Space.

Most of us would agree that work can sometimes feel like it lasts longer than a regular 5-day week. But what if you couldn’t leave work? NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days orbiting in space, the longest an American astronaut has ever spent in space. In his book coming out in October, ENDURANCE, he reveals that it was not one big discovery that was the focus of his work, but all of the planned projects that he performed over those 340 days.

But one of the most fascinating projects will probably take years to analyze: the genetic differences that will appear between Kelly, and his twin brother Mark, who remained on Earth. While initial studies prove some interesting things, it will probably be years before the full extent of the data is understood. You can read a short excerpt from the book right here.

The excerpt puts you into the mindset of someone who is totally focused on his work, and not only enjoys it, but has learned how to better live on our planet now that he’s back home.

What do you think—would you enjoy living in space for that long?

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY

One of the first BIG bestselling YA authors was Jay Asher and his book THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. Even before TWILIGHT and Stephenie Meyer took over the NYT bestsellers list, Asher remained on the hardcover list for over two years, garnering fans of his contemporary YA book about a teen suicide. More than 10 years later, and Netflix is releasing a series based on the book, coming out March 31, 2017.

The book centers around Hannah Baker who commits suicide. But before she leaves the world, she records a series of cassettes (will teens today even know what they are?) telling why she chose to end her life. The catch? The box of cassettes is delivered to her classmate Clay Jensen…and the first cassette explains that the reason he is receiving the box is because HE is one of the reasons she chose to end things. Each subsequent cassette is to be passed on to the next person on her list…with a total of 13 people she felt were responsible for her misery.

The book is engrossing, told from Hannah’s perspective, but also showing the fallout from each person who receives a tape. The reasons are detailed, brutal, and one must think, pretty common in many respects for a lot of kids out there today. While some of the subject matter is sensitive, the story covers it beautifully, and Asher’s writing style is too engaging to let the reader put it down.

How will Netflix approach the subject? Asher had a good deal of input on the set, and he claims Netflix will actually use the original ending to the book, so that should be interesting. I know I’ll be setting my reminder to start watching at the end of the month. Will you?

March Break Day 5

relaxI often feel like there are moments in life that would be better understood (or absorbed) if there were a book to go along with it. And while I’m sure there are many books that would pair up well with life events, which ones are the best?

Will Schwalbe, author of of the best-selling THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB, takes us through life with a list of new books, and the reasons we read in general.

30211956BOOKS FOR LIVING is really an ode to books, the ones Schwalbe sought out to define moments in his life. Each chapter focuses on a different moment that meant something to him, and one book that he decided would encompass that particular life event. Maybe it reminded him of a certain important person, or a particularly evocative life lesson. His list covers all kinds of books, from classics, to children’s books, and even a cookbook!

What books would be the cornerstones of YOUR life? This is such an interesting question! I feel like so many books made up my childhood, and got me through certain periods that would have been almost unmanageable without them. And yet, in adulthood, the books I read tend to be more for entertainment, and less for life lessons, or comfort. What about you?

Legacy Journaling

journal1Author Heather Tucker visited us at the Carleton Place Public Library last week to talk a little about her book, THE CLAY GIRL, and to run a workshop on Legacy Journaling. It was a VERY creative and informative evening. We were colouring, drawing, and doodling our way to elaborate family histories without feeling like we couldn’t do it. And I know many of us will continue to work on these for months to come.

claygirlThank you, Heather, for bringing your amazing talents, and wonderful, vibrant personality to our little town. We know it was a long few weeks for you, but we had a blast!

journal2

Sample pages from her journal.

journal3Wonderful display from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

YOU CAN’T SPELL AMERICA WITHOUT ME

1222-v1-115xWe all hoped this was coming…Alec Baldwin (with Kurt Andersen)’s parody of a presidential memoir entitled YOU CAN’T SPELL AMERICA WITHOUT ME: THE REALLY TREMENDOUS INSIDE STORY OF MY FANTASTIC FIRST YEAR AS PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP.  Penguin publishers will release this probably hilarious book on November 7, 2017…almost one year to the day that Trump was elected President.

Will there be resistance from the White House? Probably. Will it be more interesting than any of the books Donald Trump has ever written himself? Probably. I know I’ll be putting my name on the holds list.

What do you think? Would you read a book like this?

Prize for Unpublished Works

tidewater-banner-newIt’s difficult for authors to break into publishing, and while many now turn to self-publishing, the tasks involved can be daunting and without reward. But there is a new competition for unpublished manuscripts by Canadian authors that offers a prize of book cover design, editing and layout assistance, as well as a debut at the Whistler Writer’s Festival in the fall of 2017. Could there be a better prize?

The WIBA Manuscript Competition began only recently, offered originally to self-published books in Canada. But the organizers said that many of the entries, while showing great merit, needed a lot of work. They decided that an earlier approach would allow the best books to really shine, and give them a chance to grow once in bookstores.

There is just over one month left to submit an entry to the competition, and the rules and requirements can be found right here.  If you have a finished book, you can submit the first 5000 words and a full synopsis (up to 500 words), to the competition for adjudication. What a great opportunity!