Wednesday, May 22, 2024

More Tim Hortons references - 2024 edition

I'm continually adding to my collection of literary references to Tim Hortons. You can find earlier collections here.

The Deluge by Stephen Markley


"Where you working these days?" you ask.
    "Over by the mall near Indian Ripple. It's a Tim Hortons. How 'bout you? You got a job, with all these collections people after you?"
     "Yeah, I got a job at a blood bank."
     "Blood bank? What you know about that?"
     You pretend you can't be bothered to explain.
--from Book 2. The Watch & the Blood Bank. 2025

     "My mom," you say to Andrade when you reach him. His eyes light up.
     "Such a pleasure," he says, taking your mother's hand in both of his and pumping it profusely. "I heard tell of you, but here you are in the flesh."
     "Least for now," says mom. "Day's not over yet."
     Most of your mother's comments these days are about dying. The reverend compliments your mother's outfit and asks if she'll be staying long.
     "Just until the evening. Got my shift at Hortons tomorrow morning.
--from Book 4. The Ghost and the Mask. 2036


'Endowed' by Terese Mason Pierre, in The Journey Prize Stories: The Best of Canada's New Black Writers, volume 33

Headlights turned the corner. Tre's beat-up Corolla swerved slightly as it headed toward Jerry. It jerked when it stopped. Jerry opened the passenger door and got in. "You're late."
    "There was a bomb ting by the Tim's, bro," Tre said as he turned onto Eglinton.
    Jerry rolled his eyes, but his lips twitched in a smile. Tre was his most loyal customer.


Becoming a Matriarch by Helen Knott 

    Her petite frame didn't seem capable of pulling the heavy words into the room. Her lack of confidence hit me in the stomach. I watched the doctor retreat into her body as she greeted Mama. And then she asked Mama a question: "Before coming here, what did you think your illness could be?"
    There would be no joyous car ride home, and no dark jokes of what could have been, as we went through the Tim Horton's drive-thru. No singing along to songs on the radio as we sipped our creamy, sugared, caffeinated liquids.
    The "C" word tumbled out of Mama's mouth and the doctor nodded slowly to confirm her suspicions.


Prairie Edge by Conor Kerr


  I had been crashing in my auntie's basement. A 1960s wood-panelled wannabe sex dungeon with mirrors in the weirdest places and blue-purple shag carpet. The carpet had stains that I didn't want to think about. My Auntie May had gotten clean in her early thirties. While doing that, she'd gone back to school and earned a nursing degree. And now, she worked with native kids who struggled with addiction. May put everything into the job. When she got home, usually late at night, she'd sit on the house's front steps for hours smoking cigarettes and drinking decaf double-doubles from Tim Hortons. Auntie always let me stay in her basement if I needed to.


A History of Burning by Janika Oza

    A few weeks later, Hari was working at the kitchen table when Sol called him to come play. The sunlight through the window warmed his forearms, drawing his attention away from his textbook and toward the jungle of vines out back, the leaves of the sugar maple just blushing orange, and Hari had no trouble ditching the report he was supposed to be writing. 
    They met at the Tim Hortons by the park, where Sol ordered two double-doubles and a donut, slapping his change down on the counter before Hari could pay. 
    They hunched over their creamy coffees at a table shared with another family, whose kids were losing their minds, standing on the chairs, the parents switching between English and Vietnamese, so that Hari caught only snatches: Enough! Quiet! Hey!
    "Honey cruller?" Hari poked at the cracked icing, trying to make Sol laugh. "You know it's Boston creme or bust for me."
    "Fine," Sol said distractedly, waving the donut at the screeching kid next to him who grabbed for it with both hands.
    Hari watched as the kid scraped the icing off the cruller with his fingernails before looking up at his mother. The way his eyes sought her out reminded Hari of the last time his parents had come over.


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Best Books of 2023


When you read as much as I do, it's especially hard to narrow down favourites. For context, I read more than 400 books in 2023 and I gave 156 of those 5 stars on Goodreads. Out of those, I chose 36 favourites. Nineteen are by Canadian authors, 12 are in audiobook format, 5 are in comics format, 8 are in translation, 27 are by women or nonbinary authors, at least 8 of them are by queer authors and 7 are by Indigenous authors. All of which reflects the kinds of books I prefer to focus on.

    Another thing that I noticed is that the books I read in tandem with other people tend to be the ones that left a lasting impression. Seven of my favourites were buddy reads.

    I've placed these 36 books in categories below. And while I was doing that, I managed to narrow these down a top ten, which I will list at the very end of this post.

Top 6 Nonfiction:

6 - Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma by Claire Dederer (audiobook)
5 - Ultra Processed People: The Science Behind Food that Isn't Food by Chris Van Tulleken (audiobook)
4 - My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World's Deadliest Migration Route by Sally Hayden (audiobook)
3 - 
Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World by John Vaillant (audiobook)
2 - Valley of the Birdtail: An Indian Reserve, a White Town and the Road to Reconciliation by Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson
1 - No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani, translated by Omid Tofighian (audiobook)

Best Memoirs:

Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood by Hilary Peach
Namwayut - We Are All One: A Pathway to Reconciliation by Chief Robert Joseph (audiobook)

Best Graphic Memoirs:

Sunshine by Jarrett Krosoczka
The Talk by Darrin Bell

Best Re-reads:

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

Best Play:

Angels in America by Tony Kushner (full cast audiobook)

Best Poetry:

Knife on Snow by Alice Major

Best Novella:

Foster by Claire Keegan (audiobook)

Best YA:

Those Pink Mountain Nights by Jen Ferguson (audiobook)

Best Picture Book:

Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp

Best Children's Chapter Book:

The Runaways by Ulf Stark, translated by Julia Marshall

Best Graphic Novel for Kids:

Frizzy by Claribel Ortega and Rose Bousamra

Best Graphic Novel for Adults:

The Waiting by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, translated by Janet Hong

Best Novels in Translation:

Permafrost by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches
Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell

Best Mid-20th-Century Modern Classics in Translation:

The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy, translated by Alan Brown
Alberta Alone by Cora Sandel, translated by Elizabeth Rokkan
(with an honorable mention: Krane's Cafe by Cora Sandel, translated by Elizabeth Rokkan)

Best Historical Fiction:

Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff (audiobook)
Held by Anne Michaels (audiobook)
The Lost Century by Larissa Lai

Best Novels by Indigenous Authors:

A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter (audiobook)
And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott (audiobook)

Best Canadian Novels:

We Meant Well by Erum Shazia Hasan
Your Driver Is Waiting by Priya Guns

Top Five I Loved Because of Their Innovative Style:

5 - Denison Avenue by Christina Wong and D Innes
4 - A Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein
3 - With or Without Angels by Douglas Bruton
2 - Osebol: Voices from a Swedish Village by Marit Kapla, translated by Peter Graves
1 - Mercy Gene by JD Derbyshire

And now [drum roll] my top ten favourites of 2023:

10 - Mercy Gene by JD Derbyshire
9  - Valley of the Birdtail: An Indian Reserve, a White Town and the Road to Reconciliation 
by Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson
8  - And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott (audiobook)
7  - Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp
6  - We Meant Well by Erum Shazia Hasan
5  - The Talk by Darrin Bell
4  - Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell
3  - Alberta Alone by Cora Sandel, translated by Elizabeth Rokkan
2  - Your Driver Is Waiting by Priya Guns
1  - No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani, translated by Omid Tofighian (audiobook)

Thursday, November 30, 2023

November 2023 Reading Stats and Booktube Uploads

Still settling in to our new home in Victoria -- we moved six weeks ago. I read lots of picture books and books by Indigenous authors this month.

Favourite books in November (in alphabetical order):

The Adversary by Michael Crummey

And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott; audiobook read by Jenna Clause and Cherri Maracle

Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith and Boulet

Denison Avenue by Christina Wong and Daniel Innes

Do You Remember by Sydney Smith

The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt

Farm & Folk Quilt Alchemy: A High-Country Guide to Natural Dyeing and Making Heirloom Quilts from Scratch by Sara Larson Buscaglia

Genderqueer by Maia Kobabe

Like Smoke, Like Light by Yukimi Ogawa

Misbelief: What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things by Dan Ariely; audiobook read by Simon Jones

My Brilliant Friend: The Graphic Novel; from the novel by Elena Ferrante; adapted by Chiara Lagani and Mara Cerri; translated by Ann Goldstein

The Mysteries by Bill Watterson and John Kascht

Pink Mountain Nights by Jen Ferguson; audiobook read by Julie Lumsden, Aaliya Warbus, Kimberly Woods & Shaun Taylor-Corbett

Sunshine: How One Camp Taught Me About Life, Death and Hope: A Graphic Novel by Jarrett Krosoczka

Unearthing: A Story of Tangled Love and Family Secrets by Kyo Maclear; audiobook read by the author

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver; audiobook read by Hala Alyan, Joy Sullivan & Kate Bear

Did Not Finish: Chain-Gang All-Stars. My emotions have been close the the surface this month and this story about imprisoned queer women fighting each other to the death for the entertainment of others was just too visceral, especially in audiobook format.

Reading event participation: 

Nonfiction November - 13 books
Ernaux-vember - 1 book
Indigenous Heritage Month - 7 books
Read Across Canada Challenge - 
        The Adversary by Michael Crummey for Newfoundland (October)
        Nothing yet for Yukon (November) but I plan to read Care Of by Ivan Coyote

Booktube Uploads:

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

October 2023 Reading Stats and Booktube Uploads

    I saw a difference in my reading that reflects the stress of moving from Alberta to BC this month: mainly that I was fussier about what caught my interest (and abandoned three books), and also was more interested in visual narratives. Another thing is that I only made three YouTube videos in October; just not enough time for everything!

Best books that I read in October (in alphabetical order):

Lizzy and the Cloud by Eric Fan and Terry Fan

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff; audiobook read by January LaVoy

A Stone Is Most Precious Where It Belongs by Gulchehra Hoja; audiobook read by Sarah Suzuk

Namwayut--We Are All One: A Pathway to Reconciliation by Chief Robert Joseph; audiobook read by Dr Evan Adams

Women of the Fur Trade by Frances Koncan

Boys Weekend by Mattie Lubchansky

Western Lane by Chetna Maroo

The House by Paco Roca; translated by Andrea Rosenberg

Wrinkles by Paco Roca; translated by Erica Mena

A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh and Mariana Ferrer

Boobies by Nancy Vo

When You Can Swim by Jack Wong


Booktube Uploads:

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

September 2023 Reading Stats and Booktube Uploads

Best Books in September (in alphabetical order by title):

Big by Vashti Harrison

The Double Life of Benson Yu by Kevin Chong

Elf Dog and Owl Head by MT Anderson

Ephemera: A Memoir by Briana Loewinsohn

Everything in Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging by Pauline David-Sax and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

A Hero Ain't Nothin But a Sandwich by Alice Childress

Loop Tracks by Sue Orr; audiobook read by Vanessa Rhodes

The Skull by Jon Klassen

Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein

Supergirl: A Woman of Tomorrow by Tom King and Bilquis Evely

We Meant Well by Erum Shazia Hasan

 DNF: I Only Read Murder by Ian Ferguson

Booktube Uploads in September:

Friday Reads September 1

My 2023 Giller Prize Longlist Wishlist

Friday Reads September 8

8 Plays in 5 Days: A Theatre Festival Binge Vlog

Shawn and Lindy talk about the 2023 Giller longlist

The Friday Reads that took forever to upload

Recent Reads September 26

Friday Reads September 29

August 2023 Reading Stats and Booktube Uploads


Best books in August, in alphabetical order by title:

Blacksad: They All Fall Down part 1 by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson; translated by 

Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer

A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter; audiobook read by a full cast of 14 performers

In a Strange Room: Three Journeys by Damon Galgut

It's Lonely at the Centre of the Earth by Zoe Thorogood

Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd; audiobook read by Fleur De Witt and Adam Fitzgerald

Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah; audiobook read by Chukwudi Iwuji

The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree

DNF: Nomad Century by Gaia Vince

Booktube Uploads in August:

Sunday, September 3, 2023

July 2023 Reading Stats and Booktube Uploads

My favourite books in July were all nonfiction:

Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast by John Vaillant; audiobook read by Alan Carlson

Truth Telling: Seven Conversations About Indigenous Life in Canada by Michelle Good; audiobook read by Megan Tooley

Ultra-Processed People: The Food We Eat that Isn't Food and Why We Can't Stop by Chris van Tulleken; audiobook read by the author

Rehearsals for Living by Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

The High Desert by James Spooner

Strong Female Character by Fern Brady; audiobook read by the author

La grosse laide / My Body in Pieces par / by Marie-Noelle Hebert (translation by Shelley Tanaka)


Booktube Uploads in July:

Friday Reads July 7

A Wildfire Smoky Friday Reads on July 14

Lindy and Shawn Discuss With or Without Angels by Douglas Bruton

Friday Reads July 21

Friday Reads July 28