Tag Archives: book clubs

Book Clubs

“Book clubs are totally dope – like English class if you were allowed to read only books that you actually like and snack and sip while discussing them.”

Sam Maggs, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks

…and by “sip” I assume Sam means kegstands with beer and wine straight from the bottle, and by “snack” she means stuffing your face with greasy food straight from the back of a pub.

Last night my book club talked about Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach. According to one of my fellow bookies who shall remain nameless but has a history of bibliophilic illness, “Manhattan Beach is a book about a beach. The beach is called Manhattan Beach. In between going to the beach and Anna’s home, people go diving and die. The end.”

Excellent summary.

Anyway, aside from plugging my own book club (did that come out right?), I thought I would use this opportunity to highlight the awesomenesss of book clubs. On top of meeting new people (hopefully), being in a book club means you have an excuse every month to rip it up while discussing pretentious subjects like art, literature, the art of literature, and literary art. Oh, and artistic literature, too.

I started this book club, Curling Was Full, in August 2009 and I’m proud to say we’re still going strong. Members have come and gone (there are only an Original Three left), but we always seem to have more requests for membership than we can handle. No surprise, then, that when Random House (before it was Penguin Random House) had a book club contest called Books Are Beautiful, we won!

Actually, we finished in second place (we all received a copy of Jowita Bydlowska‘s Drunk Mom) to We Don’t Bake Muffins, but I’m still convinced the contest was rigged. Something about screeching the judges and kissing a cod, I’m told.

Long of the short, though, if you’re not in a book club, start one. If you are in one, lament the fact that you’re not in Curling Was Full because, well, we’re full.

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(Partial) World Book Day

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Q. Why “partial” World Book Day?

A. Because it’s only World Book Day in the UK and Ireland today, March 2, 2017.

Oh, right! I forgot that there’s the “world,” and then there’s a couple of islands in the North Atlantic. Thanks for clearing that one up, WBD!

Nonetheless and nevertheless, any excuse to read or talk about books is all goodly in my books. (Ha ha ha. Get it? Good in my…hmm…)

World Book Day comes with resolutions, right? Excellent. In that case, here’s my WBD Resolution: Let’s get more men reading.

eHarmony? Match.com? AshleyPleaseDoNotHackMyComputerMadison? No wayz. You be readin’? You be sexy. You be up down in that action? You be gettin’ hit on harder than a piñata at a birthday party for sugar-starved kidz.

Menfolk of the world, if you want to amp up your A game one more notch, here’s a piece of goodly advice: start a book club. Not only is it a swank excuse to meet hot dudes and dudettes, but you’ll expand that one muscle you can’t get to at the gym.

So ask yourself, what should you be reading right now that doesn’t include (a) anything about Donnie T.; (b) anything lewd, lascivious or luciously lucious; (c) anything related to your job/kids; or (d) anything that rhymes with “fetish”?

Me, I’m reading Michael Cunningham’s The Hours in honour of CAMH’s One Brave Night initiative for mental health.

Oh, and if you’re wondering when the (other part of the rest of the) World Book Day falls, it’s Sunday, April 23, 2017. For international information on World Book Day, you can visit www.unesco.org

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Zoe Whittall & The Art of Making It Work as a Writer

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I’ve been fortunate to spend some time with the extremely talented Zoe Whittall. A few years ago, my friend Jaclyn L. chose Holding Still for as Long as Possible as our book club’s selection of the month. Zoe was a gracious guest and provided some very cool insight into her novel and the community of Toronto’s Blue Shirts. (Sadly, when we asked her to join Curling Was Full, she told  us she’d just signed up for improv classes).

Recently, shedoesthecity.com posted a great article on the acclaimed author called “Zoe Whittall on Giller Prize-shortlisted Novel The Best Kind of People.” (The Best Kind of People was actually named one of Heather Reisman’s two top novels of last holiday season, the other being Joseph Boyden’s Wenjack) While the article is an interesting read if you like the author and her fiction/poetry, what caught my attention as a professional freelancer was her determination to make this thing called writing a viable career, even if it meant straying from her traditional domains of writing novels and poems. Give it a read when you have a chance, especially if you’re a starving artist and looking for inspiration about how to pay the rent while also pursuing your passion.

Many congratulations to @zoewhittall on her newfound – and well-deserved – success on multiple writing fronts.

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