Monthly Archives: February 2013

Defector – It’s Your Turn to Be In North Korea

You may have heard of Escape From Camp 14 – the harrowing true story of an escape from a North Korean prison camp, written by Blaine Harden.  Shin Dong-Hyuk was born in one of those camps, and managed to crawl to freedom, to live as a defector in South Korea.

You can read his story.  But can you really put yourself in his place?  A new documentary aims to do just that. The Defector, by Ann Shin, has two components: a conventional film, and an online, interactive documentary.  Initial funds for the movie were raised through Kickstarter.   I haven’t seen the film yet, but I’ve tried the site.  I’m not sure how effective it is, because the surroundings are so surreal it feels more like a video game than something real people experience every day.  Or maybe that’s just my brain’s way of coping with something so horrible.

I think it is an important project, to get the outside world a real idea of just what is happening inside North Korea, beneath the veil that’s shown to the outside world.

If you’re interested in checking out the online project, it’s available here: http://experience.thedefectormovie.com/

It’s a terrifying, but worthwhile experience.

Christie

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Symptoms of Book Hoarding…

 

Not only is this foreshadowing of what is likely to happen to me some day, but it is also an art installation by artist Alicia Martin.

Am somewhat horrified that five thousand books have been rendered unreadable.

Click on the above photo to see and read about her and her art.

Happy (but careful) reading.

Christie

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Lemony Snicket Attends Secret Meeting at Toronto Library

You saw it here, folks.

Happy reading (and watching)!

Christie

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The Dinner by Herman Koch – Review

Not since the Donner party has there been such a horrifying meal.

This book starts out deadly boring – which might be what makes the rest of the story so gripping.

Two brothers, one a politician, the other a teacher, are meeting for dinner, accompanied by their wives.  The reason for the dinner is something that their sons did, and the consequences of that action.

The true story is the ugliness that can lurk beneath the most pleasant of facades.  I can’t tell you much, other than I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped at one point.  I’m not sure if I enjoyed the book or not, but I couldn’t put it down.  Unfortunately.

Nightmares may ensue, and I will be looking suspiciously at other parents.  And politicians.  And teachers.  And pretty much everyone.

The most horrifying part?  The book is inspired by a true story.  Don’t look it up until you’ve read the book.

Er… happy reading?

Christie

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S.E.C.R.E.T. Review

My marketing on this book would be S.E.C.R.E.T. : The antidote to Fifty Shades of Grey, by L. Marie Adeline.   Also, part of the secret is that L. Marie Adeline is actually Toronto author Lisa Gabriele.  This is not her first bestselling novel, and it shows in the quality of her writing compared to other <cough> “writers”.

As the Globe & Mail put it, fans of Fifty Shades would call this book “pure vanilla.”  If you’re looking for erotica in the S&M genre, this is not your book (neither is Fifty Shades, try Jacqueline Carey).  What it is, however, is erotica for women that is about not just lust, but emotional needs, and how sex is tangled up with them.  The main character is in her thirties, is a widow, and has been suppressing her sexual side for a long time.  The S.E.C.R.E.T. of the title is a mysterious organization run by women, to help other women achieve a fulfilled sex life.  The tagline is “No judgments, no limits, no shame.”   It actually had a story.  The ending was not your stereotype ending – I won’t ruin it.  But if you’re looking for sexy writing that won’t make you want to light the book on fire and throw it out the window, this may be it.

Happy reading!

Christie

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Pick A Door, Any Door…

Okay, go!

Christie

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Reviews by Jade – Rescue Princesses

My youngest daughter, age 7,  got some ARCs (advance reading copies) on the condition that she would write reviews of them.  So, without further ado (at least from me) here is her first review.

THE RESCUE PRINCESSES

THE SECRET PROMISE

I liked the book a lot it was adventurous just the way I like it. It was about a girl named princess Emily. She was from middingland she disliked her palace back home. She would rather go adventuring out in mist wood forest and go on the zip-line than do boring princess duties. Than she met three young ladies lulu Jaminta and Clarabel They became friends quickly they made a club called the rescue princesses. Then one night they went into mist wood forest and found a deer and more traps and saw the bad guys they told the king about what happened. Later they got awards and they had tracking devices to talk to each other they were disguised to look like bracelets so people would think that they were bracelets and rescue animals. They learned karate to save the deer.

THE END FOR NOW…………………………….

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Fifty Shades for Mother’s Day…

This video is hilarious.  And not remotely appropriate for children.

Christie

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I Want a Secret Passage in My House.

No, that’s not a euphemism.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to have hidden staircases, bookshelves with hidden doors, and trapdoors beneath every rug.  It may have been an overdose of Nancy Drew.  Nevertheless, my dream house would feature all these things.  My husband is a contractor, but seeing as we currently live in an apartment building, I have a feeling the neighbours would object if I started tunneling into their living rooms.

Even better, I’d like to live in Casa Loma.  Because not only is it a castle, it’s a castle with secret passages.  Multiple.  If you don’t live in Toronto, you may not know of Casa Loma.  An eccentric financier built it in the early 1900s, and it bankrupted him.   Complete impracticality aside, it just screams gothic horror, and looks like the setting of Clue, or some suitably melodramatic horror.  Also, can you imagine how many bookshelves you could fit in there?  Plus, it is supposedly haunted.  Having a ghost (friendly) would also make the perfect reader’s house, as far as I’m concerned.  So far I haven’t found any available for hire, but I’m keeping an eye on Craigslist.

It seems to be a common thing, actually, for book lovers to yearn for hidden doors and underground tunnels.  There are sites out there dedicated to photos of particularly good ones, and companies that will happily build them for you.  For me, it really was Nancy Drew that was the original inspiration.

So how about you guys?  Anyone else who would love to have a bookcase on hinges?  And what inspired your love of secret passages?

Happy reading!

Christie

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E-Books – Why Are They More Expensive in Canada?

I’ve heard all the arguments from publishers over the years about why Canadian prices for books are higher.  First it was because the U.S. dollar was worth more.  Now it’s because the distribution costs are higher in Canada, fewer sales, etc.   Perhaps that’s the case, and perhaps not, but it’s a hard one to argue if you don’t have access to their expense sheets.

E-Books, however… what gives?  Even with Amazon, their U.S. site and Canadian site have price discrepancies of, on average, more than $1.00.  Just so you know, the two currencies are at par.  There are no transportation costs.  No shipping.  The files are the same.   There is no reason whatsoever for them to cost more.

Amazon is looking to expand into Canada, with a new and aggressive marketing campaign for the Kindle here.  But with the Kindle’s inability to buy books from anyone but Amazon, I don’t see Canadians buying a device that not only limits their purchasing choices, but will cost them more.

Christie

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