10 Reasons You Should Start Watching HBO’s The Leftovers


Last Tuesday night, I was fortunate enough to attend an early screening of HBO’s The Leftovers. The best part of the screening was that Tom Perotta, the author of the book and executive producer of The Leftovers was in attendance to answer all our questions after the screening! He shared insider information about the casting, behind the scenes details about the writing room and why he and Damon Lindelof were adamant about casting Carrie Coon, who plays Nora Durst.

There’s no doubt you’ve been hearing about this show, there are posters everywhere, there’s a book adaption cover in your local bookstore and there’s a trailer that might be the only convincing you need. I thought that it only made sense that I start this list of 10 Reasons you Should Start Watching HBO’s The Leftovers with the trailer I just mentioned, because it’s pretty epic.

10. Get ready for 2:40 of heart racing television:

9. Paterson Joseph 

According to Tom Perrotta when Britsh actor Paterson Joseph was chosen for the role of Holy Wayne, it was decided that his character would have an American accent. But after few takes, it was clear that it sounded and felt more authentic to keep his British accent. Tom Perrotta also shared that he thinks that viewers will be captivated with this character.

8.  Who doesn’t like a good rapture story?

I don’t know about you, but I like a good, chaotic story. Now I know I’ve only seen one episode, but if that one episode is any indication of what’s to come. I know that this thriller component is sure to have everyone captivated.

the-leftovers-spoilers-new-trailer-released-will-the-guilty-remnant-start-a-war-in-town-video7. A stellar  cast

When it comes to premium cable, those casting directors sure know what they’re doing. Mixing some familiar faces with some unknown ones is strategic, but guaranteed to be effective. You’ll be sure to recognize Justin Theroux, Liz Tyler and Amy Brenneman. But did you know that Jill Garvey (the daughter of Justin Theroux’s character, Kevin Garvey) is played by Andie MacDowell’s daughter, Margaret Qualley? She was probably my favourite character, because she was the epitome of “broken”. She’s just one of many new faces that I’m sure after watching these ten episodes will become familiar very quickly.

6. HBO Quality 

There’s a reason that HBO charges additional fees that go beyond regular cable and I’m not talking about the cursing and nudity. Well, okay that’s a lie, those are reasons, but they’re not the only reasons. There is a level of excellence when it comes to HBO. They aren’t afraid to “go there” and they’ve pushed boundaries long before other networks. They do they same when it comes to the production of The Leftovers. There’s a level of intensity to this new show that will have your heart beating and I’m not sure that would have happened as quickly if it wasn’t being shown on HBO.

5. The Book

9780307356390As I’m sure you’re all aware, this television show is an adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s book of the same name, The LeftoversWhen I read this book three years ago, it had cinematic elements tied into the plot and there was no way I was going to stop reading after the first chapter. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read it, here’s a description of the book,

What if the Rapture happened and you got left behind? Or what if it wasn’t the Rapture at all, but something murkier, a burst of mysterious, apparently random disappearances that shattered the world in a single moment, dividing history into Before and After, leaving no one unscathed? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event?

This is the question confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized neighbours, even as his own family falls apart. His wife, Laurie, has left him to enlist in the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence but haunt the streets of town as “living reminders” of God’s judgment. His son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet by the name of Holy Wayne. Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing attraction to Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family in the tragedy, and is still reeling three years later, groping for a way to face the remainder of her life.

Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. The Leftovers is a powerful and deeply moving book about people struggling to hold on to a belief in their own futures.

As I’ve shared, the premiere of the show is this Sunday night, so unless you can speed read (and I know some of you can), pick up this mesmerizing read and read it before episode 2 airs.

4. Smoking as a religion? 

Yes, this is a thing. And yes, you need to watch it to find out why.

3. The Soundtrack 

Another great thing about HBO is that they always accompany their television shows with a stellar music. Of course, there’s no exception when it comes to The Leftovers.  Max Richter, the British neoclassical composer shares that, “Amplifying that ambiguity is the soundtrack” (source).  This will be Max Richter’s television debut and it will include, “simple piano themes as well as violins and repetitive electronic phrases.” (source)

2. High praise

Damon Lindelof is one of the writers for the show and he recently chatted with Stephen King about working with Tom Perrotta. He says,

I just kind of feel like this all came out of Tom’s head and it would be great to have his ongoing creative contribution to the show because I’m liable to spin off into Crazy Genre Mystery Town. And having spent six years of my life there — as much as I loveLost, the sense of sheer relief that I felt once it was done, and just going like, ‘I don’t ever need to do that again.’ And people are like, ‘Well, now it seems like you’re doing that again with The Leftovers,’ and I say, ‘I think there’s a fundamental difference between The Leftovers and Lost.’ … Coming off of Lost it felt like the longer the show went on, the more crazy it had to become, just in order to sustain itself. (source)

 1. Justin Theroux in a cop suit

That’s the only explanation you need.


See you all on Twitter Sunday night!


[Book Review] After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

After i doBack in February, I got this book in the mail and instead of putting it on the back burner while I prepped for Fall conference like a responsible adult, I jumped right in. If you’re a frequent visitor of my blog, you’ll know that I’m a fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s work and her newest book, After I Do delivers!

This is the story of Lauren and Ryan’s marriage. Sadly, today’s divorce rate is higher than successful marriages and like many, Lauren and Ryan are headed for the higher statistic. Arguing over petty, silly things, they are both able to recognize that there are some major cracks in their matrimony. Rather than jumping the gun, they decide to make one more attempt to fix things by agreeing to take a year off from their marriage. Their hope is that by taking a year away from one another, they’ll find a way to remember the good times and somehow find a way to fall in love with one another again. The one catch, they can’t contact the other. Both, Lauren and Ryan agree that this break from one another is the only way to take a step back and look at the big picture.

After I Do is told entirely from the perspective of Lauren and in a recent interview I conducted with TJR I asked her,

When you originally came up with the premise of After I Do, did you know that the narration would only be told from the point of Lauren?

It took me a long time to figure out how to make this a book about both Ryan and Lauren without using two narrators. I wasn’t entirely opposed to the idea of two narrators but I just felt that two narrators would turn this into too much of a He Said/She Said — a dynamic I’m actually quite fond of but one that I didn’t think worked for this. So I settled on seeing the world through one of their eyes, and Lauren seemed the most natural fit. Luckily, I found a way for Ryan to speak up throughout the book.

Ryan is well represented through this story from the eyes of Lauren’s family, who are quietly rooting for them to make it work. His voice is also well represented in a unique and creative way that I don’t want to spoil, because it adds so much depth that giving it away might spoil it for you. I do want to add, that you’ll come to fall in love with Lauren’s entire family. You don’t just scratch the surface with these characters, each and every one of them make an impression on you in the best way possible.

Mesmerizing and heart breaking at the same time, this is an unconventional love story that I’d compare to titles written by Emily Giffin and Sophie Kinsella. It has the readability factor that catches you by surprise, because you want to know, you need to know how this modern marriage experiment will play out in the end.

I’m so excited that now all of you can read it and then we can discuss the ending. This book will be available on July 1st.

Thanks to Carly Watters from the PS Literacy Agency for sending me an advanced reading copy.


How to Effectively Plan Your Vacation Reading


In less than a week, I’ll be heading on vacation to the East Coast of Canada and I’m so looking forward to this much needed holiday. What I’m not looking forward to is packing… I’m not talking about the clothes – I’m stressed about the book packing! Fellow book lovers know what I’m talking about. Trying to decide if you’ll finally make time to read that book that somehow keeps getting shoved to the bottom of your pile.  Or deciding to squeeze in just one more book that you’re sure you’ll get to while you’re away can cause serious anxiety.

Much of this is solvable if you own an eReader or an iPad. Having the ability to put hundreds of books on a small, transferable device might solve all your problems, but what about that visit to the beach? I don’t know about you, but the thought of getting sand in my $500 iPad doesn’t sound good. What about when you have that moment when you ascend and descend in a plane and they make you turn off all electronics. That in-flight magazine is about as entertaining as watching paint dry. Nope – I’m all about the physical books on vacation.

When it comes to packing physical books, it’s all about strategy. So without further ado, here are a couple of tips and tricks that I’ve come up with to effectively plan your vacation reading:

1. Take into account the duration of your vacation. Are you going away for a weekend? What about a two week holiday? Calculate the time you’ll be away and then be honest with yourself about how much you’re able to read when you have a free/no plans weekend. These estimates are for people that consider themselves “fast readers”,

  • Long weekend: 3-4 books
  • Week vacation (with zero activities planned): 6 books
  • Week vacation (with a set schedule): 4-5 books
  • Two week vacation: 8 books

2. Consider the amount of reading time you’ll have. There are some vacations when you spend an entire week lying by a pool and there are other vacations that are so jam packed with sight seeing that you barely have time to touch a book. This is a key point to think about when you’re planning your vacation reading.

3. Traveling with a bookish pal/partner – share! Cut down on the books you’re bringing by organizing with your book loving travel partner prior to your vacation. Sit down and discuss the books you’ve both been meaning to read and then split the difference. It’ll only require you to carry 3 or 4 books and then you can swap and have a great book discussion after you’ve both finished.

4. Utilize local bookstores and thrift shops. Forget those pesky bag charges and stick to carry on by packing only one book. If you’re in close proximity to a bookstore, not only can you pick up a book there, but you can also make touring the local bookstores a part of your holiday activities. Thrift shops and Goodwill locations are also great locations to pick up books that you can quickly read and then return or leave for another book loving patron.

5. It’s finally time to read all those short story collections you’ve been putting off. Forget those massive books on your TBR piles and stick to the short story collections. Typically, they’re much smaller in size, so they won’t be that difficult to pack and most times they don’t require a lot of commitment, other than dedicating 30-40 pages of time. So pack a few of those collections and enjoy!

However many books you decide to pack, vacations are meant to take some time to yourself; to decompress and to spoil yourself, so pack books that take you on wonderful adventures and relax – you deserve it!

An Interview with Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of After I Do

I am SO excited about getting to be a part of the Taylor Jenkins Reid blog tour for her new book After I Do. I’m a big fan of Taylor’s work, (check out my review for her last book Forever Interrupted here), so I jumped at the chance to ask her some questions about her latest novel.

After I Do1. Can you please describe After I Do in one sentence?
After I Do is the story of a couple that has been unhappily married for some time and decides to take a year apart to assess their marriage.


2. What inspired you to write After I Do?
I’m very interested in the day-to-day life of two people sharing a life together. I don’t believe that monogamy is as natural as our culture makes it out to be. I wanted to explore what happens when a couple approaches the problem of falling out of love in an unconventional way.


3. In the first sixty pages of the book, the reader is introduced to Lauren and Ryan, discovering how they fall in love and then watch their marriage fall apart. After those pages, their plan goes into place and we’re thrown into an unconventional love story. Did you choose to take your time writing these pages so the reader was better able to identify with their dilemma and decision to take a year long break from their marriage?
I knew that in order for the reader to understand just how bad things had gotten between Lauren and Ryan, they had to understand how good it once was. Also, I wanted to make sure the reader knew that things soured slowly, as if they were unintentionally falling out of love brick by brick.


4. Every situation is different and every couple is different, but would you suggest their plan to other couples struggling in their marriage?
Let me put it this way: If I got to where Lauren and Ryan are, I hope I’d try this before giving up.


5. Why did you include the definition of ‘flagrant’ at the beginning of the novel?
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan is a heartbreaking and brilliant book. Some of his definitions perfectly capture the way two people can enrage each other with the smallest of gestures. Every person in a marriage can relate to that one thing his or her spouse does that feels like a wild disregard for everything they hold dear and true, even if it’s as simple as not putting the cap back on the toothpaste — as The Lover’s Dictionary defines it. I wanted to put that into the reader’s mind from the start.


6. When you originally came up with the premise of After I Do, did you know that the narration would only be told from the point of Lauren?
It took me a long time to figure out how to make this a book about both Ryan and Lauren without using two narrators. I wasn’t entirely opposed to the idea of two narrators but I just felt that two narrators would turn this into too much of a He Said/She Said — a dynamic I’m actually quite fond of but one that I didn’t think worked for this. So I settled on seeing the world through one of their eyes, and Lauren seemed the most natural fit. Luckily, I found a way for Ryan to speak up throughout the book.taylor-jenkins-reid-author-writer


7. The reader gets to know Lauren’s family and friends really well in the book. If you were to write a novel based on any of her family members or friends, who would it be and why? Rachel? Charlie and Natalie? Mila and Christina?
Oh, I’d write full books about any of them, honestly. But Charlie and Natalie seem the most obvious choice. They leave a lot to discuss and explore! And I’ve found that readers, so far, have been divided on what they believe Charlie and Natalie’s future holds in store.


8. Unsent emails become a third character in this book, have you ever written someone an email and chose not to hit send?
Oh, of course! Although, I normally delete them. Mostly because I’m a person that says what’s on my mind or if I’m not willing to say it, I work on letting it go. The unsent emails for Lauren and Ryan are, if anything, emblematic of the fact that both of them are holding so much in. They are both thinking things, assuming the other one knows it, and yet, they won’t just…hit send.


9. What are your thoughts on the following quote,
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t then it was never meant to be.” ~Unknown
You know, I both believe this wholeheartedly and strongly disagree with it. Which is to say that I think if you have to let something go, and you find your way back to it, it’s a great sign that you’re on the right track. On the other hand, I think we too often put things in the hands of fate, we assume that things will work out if they are meant to be, and we allow ourselves not to fight for what we want. If Lauren and Ryan had been active about keeping their marriage alive and happy, if they hadn’t been so laissez faire, maybe they wouldn’t have been in the state they are in when the book starts. So I think the saying has profound truth but I think living by it encourages complacence.


*My thanks to Taylor Jenkins Reid and SparkPoint Studio for arranging for me to be a part of the After I Do blog tour.
** Be sure to follow Taylor on Twitter @tjenkinsreid


A Visual Representation of What it’s Like to Lend Books to Friends

I recently stumbled upon a great YouTube channel called Epic Reads. As their ‘about section’ explains,

Get book nerdy with Epic Reads as we bring you the latest YA news, take you along to our favorite events, meet YA authors and learn some of the skills we read about in our favorite books. And tons more!

I’ve been looking around on their channel and I’ve stumbled upon some really great videos including,

And that’s just a few, there are so many more I think you’ll enjoy. I’m sharing this video, because it’s my favourite… so far:

Be sure to subscribe to their channel on YouTube and follow them on Twitter @EpicReads