Summer is almost over. Now what?

The countdown has begun. There are 5 weeks until The Word on the Street.

Every year, just before September, we get very excited here at The U of T Bookstore. It’s ‘back to school’ and the store is busier than ever but it’s also the start of the fall book season. New and exciting books start coming in and there’s more to read then ever.  So where do you start? How about the line up at The Word on the Street?

Each year I eagerly anticipate the list of authors who will be attending The Word on the Street. It’s like Christmas in summer for me. Who will be the festival sweetheart this year? Who will attract line ups around the park? It’s hard to predict all this but you have to start somewhere so I choose the wacky and wonderful author Tony Burgess to read. Burgess’ last book, Pontypool Changes Everything was a Canadian zombie bestseller. It explored our obsessions with zombies and epidemics. It was made into both a motion picture and a radio play.

Burgess’ newest book, Idaho Winter is a bizarre story of a young boy who nobody likes because there is no reason to. He lives in filth and his parents hate him more than anyone else. But there is one person who does not hate Idaho and she is the lovely Madison Beach. We are introduced to the world of Idaho Winter by an intrusive narrator who asks us, the reader to extend our empathy for this hated boy. But how can we help this little boy who is hated by everyone except for an innocent little girl? Perhaps little Idaho will just have to help himself?

This book immediately caught my attention from the beautiful cover to the quirky opening Chapter. And once I started to learn more about Idaho and his bizarre world of hateful people, the more I couldn’t put this book down. I’ll have to admit I haven’t read Pontypool Changes Everything because I’ve heard so much about it and its corresponding movie that I feel like I already know the entire story. But after reading Idaho Winter I’m going to have to investigate this Tony Burgess a little more closely. I can’t wait to meet him at The Word on the Street and get my copy of his newest book signed!

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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!