Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall, Glorious, Fall!

Part of my writing routine is to take a long walk every day. I find that the fresh air and exercise clears my head and helps me think. Imagine my delight today to see these gorgeous autumn leaves against the backdrop of bright sunshine and clear blue sky. I am lucky to live in a part of the city that has so many big old trees.

And, while I'm feeling lucky, I'd like to say a sincere thank you to the people who invited me to present at their events and schools last week. Thank you to: Hal Wake and Lizette Fischer, from the Vancouver International Writers Festival; Lucy Skipper and Ilona Beiks for setting up my visit at Britannia Elementary School; to the Writers Festival for sponsoring the school visit; and finally, to Wendy Ames and her team from the BC Teacher-Librarians Association for the invitation to speak at their conference. It was a wonderful week, full of book talk and book lovers. Thank you to everyone who made it possible!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Literary Season

The fall literary season is upon us and there are many wonderful events taking place in my fair city.

I attended a book launch at Barbara Jo's Book to Cooks the other night, where my friend Ellen Schwartz was introducing her new book, The Case of the Missing Deed. Her book is full of recipes contributed by her daughter, Merri Schwartz, a talented young pastry chef. We got to watch Merri cook, listen to Ellen read, and then sample the goodies. Yum!

On Saturday morning, I attended the Children's Literature Roundtable annual breakfast meeting, where Barbara Reid and Jo-Ellen Bogart were the guest speakers. On top of that, we heard book-talks for the 5 finalists for the Information Book Award of Canada. (May I ever so quietly mention that my book, Up We Grow, was one of them?)

This week, there are even more events. I am looking forward to speaking at the Vancouver Writers Festival, Britannia Elementary School (hi everyone!), and the annual BC Teacher-Librarian Conference. I am rushing around doing last-minute tweaks to my presentations and crossing my fingers that all will go well (or at least that I don't fail miserably).

I hope your fall is an excellent one, and that you are well-stocked with great books to read, or have a calendar full of bookish events to attend.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Farewell and Thank You, Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs made my life better.

I didn't know him, but I use his innovations daily. My computer, phone, electronic reader, and music player are in constant rotation as I write, read, listen and communicate throughout the day.

I owe a lot to Steve Jobs. He was a true visionary. I will miss him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great Quote!

I'm currently reading a very good children's book called Lives of the Writers: Comedy, Tragedies (and What the Neighbours Thought) by Kathryn Krull and Kathryn Hewitt.

It opens with this quote by Gustav Flaubert (famous French writer):

"Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living."

What do I think about that?


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fall Reading...

I just finished re-reading a wonderful book called, Passages: Welcome Home to Canada. It is a collection of thoughtful and inspiring essays by Canadian writers who were born in other countries. It includes articles by Shyam Selvadurai, Anna Porter, M.G. Vassanji and Moses Znaimer to name a few.

The first time I read Passages (a few years ago), I was writing my own thoughts on the topic: The Kids Book of Canadian Immigration. At that time, I read Passages (and many other books) strictly for research. On this second reading, I savoured the book and turned each page with enjoyment and contemplation. It is a lovely piece of work!

Another collection I am reading is a set of short stories titled, The Empty Family, by Colm Toibin — someone I had not read before but have heard about for a long time. These are beautifully written stories, set in Ireland, and full of poignancy, longing, melancholy and regret. I look forward to reading many more books by this writer. (He writes in a range of genres apparently — poetry, novels, essays and more.)

What are you reading this fall? Feel free to send your recommendations. I will gladly follow your lead.

Happy Reading!