Reading Series: Win Tickets to Memoirs in May, May 18, 2010

Email cnelmes@uoftbookstore.com to enter to win a double pass to the intimate Memoirs in May event:

Reading Series:  Memoirs in May - Judy Fong Bates, Sarah Hampson, John Doyle, James Fitzgerald

Win Tickets Margaret Atwood & Bill McKibben – U of T Bookstore Reading Series

Enter now to win tickets to Margaret Atwood & Bill McKibben - eaarth book launch

After a brief haitus the U of T Bookstore Reading Series returns with a great author event:

Enter now to win tickets to Margaret Atwood & Bill McKibben – eaarth book launch

Intimate conversations with Margaret Atwood & Bill McKibben about his new book, eaarth. 

It’s a small, invite only event, but you can get your name on the list by entering on the U of T Bookstore website

The event is Friday April 9th @ 7.30pm (doors open at 7) at 214 College Street, Toronto (Koffler Building). 

eaarth will be available for purchase (and signing!!!) at the U of T Bookstore- eaarth doesn’t go on sale to the public until the following Monday.

UofT Bookstore: 5 Books on My Night Stand

U of T Bookstore Staff have been asked which books are on their nightstand at this moment.

Ceri Nelmes:

  1. eaarth, Bill McKibben : getting ready for The Reading Series event April 9, 2010
  2. Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood for the same U of T Bookstore event
  3. Year of Finding Memory, Judy Fong Bates for the May 13th Reading Series event
  4. Happily Ever After Marriage, Sarah Hampson for the May Reading Series event
  5. Darwin’s Bastards, selected and edited by Zsuzi Gartner from our Review Magazine

The Review: Holding Still for as Long as Possible, Zoe Whittall

Holding Still for as Long as Possible
The Review:  Holding Still for as Long as Possible, Zoe WhittallBy Zoe Whitall
978-0-88784-234-4
Harper Collins
$29.95
Reviewed by University of Toronto Bookstore Staff, Anne Burbidge

It’s hard to conceive of a more dramatic story line than that of a year in the life of a young paramedic in Toronto.  In Holding Still for as Long as Possible, Zoe Whittall follows in the great footsteps of Vincent Lam and writes about the journey of medical professionals in Canada. Lam’s Giller Prize winning Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, is a collection of inter-related stories about the lives of doctors, many of which are also set in Toronto. Whittall takes this kind of fiction — complete with medical jargon — one step further and examines themes of love, loss and death.

 Just as she did in her very successful first novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, Whittall creates characters who are both memorable as fictional beings, but who are also very real in their responses to challenges. In order to deal with his relationship issues, Josh, a gifted paramedic and transsexual, relies on texting on his cell phone to weather all manner of storms.  Amy, a filmmaker and Josh’s longtime date, uses email to reconnect with a lost love and her bike to find a measure of freedom.

Reading about and beginning to understand the drama faced by paramedics is enlightening and, as Whittall observes, many of our “petty” problems are put into perspective. She argues that producing art is also a “fight against. . . death”, a fight that is perhaps as important as the job of first responders. This creativity also can provide comic relief as in the case of former teen pop starlet Billy’s songwriting ability (“My Little Pony Ran Away”.) Along the way, plot lines take us to cultural hubs like 401 Richmond Street West and “that bookstore” on Harbord.  Like a seasoned paramedic of the soul, Whittall cares for the vitality of her readers in an incomparably fearless fashion.

Buy Holding Still for as Long as Possible Now!

Before Starting The Book of God and Physics

I’ve chosen to read a book that is completely out of my usual genre of reading styles this summer for the U of T Bookstore Summer Reading Series – The Book of God and Physics, by Enrique Joven.  I am not a trained critic when it comes to literature in any variety, but I am an average Joe Schmo reader.  Love it or hate it – I’ll put it all here – and I want your comments and your own reviews.  I’m always up for a debate!

The Full Volnick Manuscript in PDF

The Full Volnick Manuscript in PDF

To be honest, I know nothing about physics and at a first glance of the back cover the storyline of this book seems to ring of The DaVinci Code.  I did indeed read Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons and enjoyed them, so I’m hoping this book will be less techy and more storyline.

Before I delve into this book I wanted to find out more about this Voynich Manuscript itself, since I had never heard of it.  I found out:

  • It has 6 sections with almost every page containing an image:  herbal, astronomical, biological, cosmological, pharmaceutical and recipes.
  • The code has never been cracked, even by world reknowned code crackers, and there’s a theory that it is gibberish.
  • The writer of the original manuscript is unknown.
  • The Voynich Manuscript was named after the person who originally discovered it and currently resides at Yale University
  • It has 272 pages and is thought to be a book about early medicine
  • Thought to be written in the 15th or 16th century

So if no one has cracked the code I am interested to see what Joven writes about the Voynich Manuscript and I wonder why someone would want to create a storyline around it.   Tomorrow I’ll look up some of the characters in the book.

Then I’ll dive in…wish me luck!

BTW…If you are interested in literary criticism there’s a great site to teach you how to be a book critic.