Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beautiful Store!

I made my inaugural visit to Sitka Books & Art this morning, and I was wowed! It's a beautiful store, and I love the selection of books they are carrying. I could have bought a bookcase full. (I restrained myself and only took 4 books to the checkout counter.)

I will shop there regularly and do my best to keep them in business. Now it's your turn! If you live in Vancouver, go visit. Buy a book. Show them we're happy to have a wonderful independent bookstore back in our midst.

Sitka Books & Art: 2025 West 4th Ave.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Great News, Vancouver Booklovers!

Sitka Books and Art is Vancouver's newest independent bookstore and its doors are open now! City booklovers have been waiting all summer for this exciting event.

Stop by, browse their shelves and buy a book. Let's do our part to give them a great start. You can check out their website here, and also read about them on the Talon Books website here.

Sitka's address is: 2025 West 4th Ave, and they are open 7 days a week from 10 am - 6 pm.

Hooray! See you there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend Events

If you're looking for something literary to do this weekend, here are two events you might like to check out:

Celebrate Science: A BC Sciencefest at the brand-new Beaty Biodiversity Museum (home of the huge blue whale skeleton) at UBC. For details, go here.

And, the cross-Canada fall book celebration: Word on the Street. The program for Vancouver is here.

And where will I be this weekend? Speaking at both events. Hope to see you there!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Thank you, Whitehorse Teachers!

A huge thank you to Sara Tillet and Tanis Giczi, the amazing, energetic Whitehorse teachers who organized the Yukon Teacher's Conference I attended last week.

As one of the 16 visiting authors, I have to say it was one of the best conferences I've been to. It was so well organized and everyone we met exuded that legendary Yukon friendliness. I especially enjoyed meeting the Yukon teachers who attended my sessions. Hi to all of you!

In addition to the conference, here are some of my Whitehorse highlights:

• visiting the Takhini hotsprings on a beautiful sunny afternoon
• attending a reception at the McBride Museum that had a fascinating wildlife display of local animals (see the grizzly bear photo above)
• being served wine in a mason jar at the Klondike restaurant
• seeing the brilliant yellow, fall leaves on the aspen trees
• catching up with talented colleagues from across Canada
• going to the farmer's market and discovering some of the biggest potatoes I've ever seen. (Apparently, the long hours of daylight encourage them to grow to Paul Bunyan size.)
• spending a few afternoons in the bright, warm sun under a clear, blue sky
• experiencing summer temperatures by day; freezing temperatures by night
• flying to and from the Yukon on Air North: they feed you! and serve you delicious coffee that's been roasted in Whitehorse!
• I know there's more, lots more, but I'll stop here, and simply say: It was a great couple of days!

Thanks again, Tanis and Sara. It was a real treat to be there! I can hardly wait to come back.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Yukon Bound!

My presentation is ready and my bags are packed. I'm off to Whitehorse in a day or so to be a speaker at the Yukon Teacher's Conference.

If you'd like to see the line-up of speakers (lots of my hard-working colleagues), you can download the conference schedule here.

I'm really looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones — Yukoners are such friendly folks! — and being in midst of the beautiful Yukon scenery.

Last time I was in Whitehorse, I went to Kathleen Lake (see photo above) and thought it was possibly the most amazing wilderness I had ever encountered.

Rumour has it that we will be visiting Takhini Hot Springs on this trip. Exciting!

Back soon, with a full report.


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Book I Wish I'd Written...

This will come as no surprise to my parents and brothers, but I am a HUGE fan of bubble gum. I spent an inordinate amount of time as a child chewing gum and blowing big pink bubbles. (My teeth have paid the price.)

You can imagine my excitement when I read about the new book, POP: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy. I will track down a copy to read ASAP. It's a book I really wish I had written (being somewhat of an expert on the topic).

When I first moved away from home and was teaching in a city away from my family, my Dad mailed me an entire tub of bubble gum to keep me company. What a guy!

Going to get the book now, and a package of Double Bubble. Chew, chew, blow, POP!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day Back

School's in today for BC students and teachers. I'd like to wish all of you the best of luck. Have a happy, productive year!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 3!

It's Day 3 of the 3-Day Novel Contest, and as they say on the clever 3-Day website, today is fittingly titled, "Do or Die." For more details on how to get through Day 3, check out the Survival Guide section of their website here.

For all of you hunched over your keyboards, while the rest of us are drinking tea, scanning the newspaper and enjoying the last leisurely moments of our holiday weekend, we wish you much strength on the final leg of the contest. It's the literary home stretch.

You can do it! You're almost there! Congratulations!

We're impressed.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

3 Day Novel Contest

Sharpen your pencils! The Labour Day weekend is upon us and it's time, once again, for the 3 Day Novel Contest.

Although this is a contest I will likely never enter (can't write novels, don't write fast), I have such admiration for the writers who take part in this literary marathon. It requires talent, inspiration, dedication, stamina, nerves of steel and a lot of coffee.

Good luck to all the writers who are hunkered down with their computers this morning — especially my Dad, who had planned to start writing at 12:01 am — and may have stayed up all night getting his words on paper.

If you'd like to check on the progress of some of the writers, you can follow the twitter feed here.

We non-participating writers (who are slacking off this weekend) are very, very impressed. A novel in 72 hours! You 3 Day Novel folks all deserve a medal.

May the muse be with you!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dear George Clooney

If you are a fan of Susin Nielsen's writing, you are going to love her latest book, Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom. I just finished reading it and thought it was sensational!

It's the story of 12 year old Violet, whose father has run off to LA with a young, blond woman and started another family. Violet is miserable now that her father has seemingly traded in his old life for a new one. And since he left, Violet's mother has had a series of unfortunate boyfriends — the latest being Dudley Weiner. (Can you read that without laughing?) Violet spends much of the novel getting into trouble and coming up with crazy schemes to snag George Clooney, desperately hoping that he will replace Dudley in her mother's affections.

It's a very funny, tightly written novel with many great characters and touching moments of poignancy. There are also lots of wonderful Vancouver references. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

If you'd like to hear Susin Nielsen in person, she's having a launch at Kidsbooks in a couple of weeks. Is George Clooney going to make an appearance? You never know! Check out Susin's website here and launch information here.

Happy Reading!