metro mama

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I’m at the point in the pregnancy where I have absolutely no energy, and am spending many an hour reading in my new zero-gravity chair (the only place I’m comfy right now!)

Kate Christensen’s Trouble was a completely engrossing way to spend a day. In Trouble, forty-something Manhattanite Josie has an epiphany when she spots her own sexy reflection across the room as she flirts with a stranger at a cocktail party: she has endured her passionless marriage long enough and must end it immediately. She sets the separation in motion the very next day. Meanwhile, she’s asked to spend some time in Mexico City with her best pal Raquel, an aging rock star who is getting slaughtered in the tabloids after sleeping with a celebrity half her age. It turns out the young actor has a pregnant girlfriend, and Raquel is being vilified as an evil cougar on the gossip blogs she obsessively checks every day. Josie’s husband doesn’t want to fight for his marriage, and her indifferent 13-year-old daughter calmly accepts the news of the separation, so Josie hops on a plane to support her pal (and party it up a little).

The women do party it up, and unsurprisingly, Josie meets a man. The book introduces many interesting themes: aging, sexual awakening, the mother-daughter relationship, female friendship, class divisions, the power of online media. Unfortunately, it falls short of its potential, and doesn’t satisfactorily explore any of these themes. Yet Troubleis still an absorbing, evocative book to pass a lazy hazy day.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Let the Great World Spin

I picked up this book not knowing anything about it other than the fact that Ragdoll loved it, and she has fantastic taste. As usual, she’s right--Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin is a marvellous read.

The story is set in New York City in 1974. The World Trade Centre has recently been constructed, and a high wire artist dances between the towers to the astonishment of those below (a real-life feat by Phillipe Petit). The artist is the connection between the diverse characters in this intricate, interweaving narrative, including: Corrigan, an Irish monk who tenderly cares for the prostitutes in his Bronx neighbourhood; Claire, the Park Avenue judge’s wife, and member of a support group for mothers grieving sons lost in Vietnam; Tillie, the thirty-eight-year-old Grandmother who walks the streets with her daughter; Lara, an artist trying live clean after years of decadence, only to be sidelined by tragedy.

Masterfully, the stories connect (without relying too heavily on coincidence) post 9/11 in 2006. Despite their disparity, the cast has in common faith, resilience, and the appreciation of beauty, in whatever form it can be found. With McCann’s wondrous prose, his ability to capture the spirit of a city and his accomplished characterizations of its eclectic inhabitants, I would comp Let the Great World Spin to In the Skin of a Lion. Definitely one of my favourite books of the year, McCann has spun a great yarn.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day, McHotty

Three years ago I wrote a tribute to McHotty. I talked about what a wonderful father he is: how loving, patient, hardworking, and kind. Oh, and hot. After three years (which haven’t always been easy) nothing has changed (with the exception of some grey hairs). McHotty, you are the best husband and father two lucky ladies could have. This boy that’s coming in a few weeks is a lucky boy indeed.

Happy Father’s Day, honey. We love you. Julie and Cakes.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Milky-Smelling Fog

It’s all so surreal, but I’m starting maternity leave in two weeks! I’m really having a hard time letting go this time. I feel left out. Right now we’re having the initial planning meetings for the Spring 2010 lists and I don’t have to go. I’m not invited to a meeting tomorrow with two authors I really wanted to meet, because I won’t be here when their book is published. I’m feeling rather forlorn.

As I prepare to let go of work for nine months (McHotty is still planning to take the last three) I’m trying to find something to fill the gap. Yes, I know a newborn is a lot of work, but they do sleep a lot. I’m terrified of falling into (to quote Alice Munro) “a milky-smelling fog”. You know what I mean?

One of the things I plan to do is step up blogging again (for real this time!) I want to write a lot more, but I also want to engage with the community again (I’ve been so negligent lately). So if you’ve been reading, and I haven’t been by in a while, please let me know. I’m also looking for new blogs to read. Please comment with suggestions: I’d like to read some new parent blogs, as well as blogs on books, publishing, and social media.

I’m also spending more time on Twitter, and tend to chat more about books and publishing there. You can follow me here. I got myself an iPod touch for Mother’s Day, so I can tweet away during the long hours of breastfeeding. Did I tell you how much I love my iPod Touch? I don’t have the words.

P.S. It just dawned on me that I missed my 3-year blogiversary in May! Time to freshen things up here, I think.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

BookCampTO '09

Last Saturday I gave up the warm sunny half of the weekend to attend BookCampTO, an unconference on the future of Publishing. It was worth the sacrifice, if only to be surrounded by such passionate, enthusiastic, smart people for the day. It reminds me how much people love working in this industry, and I’m proud to be part of it.

For the most part, the day truly was in the spirit of the unconference: lots of contribution from the attendees, and a free flow of information. There was just one session I attended that was blatantly self promotional, but I won’t name names. I didn’t attend much of the e-book stream, but the consensus among the smart people I chatted with between sessions is that content is content, and we need to deliver it in whatever form people want it. This is an opportunity: it’s not without challenges, but it’s not the end of the world.

A couple of highlights for me were the sessions on The Role of the Publisher, and Who are the Curators. In the curators session we had an interesting conversation about branding and Publishers. There was a difference of opinion in the room about whether or not the people who buy books care or even know who the publisher is. Should we put all of our resources into building the author’s brand, or should we be paying more attention to building our brand. How does this differ between a large publisher and a small one? The people in the room had opinions, but we’re not the general public: we’re spending a sunny summer Saturday at an event called Book Camp for chrissakes.

So my friends, I want to hear from you: do you ever base your book buying decision on the Publisher? Are you aware who publishes the books you’re reading? Do you give a shit? How do you decide which books to buy? Let me know!


Thursday, June 04, 2009

This Makes Me Happy

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