A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Birthday Goes On

My birthday usually lasts the full month. This behaviour wasn’t instituted by me. It came about because as a teen I lived in one place with lots of lovely friends and had lots of other lovely friends in another city. It meant that I got used to stretching out a birthday in order to make myself and others feel good about not being able to celebrate together on my actual birthday. The practice that started due to geography soon became habit so even now I love stretching out the celebrations.

This year was a truncated celebration. I was away in Jordan during the lead-up to my birthday, in a perfume workshop the weekend of my birthday, and have been bustling away with work since my birthday. The birthday celebration was Sunday night (Nov. 16) and there’s only been a quiet smattering of birthday wishes since. Not my usual full-blown agenda so I was very excited to get a bunch of cool mail this week.


Not in the mail, but stumbled up via Flickr, here’s the photo of my birthday party filling a full theatre row. (Thanks Travis.)


Thursday Andrew Zuckerman’s Creature arrived in the mail. Lovely, beautiful photographs from an amazing photographer. Andrew Zuckerman’s Wisdom is another worthwhile book (watch the video on his site). But Creature is eye-candy for the animal lover. It is about souls beyond human souls.

New Oils from Eden Botanicals

Friday afternoon my perfume oils from Eden Botanicals arrived. I’m looking forward to playing with the Black Currant.

Birthday Treats

Saturday morning the doorbell brought this tasty selection of treats from the Sherrett household. Thank you Linda!

Sunday morning the doorbell brought Alice Feiring’s The Battle for Wine and Love.

A perfect end to November. Thank you all.

Benjamin Brown Books: Launch of Wenda the Wacky Wiggler


Today was the book launch for Wenda the Wacky Wiggler by Christopher Aslan, illustrated by Emily Mullock.

Wenda is a girl after my own heart. She is a wacky wiggler. Even at night asleep in her bed, a tune is going through her head. She wiggles and waltzes, dances and prances, much to the chagrin of the townsfolk who want this dancing to stop. How horrid. Thankfully Wenda wins them over in the end.

Wenda the Wacky Wiggler is published by my friend Meghan Spong, who is a great designer and production woman, and now publisher-owner of Benjamin Brown Books.

There are a couple of books on the list and if you want beautiful picture books with great stories and excellent production quality, support Benjamin Brown Books. Go to a bookstore and ask for Wenda the Wacky Wiggler.


Vote for Seen Reading

Hooray, Julie Wilson’s SeenReading.com is a Canadian Blog Awards Finalist!

Help move Seen Reading to the winner’s spot. Simply press the vote button. So easy. Just do it.

Vote for Seen Reading as Best Podcaster, it’s all books baby, how can you not?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nabokov on Lolita

Nabokov on the first lines of Lolita. Read in English and Russian.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Nabokov detests italicized passages in a novel ... canned music ... concise dictionaries ... journalistic cliches ... and the moment of truth

American Thanksgiving

On Thursday I celebrated American Thanksgiving with Sarah and Anthony Nicalo and their family and friends. It was a great day of eating, drinking and laughing.

The day started with a shopping trip to Granville Island to meet up with Boris and Evan. Coffee. Bagels. Goodies.

Lemon Tomato

We arrived at Sarah and Anthony’s just in time for sausage making.

Sausage Me This

Boris got down to work on his dinner contribution.

Dinner in the Works

I got down to lunch.


In the meantime, Anthony carried on with the sausage making.

Anthony's Sausage

Aside from being skilled at eating, I’m also pretty good at taking the juicy bits out of pomegranates. James was reassigned.

James Mashes Pomegranate

Jeff was our mash potato guy.

Jeff Mashes Potato

The afternoon prep kept us all hard at work.

All Hands on Deck

Evan took over making the sausages. Little did he know, this was a 5 hour task. Hello Zen moment.

Making Sausage

Making Dinner

One of the first signs of dinner was the squash soup, served in a pumpkin. Amazing! And that’s where those beautiful pomegranate bits made an appearance.

Squash Soup: Gourd it up

Squash Soup: Gourd it up

The other hands-down, tastiest dish was this turkey rillette. Turkey, pistachio, cranberry yumminess.

Best bit of turkey

Boris’ dish was also very good, especially with the salty yam chips on top.

Making Soup and the Boris Special

Making Yam Chips

Rachel added the finishing touches to the potatoes. Cream baby!


Now for the climax of dinner shots.

Grilled salmon.

Dinner Is Served

Turkey sausage.

Dinner Is Served


Thanksgiving Dinner

Dinner 1. (Yes, there was dinner 2.)

Thanksgiving Dinner

Christine & James.

Christine & James

Rachel, Sarah, Anthony, Boris.

Getting Food to the Table

Overflow eating.

Hanging Out

Family & Friends

Between dinner 1 and dinner 2 was the intermezzo. Candied salmon and olive oil gelato.

Smoked Salmon & Olive Oil Gelato

Post dinner there was more drinking and storytelling.

Dinner is served ...

Rachael & Boris.

Racheal & Boris


And, of course, dessert. Here are 2 of the 5 desserts on offer.


The evening ended with the taking of pictures ...


and the drinking of oil olive.


One of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever celebrated. Thank you Sarah, Anthony and the artisan farmers who produced the amazing naturally farmed, handcrafted wines that we drank.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

T Bakery

T Bakery. So delicious.

High Tea at T Bakery
4445 West 10th Ave.

Susie and I went for high tea at T Bakery today. Cream Earl Grey. Totally delicious bites.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shani Mootoo Launch of Valmiki’s Daughter

Launch: Valmikiâ's Daughter by Shani Mootoo on TwitPic

Love Shani Mootoo’s poetry. Love the cover of this book. So hot!

Valmiki’s Daughter by Shani Mootoo (House of Anansi)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Save the Bears. Save the Trees. Save Yourselves.

Two years ago, the province of British Columbia committed to protecting a region of the province referred to as The Great Bear Rainforest under a new conservancy. All the
stakeholders—the provincial government, logging companies, First Nations and environmentalists—agreed. They committed to a new approach to resource planning, and it was to be implemented by March 31, 2009. Yes, steps have been made in this direction, but it’s not guaranteed. It’s not a sure thing. A promise isn’t always a promise in politics, is it?


I know about Save the Great Bear because every day (for the duration of the initial campaign) I drove past giant billboards featuring kermode bears with the URL tag “Raincoast.org”. I found this mildly amusing and annoying because at the time I was the internet marketing manager for Raincoast.com. There were interesting traffic mix-ups that I was happily taking advantage of by directing visitors to our ancient-forest friendly webpages (which I’ll tell you about in a second.)

I was also cynical about the “spirit bear” (the white kermode bear) and the emotional pull the initial ad campaign was using to raise awareness of this region, but I was working in marketing (how cynical could I be about a tactic that I would use).

Despite these thoughts, the campaign did work to raise public awareness of the kermode bear, which in turn led to greater awareness of the bears’ habitat. Now that—the habitat—was what really interested me. The company I was working for, Raincoast.com, is a book publisher. Trees are pretty important to the process of publishing books. At the same time as the Great Bear Rainforest campaign was running, we were also working to get other publishers on board with Markets Initiative to print on 100% post-consumer, recycled paper instead of virgin paper made from our boreal forests. This is the “ancient-forest friendly” bit that I mentioned earlier.

Here’s what I can tell you about the temperature rainforest:

  • The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest tract of intact coastal temperate rainforest left on Earth.
  • One quarter of the world’s temperate rainforests are in coastal British Columbia.
  • The Great Bear Rainforest is more biodiverse than most forests and ecosystems in the world.
  • It covers 77,000 square kms—about the size of Austria.
  • It’s home to 3 kinds of bears: grizzly, black and kermode (white bear—there are only a handful in the world)
  • Six million migratory birds live here
  • There are 3000 genetically distinct salmon stocks in its waters
  • And many species of plants are unique to the region.

The Great Bear Rainforest is an important part of the world, it’s not just important to BC, and not just because there are bears and trees. This forest is a lifebelt. I, for one, am a fan of the oxygen forests produce. I also love this part of the world. It’s right on my doorstep.

Come on Province of BC! Keep the promise.

Gordon (as in Premier Gordon Campbell), you said you’d put the long term interests of the community first. That you’d protect this part of the world. Please see this one all the way through. Charles gets it ...

If you want to save the bears, save the trees, save yourself, send a message to the government of British Columbia by signing an online petition (non-BC and non-Canadian residents can send the message too, Gordon promised the international community he’d protect the forest, he didn’t just promise us).


Why am I on about this today? Because Debbie, the world’s oldest polar bear died today at the Winnipeg Zoo (42 years old), because I’m from Winnipeg and now live here—much closer to bears in the wild—because I love this part of the world, because I hate when governments make promises they don’t keep, especially promises that involve protecting things that I care about, because, because, because ...

Still don’t know what I’m on about? Watch some bears, look at the forest they’re moving through, check out the stream.

Just want photos? Here’s a Flickr group for the campaign:


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Granville Online Endangered Species Quiz

I am a lion: A potent, playful, preening dominator.

Take the quiz.

You’re a curious cross between potent and playful—and on occasion you take yourself too seriously. You have a vain streak, and gazing into a mirror seldom fails to please you. You like to be surrounded by friends, and savour a sense of casual dominion over them. You can move quickly on your feet when you need to, but generally you prefer taking it slow. Through and through, you’re a lion.

Wild lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia, and there’s a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India. The animal is extinct in North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia. With exceptionally large males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. That might not sound like a vulnerable animal, but it is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me. Thank You to You.

Birthday Photos ...

Sunday was my birthday.

I made natural perfume all weekend with Ayala Sender.
Monique's Perfume Creations

Who also gave me amazing chocolate truffles.
Chocolate Truffles

Then we had a cocktail party and went to see the new James Bond at the Dunbar, home of Vancouver’s best popcorn. We filled a row of theatre seats. There was dress up.
Bond Girls Are Better

R & 007
R & 007

James made cake. A delicious, chocolate cake.
Best Chocoalte Cake

And today, the Beasts took me and Super Nate, who is also celebrating a birthday, for lunch. We wore our birthday t-shirts. Mine says “Not your average Muggle.” I like this a lot.
Not Your Average Muggle

I love celebrating my friends, and I love celebrating my birthday. What good fortune to combine the two. Thanks for all the presents and birthday wishes. You all (or y’all, as I understand to be a personal pronoun in some States) make me very happy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Joseph Boyden Wins Giller Prize

CTV on Boyden’s Giller win ...

Yay! Congratulations to Joseph Boyden, author of Three Day Road, who is a fantastic writer and a swell guy. His latest Through Black Spruce won the Giller Prize.

Listen to Seen Reading and read the entry inspired by Boyden’s Giller winner Through Black Spruce

Published by Penguin

Monday, November 10, 2008

Easy Eddie and Butch O’Hare

Although tomorrow is Canadian Remembrance Day, I have a story about 2 Americans who faced seemingly insurmountable odds and who chose to sacrifice themselves. The loose connection to Remembrance Day is that one is a wartime story.

Have fun on a Monday:
Read the story of Easy Eddie and Butch O’Hare ...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Victoria Barnsley on the Future of Publishing

Thanks to @ehrenc on Twitter, here’s the link to Victoria Barnsley’s (HarperCollins UK) speech on change in publishing. Read it! She is living and breathing the Web 2.0 world from the position of someone who’s been in the business long enough to remember receiving handwritten manuscripts. (Ok, I’m that old too, but those were really old writers.) http://snurl.com/57cm0

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Indigo: Stay Small, Think Big

index // mb has a great article: New Digital Initiative: Indigo Takes Wheel, Tries to Reinvent?

Indigo’s online strategy re: ebooks and digital content and what would be better.

Totally agree and wish I had time to reflect more on this topic.

Madness of the day awaits ...

Monday, November 03, 2008

This Is Halloween

This is Halloween
This is Halloween
Pumpkins growl in the dead of night ...


Wonder Princess