metro mama

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Books for Him

I’ve called this list “books for him” for the sake of symmetry, but these are my personal favourites, so obviously they’re a great choice for the ladies too.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy is my favourite male author, and this is one of his most accessible books. In spare, vivid prose he paints a bleak picture of the human condition, yet affirms the tenacity of love between parent and child.

I’m so disappointed the movie release has been delayed. Viggo is brilliant casting, no?

Read my review here.

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

The is a fresh and funny political satire, with an interesting back-story. Terry Fallis first released the book for free as a podcast. Then he self-published—and won the Stephen Leacock award for humour! Now M&S has published his book. This is a great read, and the author couldn’t be more lovely.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Speaking of lovely authors, Andrew Davidson is another one. I know you’re sick of me talking about this book, but I just want to give it one last plug. I think the cover might turn off the guys, but they definitely should give it a shot.

Read my review here.

Want more ideas? I haven’t read these ones, but I’m bringing ‘em home for the men in my life:

Don Cherry’s Hockey Stories and Stuff

John Lennon: The Life

The Montreal Canadiens


Friday, November 21, 2008

Metro's Holiday Gift Guide

Dear lord, another week has gone by without blogging. I just can’t seem to be a good blogger these days. I am ashamed and embarrassed about not writing a book review in so long. To be honest, it’s not just that I’m busy, but I feel much more self-conscious about writing book reviews these days. I know there is a much greater chance the author, or a colleague will read and think my words are inane, or clichéd. I’ve never posted negative reviews, so you don’t have to worry I will try to market a book I’m not really behind here, but I’m finding it harder and harder to choose my words.

Anyway, I’ve decided to get over it, and get back to writing about books and pretend no one else is reading (which is almost true). I’m going to start by playing catch-up with some of my favourite books since summer, in the form of a gift guide. I’ll give you all of my personal faves, just a few at a time. And you really should buy books for Christmas gifts. They’re great value, and such a personal choice. Plus, it hasn’t exactly been the best year for the publishing biz, and you want me to keep my cool job, right?

On to the first list..

Fiction for Her

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

As you all know, I’m the biggest Alice Munro fan, and few writers compare. Well, Jhumpa Lahiri is an exception. She too writes short stories about families and women, and her prose is exquisite. Lahiri’s stories are subtle, wise, wonderful little gems.

Read more about the book.

The Story of a Widow by Musharraf Ali Farooqi

This is the gentle, funny, and slightly naughty tale of an Indian woman learning how to assert her independence from her family and community after the death of her husband.

I couldn’t believe this was written by a man (who is a genuine and lovely Toronto author by the way).

Read more about the book.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This is an original, emotional, elegant epistolary novel set in 1946 at the end of World War II. The book is composed of a series of letters between London writer Juliet, and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society, born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island. This book is charming, captivating, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Read about the book.

Coming next: Fiction for Him

See more book recommendations, and get 30% off plus free shipping here.


Monday, November 10, 2008

A CanLit Live Blog!

Updated with pic of Nino Ricci live blogging at the office. If you missed it today, you can catch a transcript here.

Well it was a fun, productive weekend, but the recap will have to wait until tomorrow. In a few hours I’ll be helping Nino Ricci get signed up to live blog during the inaugural CanLit Roundtable at the National Post’s new online Books section!

It’s a great time to talk books--the Giller Prize will be awarded tomorrow night, and the Governor General's Awards handed out next week. Ergo, today some of Canada's top authors, editors and publishers will gather for an interactive chat about the awards season.

Random House of Canada and M&S authors include:

Nino Ricci, author of The Origin of Species, 2008 Governor General’s Literary Awards nominee
Vincent Lam, author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, Winner 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans, winner of 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
Douglas Hunter, author of God’s Mercies, 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award nominee

Martha Kanya-Forstner (who edited five of the GG award nominated books) will also be joining in, as well as Doug Pepper, President and Publisher for McClelland & Stewart. Fab lineup, no?

Make yourself a sandwich, and come and check it out here at 12:00 pm today!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In Which I Start Blogging Again

I do believe I’ve survived the busiest time of the year at work. We have many, many books that went on sale at the end of October (to capitalize on the holiday shopping, of course). It's the festival season, and the award season. I have a big spreadsheet with titles and dates and I felt like throwing up every time I looked at October.

But now it’s November, and life is good again. I am working on something fun and exciting, which I’ll be sharing soon. Also, my team is now on Twitter! Follow us here. You can follow my personal tweets here. Last night I was tweeting the election from both accounts. I just know one day I’ll get the two mixed up and tweet something too personal or stupid on the work account. Mental note: no work tweeting after >3 drinks.

Halloween was a blast. Cakes had sooo much fun, and she was a delight. The neighbours really stepped up this year, and we had another impromptu front porch party. My favourite thing. We also set the date for the legendary annual Christmas crawl, and I can hardly wait.

Last but not least, congratulations to my friends from the south. ‘Tis a happy day indeed!


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween!


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