Why I Document Every Book I Read

When I turned 30 a year ago, I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of 30 things I’d like to accomplish during the year. Some of the things on the list included,

  • Go ice skating
  • See a movie at the drive in theatre
  • Finally see a Raptors games

… and because I’m such a book lover, I had to include a book goal. So I challenged myself by setting a goal to read 75 books in my 30th year. Since I typically read about 70 books a year, I thought that this goal would challenge me, but not break me (which to me, was very important). So I created a folder on my GoodReads account called, 30 while 30 Reading Challenge (add me as a friend, if we’re not already pals) and I slowly plugged away at adding each book I read from November 18, 2013 to November 18, 2014.

I’m happy to report that not only did I go figure skating and see a Raptors game, but I read 85 books in my 30th year! So, yes, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. But the reason I’m sharing this dorky/bookish achievement with you is that I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I categorized my year of reading. It’s now time for a confession (although it’s pretty obvious if you’re an avid visitor to this blog), I really like organization. I don’t know when this happened, I was not like this as a child, but I somehow operate better when there are lists, goals and spreadsheets. They give me a sense of purpose and in this case, it allows me to reflect of a time in my life when there were a lot of changes, development and achievements. Looking back at this list allows me to recapture experiences that happened while I was reading a particular book.

For example, when I see My Salinger Year on this list, I  immediately travel back to the summer, because I was reading this memoir when I went home this summer to say goodbye to my childhood home. Every morning I’d wake up and do a 5km walk around the neighbourhood that helped raise me and then I’d go home to read a little bit of Joanna Rakoff’s memoir about moving out on her own and starting her career in agency IMG_8157publishing. The similarities are outstanding, I know. But from now on, every time I see that book, it will always remind me of my childhood bedroom and those early morning walks.

I’ll always associate The Vacationers by Emma Straub as the book that I read in the park one afternoon while my friend and I sipped on warm beer and ate cucumber, tomato and avocado sandwiches.

Having this list of 85 books not only helps me reconnect with feelings and memories of reading in my thirties, but it helps me remember the books that had an impact on my mind and development. Woah! I feel like I’m getting pretty deep right now. What I guess I’m trying to say is document your reading. It’s the most rewarding way to reflect on all those little details and experiences that you might not otherwise remember.

Now my question to you book lovers, do YOU make notes of the books you read throughout the years? Do you feel it’s important? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so please take the time to leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.

Happy Reading ~

#IfIStayIn Tweet Along & Giveaway!

Tomorrow night isn’t just any Thursday, it’s the night, I plan on LIVE tweeting my viewing of If I Stay, the book adapted movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley. Oh and did I mention, I’m not the only one that’s going to be live tweeting the viewing? Gayle Foreman, the author of the bestselling book, If I Stay will be joining the chat via @cambio‘s Twitter account! Be sure to join in the fun by following the hashtag #IfIStayIn and sharing your thoughts on this incredible book and movie. I will also be watching my copy of If I Stay tomorrow night and tweeting along at the same time so follow me on Twitter @ReederReads

If I Stay Social Graphic

If I Stay was a book that I adored and it’s also one that had me in a fit of tears. Seriously, there were SO many tears! Thanks to my friends at Fox Home Entertainment, I’m excited to share that I am going to be hosting an affiliated giveaway so that YOU can enter to win a Blu-Ray copy of If I Stay and a copy of Gayle Forman’s book If I Stay. THIS CONTEST IS OPEN TO CANADIAN AND UNITED STATES RESIDENTS.

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Enter to Win!Good luck and I’ll see you all on Twitter tomorrow, Thursday, November 20th at 8:00pm Eastern (5:00pm Pacific).

Why I’m SO Thrilled that Sean Michaels Won the Giller Prize

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Approximately 24 hours ago, Sean Michaels was announced the winner of the 2014 Giller Prize for his debut novel, Us Conductors. A prize that is notably Canada’s biggest literary prize and this year, the winner was awarded $100,000 (doubling the typical prize amount since 2005). As I watched from the Giller Light Party in Toronto, Sean Michaels stepped on the stage (well technically the screen from where I was watching) to accept his award and said,

I feel like a whale who has found a whole city in his mouth.

Today in much of the media that Sean’s been receiving, he’s been asked to explain his bizarre, yet what I would call, the best statement in Giller history. On CBC’s Q, Sean Michaels stated,

To really feel singled out, I felt ballooned into this big creature, this big unyielding creature lumbering in front of cameras, in front of all these people, like a whale… And there’s this treasure in front of you. It was just suddenly there and it’s not just the money, it’s all the investment, belief and trust of all these people who chose to make this happen and so it really feels like there’s a city, both my friends and loved ones and everyone cheering. To be honest, it was a bit of a dream image.

He went on to thank his wife, his agent, his publisher, his editor, his writing group and many more in a heartfelt and lovely speech that admittedly caused me to shed a few tears. I think the reason I was so touched by his speech is because it’s not every day you see a debut author win such an accomplished and prestigious award and in this case, it was so very well deserved.

Us Conductors is a beautiful, haunting, brilliant novel inspired by the true life and loves of the Russian scientist, inventor and spy Lev Termen–creator of the theremin. During my Giller Readalong, I stated that,

Not only was this novel smart and well researched, it was like unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It had EVERYTHING. History, music, romance, suspense, war and more. It’s one of those books that you can put into anyone’s hands and they’ll be guaranteed to call you up after they’ve finished reading to thank you for gifting them such a great read.

I’ve been an avid watcher of the Giller Prize for the last seven years and each year, it’s an event that takes Canadian literature to another level. It’s been outstanding to see the amount of recognition that Sean Michaels is deservedly receiving today and the days to come (I’m sure of it). It goes to show you that allow there have been many changes in the publishing industry, the quality of literature remains intact and relevant. I couldn’t be happier for Sean Michaels on his Giller Prize win and I urge you to continue to support great Canadian writing by reading this outstanding piece of literature.

You can watch Sean Michaels full speech below:

Let me tell you about that time I met Amy Poehler…

IMG_7701It’s not that hard to get me excited. It just happens naturally in most situations, but my excitement levels sky rocket when I’m about to meet someone I admire. In this case, I’m talking about Amy Poehler! The excitement on the internet was building when it was announced that Amy Poehler was headed to Toronto to promote her new book Yes Please.

On Thursday, October 30th, Amy came to Toronto and my friends and I were lucky enough to get a pretty decent viewing spot. Tucked in the kids section of the Bay & Bloor Indigo, we had a convenient stack of snowball dispensers in front of us that prevented us from being pushed and shoved, seeing as how the crowd was estimated to be approximately 500 people. When Amy Poehler arrived, she stood at the back as Indigo introduced her. In an effort to build enthusiasm, the introducer yelled, “we’re going to make it our goal to see more copies of Yes Please than Tina Fey’s Bossypants!” To which, Amy interrupted by turning on her microphone and said,

Why’s it gotta be like that. What a typical man thing to say. I’d be thrilled and honoured to get the same support and love that Tina did for her book.

If you didn’t love her before, you’d love her a little more after that response. I know I did.

For the next thirty or so minutes, Amy was interviewed by Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany. They spoke about the process of writing a book. IMG_7699Amy revealed that it’s really hard. They they spoke of Amy’s two children (their Father is Will Arnett) and how she finds it a bit overwhelming to be in charge of helping to shape her children’s minds. She felt it was the right thing to do to be honest when her son asked her why she didn’t have a penis and if it had fallen off. They also dipped into a bit of chatter about Parks & Recreation and how the crew and cast have become a second family. She also hinted that the last episode is going to be “soooo good”. The interview concluded when someone in the crowd yelled for a doctor. Both Amy and Tatiana were helping by using their mics to find a doctor in the huge crowd. Luckily no one was seriously hurt and someone had just fainted (my guess is that it was from all the excitement).

As we stood waiting for our group signing number to be called, my friends and I started to get a bit giddy. Sure, group #19 was a far off number, but we were going to meeting Amy Poehler in a few minutes. The woman that plays Hillary Clinton brilliantly, a woman who has hosted the Emmy’s, one of the most beloved Weekend Update hosts and best of all (in my opinion)… Leslie Knope. When our group number was called, we got in line and I tried to stay cool, calm and collective, but it wasn’t working that well. We were moving at such a rapid pace that there wasn’t much time to get a great shot, but I tried my best. Insert shaky hand photo here:

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When it was finally my turn, my book was slid in front of her, she scribbled her name, as I embarrassingly said, “I’m such a huge fan” and she looked up, smiled and said thanks so much. Then my book was handed back to me, my wrist band was cut off and we were guided out the exit. Once we all stepped foot out of the store, the four of us looked around at one another in bewilderment. We had all met Amy Poehler! Sharing stories of the one sentence exchange we all had with her, we were all smiling and gawking at our signed copies.

I go to author signings all the time and a lot of those times, I’m working by helping take pictures or putting post its on books. So to be on the other end of that transaction and get to fan girl for a few hours was really fun!

Thanks to Indigo, Harper Collins Canada and Amy Poehler for an unforgettable evening. Yes Please is now available in a bookstore near you. Go pick it up… Please.