Monday, July 26, 2010

Glen Valley Farm and My New Book

In these beautiful summer days, I'm thinking about the farmers who are growing our food.

The ones I think about most often are the farmers at Glen Valley Organic Farm Cooperative in Abbotsford, BC. (See their photo above.) They are the folks I visited multiple times over the course of a year to write my newest book: Up We Grow! A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm.

If you'd like to know more about sustainable farming and the Glen Valley farmers, check out their blog here. They are some of the nicest, hardest working people I know. A big thank you to Chris, Paige, Jeremy and everyone else at the farm! The goats!

And, if you're interested in hearing about how my book was written and seeing its beautiful photos (shot by Brian Harris), you might consider coming to our launch at the Trout Lake Farmer's Market on Aug. 7 at 10:30 am. We will be there for the entire market to chat and sign books.

If you can't make it to Trout Lake, come to Kidsbooks on W. Broadway on Aug. 26 for another launch. The time is: 7-9 pm and, besides a book talk, there will be local food and drink. Delicious! I promise!

Love to see you there!

P.S. If you can't make it to either launch and you'd like a copy of Up We Grow, ask for it at your local bookstore or check for it online.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Bliss

I'm glad to report that we Vancouverites are basking in the beautiful sunshine. It came later than any of us wished, but now that it is here, we are blissful!

Lest you think I'm spending all my days in a lawn chair, sunglasses on, and book in hand, I will let you know that I'm wrapping up a book with one last photo shoot tomorrow, and then — hooray! — off to the printer it goes. It's a book on urban agriculture, and in order to keep my writing in rigourous, truthful shape, I'm tending to a backyard garden. The young children in my family are helping (!) me pick raspberries, peas and strawberries as they come ripe, and we are enjoying gobbling up these bites of summer.

When I do take a moment in my lawn chair (did I mention bliss?), I'm reading a lot of wonderful books. A great one that I just finished is called C'mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark by the talented Ryan Knighton. It's the story of how he copes with the challenges and joys of becoming a first time dad — a handful for anyone — but on top of the usual struggles, are those imposed by his visual impairment. He's legally blind. It's a compelling story, by turns poignant and sad, and then very, very funny. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be very glad you read it. It's a masterful piece of work.

And that's my summer reading recommendation for today.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Excellent News!

Have you heard the news? A new independent bookstore is opening in Vancouver. Hooray! It's called Sitka Books and Art and is owned by the former manager of Duthie Books, Ria Bleumer. It's going to be located two blocks away from where Duthie's resided on 4th Ave. Read more about it here.

It's been a sad time for book lovers in this city ever since Duthie's (which had been in operation for 53 years) closed last February. For the past few months, I've been slinking around trying to fulfill my book needs by sneaking into Chapters and secretly ordering from Amazon online — but I never felt good about it. (It's hard having a rabid book habit.) I upped my book requests at the Vancouver Library, but the reading material didn't come fast and furious enough for my liking.

Of course, the wonderful Kidsbooks on West Broadway has a great (possibly the greatest) selection of children's books. I will always be loyal to them.

And now Sitka Books will provide me with an excellent place to find adult books. If the store is anywhere as good as Duthie's was, I will be very, very happy.

Congratulations, Ria! I can hardly wait for the opening.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Reading

For those of us who read all year long, I always find it odd to hear about "summer reading." Personally, I like every season of reading. Give me more seasons and more books and I'd be very happy!

What am I reading this summer? I've just finished Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby, which I loved. It was funny and poignant and extremely well written. Highly recommended!

I also recently read Swim The Fly by Don Calame, another YA novel, and one that made me laugh so hard and so often that my family believed I had a case of temporary insanity.

In preparation for my YA book club meeting in the fall, I am about to embark on three novels based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. The first, currently sitting on my desk, is Fairest by Newberry Honor Author, Gail Carson Levine. It looks intriguing and I can hardly wait to crack the cover.

Finally, I'm still reading up on food (my current nonfiction reading obsession) and two titles that I am halfway through are The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat by Catherine Friend. The other one is the latest book from celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, titled, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Hmm... two very different approaches to food and eating, but I'm up for the challenge!

I hope your summer reading looks promising. Feel free to send me any recommendations you may have. There's a lot of days left in the season.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Writing Inspiration...

In case you're wondering where I am next week, I'll be on the wild west coast (see above) getting my annual dose of writing inspiration. What could be better for a writer than miles and miles of beach to walk, and long hours for reading and contemplation?

Perhaps I should mention that my lovely, lively family is coming with me. There may not be quite as much reading and contemplating as I'm imagining. Aren't families grand? :-)

Happy Summer, everyone!