Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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Malcolm Gladwell: jerk in a café
On the Wall Street Journal's website this weekend, Malcolm Gladwell meditates on those annoying people you see writing with laptops in cafes. "The problem with writing in coffee shops is that everyone hates the kind of people who write in coffee shops—especially the kind of people who write in coffee shops," writes Gladwell, who is then quick to indicate that he is one of those very people. Gladwell ranks the world's best (and worst) cafes for writing, from New York's Grumpy Coffee, to London's Fernandez and Wells , to Paris' Les Deux Magots, to...oh my, we have arrived...Toronto's Swan.

Not books
Here's an overly cute and somewhat annoying little video created by an advertising firm presenting some possible models for packaging information on electronic readers. They would have you believe this is the future of—or a possible future of—the book. The more of this sort of propaganda that I see, the more I firmly believe that a book must have paper pages, a cover, be printed in ink, requires no electricity and sits on a bookshelf gathering dust. Anything else is really just a fancy toy.

Speaking of which
A toy case for a toy.

Working on a first novel?
NPR's Martha Woodroof talks to novelists Colin Harrison and Jessica Francis Kane about why it takes so damned long to finish a (good) first novel.

Who knew there were even ten left in the whole world?
Going to Minneapolis St Paul for your next vacation? Well, who isn't, right? Check out the 10 best indie books stores in the Twin Cities.

Brod's suitcase
A fascinating and lengthy article appeared this weekend in the NYTs looking at the trials surrounding Kafka's unpublished works. The writer's friend, Max Brod, was instructed by Kafka to burn all of his works after his death, but Brod ignored those instructions and packed up Kafka's writings in a suitcase and fled the Nazis for Palestine. Ever since, those papers have been the object of contention, with some being auctioned off and others, as yet unpublished, being held in safe deposit boxes. Now, the fight is on to catalogue and archive that work, but an aged cat lady stands in the way. Elif Batuman has followed the wranglings closely.

Happy Banned Book Week
Sept 25 to Oct 2 is the ALA's Banned Book Week. Here's a list of some of the books that have been banned in Canada over the years. Go out and read them all.

  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck - "Banned in Morris, Manitoba, Canada (1982)"
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee - "Removed (2009) from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton Ontario, Canada because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word 'nigger.'"
  • Ulysses, James Joyce - "Burned in Canada (1922)"
  • The Lord of the Flies, William Golding - "A committee of the Toronto, Canada Board of Education ruled on June 23, 1988, that the novel is "racist and recommended that it be removed from all schools." Parents and members of the black community complained about a reference to 'niggers' in the book and said it denigrates blacks. Challenged in the Waterloo, IA schools (1992) because of profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled."
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover, DH Lawrence - "Banned in Canada (1960) until 1962."
  • The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer - "Banned in Canada (1949)"
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