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My Bedside Table Books: January 2011

A while back, Stella (my nine-year-old daughter) and I added Amazon widgets to the sidebar of this blog -- take a gander over on the right-hand sidebar of the blog's homepage. We didn't have any ambitions of getting rich off of our 4%, but rather to share what's on our respective bedside tables as fellow bookworms. I don't know about you, but I just love poking around people's bookshelves and knowing what people have cracked open and set their … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: The new world of book publishing levels the playing field. Kinda. Mostly. (#BWENY)

So, I'm in New York City. But unlike my last post, I have been inside all day attending Blog World & New Media Expo 2011 (hashtag #BWENY). Like many other conferences, there are "tracks" so that you can follow a specific theme that you might be interested in. I'm in attendance for my "day job" as a corporate communications manager for a high-tech company, so the track I've been following is the Social Media for Business Summit. But at the … [Read more...]

Feeling mildly ashamed of myself

classic books

The other day, Stella and I popped into Chapters-Indigo to pick up some new books for her. We were looking for some chapter books that she could really sink her teeth into. So imagine our delight to come across a line of books published as “Wordsworth Classics” that were only $3.99 (!) each. We had to limit ourselves since there were so many great titles to pick from! Here are the four that we took home: The Swiss Family Robinson, Alice in … [Read more...]

David Sedaris is Worth It

Late this afternoon, I got my dirty little paws on tickets to see Mr. David Sedaris (!) tonight at the National Arts Centre. But really, the timing couldn't be worse ... our house is torn apart and we're in the middle of painting it, the kids have stuff going on tonight that requires taxi-driving, and I can barely think straight from the insomnia I had last night. In case you are wondering who he is, which I suspect you might be, because … [Read more...]

Admiring the Tiger Mom

I have been sitting back in fascination for some weeks now watching the scathing reaction that has continued to out pour towards Amy Chua, aka the "Tiger Mom," for some weeks now. In case you missed the brouhaha, Chua is a Yale professor who recently released a memoir titled Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom. The flames were first fanned with an excerpt of the book shared in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ titled the article "Why Chinese Mothers … [Read more...]

The word is malaise!

I get quite happy when I finally hit the exact right word I've been looking for after fumbling about using words that didn't quite fit. For instance, I was working on this presentation about OEM boards and their design implications. For weeks, we were using the word "flexible" in the presentation and then it dawned on me just as I was about to press "send" that the right word was "versatile." I got inordinately excited about … [Read more...]

Douglas Coupland as a Massey Lecturer? Cool.


Past Massey lecturers have included Stephen Lewis, a crusader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa; R.C. Lewontin, a pioneer in evolutionary theory, genetics and molecular biology; and Ursula Franklin, a respected feminist and research physicist. And this year? Douglas Coupland.   [Read more on why I just couldn't miss this ...]   … [Read more...]

Random recommendation from my book shelf: The Turning, by Tim Winton

When I love a book, then I am compelling to force encourage others to read it. And so it went with Tim Winton's The Turning. I convinced my husband to read this collection of short stories, and then my father, and then my brother ... and so on, and so forth. If you've never lived in Australia, you can be forgiven for having never heard of Tim Winton. But, really, he is way better than Vegemite sandwiches. Trust me. He's written 9 novels, and … [Read more...]

What makes a novelist, a novelist?

Here I am with Joanne Harris, author of one of my favourite books Five Quarters of the Orange but most famously known for her novel Chocolat, which was made into the Oscar-nominated film with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. I recently had the chance to hear her read from her latest offering blueeyedboy when she came to Ottawa as a guest for Writers Fest. She was part of a series of events that Writers Fest puts on called The Writing Life. As … [Read more...]

One year of blogging

This month marks my first-year bloggy-versary. When I first started blogging one year ago, I didn't -- and couldn't -- have known what to expect. But BOLO left me feeling very optimistic about it all. It seems that blogging is one of those things that, like becoming a parent, you just have to do it order to really understand it. And although I have a much better understanding now than I did one year ago, I still have so much learning to do. … [Read more...]

The Joy of Reading: The Lion, the Witch and the Bathrobe


For as long as I can remember, it’s been common for people to observe that Stella is “Daddy’s little girl.” They don’t mean that he spoils her, but rather that she just loves to do whatever he is doing. And as a result, they have now cultivated a mutual passion for the outdoors that is really beautiful. But something else that is beautiful has taken place recently. When it comes to reading, Stella is now “Mommy’s little girl.” Just as the … [Read more...]

I’m in love with a gay man


I've tried to get him out of my head. But I just can't. It's been months now that I have gone to bed, and then allowed myself the luxury of letting my thoughts drift off towards him and his life. Sure, my husband thinks I am going to bed earlier than usual, but hey, winter's here and it makes a girl tired. The thing is ... he's gay. I'm spending hours upon hours loving someone who will never love me back. I know, I'm surely not the only … [Read more...]

And now, a little comedic interlude

If you're still feeling a little charbroiled, how about a little comedic interlude courtesy of David Sedaris? And yes, I am like a dog with a bone when I find an author I like (witness those Eric Bogosian posts I put you through a while back). I already swept through Chapters the other day between dispensing Tylenol to sick people and picked up one of his other collections. It was a tough choice, but I decided upon Dress Your Family in … [Read more...]

When you are engulfed in flames

"Engulfed in flames" -- don't you love it? I think it sums up life pretty well these days. Between pulling very long hours at work and doing night shifts comforting sick children, I  have the luxury of worrying about H1N1; the vaccine conundrum; having to carry my 40lb baby down our steep back steps and through my neighbours' yards just to get out of my house due to the entire front street being dug up; getting the phone line ressurected after … [Read more...]

A passive aggressive package arrives


The mail doesn't actually come to our house. We need to go to our local post office and look in our box for mail. It's a quaint-little-village kind of thing to do, isn't it? I like going to check my mail, but for some reason I don't get around to doing it much. Kind of like my exercise regime, I guess. Anyhow, when I finally get there, it's overflowing and often jammed to the hilt. (I would imagine that our family's box is a pet peeve of the … [Read more...]

Looking for a good children’s book?

I like it when friends or family take the time to pick out a special book for one of my kids as a gift (and inscribe it with a personal note). And I like to do the same for my friends. Recently, I've come across three great resources that make finding good books a lot easier. (So no, I'm not going to give up on my daughter who is reading 4-inch Pokemon gamer guides and nothing else these days!) #1:  A Diamond in the Window My friend Brenda … [Read more...]

4 Ingredients — episode 3

Ah, wondering why I've tried another recipe so soon after the last one? I know, it's out of character but hubby's away. And while hubby's away, this wife must cook. Well, okay, not really -- he did leave two meals for me in the freezer. And I admit to ordering in pizza last night. But tonight, those chicken breasts sitting in the fridge gave me the guilts. As in, "if you don't cook me tonight, you're throwing good money into the garbage!" So, … [Read more...]

4 Ingredients — episode 2

It's okay, you're forgiven for thinking that I'd given up (again!) on the idea of teaching myself how to not suck at cooking. My first post on this topic sparked comments from readers that reassured me that I am not the only female lacking in such talent. Instead of mocking me, these lovely folks were sympathetic and encouraging. This propped me back up because despite it being an age of so-called gender equality, people do tend to go on and on … [Read more...]

4 Ingredients

The only thing that Julie from the movie Julie and Julia and I share is a name. I have never lived in New York City (although I certainly would if opportunity afforded it), I am not a newly wed (we're clocking 13 years over in this corner), and perhaps most critically, I do not enjoy cooking. I just don't understand how people love to cook. It's sort of how I just can't understand how people love to go running. It's not that I wouldn't want to … [Read more...]

This Audition may be a flop

I can't say I would have normally picked this off the shelf, but a friend offered me a nice fresh hardcopy version of Barbara Walters' memoir. Surely, I thought, it would have some tasty bits. How could it not, with such a career? Walters initially thought of titling her book Sister, since her only sister Jacqueline "was unwittingly the strongest influence in my life." It's a tale that many siblings relate to, at least if the virtual shelves of … [Read more...]

A movie about blogging

I'll be the first to admit, I haven't been out to the movies much in, say, oh ... the last seven years. Yes, coincidentally, since I've become a parent. So, I might be wrong here, but the movie Julie & Julia was the first movie that I know of with blogging as a central focus. Even though I couldn't care less about Julia Child, and cooking in general for that matter, I was excited to see this movie. And that had everything to do with the … [Read more...]