Archives for category: Endorsed

This comes about a month too late, but I just got the hankering to put together a list of the books I read last year. It’s an interesting way to reflect on a year past. I definitely went through a female-authored “novel-from-life” phase — but so does/should everyone who reads Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be. I would say the best book on the list is Grapes of Wrath; Steinbeck is phenomenal and the themes of the book (the division and control of wealth, agri-business, racism, the American dream, ect.) are still incredibly relevant today. I also fell in love with Edith Wharton a little after reading Age of Innocence and will definitely be reading more of her (House of Mirth is next). The title sounds like a book you would be forced to read in high school (and the Bantham Classic edition I got from the library didn’t make it any more visually appealing), but her portrayal of 1870s New York City is dramatic, feminist and totally well-written. Health O’Neill’s Lullabies for Little Criminals was also a favourite; I bought at least two copies as gifts after reading it.

So thus begins my list. It’s not very long, but I may have forgotten a book or two and I also run a business and drink a lot.

Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
Freedom – Jonathan Franzen
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
Lullabies for Little Criminals – Heather O’Neill
How Should a Person Be – Sheila Heti
The Middle Stories – Sheila Heti
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami (I only read half of this one… No one tell me what happens to Kafka)
The Easter Parade – Richard Yates
Bossy Pants – Tina Fey
How Happy to Be – Katrina Onstaad
The Devil – Leo Tolstoy
Come Thou Tortoise – Jessica Grant

I am currently reading Cloud Atlas because someone gave it to me for Christmas. Sadly, the cover has Tom Hanks on it, which is just not who I want to think about when I think about fiction, ever.

Also of note, 2012 is the year I determined that Jonathan Safran Foer is my nemesis (this is likely in a one-sided relationship). The fact that he published Everything is Illuminated at 25 and that for me reading at the age of 26 was a huge struggle proves that he is smarter than me and thus, I shall be forced to battle through whatever he comes up with next… except for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I watched the movie instead.


starry starry nightHolly’s husband Jeff shared this photo a couple of weeks ago and I keep going back to his Facebook page so I can look at it again. I think that means it’s ready to be shared here. The photographer’s description of the photo says it shows the southern sky with the constellations Orion and Sirius from Canis Major. Pretty incredible.

Also, if you like space, follow Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on Twitter. He is constantly posting photos of Earth from space and photos from inside the international space station.

If you love eccentric billionaires, you could also check out the photos Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté took from space. They were on display at the Thompson Landry Gallery in Toronto a few months ago. It’s not really the photos that interest me, more that the crazy performance artist from Montreal paid the Russian space program $35 million to take him to the moon for 11 days.

Happy winter weekend!

Photo in post by Adam Hill.

a_560x375The show New York Magazine once called The Greatest Show of Our Time came to its end last night after four compelling seasons (and two terrible ones). Chair got married, Dan revealed himself as Gossip Girl, Rufus ended up with Lisa Loeb and Serena wore her final cleavage rhombus. Most people in the world will have no idea what I’m talking about but I loved that campy show. Its fashion, cinematography of New York City, attractive cast and cheesy plot lines are pretty much all I ask for in a television show. PLUS — the show’s (and books’) use of technology was way ahead of its time. People can get email blasts from blogs/twitter sent to their phones nowadays, but that was not really a thing in 2006. I also found Dan’s confession that he wrote himself into the world of the Upper East Siders compelling, since that is something bloggers and journalists do all the time. The Internet as democratization! Okay, this rant it over.

Goodbye Gossip Girl. H and A will miss you. xoxo

I accidentally adopted a kitten last week and she is the sweetest little thing. I named her Quintana Roo, meaning she is named after either a state in Mexico or Joan Didion’s late daughter. She is really floppy and playful and kind of has a Yoda mouth.

Who knows, she may also inspire you to sing this Van Morrison song…

Perhaps the choice of media is counter productive, but encourages Internet users (aka everyone) to take a day away from all things digital. That means screw you Instagram, online news, Facebook, Cup of Jo and all those other damn clicks we are so used to for all of Sunday’s waking hours. It may be worth a try,  although the change of seasons may make the spending the day outside part more difficult. Maybe staying in bed sans laptop counts too.

Every generation thinks it’s the last
Thinks its the end of the world

Wilco, You Never Know

Listening to podcasts is one of my favourite solo activities. My favourites include New Yorker Out Loud (the magazine’s weekly comment podcast rules too), This American Life (on everyone’s list), Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing, and Slate Magazine ‘s Culture Gabfest.

The Culture Gabfest can be super annoying and pretentious — think middle-aged journalists referring to themselves as grad students and 40 minute discussions on the cultural significance of “Call Me Maybe” — but there is something pleasurable about listening to a bunch of nerds over analyze pop culture by choice, and not because they’re sitting next to you at a bar or coffee shop. That said, the show’s producers put together a Summer Strut Playlist based on listeners recommendations and it’s really good listening. It’s meant to be listened to on a streaming website that Canadians can’t access, but some lovely Internet lady or fellow threw all the tracks on Youtube. I endorse it (it has Belle and Sebastian on it, so now you do too).

Summer strutting is cool, thus I decided my summer strut song this year is Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn & John. I know its outmoded, kind of annoying, and stuffed with trite lyrics, but I can’t stop listening to it. So I won’t. I also like the video. Here are some stills.