Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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The first iComic
It was kind of surprising to have learned this week, thanks to John Fortt on CNN, that only now is the first ever iTunes comic"book" available. I thought for sure there'd be scads of them by now. Anyway, rapper, hip-hopper and R&B guy Tyrese Gibson (yes, I had too look him up) is the first person to, er...paid other people to write, draw and upload a comic book to iTunes under his name. (Sorry, but you'll have to put me in a time machine and take me back to his art studio if you want to convince me he played any role in its creation other than nodding his head.) I shelled out the 2 bucks and downloaded this "innovation" so you don't have to and can report that it offers all the clichéd sexist crap and violence of your standard gore-fest vigilante super-hero comic. Go crazy, kids.

E-book too bookish
It is fascinating to sit back and watch the sometimes bizarre and foolish development of e-book readers. I have a question for the manufacturers of the forthcoming Asus Color E-Reader: Okay yeah, it's sort of cool, I guess, kinda, maybe (not really) that it looks like a book, but seriously, why are you making me pay for two screens just to be cute? (Thanks

A kinder gentler, greener Kindle?
The Amazon Kindle is "greener" than traditional books, says cleantech.

Oh no it ain't, says eco-libris.

Da Vinci Code redux
Author Brian Joseph Davis has a funny piece on the Globe & Mail site this weekend in which he does a line edit on Dan Brown's nauseatingly bad novel THE DA VINCI CODE. (Brown has a new book out this week.) It's a fun, innovative and pleasingly interactive (blah blah) piece because you can download pdfs of Davis' edits (oh, clever!) which show his comments and changes in markup mode. Where were you Brian when Brown was shopping this p.o.s. novel around?

Libraries closing
Ack! What the hell are they doing in Philadelphia? According to this post, the city is closing ALL of its public libraries because of funding cuts. Yes, that's right, ALL OF THEM. There will be no public libraries in Philadelphia after September 30, 2009. How's that for embarrassing? Yes Philadelphia, sorry to say it, but you are officially broken.

Understanding publisher speak
Robert McCrum on the Observer book blog this week offers a dissection of publisher speak. You know, all those irritating publicity catch phrases and key words, all that jargon and hype, all that complete and utter b.s. used on the backs of books as a kind of short hand to gussie up the unreadable.

Here's a sampling:

  • "Booker Prize contender": a novel the publisher has paid too much for.
  • "Word-of-mouth sensation": thank God for Amazon.
  • "Writing at the peak of his/her powers": basically past it, but who knows?

What is letterpress?
"It will die eventually because people will no longer remember how to do it," says John Kristensen, owner of Firefly Press in Somerville, Mass. He is talking about the art of letterpress, and you can hear him and see him at work in a wonderful and oddly relaxing video from, as seen on the New Yorker's book blog. If you've ever wondered what exactly letter press is (and I know I have) this video explains it beautifully.

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