Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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Librarians confess their shame (anonymously): "I spilled a 12 pack of Purple Mountain Dew on our freshly shampooed carpet."


The Wall St Journal provides a fascinating look behind the scenes of the new film, "The Counselor", which was written and executive-produced by the novelist Cormac McCarthy: "A lurid, adrenaline-fueled thriller about a lawyer who tries to get rich quick by dabbling in the drug trade, 'The Counselor' marks a career milestone that has eluded the 80-year-old writer for decades."


Bloomberg Businessweek provides a long excerpt from Brad Stone's new book, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon providing a fascinating look at the man behind the bookselling site: "Within there’s a certain type of e-mail that elicits waves of panic. It usually originates with an annoyed customer who complains to the company’s founder and chief executive officer. Jeff Bezos has a public e-mail address, Not only does he read many customer complaints, he forwards them to the relevant Amazon employees, with a one-character addition: a question mark."


I'm not fond of pieces that begin "Everyone knows..." because no, not everyone knows. Nonetheless, this tour of a printing house is worth checking out: "Everyone that loves books knows the name of Butler & Tanner, Britain’s oldest and foremost colour printer – established in Frome in 1845 and nowadays known as Butler, Tanner & Dennis . This was the printer that Allen Lane went to in 1935 to print Ariel, the first Penguin Book..." (Allen Lane, for those who don't know or can't guess, founded Penguin Books.)


Scholar William Ferris has just published a new book titled Storied South: Voices of Artists and Writers, The Virginia Quarterly Review excerpts a wonderful interview with Eudora Welty: "My parents nurtured my imagination. From the beginning, we had books in the family. They were both readers, with very different kinds of minds. My father was factual and historical, and mother was imaginative. Fiction was what she liked to read. We read in this house all the time, all of us did. I think that is the luckiest thing you can do for a child, and I cannot imagine how different and bad life might have been to have grown up in a house where there were no books and no interest in the imagination or in what was happening in the world. We had that wonderful advantage."


Maclean's offers up a profile of Douglas Coupland, who has a new novel out and is working on a major solo-show at the Art Gallery of Vancouver, set to launch in May: "We are sitting in a temporary studio space on Vancouver’s North Shore looking at a brain. Well, part of a brain; part of Douglas Coupland’s very busy brain. Or at least how he imagines it. It would be the part of the brain that collects things, which he does rather compulsively, never quite knowing, sometimes until years later, the utility of, say, the toy soldier, or horseshoe magnet or piece of plastic poo he has gathered."


WNYC radio offers up a 1956 recording of the lesser known Waugh - Alec, brother of Evelyn - who was also a novelist and writer of other books. (Who knew?): "In this amusing, time-capsule of a talk, given at a 1956 Books and Authors Luncheon to promote his best-selling novel Island In the Sun, Alec Waugh explains how he came to write about the West Indies"


SHAUN SMITH is a novelist and award-winning journalist in Toronto, Canada. His young-adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in 2009 by the Dundurn Group. His book Magical Narcissism: Selected Writings on Books, Writers, Food, and Chefs was published by Tightrope Books in June 2013.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page