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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...

Karen E. Bender’s Reading Life: Oh, that sentence

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We’re delighted to bring you the second instalment in our Reading Life series, a look into the books at the heart of American author Karen E. Bender’s life and work. Karen E. Bender is the author of the story collection Refund, which was a Finalist for the 2015 National Book Award and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She is also the author of...

Self-Love

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I do not know if I was given James Herriot books to read as a child because I wanted to be a veterinarian or if I wanted to be a veterinarian because I was given James Herriot books to read as a child but at one point in the books or maybe all the time in all the books— I have no memory of any other events that happened in the books only that they were abundant and I read them and James Herriot a...

We All Feel So Foolish: A TRB Spring Party

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On April 4, please join The Toronto Review of Books in feeling foolish during five five-minute readings by some of Toronto’s best writers—Jessica Westhead, Heather Birrell, Rebecca Rosenblum, Mark Sampson, and Antanas Sileika. Compare notes on folly over drinks in good company afterwards. Please join us! All fools welcome. Tuesday April 4, 7pm Poetry Jazz Café, 224 Augusta Avenue, in Kensington...

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...

Nuannaarpoq: Thomas Wharton’s Every Blade of Grass

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In all of his literary fiction, Thomas Wharton speculates on one question: what is a book? Answers are as various as books themselves. Wharton imagines fantastic books: books as pinwheels and books nested inside books until they were too tiny even to read. Audio-books and graphic novels stretch books in the direction of the purely acoustic and the primarily visual. In e-formats, a book no longer...

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...