Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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When dumb-dumbs try to write about books
Okay, the point with a book is that, while you are reading (and if it's a good one, for a long time after), the action lives inside your head. We all understand that, right? We understand that that's the "magic" of reading, right? How do these marks of ink on a page create a world inside your brain? To me, that is a pretty special thing, especially given that it is your personal version of that world, completely unique to you. This is why I get pissed off when I read something like this: 'Soon, the word “e-book” will no longer connote dull, text-only transcriptions of popular print books on clunky e-readers, but richly colored, animated and interactive multimedia experiences that will leave their print counterparts looking lifeless in comparison.' Yeah sure, the little interactive video version of Peter Rabbit that she's referring to—which you can play on your iPad—is cute, but doesn't this idiot see that by spoon feeding the reader animations, it turns the book into a gimmick that actually detracts from the experience of reading Peter Rabbit? The world that you were once free to create in your own head has now been co-opted by some media designer's vision. It's like seeing Robert Redford play Gatsby. Thereafter, you can't get Redford-as-Gatsby out of your head. I would much rather have the liberty to imagine what Gatsby looks like myself. Books may "look" lifeless, but that's because the life they generate is meant to take place inside you, not outside you on some screen. If you find books dull, the problem is probably inside your head.

Seriously, why? Why does this exist? And why would any writer of sound mind submit to it? Upload page 99 of your book so that a bunch of trolls on the web can pronounce judgement on it. Yeah, sure, great idea. This really is the age of gimmickry, isn't it?

The top 7 S&M covers of Lois Lane comics.
'nuff said

Penis fish, anyone?
I put together a captioned gallery of images from unusual new food photography books for the CBC. And yes, there really is a penis fish, Virginia. (see image 3)

Rejecting rejection
Of all things, bill Morris gets dewy-eyed at The Millions about the lost form of the rejection letter. Oh, how low writers have fallen!

There's an invasion of zombie books coming this fall. There really is, and the Washington post rounds up a few of the tastier titles.

The 13 scariest books of all time NOT written by Stephen King
Happy Halloween! (Though I think Ellis' Lunar Park is far more frightening that American Psycho.)

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