Hi internet! I worked almost every day in October and this is what I did: Ran a DIY terrarium program, set up a book art maker station, ran another colouring and zentangle program for teens, interviewed Andrew Pyper on stage, attended OLA’s annual RA in a Day conference in Toronto, participated in 2 staff training days for 2 separate libraries, ran another board game cafe event, drove through a hurricane, participated in KPL’s new Reader’s Advisory Portal, voted in an election, and answered a whole slew of impossible sounding questions about koala bears and Gilgamesh. Phew! We all made it through October! Now let me tell you about what I read and watched during my down time.
What I Read
The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper Creepy meets heart-warming in Andrew Pyper’s second most recent novel. David Ullman is a professor in NYC who specializes in Milton’s Paradise Lost – an expert on demons, but a skeptic at heart. When he encounters a demonic presence in Venice, who steals his teenage daughter from him…things get weird. And terrifying. And so exciting that you’ll have trouble putting it down. (p.s. Andrew Pyper is an extremely personable and captivating speaker – blog post coming soon about my interview with him)
Common Ground by Justin Trudeau This 2014 memoir written by our newly appointed Prime Minister is a must read – or at least a must skim – for curious Canadians. More personal than political, Justin Trudeau opens up about his life and influences. I enjoyed reading about his experience in high school – would you believe that this guy used to be awkward and self-conscious? He discusses his years at university, particularly on a debate team. And he dives into his emotions and personal faith journey surrounding the death of his brother and father. All in all, a very genuine, hopeful, and honest book that humanizes our country’s leader. It’s nice to have a leader who is willing to share so much of himself with his country.
Maclean’s Magazine With all the election energy in the air, I decided to subscribe to the weekly Maclean’s Magazine. I love the Good News / Bad News spread in every issue, the edgy commentary and analysis, and the occasional satire. So far, so good.
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot After attending OLA’s RA in a Day conference on “demystifying the romance genre” I felt inspired to give romance a try. I do really enjoy a refreshing, sweet YA romance every once and a while, so when I saw this adult revamp of The Princess Diaries, it was an obvious choice. Princess Mia is all grown up (twenty-six years old) and as gutsy and goofy as ever. Plus she’s totally in love with the “best boyfriend ever…” soon to be “best husband ever,” if everything goes according to plan. It’s nostalgic, light, and fun. I’m glad I picked it up.
— Karissa Alcox (@karissadawna) November 12, 2015
What I Watched
SCANDAL Shonda Rhimes is a television producing goddess. I’ll admit, I had the wrong impression of Scandal. From the name and the promotional images, I thought it was a show about sexy married people having affairs. That definitely happens in Scandal – but it’s so much more than that. Scandal is about Olivia Pope – and Olivia is everything. Olivia has her own “law firm” that fixes scandals before they ruin lives. She also has a thing with the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES. It’s clever, intense, and even inspirational at times. Plus the outfits are art. For more Shonda, check out her brand new book Year of Yes.
The Martian Beautiful movie based on a book that totally hooked me. Matt Damon did a great job portraying the dry humor of Mark Watney. Where I found the book was able to explain a lot of the science in more detail, the movie did an excellent job showing the science. I’m so glad the movie-going world has got on board with this one.
Where I Went
Night/Shift Kitchener Waterloo’s Halloween version of Nuit Blanche. A night time street festival filled with art and absurd experiences. We didn’t let the rain get us down! We saw an evocative, provocative play about religion and sexuality. We experimented with computer coding and swing dancing, painted on a graffiti wall, and saw lots of costumes that boarded on “performance art.” 9/10, would wander around again.
Canada’s Wonderland On Halloween day Danny and I took our last trip to our beloved Canada’s Wonderland. Our 8 or 9th of the season. Going to Wonderland in the cool fall is such a different experience than going in the heat of summer! The top of Behemoth is frigid as can be, but that somehow makes it more exciting. We love Wonderland, and we love a good excuse to wear a Star Wars costume.
Lancaster Smokehouse This KW gem serves slow smoked meat like pulled pork, ribs, brisket, hot links, and smoked wings. We ordered a platter that let us try a bit of everything – and everything was delicious. Especially the dessert special, which was New Orleans style donuts.
What I Listened To
…on repeat for days: Goon by Tobias Jesso Jr. When I first listened to this CD I was certain that half the songs were modern covers of old classics. But I was so wrong! The piano-driven, angel-voiced songs are all originals by Canadian singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. They’re simple, emotional, and they kind of remind me of Beatles’ ballads. My favourite two songs are Without You (so intense and romantic) and For You (so pure and sweet and light).
ALSO The Scotiabank Giller Prize was awarded to my favourite book of the year so far, Fifteen Dogs! I love the way Canada celebrates our writers.
What did you love this month?