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The Vancouver International Writers Festival is hosting Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker and best selling author Michael Moore at The Stanley Theatre (2750 Granville Street) on Sunday, September 18th.  Moore will be reading from his new memoirs Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life and signing books to a sold out crowd! Present in said crowd will be myself along with west coasters Iolanda Millar and Jennifer Fyffe (all on our very best behaviour) who will fill you in on the experience next week with pics and maybe even a signed copy giveaway! Unfortunately the show is sold out, however the book is available in bookstores so go get it y'all!  And if you're interested in learning more about Moore and the book, and to hear what the critics are saying, I've made it easy for you by compiling a list of links below.  You're welcome.

New York Times, CBC-Q (Sept 21), Colbert Report, Huff Post Canada, Globe and Mail, USA Today, Washington Post, Newsweek, New York Post

Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life by Michael Moore

ISBN: 9780446532242 / Hardcover, $29.99/ Grand Central Publishing



Roger Ebert on Life and Happiness

En Route to Europe with McHugh, who took the photo.
 En Route to Europe with McHugh, who took the photo.
author book tour
Roger Ebert
author of Life ITSELF : A Memoir 
September 16 at 4pm at Theatre Books

 For anyone who has seen Roger Ebert review a movie with either co-host Gene Siskel (who passed away in 1999), or Richard Roper until 2006, or perhaps read one of his hundreds of reviews, it's clear that he is a man who fervently and deeply loves film. And considering that he's been reviewing for over 40 years—for the Chicago Sun-Times, for the TV show Siskel & Ebert at the Movies, for his blog—it's not difficult to be seduced into feeling like you know him on a more personal level because of his open and honest dialogue with his fans. Attends the The Roger Ebert Conference Center Announcement held at the American Pavillion during the 62nd International Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2009 in Cannes, France.

It's a testament to Mr. Ebert's remarkable skills as a writer and critic that he is able to create a sense of camaraderie with his audience. In Mr. Ebert's new book "Life Itself: A Memoir", he moves beyond his reviews to tell a more dramatic story of his life and career from the early years at the Chicago Sun-Times to the moment he learned he had thyroid cancer which resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink or speak. “Life Itself” is a poignant and inspiring memoir that touches on his passion for actors, directors and the cinema but delves deeper into his life chronicling his painful jaw surgeries, his love/hate relationship with alcohol, his firsts, his spiritual beliefs and growing up as an only child in Urbana, Ill. This book is a must read for his loyal fans and for anyone curious to know more about the man who has helped shape the way we think, feel, and react to films. Roger Ebert with his wife, Chaz and their two grandchildren, Emil and Taylor.

If you are in Toronto this week, Mr. Ebert will be signing copies of his new book on September 16 at 4 pm at Theatre Books. Don't miss meeting this iconic and inspiring individual...

by Roger Ebert
ISBN: 9780446584975 / HC / C$29.99
Grand Central Publishing
Pub Date: Sept 13, 2011

 Excerpt from LIFE ITSELF:

When I mentioned in my blog that I can no longer eat, drink or speak, a reader wrote: “That sounds so sad. Do you miss it?” Not so much really. Not anymore. The new reality took shape slowly. Understand that I was never told that after surgery I might lose the ability to eat, drink and speak. Eating and drinking were not mentioned, and it was said that after the fi rst surgery I might be able to go back to work on television. Success in such surgery is not unheard of. It didn’t happen that way. The second surgery was also intended to restore my speaking ability. It seemed to hold together for awhile, but then, in surgeon-speak, also “fell apart.”

What’s sad about not eating is the experience, whether at a family reunion or at midnight by yourself in a greasy spoon under the L tracks. The loss of dining, not the loss of food. Unless I’m alone, it doesn’t involve dinner if it doesn’t involve talking. The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments and memories I miss. I ran in crowds where anyone was likely to start reciting poetry on a moment’s notice. Me too. But not me anymore. So yes, it’s sad. Maybe that’s why writing has become so important to me. You don’t realize it, but we’re at dinner right now.Photo by Art Shay

Remembering 9/11

Reviewed by Iolanda Millar

If you ever thought a book couldn’t be more powerful than a video, or television, or a film, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. Two books crossed my desk that would change your mind. One is 9/11: The World Speaks, 9780762777990, $27.50 CDN, from Globe Pequot. The simplicity of the format is what makes this so powerful; they are cards written by visitors from around the world who came to the Tribute WTC Visitor Centre, detailing their thoughts about 9/11 and how it affected them. One English visitor simply wrote, “Why?” A French visitor wrote, “On Sept. 11, 2001, the whole world forgot their religions, their differences of colour, their political ideas. On September 11, the whole world was horrified.” There are of course some Canadian comments, including one from a Newfoundlander who’d opened her house to the floods of stranded tourists who ended up diverted from New York to the Maritimes. In the front of the book is a map showing all the countries where the writers came from, and it’s a pretty eclectic mix; this might make an excellent teaching tool as well.

The other book is Aftermath: World Trade Centre Archive, 9780714862125, $39.95 CDN, Phaidon by Joel Meyerowitz. It’s stunning - an oversized, 11” by 15’ full-colour photographic journal of what happened after the World Trade Centre fell. The photographs are astonishingly powerful, as are the stories behind them: a Broadway musician standing in the middle of the ruins, playing Taps as a personal salute to the fallen; a group of dirty, tired firemen, sitting on scrounged and absurdly expensive office chairs; the day members of the Arson Squad, digging in the ruins, were surrounded by swarms of Monarch butterflies, tapping on their helmets in the smoke, and one of them stood up and simply said, “Souls." Meyerowitz documented the eerie beauty of the ruins, but also the amazing faces of the firemen, policemen and construction workers who pulled it all so carefully apart, and quite often in constant danger. It’s a must-have book, and it will break your heart.

As anti-war, and anti-terrorism statements, I’d say these two are some of the best.


MANDAtory Reading 05-25-11

  Toddler 411 ($16.95; 9781889392387) is still going strong with a great review in Calgary's Child magazine!  These books are amazing gifts not only for new parents, but also for seasoned moms and dads who are interested in learning more about child development. 

David Ward, author of Between Two Ends ($19.95; 9780810997141), was in Toronto recently, attending ALOUD:  A Celebration for Young Readers at the Harbourfront Centre.  Ward read from his book, did a quick Q+A and signed books to the delight of many young fans. I attended the event and must say the spark he ignited in the room that afternoon was bright and infectious! The children hung on his every word which he spoke with a passion and excitement for reading and writing that was truly inspiring.  I was lucky enough to share a cab back to the airport with Ward after his event and we chatted about publishing, Toronto, and what is to become of books and the authors who write them.  As I pulled away from Terminal 3 after dropping Ward off I realized our conversation had left me with a lighter heart.   It is writers such as he and experiences such as these which remind me why I do what I do and love it so much.  David Ward believes in young imaginations, and champions the written (and typed) word.  Books, no matter the format will hail so long as individuals believe in their worth, and speak from the heart of their importance.  I truly encourage anyone who enjoys historical fiction to pick up this book - it is certainly worthy of your attention, and you'll want this one on your shelf (virtual or physical).

Diana Henry's beautiful cookbook Plenty ($34.99; 9781845335731) was mentioned in an article on slow roasting in the Times Colonist.  Diana was also intereviewed for a three page article in HELLO! Canada magazine which can be found on newstands now. 

Hilary Winston's My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me ($21.95; 9781402779794) was mentioned favourably in the National Post Ampersand Blog, and her interview with METRO was syndicated in the Calgary edition here this week.

Terence Conran has come out with two new books in his slight but beautiful ESSENTIAL series.  Children's Rooms ($24.00; 9781840915686) ran in the Toronto Star website last Saturday, and Color ($24.00; 9781840915730) will run in tomorrow's edition.

 Patti Smith 1969 - 1976 ($29.95; 9780810998322) was the inspiration for a style board on the FASHION magazine blog. Linn’s photographs of Smith focus on shifting influences and spotlight her profound relationships with various aritists. Linn has herein captured Smith like no one else, in the grainy atmosphere of a bygone New York.

Homemade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English by Ashley English ($23.95; 9781600596278) was blogged about in the life section of the National Post website.  For Ashley's excellent root vegetable recipe from her equally informative sister title Keeping Bees With Ashley English check out our blog post on

Sanjeev Kapoor's masterpiece How To Cook Indian ($35.95; 9781584799139) was the subject of a post on the popular food blog cookbooks 4 every kitchen.  Sanjeev's recent promotional trip to Toronto was a huge success, and his booksigning at Costco Canada will not be soon forgotten.  The man is as nice as his recipes are good, I assure you.

Mary McCartney's beautiful book of photography From Where I Stand ($42.00; 9780810996540) was written up in the style section of the Toronto Star. A brief photo gallery accompanied the piece and gave readers a brief glimpse of the talent they can expect from the other daughter. (what a family!)

Weber’s Time To Grill ($29.95; 9780376020604)was mentioned in the Toronto Sun (additional recipes to be excerpted this Saturday, and on occasion leading up to Father’s Day). A recipe from the book was also featured on Sweetspot, and the Urbanmoms blog who gave away a copy of the book as well.  Fire up your Q people, the images in this book are going to make your mouth water!

 At the age of forty-six, Jack Nicklaus was considered by some to be done as a championship golfer. Entering the 1986 Masters, most folks had written off the Golden Bear, but the winner of a record seventeen professional majors wasn’t done yet. After a slow start, Nicklaus got in the hunt during the weekend and played the final nine holes in a 6-under-par 30. He roared past a who’s who of top golfers that day to win his sixth Masters title—a record that still exists. Most experts agree that it was the most thrilling day of tournament golf ever played.  Intrigued? Check out the Globe and Mail for an excellent review, and better yet a copy of The 1986 Masters: How Jack Nicklaus Roared Back to Win ($27.50; 9780762777587) and relive for yourself the weekend that blew up the game of golf for sports fans around the globe.

This is a Book (you should read) by Demetri Martin

For those who are familiar with and are fans of Demetri Martin’s comedy - this book is a great addition to the material you know and love. As I do with his stand-up routines, I have found myself quoting this book to people while talking about how great it is.

For those who haven’t seen Martin’s comedic genius on stage or on television, his observational comedy will entertain you and will keep you flipping pages until you’re on the last one wishing there were more.

The book consists of absurdly hilarious short stories, chapters of themed one liners, and his famous charts, which will keep you coming back and wanting to share with all of your friends!

Available in hardcover (9780446539708) on April 25th 2011 from Grand Central Publishing.

MANDAtory Reading 04.05.11

The always insightful and ever charming Dan Abrams was interviewed by Robert Cribb for his column in the Toronto Star. The article teaches you all kinds of interesting things about men and women and how women are better than men at pretty much everything. For example did you know that women are better competitive eaters and have better muscular endurance? Yessiree Bob.

The EXCELLENT Windsor Peak Press titles Baby 411 and Expecting 411 were excerpted by two stand-out Canadian parenting outlets. Today’s Parent explains the fascinatingly complex method of swaddling a baby, while Edmonton’s Child  sets you straight on some old wives tales.

For example: True or False? Avoiding peanuts during pregnancy will keep a child from developing a food allergy. The answer is....false. A recent definitive study in the New England Journal of Medicine put this myth to rest once and for all. It's okay to eat known allergens while you're pregnant. PB&J for everyone!

Dr. Ari Brown, co-author of the series was also interviewed in an article that ran in the Toronto Sun recently, check it out here.

Canadian House and Home featured Bunny Williams’ Scrapbook for Living and At Home with Town and Country in their roundup of what to read in April. Check out the gorgeous spread. I’ll take one of each please.

Culinary superstar Sanjeev Kapoor filmed a cooking segment on the national morning show Canada AM on Monday, April 4th. An excerpt of the butter chicken recipe he prepared has been posted on the CTV website should you decide to have a go. He also gave several interviews, including the Toronto Star, and signed books for a crowd of fans at the COSTCO East location in Markham. Much more to come for this drool-worthy book I assure you. We’re big, big fans.

Portraits of the Mind will be featured in the May issue of Chatelaine magazine along with an interview with the author, Carl Schoonover. It was also mentioned in the National Post which covered the Brainwave event celebrating Canada’s very first National Brain Awareness month at which Schoonover was a keynote speaker.

Never Mind the Bollards was briefly reviewed by Alan Cross on his website

“Yeah, he talks about the crosswalk the Beatles used for Abbey Road, but he also describes where the Verve shot the video for “Bittersweet Symphony” in London’s East End, the private boys school where everyone in Radiohead met and the town were Muse grew up. It’s pretty comprehensive.”

ISBN: 9780810984653; $25.95 CAN; Available Now

Kraken by Wendy Williams is scheduled to be reviewed on the popular blog Deep Sea News later this month.

MANDAtory Reading List 3-15-11

With sky-high food prices on the rise and making headlines across the country, it is an opportune time to take an honest look at your spending habits and make some adjustments.  Calgary author Christina Spence dispenses frugality advice in her new book Living LARGE on Less, recently reviewed in the  Globe and Mail.  Interested in learning more about how to save as a family?  Check out the excerpt from chapter 4 from Living LARGE on Less here.

The gorgeous tome on Nigerian born Chris Ofili was featured in a round up of African inspired furnishings in the April issue of Style at Home Magazine!

M is for Mama's Boy, book two from New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley, is featured in the April issue of Canadian Family Magazine.  In the second book, it's Duncan Dewey (code name Gluestick) who leads the adventures and misadventures of the geeky gang.  This time the group must fight a villain so unlikely, he still lives with his mom!

"You can do anything you want in life if you dress for it," says Edith Head in How to Dress for Success.  Abrams' reprint of Head's 1967 tome serves as a timeless reference to looking your best, offering no-nonesense, and often hilarious fashion advice.  Illustrated with Head's original black-and-white line drawings and packaged with a chic cloth cover, this pocket-size guide is packed with smart tips on how to accessorize, dress for all occasions, and develop your own personal style.  Check out the fabulous feature in the April issue of FASHION...

Nigel Barker made waves when he visited Toronto last fall to promote his new book Nigel Barker's Beauty Equation.  We shot behind the scenes video of the tour, and the Manda team had a great time posing for group shots with Nigel during a break between interviews.  The February/March issue of Verve Girl Magazine just came out with a two page feature on Nigel and the book and it is excellent!  Check it out to learn how you can win your very own signed copy Nigel Barker's Beauty Equation.


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MANDAtory Reading 01-28-11

More great press for Jerry Robinson: An Ambassador of Comics with this excellent feature in the Toronto Star.  If you’re a comics fan, I strongly encourage you to check out the brilliant musings on Charles Kochman’s blog.  He is the editorial director for Abrams ComicArts and the individual who discovered Jeff Kinney at New York Comic Con.  Need I say more? The gorgeous book DOGS by Tim Flach is featured in the beautiful new online magazine Covet Garden.  This mag is drool worthy in a good way, kinda like Tim Flach’s stunning photography.


Shazam! The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal was featured on and picked up on IMBD.  The book features over 300 illustrations and chronicles the history of the one and only Captain Marvel.  For the book trailer, check out our Youtube channel here.

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider (I LOVE her name, but don’t even think about asking me how to pronounce it!) will be featured in the March issue of Style at Home Magazine.  If getting organized is on your list of resolutions this year, you’re not alone.  Get organized is one of the top 10 New Years resolutions for 2011, second only to lose weight.

P.S. I Made This... was featured in the Living section of the Toronto Star this week.  The author takes crafts and fashion to a whole new level, and I dare say it works for both the young professional and her bratty little sister.

An interview with Jennifer Joyner, author of the heartfelt memoir Designated Fat Girl recently ran in The Province.  The book is a painfully honest account of Joyner’s experiences as an obese woman—of always having to buy new clothes that fit, pretending to order for two people at drive-through fast-food joints, not fitting into her wedding dress, and the cruel comments that haunted her. In the end, it is also a story of recovery and survival.

The beautiful book Chris Ofili will be featured in the April issue of House and Home Magazine. Ofili’s paintings often refer to his Nigerian heritage and the wider African-American and Afro-Caribbean experience.  The coolest part about his work is the incorporation of rather random materials such as sequins or map pins.  His trademark?  Varnished elephant dung! The book accompanies a major Tate exhibition.


Kris Carr is everywhere at the moment, promoting her hugely popular Crazy Sexy Diet book.  If you’re interested in experimenting with some of her alkaline recipes, check out her Raw Goddess Soup on Daily Squeeze, and Buddha Bowl on the House and Home blog.


Star Wars Visions was given tremendous treatment on the Canadian blog jedinews.  This book will appeal to anyone with an appreciation of fine art, especially those with a penchant for sci-fi.

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Three Seconds

We have just seen another great independent review for Three Seconds, which has a North American on-sale date of January 4th.  It is from The Library Journal.  The full review can be found at:  The highlight and most compelling part of the review is below:

VERDICT: Readers who persevere through the glacial pace of the book’s first third will be rewarded with a terrific, nail-biting climax that demonstrates why it won the prize for Sweden’s best crime novel in 2009. Give this to Stieg Larsson fans and any reader fond of morally complex thrillers. 

Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL

Roslund, Anders & Börge Hellström. Three Seconds. Silver Oak, dist. by Sterling. Jan. 2011. c.496p. tr. from Swedish by Kari Dickson. ISBN 9781402785924.  $29.95.  Hardcover


MANDAtory Reading List 12.21.10

Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970 received a glowing review in the Hamilton Spectator. GLOWING.

The Farm Chicks Christmas was reviewed by the Times Colonist over the weekend, check it out here.

Wendy Goodman, author of The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, was interviewed by Jian Gomeshi on Q last Thursday.  The podcast can be found on the CBC website.

Audrey 100 continues to make the rounds on the gift book circuit, and popped up on the list of Things For Her at The Toronto Star.

The Toronto Star showed us some more love in their annual design book roundup which included Bunny Williams’ Scrapbook for Living, American Modern by Thomas O’Brien, and New Farmhouse Style by Terry John Woods. 

The Globe and Mail published a part deux of their annual holiday gift book roundup and included Star Trek: The Original Series 365, DOGS  by Tim Flach, Origins: Human Evolution Revealed, Child: How Children Think, Learn, and Grow in the Early Years, The Interpretation of Dreams: The Illustrated Edition, and last but not least, The Four Seasons Book of Cocktails. Click on DOGS for the complete list.

In January, keep an eye out for LV: 100 Legendary Trunks in ZOOMER, and Mary McCartney: From Where I Stand in Elle Canada!

- Happy Holidays Everybody!


Three Seconds

I can't say it better than this reviewer did from Booklist magazine, (who gave it a starred review, and to quote, "crime fiction rarely gets as good as this"), except to re-iterate the fact that I really did have a tough time putting the book down as the story twists and turns with the inevitable intersection and collision of each of the characters in this amazing new thriller.  It is due to hit store shelves on January 4th.  Oh yeah, and this novel won the Swedish Crime Writers award for fiction in 2009, which happens to be the same award that Steig Larrson won for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo the year previous.

Jan 2011. 486 p. Sterling/Silver Oak, hardcover, $29.95. (9781402785924).



MANDAtory Reading List 12.06.2010

The Globe and Mail published their selection of the year's most spectacular coffee-table books last Saturday - click on Gwenyth below to view the web version.   

 On another note, is it just me, or does the Globe Style section just keep getting better and better? 

Moving along, the Vancouver Sun also published a booklist on Saturday, but focused on the top 10 lifestyle tomes of the season.  It included Bunny Williams Scrapbook for Living, Miller's Costume Jewelry, and The World Atlas of Whisky.  I found the list spot on!

Trying to nail down clever drink ideas for an upcoming holiday shin-dig?  Impress your guests with these creative cocktail recipes put together by the folks at the Calgary Herald. My particular favourite is the Tequila Mockingbird adapted from Drinkology by James Waller.

Letty Halloran Flatt, author of Chocolate Snowball, was recently profiled on the CBC's Cookbook Club.  For those of you seeking that gem of a cookie for your holiday bake swap - look no further.  The Linzer Heart Cookie recipe was reproduced along with the interview.  These cookies are SO adorable.

The Canadian Living Craft Blog gave away a copy of The Farm Chicks Christmas last week!  If you're a crafter do yourself a favour and keep this site on your blog roll.  They give stuff away a lot.

And finally, for gift ideas for the food fanatic on your list, I suggest taking a  look at this list of the best cookbooks of the year compiled by The Montreal Gazette.  Our favourites from the list?  Plenty by Diana Henry and Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian, your foodie friends will not be dissapointed.


Manda Books in the News

The fabulous CBC food writer Shaun Smith has written a fascinating photo essay that includes two food books of ours that I felt compelled to share.  Foodie or not, I would recommend you all check out the photo gallery.  From the pleasant deception of a broccoli tree forest (from Food Landscapes by Carl Warner) to carefully placed fish heads bobbing in an English pie (from YUCK!: The Things People Eat by Neil Setchfield), I was equal parts delighted and horrified at what I saw here.  Click on the Brocoli Forest image and enjoy!


Canada Reads Announces Top 40

CBC revealed the longlist for Canada Reads 2011 this morning. Congratulations to Corey Redekop and ECW Press for the nomination of Shelf Monkey, Jeff Lemire and Top Shelf Productions for Essex County, and Ray Robertson and Santa Fe Writer's Project for Moody Food.

For a complete list of nominees, and to vote for your favourite, visit the Canada Reads website by clicking here.