Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Canadian Book Expo 2008

Once again I was lucky enough to attend Book Expo in Toronto. I usually only go to the Trade Show one out of the two days it is running -- this year I went on the Monday, which was apparently much quieter than Sunday. I enjoyed myself greatly, however, and was pleased with the chance that it gave me to talk to so many small publishers and to chat with authors. I don't like to hold up the line when there are people waiting behind, but lines were reasonable on Monday so I didn't feel so bad having a one minute chat here and there. And it was great fun. I got to start off the day by meeting Paul Gross! Lovely. He was signing movie stills from his new production, Passchendaele. There is to be a companion book but it was not ready by Book Expo time. Nobody in line seemed to move when told this, though; it was Paul Gross, after all, our own matinee idol! I even worked up the nerve to tell him how much I had enjoyed his Hamlet here in Stratford (I've mentioned this before) without sounding like a crazy fan girl. I hope.

I also talked to Mary-Ann Kirkby, the author of I am Hutterite, a fascinating look at a woman's childhood and development, both growing up within and leaving a Hutterite colony in Saskatchewan. This intrigues me because of the topic, but also because the author is from my own hometown. If you are interested in religious groups like the Amish or Mennonite or just in a great story of family and history you might enjoy this. I did! She has published and promoted this through her own press, Polka Dot Press, and it has become a regional bestseller in Western Canada.

I also had a lot of fun getting freebies, as you do at these events -- fun & silly things like a light-up pen and a flashing sticky frog ring -- but also lots of new books and, something I really value as a librarian, catalogues from small presses that often escape attention. I met a few authors I've long admired, like Claire Delacroix, Marsha Skrypuch, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee with her hilarious knitting books. I got signed books and chatted with a few authors whose work is perfect for the next Canadian Book Challenge! Yay! I now have a few great books as possibilities for the Challenge, for example:

Blasted / Kate Story (Newfoundland)

AND - in upcoming book news - I nearly fainted when I saw the huge poster at the Oxford University Press booth for this book, Elizabeth Waterston's Magic Island: the fictions of L.M. Montgomery.

It's apparently a reader's guide to all of LMM's books. Squeeee! Can't wait until September when it is available. It's billed as a companion to Mary Rubio's much anticipated biography, A Gift of Wings. I can't breathe...


  1. Is this one of those book expos where only publishers, authors and bookstore owners are invited? Because I've always wanted to go to one. Plus I've heard those events have free books up the wazoo. You can just pick them up. There's no money exchanged, you don't have to grab one and run away laughing. If not, then, nevermind.

    I saw a trailer for "Passchendaele" in theatres and it looks great.

  2. Duck Thief - yes, it is an industry event (though Chapters employees are considered 'industry' and can attend...) There's been some talk about having one day open to the public next year too, but who knows. There's always talk. There used to be WAY more free books etc. a few years ago; that's really been reduced, as it's very expensive for publishers. Still, as an individual, I brought home plenty of books for myself and the library. I do feel a bit obliged to actually read the free books I picked up, so I'm fairly selective.

  3. I went on Sunday this year. I tried to be ruthless so as not to come home overburdened with books, but there were so many tantalizing ones on offer that I came away with a good stack all the same. I wish I'd checked in with you beforehand though as it would have been lovely to meet up with you there! Perhaps next time! In the meantime, we can compare notes, me with the Sunday books and you with the Monday books...

  4. The L.M. Montgomery book looks great -- thanks for mentioning it!

  5. Kate - I heard Sunday was much crazier! I wish I would have checked in with you, too -- guess I've been so distracted with Ukraine stuff the idea didn't register until it was too late. :( But I hope you had a good day of it.

    Dorothy - doesn't it though?!!


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