Category Archives: blogging

I have signed up for a 2010 Global Reading Challenge!

Surfing from blog to blog, I came across something called the 2010 Global Reading Challenge. So of course I immediately signed up, and chose the hardest level available. That’s just the way I roll.

Within 2010, I have to read two novels each from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America (including Central America), South America and two set in Antarctica. Within these choices, fourteen different countries have to be represented.

I was the eighty-eighth person to sign up, and upon corresponding with the creator of the challenge, a blogger named Dorte, I found out that the vast majority of the participants found out about the challenge just like I did. They came to it from links from other blogs. Dorte has a partner, Kerrie, who provides technical assistance. The two have never met and are associated with each other only from the blogging world. Suitable to the spirit of the challenge, Dorte is from Denmark and Kerrie is from Australia. I find it interesting that this entire sphere of communication has developed between bloggers who write about similar topics. It is certainly its own online community.

I will of course, review the books I read for the challenge, so keep an eye out for them to appear in the near future. If you have any suggestions for new global authors, please leave a comment.

For more information about the challenge, please go here or my Examiner article on the topic.


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A Canada Reads “shocker”

Please go to my article for the latest results of CBC Radio One’s annual literary competition, Canada Reads.

At the beginning of today’s broadcast, host Jian Ghomeshi referenced two online responses to Canada Reads: “Canada also reads” and “Canada reads independently”. Curious? I was.

“Canada Also Reads” is a copycat competition from The National Posts’ books blog, ‘The Afterword’. CBC’s Canada Reads has now removed both Generation X and Fall on Your Knees from the running, because they have already achieved a certain level of popularity. The National Post found all of the CBC panelists’ picks to be already too well known. So they created their own panel and chose books that they felt most Canadians had not already read. Their list contains:

  • Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
  • The Last Shot by Leon Rooke
  • Fear of Fighting by Stacey May Fowles
  • The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
  • My White Planet by Mark Anthony Jarman
  • Yellowknife by Steve Zipp
  • Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
  • You and the Pirates by Jocelyne Allen

At the website you can read essays in defense of each of the books and then vote for your choice. The polls close March 15th and the winning book will be revealed the following day.

Can’t get enough literary competitions? Then check out “Canada Reads 2010 independently”. It is run by the blog “Pickle Me This,” by writer Kerry Clare. The books in the running are;

  • Moody Food by Ray Robertson
  • How Happy to Be by Katrina Onstad
  • Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso
  • Hair Hat by Carrie Snyder
  • Century by Ray Smith

Clare ranks and reviews the books on her blog and then invites readers to vote. The polls close Thursday March 11, at midnight.

Tomorrow I will post the winner of CBC Radio One’s Canada reads, so stay tuned. 

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Let’s talk about feelings

This time I am blaming Oprah.

I was surprised at how quickly I began talking about myself and my frustration at my duties as default housewife. As previously stated, this was designed to be a professional blog where I could gather together samples of my writing. It did not feel odd or uncomfortable to be writing personal thoughts on this blank space and to release those emotions into the public domain.


Society has entered this new culture of sharing. In my completely biased opinion, some of the blame must be put onto Oprah for this. She has had many shows where ordinary guests come onto her set and spill all of their personal details and trials to the world. The guest will cry, Oprah sometimes cries, and we are all supposed to have an ‘Aha moment’. (Side note: she has tried to trademark this phrase, can I be sued?).

Then reality TV exploded and now even more people are talking publicly about their personal crises. After reading Doctorow’s Homer and Langley, (see below for my review) I became interested in finding out more about the types of people who fill their homes with objects and trash. So I watched the television show Hoarders. The people featured on the show and their family members were talking about very personal issues, and as I watched, I began to feel like an intruder. And there are many shows like this. I have not seen Intervention, but it seems obvious that some very emotional subjects are raised and I wonder why these people choose to invite an audience in to watch the process.

But back to the internet. I do understand the appeal. Blogs can become diaries and they can be an anonymous way to vent emotions and potentially get feedback. Or, you can splash your name across your posts in the hopes of becoming an instant celebrity. The ability to share your thoughts and feelings with strangers can be somewhat liberating. But you are only sharing as long as somebody is reading your posts. These days, a large segment of the population have some sort of blog or online journal. Everyone is sharing. But if everyone is writing, is anyone reading?

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Blame it on a movie. . .

I wonder how many other people watched Julie and Julia and though, gosh, I should get a blog too. And then they signed up for one and found themselves facing a blank screen. The main problem I have with blogging is the inherent assumption that other people, even strangers, will care about the details of my life. Really folks, there isn’t much going on here in Waterloo. I have been unemployed for several months and am starting to go slightly batty.

I was reading Stuart McLean’s Home From the Vinyl Cafe: A Year of Stories and I came across a scene where Morley, who took an absence of work to raise her children, found herself yelling at the washing machine. She was overcome by the relentlessness of the dirty clothes that just kept piling up, and started to cry as she took the clothes right off of her back and threw them into the machine saying “have it all”. At which point her husband Dave came home and in true McLean fashion, a humorous misunderstanding ensued. (As a side note, I highly recommend picking up any of McLean’s books as they are both hilarious and heartwarming.) But back to the laundry and my current mental state. I too have been frustrated by the never-ending pile of dirty clothes that is always sitting in the hamper. Even as I am doing laundry, I am wearing clothes that will require washing at the end of the day. Similarly, because apparently when we chose a dog from the Humane Society we picked the world’s most frequent shedder, the floor always needs sweeping. And what is happening while I sweep the floors? The dog is standing there, always in the newly collected dirt pile, thinking it is a game. And shedding even more fur on the floor! The futility of it all is wearing me down.

Anyway, welcome to my blog. It is designed as a way to collect book reviews and miscellaneous writing and perhaps encourage somebody to hire me and free me from my house. It was not designed as a place for me to rant and moan and assume people want to hear about my daily affairs. But there you go, post number one and I am already sharing too much . . . . .

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