Massey Lecture

For the first time ever the Massey Lecture will be based on a novel. The novelist is none other then Douglas Coupland. Coupland will be delivering his lectures in 5 Canadian cities in what will culminate in a 5 hour lecture.

Coupland will be in Toronto at Convocation Hall on October 29th to deliver the last of his 5 lectures.

After reading Player One I can safety say that this lecture will be something else – what that something is I can hardly wait for.

Douglas Coupland is a fascinating person. He is a writer, an artist, the latest Roots designer and a Canadian celebrity, to say the least. The New York Times recently showcased his home in their Home & Garden section, letting readers get a closer look inside this famous Canadian’s psyche. I was personally impressed with his private collection of art featured throughout his gorgeous house.

Douglas Coupland’s first book, Generation X wowed and impressed his readers so much that after nearly 10 years it is still  being talked about and was featured as one of the Canada Reads this past year. And in those 10 years Coupland has not slowed down. He has written more then 20 works, including fiction, non-fiction and screenplays. But it is Coupland’s latest book that everyone is talking about.

Player One was launched at Massey College on September 28th where Coupland spoke to a very excited group of people. If you’re looking for an autographed copy of Player One we still may have a few on our signed books wall. Or better yet, come out to the Massey Lecture on October 29th to listen to the lecture and get your copy signed and personalized by Mr. Coupland himself.

Player One reminds me of a modern, apocalyptic “No Exit”. The characters are stereotypes of modern societies most common weaknesses. Rich, the bartender, with his lingering alcohol abuse problems suffers from low self-esteem. Karen, the single mom has flown to Toronto from the Praries to meet a man. Rachel, who is my favorite character, is the beautiful wierdo. And then there’s the priest who has his fair of issues as well. But who or what is Player One? This all-seeing narrator is the most perplexing part of this story and even though I am a book person I feel a need for the cliff notes on this one. And I guess that’s what the Massey Lecture is for – so Coupland can tell me what it all means.

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Book Season

The leaves have turned beautiful colours, school is back in full swing and the book season is upon us. There are some really amazing titles coming out this time of year, and what better way to find out about these great titles then to attend a book event!

The Word on the Street is one of the biggest book events in Canada, happening each year at the end of September. This is the place readers can meet their favorite authors and pick up some hot, new titles. The U of T Bookstore folks were lucky enough to be there and see the crowds line up for Yann Martel as he signed copies of Life of Pi and Beatrice and Virgil. At the Kid’s Tent the Witches were a huge hit and taught us exactly what it is Witches can do.

For the more academically inclined, there was the book launch of Karen Mulhallen‘s book Blake in Our Time. The launch took place at Victoria College’s E.J. Pratt Library, where the G.E. Bentley Blake Collection is housed. It’s hard to imagine that these beautiful sketches are almost 200 years old. The collection is free and open to the public and is definitely worth the trip to one of the University’s most stunning libraries.

There are some great book events coming up. Check out the event calendar for a detailed schedule. One of the many events I’m looking forward to is hosted by the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk Centre on November 26th. It is the launch of Tripp Evans’ biography on Grant Wood. Grant Wood, known for the American Gothic, was one of the most interesting and talented American painters of his time. And yet not a lot of people knew about the complexities that surrounded this famous figure.

There is also the Massey Lecture on October 29th which I’ll mention in more detail in my next post. This year, for the first time ever, the Massey Lecture will be based on a novel. Have you had a chance to read this book yet?

And for those of you who are wondering what’s going on at the bookstore, make sure to check out our Reading Series. Our next event is November 4th!

 

 

Canada Reads 2010 – Join the debate at The Bookstore!

CBC Radio is once again hosting Canada’s favourite literary debate, Canada Reads. For three months, five fiction titles will be the subjects of online, public, and on-air events, leading up to a week of shows hosted by Jian Ghomeshi and featuring five celebrity panelists who will each make their case as to why their book should be the one that all of Canada should read.  The books, along with their defenders:

The Jade Peony, by Wayson Choy (Douglas & McIntyre, defended by Samantha Nutt)

Generation X, by Douglas Coupland (St. Martin’s Press, defended by Cadence Weapon)

Nikolski, by Nicolas Dickner (Vintage, defended by Michel Vezina)

Good to a Fault, by Marina Endicott (Freehand Books, defended by Simi Sara)

Fall on Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald (Vintage, defended by Perdita Felicien)

You can join the debate at Toronto Reads by participating in our poll, or at the U of T Bookstore, where all five of the books are available.