will see you all very, very soon!
Thank you to all who came out to our last meeting at the Drake One Fifty! We had a lovely time enjoying our brunch- some a little too much (blueberry scones anyone?!)
We discussed our latest read, A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler, which I'm very proud to say that it has made it to the Man Booker International Prize shortlist! Overall, it was a very lovely read enjoyed by all, writing was well done, the story was memorable, and the characters were touching. A book that is worthy of passing on to a friend!
In light of Mother's Day coming up, I figured we would play on the theme of Memorable Mothers in Literature! Thank you to all who submitted their votes. And the winner:
Summary: “I am Eva Delectorskaya,” Sally Gilmartin announces, and so on a warm summer afternoon in 1976 her daughter, Ruth, learns that everything she ever knew about her mother was a carefully constructed lie. Sally Gilmartin is a respectable English widow living in picturesque Cotswold village; Eva Delectorskaya was a rigorously trained World War II spy, a woman who carried fake passports and retreated to secret safe houses, a woman taught to lie and deceive, and above all, to never trust anyone.
Three decades later the secrets of Sally’s past still haunt her. Someone is trying to kill her and at last she has decided to trust Ruth with her story. Ruth, meanwhile, is struggling to make sense of her own life as a young single mother with an unfinished graduate degree and escalating dependence on alcohol. She is drawn deeper and deeper into the astonishing events of her mother’s past—the mysterious death of Eva’s beloved brother, her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward American involvement in the war, her dangerous romantic entanglement. Now Sally wants to find the man who recruited her for the secret service, and she needs Ruth’s help.
Restless is a brilliant espionage book and a vivid portrait of the life of a female spy. Full of tension and drama, and based on a remarkable chapter of Anglo-American history, this is fiction at its finest.
P.S. I picked up a copy at BMV for only $6.99! So make sure you stop by the nearest BMV location near you!
I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all.
Apologies for this late distribution of the newsletter!
Springtime is here (or is it? Looking outside this morning when it was actually snowing, does put a damp in our optimistic outlook on warmer days!) and it's that time of year where we look forward to a new batch of books!
I'll look forward to the days we can all enjoy the patio, go have a a picnic outside, or take a bike ride around places like High Park or Toronto Islands...I guess we'll just have to be a little more patient!
Thank you to everyone who attended this month's meeting at the super yummy Lisa Marie's! We discussed Cheryl Strayed's "Dear Sugar", which for many was a wonderful read, and there were those who found it to be "just okay"! We shared a bit of our personal experience and saw how it related to many of the advice being given, and overall there were great takeaways from the book (recall Tomas Transtromer's Sister Life passage). A great book to pass it on to family and friends!
Good times at Lisa Marie's!
This month's theme: Man Booker International Longlist!
Thank you to everyone who cast in their votes: while there were plenty of great ones to choose from and to add on our to-read list, this title came out as promising.
Fingers crossed it makes it to the shortlist like last year's pick!
Summary: Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn't ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas' heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in WWII - where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus - and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven. . .
Like John Williams' Stoner or Denis Johnson's Train Dreams, A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler is a tender book about finding dignity and beauty in solitude. An exquisite novel about a simple life, it has already demonstrated its power to move thousands of readers with a message of solace and truth. It looks at the moments, big and small, that make us what we are.
Family/Valentine's Day long weekend has come and gone. Already we are getting nearer to Spring, which means more exciting things are coming our way!
One of the great things about this book club is the opportunity to take on books that we often probably wouldn't have given a second thought, and appreciating that we did! Such an instance could be said of The Danish Girl. Telling a story that contains heavy subject matter can go one of both ways: very well or a big miss. So I was very glad to hear that everyone quite enjoyed this read! The Danish Girl was a wonderful and eye-opening account on what it means to be human, and just how far one would go for love.
A big thanks to David Ebershoff for making our month, in answering our questions for our Author Q & A! It's always such a special treat to hear more of the behind-the-scenes of our reads and to hear their thoughts.
See you next month!
Thank you to everyone who attended this month's meeting. It was a very lovely brunch at Colette Grand Cafe! Below, is the Q & A for David Ebershoff. Enjoy!
Q: Which character did you like to write - Greta, Lili, or Einar? Which was the most difficult or which one surprised you the most?
A: I love these characters for different reasons. Lili, for her courage, determination, and sense of wonder and belief in the future. Metaphorically, Lili’s story is one of rebirth. So this was an interesting writing challenge. The challenge with Greta was to write her in a complex way — to show her remarkable love for Lili, her seemingly bottomless support, while also showing her complicated responses to what was happening to her spouse and to her marriage. Greta is both selfless and selfish, and I needed to show that in a nuanced, empathetic way.
Q: Did you know what happened to Gerda after separating from Lili? Did Gerda move to the U.S.? Did she actually become a Baroness?
A: She ended up marrying an officer from the Italian Air Force, someone who had many of the qualities that Hans has. She never stopped drawing/painting Lili and a few years after Lili’s death she tried to buy back one of her favorite Lili paintings that she sold in 1928. She died in 1940, mostly forgotten, just as Lili was mostly forgotten until somewhat recently.
Q: My main question is why dedicate so much of the book to Greta? I would have liked more of what was going on in Einar and Lili's mind.
Why did he change Gerda to Greta? Why change her from Danish to a brash rich American woman? Am very interested!
A: As much as this is a story about identity it’s also a story about love and marriage. Lili’s life would have been different if she had had to transition on her own. For me, I decided the way to tell this story was as a love story. I also find Greta’s journey as complex and uncharted as Lili’s. Both women had to navigate their lives, and their paths forward, without any kind of role models or examples to look to. Both were pioneers.
Q: If you could invite anyone, dead or alive for dinner, who would it be?
A: Right now, my answer has to be Lili Elbe.I’m going to Dresden in April to participate in a ceremony to lay a new headstone at her grave (her original headstone is missing — probably destroyed in World War II). Lili is very much on my mind and I would like to spend time with her and toast her and thank her for being so brave.
This Month's Selection: Member's Choice
On a spontaneous whim, this months' choice was Member's Choice- at this month's meeting, I discussed what genre we should pursue and non-fiction was the popular choice. After a few suggestions, Cheryl Strayed's "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" became a pick that everyone wanted to give a shot. So let's give it a go! Happy Reading!
Summary: Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this bookis a balm for everything life throws our way.
A new year means a fresh start: new goals are made, plans are fixed, and adventure is right around the corner! Best of all, it's exciting to know that we will be reading so many new books from authors new and old!
2016 also signifies that this book club has been around for five years. Five years! And as we approach our sixth year, it gives me butterflies in my stomach knowing that you, dear members, have made this little love project possible.
So let's sit back on our favourite armchair, grab our choice of beverage (whether it be a glass of red or a cup of tea), sit by the fire with our book on our laps, and drink a toast to many more brighter and happier memories in the months to come.
Thank you all,
Thank you to everyone who came to this month's meeting!
Despite the last minute change of venue (drats to places who do not accept reservations...we were NOT going to be waiting for 45 minutes at Insomnia, thank you very much). We trekked on over to Hey Lucy's for brunch at the Annex!
In light of discussing our first read of the year, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, there were mixed reviews of this classic. Those who watched the films compared and contrasted with what took place in the book. Additionally, fun questions were asked, including whom Jo would be friends with from other books (Hermione Granger and Anne Shirley were top choices!)
Summary: Now a major motion picture starring Eddie Redmayne and directed by Tom Hooper, THE DANISH GIRL is a shockingly original novel about one of the most unusual and passionate love stories of the 20th century.
Loosely inspired by a true story, this tender portrait of marriage asks: What do you do when the person you love has to change?
It starts with a question, a simple favour asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires.
The Danish Girl is an evocative and deeply moving novel about one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the 20th century.
I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts about this book!
Read the book, watch the film!
Curious about the film? Check out the trailer here - both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander have both been nominated for the Oscars this year! Love to hear your thoughts!
“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
- Abraham Lincoln