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text 2017-03-19 17:17
The Change Room
The Change Room - Karen Connelly The Change Room - Karen Connelly

A special thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a recommendation from NetGalley. To be honest, this is not a genre I typically read so I was simply going to delete the email and move on, but after reading a glowing endorsement by Ami McKay (author of The Birth House, The Virgin Cure, and The Witches of New York), I decided to give it a chance. I was caught by surprise, Connelly's writing is really good—she captures the psyche of a middle-aged mother/wife/woman so well against a really cool setting (for those of us who are lucky enough to be based in and around Toronto).

Erotic. Truthful. Clever. Connelly begs the question: does anyone really have it all?

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text 2017-03-16 04:40
New Voices - the beginning of a new direction

Further to the new direction in my writing career.

 

Okay, so you’re saying my writing career had no direction before so how can I have a new one?

 

Well, maybe having no direction is a direction.

 

Too Zen for you?

 

How about: If you write a book and nobody reads it have you really written a book? That one’s been driving me crazy since, well, since I wrote a book and nobody read it.

 

Before you? me? we? all of us? get too hung up (do people still say that?) on these esoteric ruminations let me continue.

 

All of my book marketing has been so far done online. I blog, I Tweet, I post on my Facebook page, I send out promotional newsletters to my Advance Reading Team, I review books, I’ve even gone so far as to join and contribute to online reading/writing groups.

 

And it’s got me_______. (You fill in the blank)

 

This direction(?) has been macro – my books are available through Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Library Direct, OverDrive and a few more in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and India. They’re available digitally as epub, mobi, pdf, online reader and more, suitable to most reading devices including your cellphone as well as in paperback in the UK, USA and Canada.

 

My new direction will be micro – I’ll sell actual books to real people face to face.

 

My first experience with this will be on March 27, 2017 at the Vancouver Public Library where I’ll be reading my work along with five other writers in their “New Voices” series. (How after seven years, seven novels and two plays I can be considered a “new voice” says something – what I’m not sure.)

 

The event is from 7 to 8:30 pm and our host will even provide a table for us to display and sell our books. I don’t know about the rest of the participants, but I’m taking advantage of the table and might even break off from my reading prematurely if I see someone in the audience interested in the merchandise.

 

Having been a salesman all my life I’m not the least bit intimidated.

 

So, I’ve crunched the numbers taking into consideration the price of my books, the exchange rate, shipping and tax and if I sell a book for $15 it’s $4 less than it can be purchased from Amazon and I can still make some money.

 

Enough, I hope, to at least cover the outrageous cost of parking downtown.

 

This is marginally better than selling my books at a flea market or garage sale, but if the world doesn’t want to buy them maybe the neighbourhood does.

 

I’m not afraid of taking chances, going in a new direction, and maybe, likely, failing. I never know where things will lead what’s important to me is to keep moving forward.

 

Well, at least to keep moving.

 

One thing’s for certain, if I do nothing, that’s what will happen.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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review 2017-03-10 18:29
A Strangely Claustrophobic Experience: “How Proust Can Change Your Life” by Alain de Botton
How Proust Can Change Your Life - Alain de Botton

“To make [reading] into a discipline is to give too large a role to what is only an incitement. Reading is on the threshold of the spiritual life; it can introduce us to it: it does not constitute it.”

Quote from one of Proust’s books, In “How Proust Can Change Your Life” by Alain de Botton

 

“Even the finest books deserve to be thrown aside.”

In “How Proust Can Change Your Life” by Alain de Botton

 

 

I read Proust's masterpiece back in the 80s when I was attending the British Council. I still remember all too well one particular hilariously snippy Monty Python sketch (“the Summarize Proust Competition”). Back in the day, I too wanted to be able to rub elbows with the elite intellectuals who mocked Proust, so I picked up the first of three volumes (the weighty Moncrieff editions) and got started. The first few pages were tough going, but soon I became mesmerized, then I fell in love, and by the end of the summer I was tucking flowers into the plackets of my trousers and wearing bows in my shirts. Oh childhood! Swann's Way is the swiftest, plottiest volume in the monster, with “Un Amour de Swann” a little novel in itself, with a beginning, middle, end, and all that sort of thing. Originally drafted in a mere three volumes, the “Recherche” grew as Proust re-Proustified the later volumes while waiting for publication; many readers have wished that that long mini-book could be recovered.

 

If you're into Proust, read on.

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