Down With OPB: Toni! Toni! Toni!

About two weeks ago, legendary American author – and winner of prizes both Nobel and Pulitzer –  Toni Morrison received The White House Medal of Honor, over which I totally had French kittens. The news of this made me revisit how much I love love love this author, to whom I was introduced back in high school with her 1976 novel Song of Solomon. It continues to one of my favourite novels ever; I even have a couple of posts about my obsession with love for this book. And, as promised in my second post about this novel, I’m about to write a third. So, to preface that third post, and to celebrate – albeit belatedly – Toni receiving this prestigious award, I am going to dedicate this post to her wonderfulness.

was going to write a mini-biography on her, but this one from New York Magazine is so effing incredible I’ll just post the link to it here. Instead, I’ll post a “book-ography” of her work, from 1970’s  The Bluest Eye to the recently published Home.

But first, I’ve gotta say this: Fifty Shades of Grey is NOT a literary phenomenon. It’s all hype and sensationalism. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again: just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s good. Now, Toni Morrison? She is a literary phenomenon. Her work reflects her preternatural intelligence, her willingness to represent the world as it is in all its ugliness, yet, through the genius and magnificence of her prose, make it sound beautiful. And above all, her mastery of language and storytelling is nearly unparalleled. Her work has resonated for over forty years and will continue to do so, because her understanding of human nature and all its flaws – much like Shakespeare – is something we can all relate to.

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Curse of the Avid Reader Card: Erica Kennedy 1970-2012 *Updated June 19, 2012*

I’m dedicating this edition of Curse of the Avid Reader Card to a young, talented writer named Erica Kennedy who was found dead yesterday in her Miami Beach apartment. Her death is a shock to me, but it usually is when it happens to someone who is so young and seemed to have had so much more to offer the world. Perhaps the tragedy lies in them being no longer able to do so.

Her second novel, Feminista, was actually one of the books on my Winter Reading List; it had actually been one of my favourites, one that I laughed my way through. I had also read her first novel, Bling, and was eagerly awaiting her next work. Unfortunately, that will never come. But her loss to the literary world is minuscule compared to the loss her friends and family are suffering, to whom I send my condolences.

Read more about her life and death here, here, and, a blog post written by a personal friend of hers here.

R.I.P Ms. Kennedy.

ETA: More tributes here…

PR Newser


Madame Noire

Huffington Post

Also, here’s her Twitter accountAmazon page, and page.

ETA: June 19, 2012 – even more tributes

New York Times

Huffington Post (this article is more in-depth than the last)

Boston Globe

Curse of the Avid Reader Card: Did This Author Break Up Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Hounsou?

I didn’t even know they broke up! Did you know that Djimon was in Janet Jackson’s Love Will Never Do WIthout You video? Back then he’d just come to America from West Africa and didn’t know a word of English, so when he was mouthing the words to the song, he had to really improvise because he had no idea what he was saying. Interesting fact indeed! I think I learned all about it on an episode of Pop Up Video. [Necole Bitchie]

Tips on how to steal like a writer [Austin Kleon]

Another Fifty Shades of Grey parody [Amazon]

I’m sure I’ve done all five [Writer’s Relief]

Twelve new novels care of Random House [Random House’s Tumblr]

NO. Leave it alone, for chrissakes! [Huff Post Books Canada]

This could be really, really useful: Questionnaires for Writing Character Profiles [StumbleUpon]

33 Ways To Stay Creative [StumbleUpon]

Who is the newest U.S. Poet Laureate? [Huff Post Books Canada]

Remembering Ray Bradbury with 11 Timeless Quotes [brain pickings]

An Orson Welles interview from 1960 [brain pickings]

How to Launch a Book Without Losing Your Mind [Mystery Writing Is Murder]

Oh, Jesus [The Daily Caller]

Let’s finish off with a short story [Canada Writes c/o CBC]

Down With OPB: Oprah Tested, Prosey Approved.

(For those who don’t get the reference to the title of this post, click here!)

I think it’s safe to say that books are one of the most underestimated forms of entertainment in the media. Movies, music and TV get most of the focus. And in the rare moment that books actually do get attention, they’re usually, to be quite frank, over sensationalized and poorly written. Not that I’m naming names.

That’s why I’m glad Oprah has brought back her book club. Just as with the original one, the books of her choice contain thought-provoking content and quality writing. I’m also thankful for O: The Oprah Magazine, because it seems to be one of the few mainstream glossies that is truly passionate about books. It has always been more than generous in that regard, often contributing several pages to the latest reads. And in her July 2012 issue, the very one in where she relaunches her book club, “generous” is an understatement.

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Curse of the Avid Reader Card: Angelina Jolie to Direct Fi’ty Shades o’ Cray?

This has “not gonna happen” written all over it [Screen Crush]

Ondaatje, Gwyn part of stellar line-up for 24th annual Writers’ Festival [The Wellington Advertiser]

How I Got My Agent [Writer’s Digest]

10 Books Every American NEEDS To Read [Huff Post Books Canada]

Hottest YA reads of Fall 2012 {Huff Post Books Canada]

Jay McInerney: why Gatsby is so great [The Observer]

How you can help Canadian literary publishing [Literary Press Group]

I love Jennifer Weiner; I’ve read all of her novels, so here’s an article she’s written about bad family vacations [The Washington Post]

Is My Novel Gay? [Huff Post Books Canada]

A case for independent publishing [Novel Publicity & Co.]

Another case for independent publishing [Huff Post Books Canada]

OMG! CLOWN!! [The Hollywood Reporter]

Kiera Knightley in yet another novel-turned-film period piece. Hasn’t Anna Karenina been given the silver screen treatment already? [Film Filia]

Fancy from The Jamie Foxx Show has written children’s books [Essence]

Dear Reality Show Contestants

I am a unapologetic TV junkie whose preferences include trashy reality shows, some of them competitive, the genre in particular to which this applies. Please retire the following phrases:

“I didn’t come here to lose/I came here to win.”

“I didn’t come here to make friends.”

“I need to bring it/Step up my A-game.”

“This is a competition.”

“I’m here for my mom/dad/kids/cat/acupuncturist.”

Exploiting Explaining some sob story a tragic background, i.e.  “I lost both my legs in an accident/lived in my car for ten years/missed out on pre-sale Justin Bieber tickets.”

Stop it. Stop it right now.



Old School Review: “The Worst Sex Scene EVAH.”

As you may have witnessed on this blog, I can be a total bitch quite particular when it comes to writing reviews for books I didn’t enjoy.

Case and point 1

Case and point 2

Case and point 3(a), 3(b), 3(c), 3(d), 3(e).

Yup. For someone who has not published a book of her own, I can be hypercritical. And I’ve always been this way. Back in 2009, on my very first blog, Melicious So Delicious…

I’ll continue once you’ve stopped laughing. Finished yet? Okay, I’ll wait.

Look, I want to move on so you’ll just have to keep reading as you laugh. Anyway, on this blog, I ripped apart a sex scene I read in a novel by an author who has since passed away. Of course, I wrote it beforehand, and probably wouldn’t have if he had already died at the time. That being said, the work of the departed is not immune to criticism, and said criticism is not a comment on the artist themselves.

If anything, this is an exercise in self-indulgence, because it’s obvious I had way too much fun writing this.

I’m so going to hell, aren’t I?

Obviously, explicit content from herein.

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