Tagged: #yegbooks

#Yeggies 2015 Picks

The Yeggies are Edmonton’s social media awards. Since they began two years ago, I’ve been respectfully asking the board to add a literature section (I subtweeted them a few times.) I didn’t think it was fair; we’ve got such a great book blogging scene in Edmonton and we’re lost in the “Arts and Culture” catch-all.

Did they listen to me? No. Still no Literature category. But I got nominated this year, so, suddenly, I’m okay with it!

The big ceremony is May 9th. I have no idea what to wear, no one to bring (my husband is confused by everything I do online) and I hate making small talk, but other than that, it should be fun! *hyperventilates*

In the meantime:

  • Check out all the nominees here.
  • Check out all my posts about Edmonton books and authors and events, for which I was presumably nominated, on my Reading in Yeg page.
  • If you’re not in Edmonton, let me know: do you have a social media awards in your area? Or are we weirdos?
  • Open question, Edmonton or not: Who’s your favourite local blogger?

Reading in Bed’s 2015 Yeggies Picks:

Best in Political or Current Affairs: Daveberta. What little politics I follow, I like to do on Twitter. I have clicked through the odd Daveberta post though. This recent post on Edmonton MP Peter Goldring is a gooder: “It is unclear if the MP considers any other historical figures to be his arch-enemies.”

Best in Sports: Oilers Nation. I have’t watched a hockey game since the Vancouver riots (2011, not 1994) but I always read Wanye Gretz’s rants on the Oilers. Smart, funny, and good use of memes.

Best in Food: Edible Woman. She had me at the Atwood reference. Plus, she has a “perfect” chocolate chip cookie recipe and I’m a sucker for those. One day, I may find something better than the one on the back of the Crisco package.

Best in Film or Television: Dookie Squad. If you’ve ever thought, “there isn’t enough piss, shit, or vomit in my YouTube feed,” this’ll do the trick.

Best in Music: With the Band. Love the concept – the life of a photographer/manager/webmaster who’s “with” local band The Unfortunates.

Best in Arts and Culture: Abstaining, but I’ll give a shout out to sometime-book-blogger and founder of #yegbookclub Finster Finds!

Best in Family or Parenting: A tie, because these blogs are very different and it doesn’t seem right to pit them against each other. Frugal Edmonton Mama is the best for practical tips – recipes, activities, deals, shopping.  The Stay at Home Feminist is the best for long reads and feminist perspective on parenting (but not just parenting.) Both these bloggers clearly do the work – research, design, and understanding of their audience is evident. Their posts make me want to discuss and think and write something myself… that’s what blogging is all about!

Best in Fitness and Health: YEGFitness. Incredible bi-monthly digital magazine on all things fitness in Edmonton. YEGFitness is aimed at elite athletes (and those who aspire that way,) so I’m not exactly the target market, but as someone who works in the recreation field, I appreciate what they’re doing. Innovative business model too, if you care for that kinda thing.

Best in Humour: Ryan Byrne. Just spent twenty minutes reading old posts. Not in a stalkerish way… they’re just funny!

Best in Fashion & Style: I don’t really care for fashion blogs, but All Kinds of Lovely challenged my perception of what a “fashion” blog is –  check her out. I’m also weirdly fascinated by Adventures in Fashion and if I meet her, I’m going to ask why she doesn’t put her arms through her coats. Is that a fashion blog thing?

…Skipping all the “business” categories because I don’t care…

Best Twitter Persona: Michael Oshry. Walking that fine line between Elected Public Official and Funny Guy on Twitter. No bozo eruptions yet!

Best In Edmonton: I Heart Edmonton. Nice new website, and I like the diversity of what they cover. Plus, book reviews!

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The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston

dilettantes

The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston | Published in 2013 by Freehand Books | Paperback: 267 pages | Source: Review copy from publisher

My rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Peak: a university student newspaper with a hard-hitting mix of inflammatory editorials, hastily thrown-together comics and reviews, and a news section run the only way self-taught journalists know how—sloppily.

Alex and Tracy are two of The Peak‘s editors, staring down graduation and struggling to keep the paper relevant to an increasingly indifferent student body. But trouble looms large when a big-money free daily comes to the west-coast campus, threatening to swallow what remains of their readership whole.

It’ll take the scoop of a lifetime to save their beloved campus rag. An exposé about the mysterious filmed-on-campus viral video? Some good old-fashioned libel? Or what about that fallen Hollywood star, the one who’s just announced he’s returning to Simon Fraser University to finish his degree?

I had all sorts of preconceived notions going into The Dilettantes. I thought I wouldn’t relate to it for various reasons, all of which were dumb and easily dismissed once I started reading. I think I was creating an elaborate defence mechanism, so if I didn’t like the book, I could be like “WELL it’s just because of X Y and Z” instead of having to say “I just didn’t like it,” which would be awkward because I will likely see the author at numerous literary events in Edmonton over the next few months. Luckily, I did like the book. A lot.

I thought it might be fun (…for me) to talk about all those excuses I came up with before reading the book, and how they were (mostly) overcome.

1. It’s about Millennials! Millennial are whiny and self-absorbed! I will strain something from rolling my eyes too much!

Depending who you ask, I’m a Gen-Xer by a margin of three months, or a Millennial by a margin of nine. Guess which one I choose to identify with? Yeah, I was only ten when Nevermind was released, but I spent my formative years without a cellphone or high speed internet. But here’s the thing: all “new adults” are whiny and self-absorbed. I mean, Catcher in the Rye, anyone? I wrote horrible poetry in a notebook when I was pretending to study, while these kids were probably posting to their Tumblrs or whatever. Big diff. The generational thing wasn’t an issue at all.

2. It’s about kids who actually went to class. And joined things, like newspapers.  I hated those people. And also sort of regret I wasn’t one of those people. It’s complicated.

I don’t read a lot of campus novels. Maybe part of the reason is my ambivalence about my own university career. I was a great student.  I just didn’t care about university, academically or socially. I didn’t make any friends. I certainly didn’t join any clubs. I went to the minimum number of classes I could get away with and didn’t contribute anything more than I had to. My energies, such as they were, were put towards clubbing and boys. This book made me feel at once nostalgic for something I never had, and relieved that I delayed the burden of giving a shit about stuff for a few more years. It also made me stop and evaluate a time in my life that was really difficult for me. When a book can make you do that, well, what more can you ask for? Continue reading

First (Wrong) Impressions by Krista D. Ball

First (Wrong) ImpressionsMy rating: 2.5/5 stars

Published: May 28th, 2013

Source: Review copy from the author

Synopsis:

Lizzy Bennet’s fundraising mission is to keep her homeless centre’s clients well-fed through a cold prairie winter. She meets the snobby and pompous William Darcy of Fitz & William Enterprises. While she’d never dare ask him for help, she can’t stop bumping into him — sometimes, quite literally. But when Lizzy’s campaign is cut short by the disappearance of her sixteen year old sister, William and his younger sister step in to help the woman they want to make part of their family. Inspired by Jane Austen’s classic, Pride and Prejudice, First (Wrong) Impressions is Lizzy’s quest for happiness, security, and love in the 21st century.

An important caveat to this review: this isn’t the type of book I would pick up on my own, so I was a little dubious from the get go. My long-term readers know I have certain… snobbish tendencies when it comes to literature, and the term “fan fiction” makes my skin crawl. Jane Austen fan fiction is an industry in it’s own right, moving out of the online shadows in recent years, with the success of mash ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and more literary rewrites like Death Comes to Pemberly. I thought I would give this a whirl as part of Austen in August, and after chatting on Twitter, author Krista D. Ball kindly gave me a review copy.

First (Wrong) Impressions gave me a case of just that; it didn’t end up being exactly what I thought it would at the start, and that’s a good thing, because my first impression was a paint-by-number retread of the source material, plopping 18th century characters into 21st century settings. As I pushed forward, my defenses were broken down by Ball’s humourous one-liners and, eventually, by her creativity in using very modern scenarios to show us a new side of Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennett. Continue reading

Top Five: Fall 2013 Books by Edmonton Authors

I wrote about reading local last year, and why I think it’s important. I don’t know if there’s an exceptional crop of Edmonton books out this season, or if I’m just paying more attention, but I’ve got a short list that could rival any hoity-toity book award. Here are my most anticipated #yegbooks for Fall 2013. Which ones are on your To Be Read list?

1. Love Letters to the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist

loveletters

The basics:

  • Release date: August 3, 2013
  • Goodreads
  • I received a review copy from the publisher, Linda Leith, but assure you it was my most anticipated book before that happened.

Why I want to read it:

  • I love Jennifer’s blog. Every post has me nodding my head in agreement. She’s a beautiful writer.
  • She got a great review in the Montreal Review of Books.
  • The novel is about a happy marriage. I like to read about dysfunction so much that maybe I need to change things up.
  • A personal connection. The set up is the death of the main character’s mother just before his wife gives birth. My husband lost his father just weeks before our first baby, and I didn’t deal with it very well. I’m looking forward to a fresh perspective on life and death (yep, my expectations are pretty high!) Continue reading