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Reading Life: Three Toronto Authors on Their Favourite Habits

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Rebecca Rosenblum What do you most enjoy reading, and how often do you indulge in the habit? I read something almost every day—it would have to be a bizarre state of emergency that I didn’t absorb at least some text. Short stories and novels are my staples, mixed in with poetry, plays, and graphic novels. I also adore magazines but try to keep them to a minimum because they will overrun me...

Finding the Enemy: Plaza Requiem, by Martha Batíz

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Few happy endings take place in Plaza Requiem, the aptly titled short story collection by Mexican-Canadian author Martha Bátiz, recently published by Exile Editions, but a lucidity exists in Bátiz’s writing that buoys the reader through her most gruesome tales. Bátiz, a Mexican writer now living in Canada, is the author of several books in Spanish, both fiction and non-fiction. She now teaches at...

Portrait of an Invisible Artist: Transit by Rachel Cusk

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Only one book I read last year rivalled Rachel Cusk’s Transit, the sequel to her 2014 novel Outline. That other book was Outline. Transit won’t thrill everyone: it will enrage those expecting plot, and it may unsettle those expecting a straightforward depiction of family drama and self-discovery. But many will read it with the breathless exhilaration it deserves. Like Outline, Transit is a series...

Words and Worlds: A Review of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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Mohsin Hamid’s new Man Booker nominated novel, Exit West, centres on Saeed and Nadia — two young working professionals in an unnamed city. They meet in an evening class and we watch their relationship build as their city unravels. They flirt, take drugs, and have ambiguous sex as bombs explode and militants rise up, eventually taking control of their urban landscape. They decide to leave their...

Feature-Length Books: Ariel Levy and Joan Didion

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Without being about writing, two books out this spring from Random House, Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply and Joan Didion’s South and West, put its processes on display. Each chases a feature-length magazine article that feels somewhat missing-in-action in the prose: Levy’s expands a perfect essay, Didion’s, a publication of notes, imagines an essay that might have been. The viral popularity...

A Book with a View: TRB Live, March

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The medium is the message in this month’s roundup of literary film, art, music, and mediations, along with innovative programming from local reading series, a preview of Ottawa’s VERSeFest, and more. On March 8, as part of the McLuhan Salon series, visual artist Catherine Richards and film and media scholar Alanna Thain join moderator Janine Marchessault for a discussion before the...

Jordan Abel’s Reading Life: 40 Pounds of Poetry

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Welcome to our new series, Reading Life, in which we’ll be asking writers and other makers to share insights into their lives as readers—what they read and how much, where they read and why. Some great authors will be telling the TRB about the books they love, the books they can’t do without, and the reading experiences that have changed them. We’re thrilled to be starting this series with...

Breaking Down the Charm of Philip Sassoon

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A review of Charmed Life, the Phenomenal World of Philip Sassoon (HarperCollins, 2016) by Damian Collins In 1913, political satirist Max Beerbohm depicted a slender, aquiline figure posed cross-legged and lotus-like on the front bench of the British Houses of Parliament. Alongside him are two plump and bellowing Conservative MPs. The caricature was called “Philip Sassoon in Strange Company” and...

1000 Poems Per Night: TRB Live, January

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Happy New Year! 2017 begins with a packed list of Toronto readings and events. Rowers Reading Series gets things moving on January 10 with a night of poetry and prose by Joan Crate, Adebe DeRango-Adem, Jacob McArthur Mooney, and Hoa Nguyen (6:30pm, Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue). Circle January 11 on your calendar for back-to-back readings. At 6:30pm at Glad Day Bookshop (499 Church St...

Reading in Electronic Times: Andrew Piper’s “Book Was There” Was Here

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People who write about the future of reading often like to disavow shallow binaries, like print versus digital, for example. Yet it is the searing awareness of that very binary, that paper books are very different from screens, that gets people into the predicament of writing books about the meaning and value of books in the first place. Awkward contortions often ensue. In his lovely and personal...

TRB’s Seasonal Affective Party: December 6 at Poetry

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The Toronto Review of Books invites you to its first Seasonal Affective Party! Please join us on December 6th for a very bright night of winterish commiseration and cheer, featuring five-minute readings of new and unpublished work by some of our city’s most talented writers, including Kerry Clare, Andrew Pyper, Trevor Corkum, and Catherine Graham. TRB Managing Editor and novelist Damian...

TRB Live: November

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TRB Live is a monthly roundup of literary events you might enjoy. Get in touch with me (@kathmcleod) or the TRB (@TorontoReview) on Twitter if you’d like to suggest an event to include next month. In Toronto, Pivot Reading Series presents three readings all-star casts of readers: Leesa Dean, Stevie Howell, Rob Taylor, and Erin Wunker on November 2; Jan Conn, Hoa Nguyen, Madeleine Thien and Zoe...