June 19th, 2017

Next we take the Maritimes

My husband, the writer and lovely human Mark Sampson and I drive to the Maritimes every other summer to visit friends and family, and since we both have books out this year, we are combining it with some readings, adding up to an adorably couply little tour. We’re actually a good pairing because my book is pretty dark while his latest novel The Slip is quite funny. So it’s a well-balanced evening of entertainment!

We kick off at Tidewater Books in Sackville, New Brunswick at 7pm, June 26. Invitation here. Followed by June 29, 6:30pm at the Confederation Centre Library in Charlottetown, invitation here. We wind up in Halifax at a booksellers’ conference, but that’s not open to the public so I won’t link it here. There may be one more Nova Scotia event, so please stay tuned…

If none of that works for you, I’ll be back in New Brunswick in the fall to take part in the delightfully named Word Feast Festival in Fredericton September 22-23; I’ll also be doing some school visits in Moncton on the 25th.

If you are an eastern type person, hope to see you at one of these events…

June 12th, 2017

Reading Survey

This is a survey that I made up, because I want to know. I will do absolutely nothing with the results except enjoy having them, which I will extremely. This is one of my favourite topics in casual conversation but I find people do not like being asked half a dozen questions in a row in normal conversation. Hence, the survey. I really hope you fill it out! I have done so myself, to get the ball rolling. You can just cut and paste the survey into a comment or an email or a “contact” form and send it to me (delete my answers and add yours). I hope you do!!
Note: all questions refer to books, as in, things with spines, not magazines, newspapers, or online text. Not that there’s anything wrong with those; just not what this survey is about.

When do you read books? I read on the subway to and from work during the week, and in the mornings at home on the weekend. I also if I am waiting for something, like a doctor or at the passport office, if I am travelling, or if I’m feeling too tired in the evening to write.

How do you decide what to read? Like most people I have a stack that I’m working diligently through, never finish, and feel bad about. However, I largely choose what goes in the stack myself–books by authors I know I like who have something new out, books by friends, books on subjects I’m interested in. I’m terrible about taking book recommendations and though this sounds awful, don’t really like receiving books as gifts unless the giver is REALLY SURE they know what they’re doing. I like to choose! The exception is book club–I accept the premise of bookclub and am 100% faithful about reading whatever is chosen, even if it is about how one or more of Jesus’s apostles may have been an alien.

Where do you get the books you read? All over! I buy books at launches and readings, books from indie bookstores, from big-box bookstores, and online. I also read a fair amount from the Toronto Public Library, though those are more a) research and other books I “need” as opposed to want and b) things I fear I might not like. If I turn out to be wrong about b), I buy it later. I accept book loans with pleasure and occasionally find good things on the sidewalk, but I’m happy to pay full price for books; it’s a principle!

Ebooks? Not at the moment. I had a Kobo for a while, which I quite liked, but it stopped working, so now I’m 100% print again. Even when I had the Kobo going, I largely preferred print except when I needed to carry a large or many book(s) but if the day comes when screens are how people get books, I will be fine with that.

How much do you read? I read about a book a week, but I end up with about 70 books in an average year because of vacations, really short books, etc. This year has been challenging so I expect I’ll end up under that.

Do you log what you read at all? How? I keep both a paper book diary–title, author, date finished, short note on what I thought–and maintain Goodreads. I find Goodreads useful for checking out which of my friends has read the same thing and starting a conversation, and the paper journal good for jogging my memory of what I actually read and what I thought. I should probably streamline this process somehow and start keeping it all on goodreads, but I probably won’t.

Book reviews? I love to read them and think they are an art form of their own. I don’t often act on them specifically, but if I’m still thinking about them later and/or a bunch of other mentions corroborate the recommendation, I’ll probably end up reading the book.

 

 

May 11th, 2017

The Slip by Mark Sampson

This is an exciting spring at my house–my book came out in March and now, on May 20, my husband Mark Sampson‘s third novel The Slip will be published by Dundurn Press. All the reviews–and there have already been some great ones in Publishers Weekly, Quill and Quire, and more–agree that it is funny and it really is, a fast and absurd but also somehow realistic take on how fast we can f up our lives in this age of the internet. I *could* be a little biased but with the above reviews on my side, I really don’t think I am. You should read it–in 9 more days!! And then you should come to the launch party on May 31, 6pm at Ben McNally Books, which promises to be a lot of fun!

Also nice, for the first time since we’ve met, Mark and I will have books out in the same season, which makes it a little easier for us to do events together. We’re starting out with Pongapalooza on May 16, where we will each captain ping-pong teams and attempt to lead them to victory in a bitter marital rivalry (this is a fundraiser for First Book Canada, actually). Then I’m taking a little breather from events but when we are out east, ostensibly on summer vacation, we’ll be doing at least one, reading at the Confederation Library in Charlottetown the evening of June 29, with a few more events possibly to come.

But my real point here is, yay Mark!

May 8th, 2017

IFOA with Kerry Clare and Amy Jones on Wednesday

I’m so very excited to be participating in IFOA Weekly this Wednesday May 10 at 7:30pm with Kerry Clare and Amy Jones, hosted by Sheniz Janmohamed. In anticipation, I did this interview for the IFOA blog. Good times! If you’re in Toronto and enjoy high-quality discussion of books, you should really join us Wednesday.

Other news about me/So Much Love in the world? Well, there’s this lovely interview with Joseph Planta on The Commentary, reviews in/on Ultra Violent Lit and a few other mentions thither and yon. I’m starting to think about a few events this summer and even into the fall and I’ve even been invited to a couple bookclubs, all of which I’m excited about.

April 24th, 2017

Globe review, Different Drummer Books and Brunch, Bibliobash

There was just a gorgeous review of So Much Love in the Globe and Mail on Saturday–I was really moved by the way the reviewer, Marsha Lederman, reacted to the book. And I feel incredibly lucky that my novel received such an attentive, thoughtful review.

Tomorrow I head off to the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens in Aldershot for Different Drummer Books’ Books and Brunch event with Kyo Maclear and Trevor Cole. That should be fun (and delicious)!

Then on Thursday I’ll be at the Bibliobash to benefit the Toronto Public Library. How great that a fun and fancy night out can also benefit one of my favourite causes. Great when that sort of thing works out.

April 21st, 2017

The Making Room Anthology and Out in the Open on the CBC

Oh, you guys, the Pivot at the Steady reading was so nice. Every reader was great (even me, if I do say so humbly–I lived up to the evening I think!) the host was great, everyone that I spoke to in the audience was great, the vibe in the room was great, even the temperature was great. I wish I went out to readings as often as I used to–it was about once a week, more or less, in my late twenties and I just went to anything my friends suggested or that sounded cool to me. Now 10 years later it’s less than once a month unless I am myself reading and I really miss it. Stupid increasing decrepitude.

BUT I am reading a lot these days in support of So Much Love and while that in itself is a lot of fun, it’s also wonderful in that it gets me out listening to all the talented folks who are on the bill with me at readings. Like Saturday night, for example, when I’ll be reading at the Toronto launch of the Making Room anthology with so many brilliant and talented women like Amy Jones, Ayelet Tsabari, Eleanor Watchtel and tonnes more. It should be an amazing night. If you can’t make it or don’t live in Toronto, you can still order the anthology, which is huge and amazing and well worth reading. $26 is a steal for a book that covers 40 years of female and feminist writing in Canada. I’m not all the way through yet but I’m just floored by the strength and diversity of the gathering.

Sunday will be a day off from me and my book, but if you miss me, you actually hear me on the radio talking about the only other thing besides books people ever want to talk to me about–my big crazy jaw surgery! I’ll be on Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay at 11am on Sunday morning, 11pm on Tuesday, or you can listen online at the link above. It’s an interesting show concept, on personal transformation, and I’m looking forward to listening to all the interviews myself!

April 18th, 2017

Quill and Quire review/Pivot at the Steady

There’s a lovely starred review of So Much Love in the current issue of Quill and Quire by Josef Grubisic that is making me really happy. It is easy for sensitive writer to take even a positive review and get agitated about things we disagree with or feel aren’t quite accurate, but this review has none of that for me–how amazing! It’s online now and you can read it at the link above but I urge you to stay tuned–or pick up the print issue–because this issue of Q&Q contains another great review of a really wonderful book by an author I am VERY FOND OF. I’ll say no more.

In other news, I’m reading at Pivot at the Steady tomorrow night, with Shane Neilson, Erin Robinsong, and Kevin Connolly, which will be swell. I love Pivot, maybe most out of all reading series. Not just because I read at the very first night of Pivot, and for every book since, not just because it has always been amazingly curated even as a number of different folks have hosted it, all equally amazing in their own very different ways, and not just because everyone is always so nice there, the audiences so warm and supportive, the readers so interesting and engaged. But also because I met my husband there, in January 2009, when Kerry Clare brought me to hear Jessica Westhead read. I didn’t know Jessica either at that point and I now am lucky enough to count her as a friend, and a few weeks after that I was sitting alone at Pivot and a cool-looking couples set their coffees down on my table and we’re still friends too, despite the fact they now live on another continent.

But Mark is my biggest Pivot win and I’ll always be grateful to the series for bringing us together, even though that is corny and there are potentially 10 000 people on earth I could be happy with and perhaps I would have met one of them if I’d gone to a different reading. I don’t want to be married to those people. I only want to be married to Mark, and I am, and so–thank you, Pivot. See you tomorrow.

April 11th, 2017

Me in May

Er, yes, sorry, it’s another post about me and my book. I’m just trying to keep the blog more or less up to date on So Much Love stuff while actually DOING all this stuff and also my 9-5 job, and that doesn’t seem to save much time for any actual creative work of any sort, even the little flights of fancy require for blog postery. I will get back to it, promise.

Anyway, I did a fun Magic 8 interview for CBC Books that’s live now, and an interview with Jamie Tennant at CFMU in Hamilton that will air in a month or so. In a cool turn, Jamie had a column in the Hamilton Spectator when I was a teen and I thought he was just the coolest–it was really fun and sort of a dream to be interview by him. Really looking forward to reading his new novel, too–it’s called The Captain of Kinnoull Hill and it’s about a man considered to be the least likeable person in the Chicago music scene!!

Looking forward to May, I’m a part of a dream event at IFOA on May 10 reading and talking with the ever-excellent Kerry Clare about our respective books with the also-excellent Amy Jones as our interviewer and Sheniz Janmohamed as host. That one should be a really great evening–you should come! But even if no one comes, I think we’ll have fun on stage.

And this one is weirder, but also cool…I’m an honourary caption for the First Book Pongapalooza event on May 16 in support of literacy for First Book! Come out and play some Ping Pong and help kids learn to read!

April 5th, 2017

Onwards to Hamilton

So I made it back from Vancouver safe but tired, spent a day sleeping and moving my car around, and then went out to Pickering for the delightful Festival of Authors. The weekend was more sleep and also taxes, and then on Monday I went out to Waterloo to visit the brilliant Claire Tacon‘s creative writing class. Claire’s students were engaged, thoughtful and well-read, and we spent a good hour together talking about writing in general and mine and theirs in particular before I got on the Greyhound home and passed out. Yesterday was the Toronto Review of Books We All Feel So Foolish reading, which was good fun and surprisingly packed–but with fellow readers Jessica Westhead, Heather Birrell, Mark Sampson, and Antanas Sileika, you can see why.

Today is a breather, thank goodness. But my CBC Magic 8 interview is posted, in case you’re curious about yet more of my thoughts.

Tomorrow I’m off to Hamilton to read at GritLit, Hamilton’s literary festival. My reading is at 9:30pm at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and is entitled The Disappeared, co-starring Ian Reid, but you should really take in any events at GL you can, as the whole weekend promises to be exceptionally good. I’ll also be on CFMU Radio with Jamie Tennant at some point tomorrow–that should be cool as well.

And then you get a break from the relentless RRing, and I will get some sleep and go back to talking about things other than myself and my book–which sounds just fine to me!

March 30th, 2017

Ongoing adventures

Hello from Vancouver, where last night I read at the Incite series and yesterday was on the Global BC News at Noon. I find the clip pretty unwatchable, but apparently that is how people feel about seeing themselves on TV–most other people who have watched it think it’s fine (or have been too kind to tell the truth). It was very fun to do the interview with Sophie Lui and Squire Barnes, who were total pros and very good and making me feel both comfortable and smart–what good TV presenters do! I still can’t watch the clip, though.

I’ve discovered this lovely blog review at the Bookshelf blog by Andrew Hood. Andrew is an old friend whose work I deeply admire, so this was a delight to stumble across.

I also finished off a blog interview with Steven Buechler at Sea of Pacific Tranquility about So Much Love. I talk about how we are all know about crimes like the ones described in SML but we know about them in tiny ways, and most of us have the privilege of turning off the news when it gets distressing–but some don’t. The people who experience the crimes and their families don’t, and I wanted to use fiction and whatever empathetic imagination I possess to explore that world and that experience, an experience that doesn’t end.

It’s hard thing to get right–and I’m never going to capture the breadth of experiences in the world, because I’ve only written about a handful of characters and also because fiction is an art and what people think of art can be subjective–but just because I’m done the writing of the book doesn’t mean I can stop thinking carefully and deeply about the subject matter and how I present it each and every time I’m in public or online. I think I need to work on that.

Can you tell I’ve had some tough talks recently? Or have been spending too much time by myself perhaps? Or both? I have one brilliant sunny day left in Vancouver and then I’m going to come home and read at The Ontario Writers Conference Festival of Authors. And then maybe lie down for a little while.

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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