Love of Reading Fund

Alrighty, folks. It’s that time of year again. Time for the Adopt a School Love of Reading drive.

For those of you who don’t know, the Canadian company Indigo, which comprises the stores Coles, Chapters, and Indigo, holds a fundraiser every year to help needy elementary schools across Canada. It’s a three week drive where we collect donations in store and online. At this time of year, each store collects for a specific school in their region. Each school has to be approved by a group of people over at the Love of Reading charity. These are high needs school, and for most of their students, the only book they’ll ever be able to read are the ones that they borrow from their school’s libraries. Unfortunately, for so many schools across Canada, the funding just isn’t there. For example, the school the store I work at is supporting this year has 300+ students and the average age of the books in their library is ten years old. For most of these schools, the budget they have for books equals to about only a couple of dollars per child enrolled.

To ease the strain on these schools, Indigo created the Love of Reading fund in an effort to support child literacy. We can’t do it alone though. So once a year we hold the Adopt a School drive. We also have one at a different time of year where all the stores collect money which goes into a pot and is distributed to 20 high needs schools across Canada. We provide these schools with thousands of dollars of funding for their libraries across several years.

It’s truly an amazing thing we do here. Over the past five years I’ve been working for this company, I’ve donated a couple hundred dollars. But every penny we raise helps. We estimate that a book costs about $12, so, in a general day when my store sees 150 or so customers, if every customer donated just $1, we’d have bought the school about twelve books that day alone.

So if any of you reading this are in Canada, head over to the closest Coles, Chapters, or Indigo store and make a small donation. If you happen to be from somewhere else in the world and you feel the urge to help, then go to either or to make a donation.

Thank you for reading this, and I hope this is the best year for the Love of Reading yet!

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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in News


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So Far This Year…

So, as we can all see, I haven’t updated this in a while, and so, there has been quite a bit of activity in the literary world.

So first off, we’re going to start with some sad news. Over the past several months, several of our favourite and beloved authors have passed away. First off is Iain M. Banks, popular science fiction and fiction author. He was the best selling author of The Culture series of science fiction novels. He was born in Scottland in 1954 and he passed away on June 9th, 2013. In April, he announced he had inoperable cancer, which claimed him two months later. He was 59.

Richard Matheson, popular science fiction, horror, and fantasy author, has also left us. Some of Matheson’s most known books were I am Legend, which was turned into a movie we won’t talk about here, Steel, which is a short story that was adapted into the movie Real Steel featuring the fantastic Hugh Jackman, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, The Shrinking Man, Bid Time Return, and Return of Echoes. He lost a long battle with illness this year, passing away on June 23rd, 2013, at the age of 87.

Now, in happier news, a few new releases and interesting side notes.

On the media side of things, the movie for Divergent is just around the corner, as well as The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. While I haven’t read either book myself, I’ve been told they are amazing. To be honest, City of Bones looks a little too teen angsty/romancy for my taste, but maybe I’ll give it a try. I broke down and bought Divergent a while back, though it is sitting with my several hundred books I still have to read. One day…

I’ve also heard rumours that Guillermo Del Torro and Chuck Hogan’s book The Strain will be turned into a TV series, which I am definitely down for. Horror movies, I can’t do, but I’ve never had a problem with horror novels. After reading The Strain, however, I never wanted to fly again, and I was terrified something was going to come out of my armoire and decided that I looked perfect for a midnight snack. But the last time I watched a horror movie, I was a teenager. Maybe I can handle them now. If anything can get me watching horror, it will be The Strain.

For new releases, we have a new Stephen King book just around the corner. It will be called Doctor Sleep, and is the long, long, looong awaited sequel to The Shining. This book will take place many years later, when Danny has reached middle age. It should prove to be quite interesting and terrifying. Release date is September 24th, 2013 It’s available for pre-order now, and if you do so online through Chapters website, you’ll get it for a nice discount. That’s only online though, not in store.

Having said that, do absolutely go into any Coles, Chapters, or Indigo store if you are at all interested in the author Diana Gabaldon, as her newest book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, the newest book in the Outlander series, will be on sale for $25 Canadian. This is one of the rare instances where we do recommend you pre-order, and that you do so in store. The book isn’t due for release until March 14th, 2014. The good news is that the price may still drop even further. The better news is that if you do pre-order it before the price drop, we’ll refund you the money!

This is starting to sound like an add for Coles Chapters Indigo… I should stop now.

Another new release, one that I’m really excited about, is Emperor of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence, the final book in The Broken Empire trilogy. I read Prince of Thorns close to when it first came out and I was blown away. It was so different from anything else I had read recently, which was very refreshing. If the books had been told from the point of view of almost any other character, the main character would be the antagonist. This books is shaping up to be a dark, macabre, and disturbing end to an amazing series. I don’t expect to be smiling at the end of it. Well, other than in gleeful, viscous delight, but not happy smiling.

A book I’m sure you’ve all heard of by now, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan, has finally landed in all stores. The book was getting some pretty good critical acclaim on its own; good story telling, an unbiased look at one of the most influential figures of our past (whether you believe in him or not). Then the author was invited onto Fox News. And the woman who interviewed him was a moron. Reza Aslan is of the Muslim faith, and the poor reporter couldn’t seem to get past that. To her, he couldn’t write about Jesus, the founder of the christian faith, because he was Muslim, and Jesus wasn’t Muslim. It was something you would watch from behind your hand, cringing in second hand embarrassment for this poor woman. Great publicity for the author though, as suddenly everyone wants his book.

And finally, one of the biggest news bits of the year so far, literarily speaking at least, is that surrounding Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith. The book was published just at the end of April to decent praise. It was hailed as a strong opening novel by a first time novelist. The main character was such a strong character, that people wanted to see more of him. Then, one of the lawyers at the law firm responsible for this author told his wife a secret, which we all know you never do. Because then his wife told her friend said secret, and the friend tweeted a news group, and suddenly, everyone knew that Robert Galbraith was, in fact, J. K. Rowling. Turns out, Rowling published another adult book just under our noses. Suddenly, Cuckoo’s Calling shot up over 1000 places to hit amazon’s #1 bestseller spot.

Now, a lot of people were not fans of her previous book The Casual Vacancy. I personally believe the reason for that is it touched on too many taboo subjects for most peoples tastes. It was disturbing, eye opening, and just too much for some people. Cuckoo’s Calling, however, proves to be a strong mystery that leaves you wanting more. Rowling has confirmed that this will be a trilogy and that book two is set for release next year.

That’s all for this time around. Now, let’s see if I can’t make this a regular thing, eh?

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in News


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Review of All Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman

All Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman
Rating: 5/5

I’m a huge fan of all of Rob Thurman’s books, so I picked up All Seeing Eye with high expectations. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.

Some of my favourite books take place in characters heads, with not necessarily a lot of action or other character interaction. Having said that, All Seeing Eye was a nice combination of all of the above. Jackson Lee Eye is a gripping main character with a tortured past. But unlike a lot of characters in the same boat, he doesn’t try to make himself out to be a tragic hero, but a gritty underdog. With a fear of guns, which is strange for Rob Thurman’s books, but an interesting change.

For the action, you have assassination attempts, gruesome murders being reenacted with painstaking detail, and a big attack dog named Houdini who’s really just a big softy with big teeth. Then there’s the interesting fringe science (I type as I sit here watching Fringe season three). I quite like the mystery element of this book as well. It’s not exactly a Whodunnit, though there is the mystery of who is trying to kill Jackson and who killed the man who set this all in motion, but for the other half of the mystery, the who is already known, they just have to figure out how to fix it.

Probably Rob Thurman’s most famous series, the Cal Leandros series also crosses over with one of her other series, The Trickster series, though it’s really only cameo appearances in each. While reading All Seeing Eye, you are brought to a location that just happens to be the lair of one of the monsters from the Cal series, so I’m sitting here, and I can’t help but wonder, do these series cross over too? And will there be a book two?

I hope there will be a book two. While I love, and I mean absolutely love, her fantasy series, Rob writes an amazing thriller. Engrossing, hilarious, surprising, suspenseful, it takes all the best parts of her previous works and applies them to a new genre where her style thrives.

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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Reviews


Some Quick News

So finally posting again, and I’m afraid with some bad news for all Song of Ice and Fire fans. A Dance With Dragons was supposed to come out in paperback on the 28th of August, but has been pushed back. Then again, is anyone really surprised that Martin pushed back the release of one of his book? If so, raise your hand. No hands? That’s what I thought. The release date has been pushed back to March 26th, 2013.

A reminder to those of you (most of us) looking forward to J. K. Rowling’s new book, A Casual Vacancy comes out on September 27th. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of general fiction. It has to be done precisely right for me to enjoy it, but I’m excited for this one. Even if the plot may not be exactly what I’m looking for, I know her writing will make it worthwhile.

There have been a lot of deaths in the writing world recently, one of the most notable being Maeve Binchy. The Irish author passed away at the age of 79 after battling illness.

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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in News


Review of Gold by Chris Cleave

Gold by Chris Cleave
Rating: 3/5

I work for the company Indigo Books and Music in Canada and one of the things we do is every month we feature a new book in the Indigo Spotlight. The Indigo Spotlight for June was Gold by Chris Cleave. They like to have as many employees as possible to read it. Thus, I ended up with a copy in my hands.

While not something I normally would have picked up on my own, I will admit that it was a pretty decent book. I’m definitely more into the fantasy or action novels. Having said that, Chris Cleave’s writing was rather engaging. It made you care about the characters even when not much was going on, and it did a fantastic job of explaining what was going on in the character’s heads.

Sophie was easily my favourite character. She is a young girl suffering from leukemia and the daughter of one of the two main characters. Chris Cleave really manages to capture the fearless optimism and bravery of most children suffering from such severe illness, while still showing how dire the situation really is. Her obsession and love of Star Wars is also a plus. There are many a times when you are suddenly sucked into a battle with TIE fighters over Endor.

Gold did, however, have its rough patches. While there was an amazing amount of engaging description, there were times that three paragraphs to a page and a half were devoted to a single metaphor. I mean, I’m all for description, but there’s a point when too much just becomes too much.

I also found myself hating the characters even when they were supposed to be likable. They go over the point where self-pitying goes from tolerable and moving to insufferable. I’m pretty sure there are moments where you are supposed to dislike Zoe, but at the same time, it could have very easily been a sympathy ploy gone wrong. There are even times, though, when the characters who are supposed to balance out Zoe’s dysfunction get a little annoying.

One more thing that as the book wore on I found a little grating was some of the words used. Every now and again I would come across words such as “betterer” or “fasterer.” At first I was able to ignore it, seeing as it was only a few words here and there. But as the book wore on it became more and more annoying.

Overall, it was a good book; engaging, laugh-out-loud funny at times, and moving. However, the aforementioned problems keep it from being anything above a three out of five.

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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Reviews


Death of a Legend, Summer Picks, and New Titles

As I’m sure many of you have already heard, Ray Bradbury passed away yesterday, June 5th, at the age of 91. He was best known for his science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451. Despite that being his best known work, Bradbury said he is not, in fact, a science fiction writer, but a fantasy writer, since his only science fiction work was Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury was also known for opposing the direction the government was headed.

Heather Reisman, founder and CEO of Indigo Books, the company I work for, has shared her top summer picks with Canada AM. They are The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent LamGold by Chris Cleave, The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances and Edward Mayes, The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.

There are a few new titles out now. Diana Gabaldon’s Scottish Prisoner is out in paperback now. She also has an Outlander companion novella out now exclusively on eBook called The Custom of the Army. Laurell K. Hamilton’s newest, Kiss the Dead, is now out. Deborah Harkness, author of the New York Times Bestseller Discovery of Witches, is releasing the sequel soon, Shadow of Night, due out on July 10th. Another popular fiction/fantasy title, The Passage, has its sequel due out for release soon as well. The Twelve by Justin Cronin comes out on October 16th.

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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


How Old Is Too Young?

So I had an interesting conversation with a coworker the other day. Well, I say interesting, but really it just ticked me off. At my store, we always joke around. We’ll pick up a book that we know the other doesn’t like or strike up a conversation that we know is just ridiculous, and laugh about it. So the other day, my coworker picks up a couple of the Warriors books by the trio of authors known collectively as Erin Hunter, and made a comment about whether I had finished them or not yet, obviously meaning that no one ever would.

I should probably start by saying a little something about the series. In my store, it is geared towards the nine to twelve age range, and is about warrior cats living in the wild. There are anywhere from three to ten books in a series, and there are several series within the series. I’ve read the Redwall series, the Silverwing series, and the Guardian of Ga’Hoole series, so reading a series of book from the point of view of an animal is nothing new to me. I’ve had some people very confused about reading a book from that point of view, but strangely, that’s not what our conversation was about.

It was about the age range. When I responded that I hadn’t actually started the series yet, though I did have the first one, he was incredulous. His first real answer to that, after a few rounds of ‘really?’ and ‘are you serious?’ was ‘Don’t you think these are a little young for you?’

And that’s what I have my problem with. In my opinion, the age a book is geared towards should not automatically determine whether or not it’s a good book. He implied to me that, since they’re meant for a younger audience, they can’t be any good. But if the book is good, what does the age matter?

The Hunger Games, as you know doubt know, is a ridiculously popular series, and with good reason. It has subplots of self discovery, what is right and wrong when it comes to survival, and responsibility, among other things. It is written in an engaging style that gives lots of description without dragging on, and makes you connect with the characters, whether you want to or not. It is also geared towards thirteen year olds, yet I have customers ages eight to eighty coming in to buy the series.

Because it’s geared towards a younger audience, does that mean that The Hunger Games is, by default, a bad, poorly written book? I believe the same argument applies to the Warriors series. I have, in fact, read the first couple of chapters of the first book, which I own and have every intention of reading, and it was surprisingly well written, and I look forward to getting the rest of the series. But because it was written for a younger audience, some people believe that it can’t actually be a good book.

I believe the best argument for books being good, no matter the age, is the Harry Potter series. It is actually geared towards the same age range as the Warriors series. So is Harry Potter too young to be enjoyable as well? I am twenty years old and have been reading at a fully evolved reading level since grade six, and here is a list of books I have recently read that fall in the nine to twelve age range: The Last Dragon Chronicles, Inkheart, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Redwall, Guardians of Ga’Hoole. So does that mean I have poor taste in literature? Or is the listed age for a book just arbitrary?

So I want to know what your opinion is. Do you believe a younger book can’t possibly be good enough to be considered literature? Or do you think that a books listed age is just a number, and that shouldn’t determine whether that book is good or not? Go ahead and duke it out in the comments if you so choose.

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Discussions


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