Sunday, 30 December 2012

Our December Selection

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savour belonging to yourself. 
 - Ruth Stout

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Dear Members,

It's that time of year again:

Winter's here, and although the weather has been cold, we're keeping our fingers crossed for a White Christmas!There is lots to look forward to this month: spending more time with the family in the days to come, holiday dinners, skating around the Harbourfront or City Hall, sipping on hot apple cider and hot cocoa, sitting by the roaring fireplace with a book in one hand, winter lights strewn on the streets, making the city a lot more brighter, and the festive mood which settles on all of us at this time of year- the perfect way to reflect, relax, and prepare for the new year.

Meeting Update

Thank you to everyone who arrived at our December meeting, which took place at Marche Restaurant! We gathered around to discuss our previous read, which was Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. What a refreshing read! All agreed on its wit as well as the humorous setting, where anything's feels possible. Sloan did a fantastic job in capturing our love of books by dedicating unique characters and an unforgettable plot to lighten up our own world.
We were all looking forward to a lot of interesting books made into films: from The Hobbit to Les Mis, there's something for everyone this holiday season on the silver screen!
Finally, we did our lovely Christmas gift exchanges! This year was definitely tea-themed- with combinations of unique gifts for the book lover.
I look forward to seeing new and old faces alike come the new year- may your holiday be merry and bright!

December Selection

Theme: Let It Snow

This month's pick had a lot of very unique choices! However, there was definitely an overwhelming vote for a particular title, which is very fitting for this season- so our December book club pick is:


Summary: Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season''s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Happy Reading!

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I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year's Eve, may 2013 be a wonderful year for all us!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Our November Selection

"I did not know people your age still read books," Penumbra says. He raises an eyebrow. "I was under the impression they read everything on their mobile phones."
"Not everyone. There are plenty of people who, you know—people who still like the smell of books."
-Robin Sloan

Homes: Luxe: Image of living room with old fashioned bookshelves and armchairs

Dear Members,

November is a time where we shed the last few days of autumn, turning to the finer comforts of keeping warm by pulling out our favourite scarves and coats, as well as feeling nostalgic for the wonderful things we tend to seek out come Winter.
As the evenings turn colder, we find the perfect opportunity to sink into our armchairs with a cup of either tea, hot cocoa, or cider, and open up to our latest read. This month's theme, A Bookish Life,  is dedicated to a love of books and bookshops, where our selections contains plots which will make our hearts beat a little faster due to the sheer joy of finding ourselves being surrounded by these wonders!

Our Meeting:

We met up on Saturday, November the 17th at Panera Bread down on Yonge and Dundas. Thank you to all who came, we certainly had a wonderful time catching up on each others lives and the films/shows we saw this past month, as well as other reads we have been juggling with!
In terms of discussing our previous selection, which was Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth- truth be told, despite the wonderful way in which McEwan writes, many were on the fence about liking the book, especially when it came to Serena and the way she handled her life during her days at MI5,and outside of MI5. Certainly, there were many things the book touched upon which were memorable- renderings of Cambridge, clues left behind in secretive places, not to mention the ending, all played an interesting role.
Finally, it came to the voting round, where our winning choice for this month is:

Mr.Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore

Summary: The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web-design drone, and serendipity, sheer curiosity and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey have landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra?s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead ?checking out? impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he has embarked on a complex analysis of the customers?behaviour and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what?s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the secrets extend far beyond the walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the 21st century. Evoking both the fairy tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that?s rare to the world of literary fiction,Mr. Penumbra?s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter what the time of day.

Also, make sure to check out the author's very interesting website where there are lots of interesting gems!

Happy reading!

Some bookish inspiration:

Some very interesting things to see and watch, all book-related!

The Biblio-Mat (this takes place right here in our very city!)

Source: classicdominique
Guilty as charged.



Very interesting take on book spines!

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Our October Selection

“I turned the pages so fast. And I suppose I was, in my mindless way, looking for a something, version of myself, a heroine I could slip inside as one might a pair of favourite shoes.” 

- Ian McEwan, Sweet Tooth



Dear Members,

I hope that everyone has been well so far! October has always been the month of mystery- events like Halloween is right around the corner, so that when walking up the streets, out pops pumpkins on the front porch and festive decorations take over shop windows. The scent of firewood's in the air and the yearning for warmer drinks takes over as evening creeps in at an earlier hour. We welcome it all the more, as it will be the perfect setting to sink into a good read in your favourite armchair!

Meeting Update

October the 14th was a special day for us, as it was our extreme pleasure to have author C.S. Richardson accept our invitation and join us for our meeting which took place at the Swiss Room at Marche! What a thrill it was to have met the author himself, where for many years, I wondered what it was like to have coffee with your favourite author. I had that extraordinary opportunity that particular Sunday, alongside other members who were just as equally excited. C.S Richardson  was super nice, funny, and humble when it came to answering all the questions we had. It was great to have a "behind-the-scenes" look at how the novel, The Emperor of Paris, came about.

(From left to right: Lauren, Shirley, Darshana, Joanne, C.S. Richardson, Florence, and Barbara)

Our Selection

About Sweet Tooth:



Summary (from Goodreads): Serena Frome, the beautiful mathematician daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the Intelligence Service. The year is 1972: Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and Irish terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency. The Cold War has entered a moribund phase but the fight goes on and MI5 hesitates at little to influence hearts and minds.
Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is sent by her new employers on a secret mission that brings her into the literary world of Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First, she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is deceiving whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage-trust no one. Ian McEwan masterfully entwines espionage and desire in an unforgettable story of intrigue, betrayal and love.

Happy reading!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A Matchbook Afternoon With... C.S. Richardson

It is not length of life, but depth of life.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson



Dear Members,

I hope everyone is mesmerized by C.S. Richardson's The Emperor of Paris as I am! Each chapter has me submerged in a world of cobblestone paths, the smell of bread, whispered conversations in French, and the feel of old books.

As well, this month, we are in for a very special treat: our upcoming book club meeting will be graced with a very special guest: author C.S. Richardson himself!!

This is a dream come true as I have been a huge fan of his since The End of the Alphabet was published. I lost count of how many times I gushed about this book to friends, family, and strangers!

So do feel welcome to come with questions! We will be meeting up at the Swiss Room at Marche Restaurant located at Brookfield Place between Yonge and Wellington. We will begin the meeting at 2pm- I look forward to meeting everyone there!

This will be an afternoon we won't forget. In the meantime, take a look at this clip, as C.S. Richardson talks about book design:



Sunday, 16 September 2012

Our September Selection

“She -was a reader.
He had a library.”
- C.S. Richardson, The Emperor of Paris

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Dear Members,

September has arrived!
Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons: I'm taking out my cardigan sweaters and scarves, the smell of apple or pecan pie, the leaves begin to change colour, which adds an incredible beauty to the city (not to mention stepping on those crunchy leaves!), going apple picking, adding cinnamon to everything, autumn sunsets, foggy mornings, the smell of firewood, the crisp Fall air, and painting at this time of year. I also tend to become more of a coffee drinker at this time of year! Best of all: it's cozying up to a delightful read on those chillier nights.
I look forward to our upcoming meetings, where themes range from digging into a good mystery, looking at the lives of others through biographies, traveling abroad to destinations unknown, and coming back to Member's Choice.
This month's theme, There and Back Again, looks back at selections that were previously picked before and provides the opportunity to be selected again. At the same time, it also reflects the state of our mood as we say goodbye to summer and welcome a brand new season. Not only are we returning to our old routines, but we're also starting a new chapter of our lives.
I look forward to seeing everyone very soon, and I wish you all a wonderful month!

                                                                                                                Joanne
Meeting Update

Thank you to all who came to this month's meeting! We gathered at Balzac's Coffee at 122 Bond Street at the Ryerson Image Arts Building. It was the perfect place to catch up: everyone seemed to have a fantastic summer, though it was agreed upon that it went by much too fast! As well, we discussed our previous read, M.L. Stedman's The Light Between Oceans over a cup of coffee.
The novel is full of descriptions of the natural world: the ocean, the landscape, and the sky, all play a pivotal role in Tom and Isabel's life.
Janus Rock, as we find out, is named for Janus the Roman God of doorways. In that sense, this knowledge of being torn between two ways of seeing things reflect much of the issues that haunt both Tom and Isabel. We all loved Tom, not only for his righteousness, but the fact that he was willing to sacrifice so much for Isabel and her happiness. We all agreed that the ending surprised us all, as we expected the book to end in a different way. Altogether, everyone enjoyed the book, having succeeded in pulling our hearts in different directions as we read each page and felt the turmoils and the emotions of each character.

Shortly after, we began to select our next pick. Not surprisingly, the book we chose was 100% agreed upon!

Our September Selection



Summary: Like his father before him, Octavio runs the Notre-Dame bakery, and knows the secret recipe for the perfect Parisian baguette. But, also like his father, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading and his only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery door comes from his own imagination. Just a few streets away, Isabeau works out of sight in the basement of the Louvre, trying to forget her disfigured beauty by losing herself in the paintings she restores and the stories she reads. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving a mysterious traveller, an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found . . .


Check back for more interesting posts on all things C.S. Richardson and The Emperor of Paris! 

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, 14 September 2012

A Thought


“I wish you could see the sunrise and sunset here. And the stars: the sky gets crowded at night, and it is a bit like watching a clock, seeing the constellations slide across the sky. It’s comforting to know that they’ll show up, however bad the day has been, however crook things get.”
- Tom's letter to Isabel, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman


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Our September meeting is taking place at Balzac's Coffee near Ryerson University at 122 Bond Street. Looking forward to seeing everyone and to discuss not only our latest read, The Light Between Oceans, but to also pick our next selection! Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Our August Selection: The Light Between Oceans

They (the stars) just kept shining, no matter what was going on. I think of the light here like that, like a splinter of a star that's fallen to earth: it just shines, no matter what is happening.
- M.L. Stedman

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Dear members,

I hope everyone has been enjoying their summer so far! I certainly had a wonderful time visiting Stratford this past weekend- I took my friend to see Henry V for Stratfest, and it was divine strolling by the river, visiting the antique shops, buying a Fitzgerald at my favourite bookstore, drinking a Parisian Mist at Balzac's- it was just what the doctor ordered!

While it's hard to say goodbye to the last final weeks of summer, there are many events to look forward to come Fall! But before we head into September, let us all visit the beaches one last time, eat our favourite ice cream one moment longer, and go...to the lighthouse!

Thank you everyone who has attended this month's meeting- we discussed Rideout's Above All Things! The majority agreed that it was a superb first novel for the author, and was very well-written, even poetic at times. As well, our book club held our first ever book swap!

Photo: Thanks for everyone who came out to our book club meeting! Overall, all agreed that Tanis Rideout's Above All Things was a wonderful read! Our book swap took place as well:

There were great choices: from a murder mystery, to the historic, there was something for everyone!
Finally, came about our August Selection. We borrowed Shirley's hat as the place to mix our titles in, and JoAnne had the honour to pick one out, and our pick is:



Summary: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

                                                              
Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

About the author (from the publisher's website): M.L. Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. This is her first novel.

Here is an interesting interview for your reading pleasure!

I can't wait to get started- happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Amusings

We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate. -Henry Miller



Fellow book club readers, I hope you enjoy this fun clip on how to visit a French bakery!

Some amusings:


We don't recommend burning books, but how about using and fireplace for storage!
                                               What a great use of space! Potential home idea.

Book Stack of Light Reading, by ShellSherree via Etsy.
"Book Stack of Light Reading" by ShellSherree

Library of Ancient Antiquities, Geneva, Switzerland  photo via theworld

To visit: The Library of Ancient Antiquities in Geneva, Switzerland

♥!
Our next meeting will take place on the 18th at Marche. I am excited to announce that we will be hosting our first book exchange! Feel free to bring as many titles as you want- this is the perfect time to dive into a new read!

Hope everyone's enjoying Above All Things!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Above All Things- Our Book Club Pick


Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.
-Erich Fromm

Dear members,

I can't believe how fast time seems to go by this summer- already it's near August! Have you accomplished some of your things on your Summer to-do list?

Yesterday was our book club meeting, which took place at Panera Bread! We sat and discussed what we have seen and events taking place, not to mention the books we were reading!
Our conversation then turned to our previous selection, Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles. It was quite a read, a bit slow at first, but it gradually rises to a sweeping epic ending. The story of Achilles is seen through the eyes of Patroclus, where the story begins when Patroclus and Achilles meet for the first time when they were children, and ends toward the end of the Trojan War. It is Greece in the age of heroes, and the individuals that appear in the book revive our knowledge of Greek mythology: characters such as Zeus, Hercules, Apollo, and Odysseus- they capture the essence of a age wrapped with honour, sacrifice, and glory.
While we all agreed that Patroclus made a good narrator, we thought other character's point of view would have been nice, such as Chiron the Centaur. Overall, we enjoyed the book (it also made us want to go back and read classics such as The Iliad!)

Finally the moment came to select our next book club pick! While all titles were very good, the members have chosen, and this month's book club pick is:

Summary:
The Paris Wife meets Into Thin Air in this breathtaking debut novel of obsession and divided loyalties, which brilliantly weaves together the harrowing story of George Mallory''s ill-fated 1924 attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest, with that of a single day in the life of his wife as she waits at home in England for news of his return.
A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly back and forth between the epic story of Mallory''s legendary final expedition and a heartbreaking account of a day in the life of Ruth Mallory. Through George''s perspective, and that of the newest member of the climbing team, Sandy Irvine, we get an astonishing picture of the terrible risks taken by the men on the treacherous terrain of the Himalaya. But it is through Ruth''s eyes that a complex portrait of a marriage emerges, one forged on the eve of the First World War, shadowed by its losses, and haunted by the ever-present possibility that George might not come home. Drawing on years of research, this powerful and beautifully written novel is a timeless story of desire, redemption, and the lengths we are willing to go for honour, glory, and love.


Here is the trailer:


Want to know more about the author? Visit her website! Some fun parts of her site includes "Did You Know" about Above All Things and a Resources page, should you wish to explore further about all things Everest and George Mallory. You can also meet her in person at this year's Word on the Street!

Until next time!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Our July Meeting



Dear members,

This month's meeting will be taking place on Saturday the 28th from 12-2pm. We will be discussing our latest read, The Song of Achilles as well as picking our next selections at Panera Bread, located near Yonge and Dundas, next to The World's Biggest Bookstore! Hope to see you all there!




Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Song of Achilles


"Name one hero who was happy."
I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason's children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus' back.
"You can't." 
He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
"I can't."
"I know. They never let you be famous AND happy." 
He lifted an eyebrow.
"Ill tell you a secret."
"Tell me." I loved it when he was like this.
"I'm going to be the first." 
He took my palm and held it to his. 
"Swear it."
"Why me?"
"Because you're the reason. Swear it."
"I swear it," I said, lost in the high colour of his cheeks, the flame in his eyes.
"I swear it," he echoed.
We sat like that a moment, hands touching. He grinned.
"I feel like I could eat the world raw."
- Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles



Dear members,

I hope everyone is enjoying our latest pick, The Song of Achilles! Here are some great clips for you to enjoy:



In this clip, Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked and Out of Oz) and the author discuss The Song of Achilles:




I can wholeheartedly agree with Madeline Miller when it comes to reading an actual book, versus the e-reader (although it does have an advantage when it comes to travelling!)




Until next time!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Our June Selection

I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips. -Violette Leduc

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Dear Members,

There's nothing like spending our days under the sun doing what we love, whether it's spending time with family and friends, picking a destination to travel, or curling up with a good read under a tree or at the beach. Days are longer, temperatures are high, and our spirits are bright.

This month's theme, Lumière, reflects this light and carefree mood of the season, which our selection for this month The Song of Achilles, will carry an epic tone and sweep us off to Greece in the golden age of heroes.

I want to thank each and every one of you for coming out to our meeting on the 23rd. It was perfect weather to have our large group meet outdoors at The Beaches. However, I failed to mention one very important thing during the meeting (and I wanted to kick myself for it): this month marks the Matchbook Book Club's one year anniversary. My, my, look how far we've come- time certainly flies!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you all for believing in the book club from the very start, sharing your wonderful thoughts and inspirations during our meetings, and made this book club a reality. Thank you to those who took a chance to join the book club in the later months, which not only helped to make the book club grow, but enlighten us with a diverse range of ideas. Looking back at our selections, we certainly have dabbled in reads that have made an impact on us and allowed the opportunity to try titles we would normally have overlooked.


So here's to many more years of wonderful Matchbook Book Club moments!


Our June book club pick:




Summary: The legend begins...

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.



Make sure to check out the author's website for all things "The Song of Achilles"!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The World We Found

All gardening is landscape painting.
-William Kent



Dear members, 

I hope everyone's been enjoying our latest pick by Vanessa Diffenbaugh- The Language of Flowers so far!
And what wonderful weather we've been having- summer is here to stay!

In light of The Language of Flowers, Goodreads is hosting a live video chat with the author on Tuesday June 26th at 5pm. I believe you have to be a Goodreads member to take part and ask her about anything in which the book as sparked your mind with- a few of are members are already on board, so make sure to take a look, as it's a great place to keep record of the books you've read, books you want to read, quotes, and much more!


Recommendation Round:

Thanks to one of our lovely members, Barbara, who submitted this funny story:

A thief in Paris planned to steal some Paintings from the Louvre.
After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van.
However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.
When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, 'Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings.

I had no Monet
 
To buy Degas
To make the Van Gogh."


See if you have De Gaulle to send this on to someone else.

I sent it to you because I figured I had nothing Toulouse! 

Bookfessions:


I came across this Tumblr site called Bookfessions: everyone should take a look, as I'm sure we can agree to many of their points!

Have a great week everyone!


Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Language of Flowers

“Perhaps the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved, could grow to give love as lushly as anyone else.” 
- Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Flowery book jacket

Dear members,

I hope everyone is doing well! How is everyone enjoying this month's book club pick so far?
It's already the first week of June, and lots of rain which is wonderful for the garden, but it seems the seasons have switched on us!
While the back of the book has a lovely index of what each flower represents, here is an illustrative version:


Here is a great clip of the author giving us her thoughts on The Language of Flowers:




The Language of Flowers

There is also an insightful interview which NPR had with Vanessa Diffenbaugh that's worth a read.

Recommendation Round:

One of our lovely members Lauren shared with us a great video about the history of the book:




I recently found this lovely artwork by Rob Gonsolves called "The Library" and it was instant love:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Our May Selection

“Anyone can grow into something beautiful.” 
- Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers

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Dear members,

This month we have the opportunity to observe one of the most loveliest transformations nature can give us: the blooming of flowers and the opening of leaves on the trees, leaving us smitten by the grand surroundings to come.

May is a time where gardens become our own private Eden- and as such, this month's theme is dedicated to stories about or inspired by our love of flowers and gardens, making everything a "blossoming solace". 

On Saturday the 19th, we gathered together at the Toronto Music Garden, in light of our current theme, and discussed our previous read "The Mistress of Nothing" by Kate Pullinger. Overall, the book was well- received, where many praised the wonderful scenarios of Egypt. 
The crucial moment came where we had to look at the selections and pick a title that will be our book club pick. The majority of members have decided and our pick is:


  

Summary: The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
(From Goodreads)

Here is a wonderful book trailer for The Language of Flowers



Make sure you check out The Language of Flowers website as it contains a lot of interesting bits about the book and more!

The author also has a Facebook page as well for you to check out.

I will continue to post more things along the way in the near future, but until then, happy reading!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

On Travel: Egypt

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”
 – Freya Stark

Dear members,

Reading Kate Pullinger's The Mistress of Nothing has given me a case of wanderlust. How I wish I could just travel to all of these wonderful places right this instance! I do have a list of places I want to go and I want to make it a dream come true to check all of them off.

When we think of Egypt, what instantly comes to mind are the extraordinary feat of the pyramids, the incredible artworks, the culture of this civilization, and the lavish history it holds!

Here are some interesting things to look at when it comes to all things Egypt and travel!

Watch: Cairo Time

Starring Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddiq, the film is about an unexpected love story set in the heart of Egypt.



Read: Wayfare Magazine


This is one of my favourite sites I like to go on when it comes to travel- it has fantastic stories and great travel inspiration.


Naguib Mahfouz's Palace Walk- Volume One of his Cairo Trilogies. One of the most well known writers of Arabic literature, he received his Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1988.


Write: Travel Journals

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Ah, travel journals- whether we are avid writers or not, one things for sure: nothing is as blissful as keeping a record of your travels as you go abroad. Now comes a hard question: which to pick?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Closer Look At "The Mistress Of Nothing"

"And so, an adventure - a brilliant escapade in fact. I loved it on that ship, I loved the port cities and the sights, ever more exotic as we travelled south. I loved it best when we were far out to sea: no sign of land, no trees, no buildings, no people; just water, the ship, my mistress, and me."
-Kate Pullinger, The Mistress of Nothing

Dear members,

I hope everyone is enjoying this month's read at the moment!

This post is dedicated to additional outlets for all things Kate Pullinger and The Mistress of Nothing. I came across this interesting video of the author giving us a "behind the scenes" look at the novel.




I also found this neat clip of the author reading an excerpt of the book (at page 51 to be exact) which you can follow along or give a listen while looking at the lovely images.




Earlier on via Twitter, the author has realized that we were reading a book and responded with this lovely message:

@katepullinger:  Hope you have an enjoyable discussion of The Mistress of Nothing - you can always tweet me questions!

Fellow members, feel free to either send me along your questions over the next couple of weeks by commenting below or in future posts to come. You can also send an email and I will happily post it up on our Twitter page and keep you updated on her replies!


Monday, 30 April 2012

Recommendation Round

Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own
- William Hazlitt
Dear members,

Hope everyone is doing well!
In light of the Recommendation Round, I would like to share this: 

HBO has done a biopic called Hemingway and Gellhorn, which looks at the relationship between Ernest Hemingway (played by Clive Owen) and Martha Gellhorn (played by Nicole Kidman), who was a war correspondent and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was inspired by her.


Seeing as our first book club pick was "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain, this should shed an interesting light on Hemingway's other wives. Hemingway and Gellhorn will be released on the 28th of May.

Here is the extended trailer:

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Our April Selection

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” 
-J.D. Salinger
Dear members,

We held our eleventh meeting yesterday at The Library Lounge at the Imperial Pub yesterday, and despite the weather being overcast, it didn't dampen our discussions about our previous book club pick which was Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers".

(The Library Lounge at the Imperial Pub)

Reading "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" opened up a lot of eye-opening events which are a far cry from the everyday happenings that we encounter in our day-to-day life. Corruption, poverty, and death is prevalent, and hope seems nothing more than a bleak light in a very dark tunnel.
We tackled interesting questions such as discussing who had the better life, whom the book sheds light on, and memorable scenes which we remember long after we set aside the book: I can never forget the part where Abdul remarks that in Mumbai's dirty water, he wanted to be "ice".

We then turned to this month's selections, and our theme is: 


The books listed in this month's selections are all travel-themed ( you can find the rest of the other titles listed on our Facebook page) , which is perfect timing since a couple of our members are doing a bit of travelling themselves! 
So whether we're flying to exotic destinations for the first time, or sailing back to a familiar place we call our second home, one thing's for sure: there's always the delightful comfort of armchair travel, which we'll be doing together.

The members have voted and our April book club pick is:


First line: "The truth is that, to her, I was not fully human."

Summary: 
Lady Duff Gordon is the toast of Victorian London. But when her debilitating tuberculosis requires healthier climate, she and her lady's maid, Sally, set sail for Egypt. It is Sally who describes, with a mixture of wonder and trepidation, the odd menage marshalled by the resourceful Omar, which travels down the Nile to a new life in Luxor. When Lady Duff Gordon undoes her stays and takes to native dress, throwing herself into weekly salons, language lessons, excursions to the tombs, Sally too adapts to a new world, affording her heady and heartfelt freedoms never known before. But freedom is a luxury that a maid can ill-afford, and when Sally grasps more than her status entitles her to, she is brutally reminded that she is mistress of nothing.
In 1862, the real Lucie, Lady Duff Gordon, a well known writer and hostess, traveled to Egypt with her maid. Her letters form the basis for this historical novel.

Some interesting facts about the author, Kate Pullinger:


From her Goodreads site: 

Kate Pullinger was born in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and went to high school on Vancouver Island. She dropped out of McGill University, Montreal, after a year and a half of not studying philosophy and literature, then spent a year working in a copper mine in the Yukon, northern Canada, where she crushed rocks and saved money. She spent that money traveling and ended up in London, England, where she has been ever since.

She co-wrote the novel of the Oscar award-winning film "The Piano" with director Jane Campion, who also directed films such as Bright Star.

From 2001-2007 she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She currently teaches on the MA in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester, where she is Reader in Creative Writing and New Media.

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Other ideas which we have been put to the table involve doing a future book swap at our following meeting, as well as (fingers crossed) to do a possible picnic at the Toronto Islands come warmer weather!

As well, for awhile, many are excited at the prospect of our book club having our very own book bag, and I have a few ideas running about in terms of the design- I was hoping to put our logo on it as well as having each member's favourite book and/or quotes about books!

So off we go to Egypt as we dive into Kate Pullinger's "The Mistress of Nothing"- who knows what's in store for us down at the Nile. Bon voyage everybody!

Until our next meet, happy reading!

Joanne

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Recommendation Round

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. -Anna Quindlen


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One of our lovely book club members, Barbara, came across this interesting article on Flavorwire: 

Our previous book club pick, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, made it onto the list! Can you imagine if someone were to pull this wonderful theme off? I'd be wondering when I would be receiving the invitation!

Another great theme was The Great Gatsby! Potential theme for my upcoming birthday perhaps?

Our upcoming eleventh meeting will take place at The Library Lounge at the Imperial Pub on Saturday, April 21st from 1-3pm. Those who are interested, don't be shy- pop by for a chat!