[Video] Document Your Life – September 2014

September 2014

Can you believe it’s October? I feel like I blinked and September was over! September’s are always a busy month for anyone that works in publishing. It’s when the books that will be prominently featured around the holidays are released and it’s also a time when many authors come to town to release said books. This past month I met many great authors and had the luxury of spending time in their home, dining with them and chatting about our favourite books to paddle boarding. I tried my best to capture it all on film, as well as a look at some of the great books I read this month. Not to mention my trip to the CN Tower, an Ed Sheeran concert with my cousins and a quick (ninja like) video of Lena Dunham attending JFL42. Needless to say, it was busy 30 days, but oh so much fun!

Have a look at the month of September below and let me know if the comments what you read in the month of September and what books you can’t to read this fall!


*The concept of the Document Your Life videos was created by Lauren Hannah. Her story, videos and a description of the project can be found here.

** The song in this video is Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson http://www.ingridmichaelson.com

I Can’t Wait Any Longer… I NEED to Talk About These Books!

One of the biggest perks of working for a publishing company is advanced reading copies (ARC) and/or galleys. Here’s the difference between the two:

Galleys: They lack any dust jacket or resemblance to the final product and most times they are usually uncorrected proofs, meaning that the text can still be corrected.

Advanced Reading Copy: Usually printed in colour and are in similar format as the soon to be published book.

Going forward, I’m just going to continue to refer to both as ARCs. Neither of these formats are available for sale. But you can get your hands on early copies of books when you…

  • work in the publishing industry
  • magazine/newspaper reviewers
  • your a Goodreads user and you enter contests

Now that all that clarification is out of the way, I wanted to share some mini reviews of some of the fall/spring ARCs I’ve read. The best part of being a book blogger is getting to read books early, the downfall is that you can’t talk about it with anyone until they hit bookstores. So I thought I’d do something a little different and share a few of my favourite up and coming books. Be sure to add them to your to-read file on Goodreads and come back here on their on sale dates to see a full review of each book.

Mãn by Kim Thuy (08/26)

ManKim Thuy’s Ru was a Giller nominated book and won the French- language Governor-General’s Award in 2010. So you can imagine the anticipation is building for people to get their hands of her new book, Mãn. I can tell you with full certainty that she has once again created a prose that is beautifully written. She examines the intricate relationship between love and food. Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband–a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal. Mãn then becomes a chef, but just not any ‘ol chef. She believes her calling is in food and she works to create dishes that are pieces of art. But when she encounters a married Paris chef, things take an interesting turn.

160 pages isn’t many pages, but that’s the beauty of Kim Thuy novels. They pack a powerful punch and they allow you to immerse yourself into another world for one afternoon. If you need further convincing, I encourage you to chat with @jvpurcell and @hellohemlock who have read the book and will be chatting about it on their YouTube account in July/August.

Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin (08/26)

Up Ghost RiverIf you are someone that really enjoys non-fiction, then you are going to be captivated by the story of Edmund Metatawabin. At seven years of age in the 1950’s, Edmund was separated from his family and placed in one of Canada’s worst residential schools. St. Anne’s, in northern Ontario. The horrific things that took place in this residential school are explained in full detail and Edmund courageously shares with readers the effects of his experience at St. Anne’s. After leaving St. Anne’s he started his own family, but the effects of his stay at St. Anne’s led him down a path of drinking and caused his family life to implode. In an effort to find healing, Metatawabin travelled to Alberta to learn from his elders and participate in native cultural training workshops. It was then that he was able discover his Cree culture and face his alcoholism and PTSD. Today, Metatawabin has made it his mission to help the next generation of residential school survivors.

This is a powerful story and it’s a story that needs to be told. His discovery of his Cree culture, his path to recovery and his determination to fight for change are all revealed in this haunting and important book. For more information, I encourage you to check out this video:

Who by Fire by Fred Stenson (09/23) 

Who by FireIf Erin Brockovich had been filmed in Alberta, it would be very similar  principles to Fred Stenson’s Who by Fire. To quote the publishers site, which nails the essence of this book perfectly, “Who by Fire is a powerful, passionate novel about the march of “progress” and the environments, families, and ways of life destroyed in its wake.” This is the story of Tom Ryder and Bill Ryder, Father and Son who, over the years are fighting different types of battles. When a gas plant arrives in Alberta in the 1960s on the border of their family farm, Tom Ryder’s family experiences health problems and his livestock start to die from the poison emitting from the plant. Tom slowly starts to make it life mission to fight the plant. As the novel progresses into present day, we get a different perspective from a now, grown up Bill, who surprisingly reacts to his father’s disappointments by rising through the managerial ranks of an oil company in Fort McMurray.

A fantastic novel that not only looks at the impact of gas plants environmental damage, but the impact that it can have on surrounding residents. Written with a twist of family drama, you’ll be captivated by every page of this brilliant novel.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (10/14)

Leaving TimeUp until reading Jodi Picoult’s forthcoming Leaving Time, the only other book I’d read written by her was My Sister’s Keeper. So I was excited to read a new and what people in our office proclaimed something very different than what you think of when you think of when you think of Jodi Picoult. I can actually remember bringing the manuscript of this book with me to a Timothy’s coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon and reading 100 pages in one sitting. 13-year-old Jenna is on a hunt for her Mother, Alice Metcalf, an accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. It’s been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life.

In a desperate attempt to find her Mother, Jenna enlists the help from two unlikely sources, a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother’s disappearance. Together the three of them band together to create an unlikely trio of detectives who are about to uncover a mystery like no other.

Smart, captivating and a book you won’t be able to put down, I can promise you that this is a book that everyone is going to be talking about! Oh and I’d be remiss not to mention that thanks the the internet and it’s sharing capabilities (22,000+ mentions of #LeavingTime), Jodi Picioult is releasing a FREE e-short about Alice Metcalf from August 4th – August 9th from your favourite eBook retailer. 

Where I Belong by Alan Doyle (10/14)

Where I BelongI wear my Maritimer card proudly on my sleeve. Thanks to Alan Doyle’s Where I Belong, I felt like I got a trip to East for the cost of $0.00. Alan Doyle, the lead singer of Great Big Sea has had a pretty accomplished life, but it all started in a tiny fishing village of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. Although this is a memoir, it’s reads like a lyrical story of a young boy in a family of hilarious and fun characters. Stories of fighting it out for the bathroom and his first job on the wharf cutting out cod tongues for fishermen make up the essence of this memoir. Doyle is well aware that the lessons he learned as a young man and the impressions made from the larger than life characters helped shape him into the musician and man he is today.

A brilliant and stunning memoir that you’ll be handing to your neighbour… hopefully while humming this tune.


It Was Me All Long by Andie Mitchell (01/06/15)

It was Me All AlongI’ve attempted to write the sentence “I’ve struggled with my weight” six different ways, so God knows how Andie Mitchell wrote a whole book about the topic. In her heartwarming memoir It Was Me All Along, she shares an honest journey of her struggle with weight loss. It’s one thing to lose a lot of weight, it’s another to figure out who you are when all that weight is gone. Food addiction is a real thing and in this memoir, you watch a young girl become a young woman and work at determining her self worth.

This book isn’t just for people that have struggled with weight issues though, it’s a story of perseverance and a story of growth. It’s a look at one woman’s strength and how if you set your mind to it, you can do anything you want in life. I cannot wait to write a full review for this book, so be sure to come back in January 2015 (so long away) to hear me gush on and on about this memoir in 3-4 paragraphs.

Be sure to check out Andie’s blog, Can You Stay for Dinner and watch this inspiring TedTalk in which she discusses her weight loss:

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie (01/20/15)

If I Fall, If I DieAnd last, but certainly not least is a book that had me settling deeper into my sofa after reading page 1. Michael Christie’s If I Fall, If I Die is the story of Will and his Mother Diane. His Mother is battling with agoraphobia and has somehow convinced her young son that the world is a scary and harmful place. Not knowing any better, he remains locked up in their home and only sees the outdoors when their groceries and online orders are delivered to the front door. Then one day, Will miraculously decides to venture outside, in a helmet… for protection, and discovers that the world isn’t such a scary place after all. He eventually befriends Jonah, a quiet Native boy who introduces him to the most reckless and exhilarating activity he’s ever seen: skateboarding.

If The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Room had a book baby, it would be this book. Told in an exciting prose with adventurous discoveries, Will will become a character you won’t soon forget.

And there you have it friends, seven books that should be on your radar. I have to say, I’m so glad that I finally told someone other than my colleagues how much I enjoyed them. If you liked this type of post, let me know in the comments and I’ll do another teaser post about Spring 2015 titles near the end of the year. 

Review: Ru – Kim Thuy

Ru” by Kim Thuy is the story of a young girls experience of growing up and running from her hometown of Saigon, to living in a desolate Malaysian refugee camp to finally settling down in Quebec. Nguyen An Tinh’s family was running to escape communists who they feared would take their lives. Essentially, their lives are automatically shattered as soon as they are forced to leave their home and are uprooted from all they’ve ever known.

Now a mother, Nguyen reflects on her parents reactions and decisions now that she is the parent to two young boys, Pascal and Henri. Henri’s upbringing is unique and requires extra attention due to the fact that he’s autistic. She specifically views her Mother’s decisions as sometimes harsh, but useful in the long run, because it has taught her to become a Mother that’s capable of handling any circumstances that might come her way.

This novel has a very poetic style to it, where it flows naturally and organically making it a powerful read from start to finish. There is a vulnerability present on each page making Kim Thuy’s translated novel a wonderful coming of age story that I think each and every one of you will enjoy!