literary event, Uncategorized

The Event: BOOKSTRAVAGANZA, presented by Random House of Canada and Chatelaine Magazine

Last night was a first for the Toronto book scene: Bookstravangza, a Fashion-Week-inspired celebration of Random House’s new fall line-up. A fun, fanciful evening that hit just the right level of sweetness and decadence, the night was as much about the joy of reading as it was about unveiling Random House’s hot fall titles.

Staged at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto, the setting was lush and enhanced by books on every shelf and table, which guests were encouraged to take home with them. Along with some mingling and seeing many familiar book-loving faces, I was also delighted by the candy bar—literally a bar at which we could help ourselves to candy, just down the way from the drinks. A pink, lemony vodka drink was the signature cocktail of the evening, and the wine flowed generously, too. Tasty and chocolaty petits fours graced our tables so that we could nibble throughout the program, which promised talks from top editors and as well as authors Annabel Lyon and Shauna Singh Baldwin.

Continue reading “The Event: BOOKSTRAVAGANZA, presented by Random House of Canada and Chatelaine Magazine”

Cloud Atlas Readalong, Multimedia Mondays, Uncategorized

A watchable, beautiful failure: Review of Cloud Atlas, the movie

Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Wishaw, James D’arcy, Xun Zhou, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant.

Opening October 26th, 2012

Cloud Atlas, the film, is a sprawling, stunning, ambitious effort that manages to impress and disappoint by turns. Because the film is based on the novel by David Mitchell, one of my all-time favourite books (so much so that you can read along section by section with me here), I made sure to be in attendance for an advance screening at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend.

Cloud Atlas has been consistently referred to as one of the most unadaptable-to-the-big-screen books out there. How, then, to adapt it? Continue reading “A watchable, beautiful failure: Review of Cloud Atlas, the movie”

book review, Uncategorized

Crape, Black, and Half-Mourning: A review of The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart

The Maharaja is dead, the doctor has driven his bicycle into the Thames, and the pigeon pie might be poisoned. It’s all just a day in the life of the characters in Julia Stuart’s sly, crisply quirky The Pigeon Pie Mystery.

“As a matter of interest, how mad should one’s hatter be?

Tapping the tips of his fingers together, Mr. Wildgoose considered the question. “You would expect some degree of madness, of course, sir. But we advise our customers to stay clear of the certifiable. They have a tendency to overcharge, and many struggle with the brims, sir. Just nicely mad, sir. That’s what you want. Just nicely mad.”

– The Pigeon Pie Mystery, Julia Stuart

The Maharaja is dead, the doctor has driven his bicycle into the Thames, and the pigeon pie might be poisoned. It’s all just a day in the life of the characters in Julia Stuart’s sly, crisply quirky The Pigeon Pie Mystery.

The year is 1898. Daughter of an English noblewoman and an Indian Maharaja, Princess Alexandrina (nicknamed “Mink” at a young age because of her penchant for sleeping amongst her mother’s furs) finds herself without any option but to take up Her Royal Highness’s offer of a grace-and-favour warrant to live at Hampton Court Palace. Her father died in scandal and financial ruin, which has caused her fiancé to flee from the taint of impropriety. The palace is home to a number of nobles who no longer have the means to support themselves, but who have curried favour with the Queen.

Her new living quarters are free of charge though not free of intrigue, headaches, meddlesome housekeepers, and murder. Continue reading “Crape, Black, and Half-Mourning: A review of The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart”