The Best of Open Book 2010
Break out the champagne — and a notebook and your lucky pen. New Year's Eve is less than a month away, and it's time to start making a list of all your good intentions for 2011. Of course, the New Year isn't just about resolving to hit the gym three times a week and eat less cheese (ahem). It's about taking that pen and paper (or shiny laptop) and making a list of all of the accomplishments of the year before. We think 2010 was a banner year for Open Book and its fantastic contributors -- the site is chock full of fresh and insightful articles; interesting and often playful interviews; witty blogs from charming Writers in Residence; and up-to-date info on the people, books, places and events that make up Toronto's lively literary scene. And, of course, there's that brand new website.... Without further ado, here is a roundup of our most visited items on the site — the Best of Open Book for 2010.
|THE SPOTLIGHT SERIES
A lot of work from a lot of people goes into publishing a book. With our photographic Spotlight Series, a new feature in our seasonal magazine, we're shining light on the behind-the-scenes people who ensure that you've got great books to read. First up: The Editors were featured in our Fall Magazine. Next up? You'll have to check our January Magazine to find out.
|JOEY COMEAU'S DATING TIPS
Open Book readers couldn't get enough of September Writer in Residence Joey Comeau's "5 'favourite books' that are warning signs on dating profiles." As some readers quietly tucked their dog-eared copies of The Fountainhead under their mattresses, away from the eyes of potential soul mates, others weighed in on Joey's list in the comments section of the post.
|AGENT'S CORNER WITH SAMANTHA HAYWOOD
"Authors have to be savvy self-marketers (which now includes a slew of growing social media skills); terrific readers and presenters for various events and festivals (if you were an actor in your youth, or happen to look like a model, that’s even better); and, while you’re at it, please make friends with a few publicists (or just learn to think like them). And, of course, the topic of this column, you now have to become a brilliant self-editor and/or be prepared to pay someone to edit your manuscript prior to submission." How delighted are we to add Samantha Haywood's "Agent's Corner" to our monthly features? Very. Check out "Do.It.Yourself Editing: Preparing the Perfect Manuscript for Submission."
|MELANIE JANISSE EXPLORES 282 COLLEGE STREET
"I enter through the door of 282 College through a thicket of computer shops and walk up the narrow gunmetal stairs only to be confronted with a baroque red couch sitting there on its own, waiting for a very special explosion of ideas to grow up around it." Melanie Janisse explores Of Swallows, Their Deeds and the Winter Below and The Toronto New School of Writing in "Of Swallows, If Pheasants and the Toronto New School of Poetry."
|STACEY MADDEN ON CONTROVERSIAL WINDOW DISPLAYS
"Petty crook. Folk hero. Common criminal. The most prolific bicycle thief in Canada. Igor Kenk has been called all of the above and more, so it’s not a surprise that the subject of Kenk: A Graphic Portrait (Pop Sandbox), written by Richard Poplak and illustrated by Nick Marinkovich, ignited further controversy after a number of retailers in Toronto decided to showcase the book using elaborate and in some cases boldly inventive window displays." Read Stacey Madden's article, "Kenk Under Glass."
|ROB MCLENNAN'S VIEW OF THE TOWER
"How is it that John Robert Colombo wrote that the CN Tower 'has yet to impress writers,' with brief mentions of a visual poem by 'Vancouver poet bill bissett,' 'mystery-story writer Tim Heald,' 'Palm Print (1980), a police-procedural novel by the British novelist James Barrett' and nothing more? Has the CN Tower really refused that kind of attention? Have writers given any more attention, for example, to the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, or the Calgary Tower?" rob mclennan's "The CN Tower" muses on Toronto and its famous landmark.
|NATHANIEL G MOORE LOOKS FORWARD TO 2010
"Smoking. No more red meat. Exercise more. These are just some of the typical resolutions thousands of people make each year – but what about writers? Yes, ‘tis the season for absolutes and resolutions that get the year off to the best start possible." In January of 2010, Nathaniel G. Moore asked a group of writers about their plans for the New Year. Read "New Year's Resolutions: CanLit Edition."
|SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES
Sarah Palin, classic books re-titled, artisanal pencil sharpening (you read that right), the true impact of online piracy and more — just a few of the topics in Shaun Smith's latest (and most clicked on) "Weekly Roundup of Internet Curiosities from the Book World."
|BECKY TOYNE ON SHAWN MICALLEF'S STROLL
"It’s been a while since I’ve had a huge crush on a book, but on May 18, along with the civic-minded masses at Lula Lounge, I was introduced to Stroll [Coach House Books]. A smart, adventurous, literate-yet-outdoorsy city boy, Stroll knows both its history and its way around town, and advocates 'dressing to impress' wherever one wanders. My stilettos and I were instantly hooked — even as we mentally calculated the cost of the heel-tip replacements from all the walking we were about to do." Becky Toyne contemplates literary Toronto in "Toronto the Good and Well Written."
|WHAZAMO! AND HILARY FAIR AT THE TCAF
There are so many reasons May is one of the best months of the year — sweet-smelling air, sunshine and National Graphic Novel Month. For the second year in a row, Open Book celebrated the month with WHAZAMO!, a page devoted to profiling graphic novel news, creators and videos. This year, WHAZAMO! featured our graphic-novelist-in-residence, Marta Chudolinski.
Graphic Novel Month was rounded out on Open Book with Hilary Fair's smart coverage of the Toronto Comic Arts Fair. "Opinions and tastes may differ, but camaraderie is tangibly present (and plentiful) at TCAF." Read "Building Relationships at the TCAF."
|THE PROUST, THE TEN QUESTIONS, THE ON WRITING, THE QUESTIONLESS BOOK INTERVIEW
We love interviews and so do Open Book readers. Find out about your favourite author's dream of happiness in The Proust Questionnaire, their latest publication in the Ten Questions series and their advice for aspiring authors in the On Writing series. Did you catch George Murray's Questionless Books Interview series, which ran in November? We loved it, so much so that it's going to be a weekly feature staring in 2011.
|COOKING IN THE EDIBLE CITY
We teamed up with Coach House books to produce a trio of videos that featured contributors to The Edible City: Toronto's Food from Farm to Fork preparing their food and drink specialties. Watch Making Roti with Rea McNamara and Kiel Brathwaite, Apple-Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing with Kathryn Borel Jr. and Kat Gligorijevic prepares the Toronto Cocktail.
|MAPPING THE TORONTO LIT SCENE
We dig maps. They get you where you want to get and tell you where you want to be. And they're pretty. In our Summer Magazine, two York University/Sheridan College students, Marcelo Hong and Matt Wiechec, profiled Toronto's literary scene in a nifty interactive map. Read our interview with Marcelo and Matt and interact with the map in "We Were Randomly Assigned Literature."
|MAPPING ONTARIO'S LIT SCENE
In September, we launched OpenBookOntario.com, which features an extensive Events Page, Ontario-wide book news and a stunning (if we do say so ourselves) map of literary Ontario. Go to the map, click on an icon and engage with the text, photos, audio and video that mark Ontario's literary landscape. We're just getting started with the project — watch as the map becomes more populated over time. Please contact us if you have a Landmark you'd like to add.
|OUR WRITERS IN RESIDENCE
Of course, we couldn't put together a Best Of without giving a huge shout out to our charming, funny, intelligent and talented 2010 Writers in Residence that keep our readers coming back: Emil Sher, John Oughton, Paul Vermeersch, Edward Carson, Marta Chudolinska, Alessandro Porco, Thom Vernon, Pj Kwong, Joey Comeau, Shane Peacock, George Murray and Jeffrey Round.
Our resolutions for 2011: More great articles, interviews, event coverage, videos and news and more fabulous blog posts from next year's Writers In Residence.
Happy New Year!