Archive for February, 2012

Remembering Vicki…

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

My wife Nancy and I have been in a wonderful book club for nearly 20 years. There are about 15 or so of us, from all walks of life, and we meet the third Monday of each month. It’s something I look forward to month in, and month out. Vicki joined our book club, by my reckoning, about six or seven years ago. Her arrival was complete and utter serendipity. Melany, a charter member, was on a business trip when Vicki ended up in the seat beside her for the flight back to Toronto. They started talking about books and exploring an ever-growing patch of common ground, and by the time the plane landed, Vicki had learned the secret handshake and was welcomed into the fold. She brought the wonderful Vince, her husband, along with her. She was a lovely, warm, and intelligent woman who slipped into our midst like a friend we’d all known for years.  After a courageous battle with cancer, we lost Vicki this past August.

Soon after, Peter and Manjusha, longtime members of the book club, sprang into action to find a fitting way for us to honour what Vicki had meant to our humble monthly gathering of book lovers. They hit upon the perfect idea. Money was raised and other arrangements made, and on January 31, 2012, there was a grand opening. In Dhaberi, a small farming village in central India, a children’s library opened its doors for business. Vicki’s Library. The funds donated purchased 500 children’s books and will pay a librarian for two hours a day, to work with the children and check out their books. Our book club has pledged to keep the library open. I cannot think of a better way to honour a good friend who loved books and reading as much as Vicki did.

Here’s a shot of the new library just before the doors officially opened. On the white banner above the children you can make out Vicki’s image. We all miss Vicki dearly, but we know she’d be thrilled with how we chose to remember her.

TBLP was Canada’s #3 novel in 2011

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Thank you Canada Reads! As I’ve noted before in this space, winning Canada Reads has been an extraordinary blessing. In case there are doubters out there, here is some more evidence to pound home my point. Bookmanager, a company that tracks book sales across the country, has released their topselling fiction list for all of 2011. I don’t mean the Canadian ficiton list, but all fiction, regardless of origin. As you can see, The Best Laid Plans came home in third place for the year. What a thrill. Again, I say, thank you Canada Reads.

My first virtual e-book signing…

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

This was kind of neat. Margaret Atwood has a stake in a company called iDolVine that has created software and a social networking site that allows authors  to meet virtually with book lovers, and then inscribe their ebook  remotely. I tried it out yesterday for an event organized by the bookstore at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, while I was sitting in my office here in Toronto. It all worked very well. A steady stream of customers (well it was steady for a few minutes!) sat down in the hotseat and pulled on the headset so we could chat for a few minutes through cyberspace. Then at what seemed like the appropriate moment, I inscribed the cover of my second novel, The High Road using a stylus and a tablet computer. Then I hit the “Send” button and the electronic image was sent to the customer’s email address. I’m told that when the system is fully developed, the inscribed cover of the novel will actually be embedded directly into the customer’s ebook stored in his/her online library, whether it’s with Kobo, Kindle,  iBooks, or other ebook services. Slick!