Despite the lack of snow, December still holds a magical presence around us. It's that time of year where we get together with our beloved family and friends, bake lovely sweet goodies, and drink apple cider and mulled wine!
The holiday season is also a time of reflection. We should always appreciate the simple things in life, and have gratitude for the positive things that take place in our everyday lives.
Lastly, a major thank you to all of you dear members. We have shared a lot of happy, bookish memories and I look forward to many more in the new year.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!
Christmas Gift Suggestions
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
'Twas a very festive time indeed with members all happy with their books and treats!
A big thank you to everyone who came out to this month's meeting: with Christmas sweaters and gold paper crowns to boot, it reminded us of how lucky we are to be among friends and family. This holiday season, be with the ones you love.
Thank you to everyone who voted on this month's pick! I couldn't have chosen a more fitting title to cozy ourselves with this holiday season! Enjoy!
Summary: The charming story of the March sisters, Little Women has been adored by generations. Readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo's hand, cried over little Beth's death, and dreamed of travelling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy. Future writers have found inspiration in Jo's devotion to her writing. In this simple, enthralling tale, both parts of which are included here, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature's most beloved women.
Watch: the film trailers for the classic Little Women with Judy Garland and Natalie Wood, as well as the1994 version!
“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” - W. C. Jones
Our kind of tree!
A new year dawns: I'll be seeing you all in 2016! A Doodle will has been made so vote for your dates and timeshere. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season!
A very super touching John Lewis ad for the holiday season. Watch it here.
Lots of things have been taking place as of late, apologies for the late update!
One of the greatest highlights of November was having author Ann Walmsley visit us during our meeting! It was such a wonderful Q & A with great questions and she was so kind to answer them all and give us a deeper insight into the lives of the men in prisons and how books can truly make a difference.
In the meantime, the holiday season is fast approaching us, so stay tuned for lots of festivities!
A big thank you to everyone who came to our meeting with special guest author Ann Walmsley of November's book club pick, The Prison Book Club!
We had such a fabulous time listening to her stories and her incredible answers to our questions. She is such a lovely person, and we were happy that she was able to give us an opportunity to have a "behind-the scenes" look at her book.
Some fun questions we asked her:
If you could ask anyone dead or living to dinner, who will it be? Winston Churchill.
Was the title of your book your pick or the publisher's choices?
It was my original title.
(Interestingly enough, the Canadian cover edition actually has an image of Chapter One of her actual book!)
What books are you currently reading at the moment?
Boris Johnson's The Churchill Factor
What book is on your to-read list?
Kenneth Oppel's The Nest
One thing everyone agreed on was how wonderfully written the book was: poetic at times, it gave us a deeper understanding to how these inmates lived their lives behind bars. The book club gave these men something to look forward to, and it was great to have read how much of a positive impact books have made for these inmates. Well worth the read!
November Selection: Mystery
Thank you to everyone who submitted their votes! With a draw out of a hat, our current read is ( one that was picked by Kristin! ):
Sidenote: there's also a film that is based on the book that you may want to look up (don't know how true to the book it was, but worth noting the contrasts!): watch the trailer here.
Summary: On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia-and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history.Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. But both are obsessed with the Dahlia-driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl's twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches-into a region of total madness.
We're well into the Fall season, and the excitement's just only begun. I can't believe October is already over- soon enough we shall be entering holiday season, and that's when things get festive! There's lots of great events coming up, so make sure to join in on the fun including...
Taste of Iceland: starts November 12-15th. From food to films, can't wait for this as many of you know I'm very fond of that country! For more information, visit their website here.
Roald Dahl Day: Sat November 14th, 1PM free screening of Fantastic Mr. Fox at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Tickets at bloorcinema.com
See you next month!
Thank you everyone who came out to our recent meeting! We discussed our latest pick, The Fishermen!
I'm pleased to hear that everyone enjoyed reading the book- there are parts where it was very dark, but all can agree on the magnificent storytelling and vivid imagery the author weaves on the tale of four brothers in Nigeria.
Thank you to everyone who voted for our next pick! Looking forward to reading it and discussing with you all soon. The winner:
Summary: An attack in London left Ann Walmsley unable to walk alone down the street, and shook her belief in the fundamental goodness of people. In Canada a few years later, when her friend Carol asked her to participate in a bold new venture in a men’s medium security prison, Ann had to weigh her curiosity and desire to be of service with her anxiety and fear. But she signed on, and for eighteen months went to a remote building at Collins Bay, meeting a group of heavily tattooed book club members without the presence of guards or security cameras. There was no wine and cheese, plush furnishings, or superficial chat about jobs or recent vacations. But a book club on the inside proved to be a place to share ideas, learn about each other, and regain humanity. For the men, the books were rare prized possessions, and the meetings were an oasis of safety and a respite from isolation in an otherwise hostile environment. Having been judged themselves, they were quick to make judgments about the books they read. As they discussed the obstacles the characters faced, they revealed glimpses of their own struggles that were devastating and comic. From The Grapes of Wrath to The Cellist of Sarajevo, Outliers to Infidel, the book discussions became a springboard for frank conversations about loss, anger, redemption, heroism and loneliness. The Prison Book Club follows six particularly involved book club members, who kept journals at Ann's request and participated in candid one-on-one conversations. Graham the biker, Frank the gunman, Ben and Dread the Jamaicans, and the robber duo Gaston and Peter come to life as Ann reconciles her knowledge of their crimes with the individuals themselves, and follows their lives as they leave prison. And woven throughout is the determined and compassionate Carol Finlay, working tirelessly to expand her program across Canada and into the United States. The books changed the men and the men changed Ann, allowing her to move beyond her position as a victim. She came to realize that given the choice, she'd forsake the company of her privileged friends and their comfortable book club, and make the two hour drive to Collins Bay.
For an interesting extra, watch the author being interview on Global News here.
A fun bookish list that we can all check off together in November! (Except of course, #4 of course!)
A new season means the start of something exciting: whether it's taking a cooking class you've always wanted to try, or reading up a fresh new batch of new books- there's plenty of events and goals to aim for!
September seems to be quite a busy month for everyone, but let's not forget to try and attend these following fun events that are taking place, like Word On The Street- !!!!!
I also want to wish safe travels for Lauren, who is off on an amazing European adventure for three months, and a big happy birthday to Shirley!
Hope to see you guys next Sunday for WOTS, enjoy your week, and happy Fall!
Our meeting took place at Gusto 101- a great place for brunch!
Thank you to everyone who came out to this month's meeting! We discussed our latest book club pick, Sara Taylor's "The Shore". It was quite a mixed review of this book- there were some chapters we wished the author to elaborate more on (the story of Chloe and Renee and Medora for example) and others that had us going "What the heck?!" (The last chapter anyone??) However, the storytelling was vivid and interesting. Overall, a 3/5 rating.
Thank you to everyone who voted for our picks this month, whose theme is the Man Booker Prize Shortlist! The votes are in and our pick:
About the author and book: this article helps to give us a little background about Chigozie Obioma and the origins of The Fishermen. Click here!
This just in: our book club selection made it to the Man Booker Prize Shortlist!! Let's continue to cheer him on!
Summary: In a Nigerian town in the mid 1990's, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family. Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fisherman is the story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family's destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions—economic, political, and religious—and the epic beauty of its own culture. With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation's masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.
“All good books have one thing in common – they are truer than if they had really happened.” -Ernest Hemingway
Our next meeting will be taking place next month: location is to be announced, vote for your dates and times on the Doodle here.
See you all very soon!
The beautiful bookshop in Buenos Aires, El Ateneo! Must. Visit.
From Books To Film (TIFF Edition)
I had the extreme pleasure of watching TIFF films this year that were amazing in its own way: from The Danish Girl to Legend, one thing they all have in common is: they were adapted from books!
So here's a couple of great titles to add on your To-Read List:
The Danish Girl (starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander):
The Danish Girl
Novel by David Ebershoff
The Dressmaker (starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth): Novel: The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
Legend (starring Tom Hardy) Novel: The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins
I cannot believe we've arrived at the month of August! Summer days just seem to just fly past us at such speeds that often we take such warm afternoons for granted. Let us not forget that there are still weekends, afternoons, and evenings left so let's make the best out of them!
Leisure moments like these are best spent with a book in tow: how has everyone been with their book pledge this year? Anyone close to accomplishing the 2015 Reading Bingo? (For those who need a refresh or have not encountered one before, please visit this link hereand print one out today!)
I am thrilled to see that some of you are on Goodreads (We have a Goodreads page too- follow us here!) It's always lovely to see what everyone else is reading.
I'm looking forward to seeing all next month- and in the meantime, enjoy the sunshine, relax, and read!
Thank you to everyone who came out on a warm Sunday to have lunch at Bar Milano! What a beautiful view of the lake, not to mention sitting in a shadier place helped to beat the heat! Sipping on iced tea and eating dishes like pizza and delicious pasta: can't complain!
My, my, what overwhelming feedback for our latest read, Confessions! The characters, the story-line, the themes, the vivid imagery of certain scenes (hint: the ending anyone?!!?!?)- there were definite moments where we went WTH! While there were those who couldn't sympathize with the characters but thought it well-written, others found it to be a thrilling read and liked that the story was told through multiple points of view- one member even finished this book in two sittings!
Fun fact (taken from Wiki): The author has been described in Japan as "the queen of iyamisu."Iyamisu (eww mystery) is a subgenre of mystery fiction which deals with grisly episodes and the dark side of human nature. Readers blurt out "eww" when they are reading iyamisu (eww mystery) novels.
Theme: Carry Me
Thank you to everyone who have submitted their votes: our theme draws on titles which renders coming back to the theme of home: memories of days past, weekends spent, evenings well cherished with loved ones- which at times for some, can hold both the good and the bad.
And this month's pick is:
The Shore by Sara Taylor Left: UK Cover Version Right: Canadian Cover Version
Summary: Welcome to The Shore: a collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean. Where clumps of evergreens meet wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, storm-making and dark magic in the marshes. . .
Situated off the coast of Virginia's Chesapeake Bay, the group of islands known as the Shore has been home to generations of fierce and resilient women. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place they've inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian's bold choice to flee an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her to a brave young girl's determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, to a lesson in summoning storm clouds to help end a drought, these women struggle against domestic violence, savage wilderness, and the corrosive effects of poverty and addiction to secure a sense of well-being for themselves and for those they love.
Together their stories form a deeply affecting legacy of two barrier island families, illuminating 150 years of their many freedoms and constraints, heartbreaks, and pleasures. Conjuring a wisdom and beauty all its own,The Shore is a richly unique, stunning novel that will resonate with readers long after turning its final pages, establishing Sara Taylor as a promising new voice in fiction.
If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our next meeting will be taking place in September! A Doodle has been made so vote for your dates and times.