Romeo And/Or Juliet
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I first meet Ryan North, creator of Dinosaur Comics, co-editor of the Machine of Death series, and author of To Be or Not To Be: That is the Adventure, at a recent Toronto reading. North was presenting the sequel to TBoNTB: TitA, a second choose-your-path Shakespeare novel titled Romeo and/or Juliet.
Five books a week? Many of my friends are shocked that I can get through so many. "I wish! I simply don't have the time," many of them say... If you've binge watched even one Netflix series, you've had time to read. If you've been on Facebook scrolling through posts from a month ago, you've had time to read.
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At one time, I figured it would be easier to write a book of short stories. I don't know why I thought this. Writing multiple stories when you can't write one story is obviously much harder. But I like coming up with titles, and for a while I had some real crackers. My thinking behind creating a title first is that it's a bit like "fill in the blanks."
Jim Harrison has a list of writers who committed suicide within a month of finishing a novel. Last I heard, he had 35 names. It goes along with the postpartum metaphor. You've been holding the universe and your body together by sheer will for so long, that when you allow yourself to let go, you tend to let go of everything at once and the results can be messy.
On June 28th, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire and head of one of the most powerful families in Europe at the time, is on a visit to Sarajevo in Bosnia, one of the provinces of the empire. The aforementioned title character of the novel, Johan Thoms, is assigned the task of being Franz Ferdinand's chaffeur during his visit. He fails, and indirectly causes World War One.
I predict another novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel will be studied in a similar way by future generations. The difference is those students will be rewarded with a viewing of the just-released, sensational, epic 3D adaptation of the supposedly "unfilmable" book.
Nobody is in a position to review David Frum's new novel, Patriots. You're either going to hate it for all the wrong reasons, or love it for all the wrong reasons. Set in D.C., the novel centres around Walter Schotzke, a likably louche trustafarian who is about to be swallowed whole by the populist right. Sound familiar? If so, it's because it is: Schotzke is no Frum, but there are clearly some autobiographical elements in this novel, thinly-veiled, and ready to deliver carnage to everything the ultra-right holds dear.
CBC -- A Dutch group is threatening to burn Lawrence Hill's award-winning novel The Book of Negroes, because they oppose the use of the word "negro" in the title. The Canadian writer's novel, which tr...