Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
The author of new novel Every Happy Family with a special guest-post for Mother's Day.
"Past and present—images and memories of people and places—the trees and water and a light wind—each one coming ou …
Tell us about the Canadian poem that has done something powerful to the way you experience the world.
"Most of my favourite poetry books are written by Canadian women. Narrowing the list down to a reasonable number was dif …
Sandra Djwa talks about her Charles Taylor Prize shortlisted biography of poet P.K. Page.
Our coast-to-coast guide of literary festivals to look forward to this spring.
All the best books for teens and young readers in Spring 2013.
A selection of exciting new books on the horizon. Which ones are you looking forward to?
"It’s about having the right guys to watch your back. In no particular order, these writers and their books might just …
Our new Children's Librarian columnist Julie Booker shares the magic of the oral tale.
Podcast: Nora Young talks about her book The Virtual Self and how our digital lives can reground us in the physical realm.
UPDATE: After much hullabaloo, Facebook filed its paperwork for an initial public offering, the week of its eighth birthday. The company will begin trading late May 2012. Read more at Mashable. They also have a nice video to explain what this all means, in particular the increase of mobile-Facebooking.
I went back to Nora Young to ask her thoughts. What does this mean in terms of data? OUR data? Here they be:
At the most basic level, Facebook's IPO is a good example of the fact that our data has value. In fact, it's interesting just to consider for a moment that the stock price is — and will be — driven by the loyalty of users and the data they choose to contribute, more than the platform itself, which in the absence of user data really has little intrinsic value.
Does that data have as much value as today's trading suggests, though? In advance of the IPO, I found it interesting to read speculation on what FB might need to do in order to generate the revenue that "Wall Street" might expect. See for instance, this New York Times article. It points out another feature of these platforms: that exactly what use will be made of our data, is something of a moving target. We are really at a fluid period in thinking about what value personal data actually has.
At more of a cultural level, the borderline hysterical coverage leading up to FB's IPO suggests that we are really drunk on data. It's a story with an odd sex appeal to it, since as users we are in some sense 'involved' in the …
"It was assumed that John Cabot and Christopher Columbus were two of a kind, in both ambitions and origins. In truth, although their careers were deeply entwined in a race to prove a profitable new route to Asia’s riches that would defeat the Levantine monopoly of Venetian merchants, they were very different people, with one determined to remake himself as the other."
In the late fifteenth century, perhaps 100,000 people lived on the cluster of canal-laced islands within the laguna of the northern Adriatic that comprised the city of Venice. Known to its residents as the Signoria, the compact archipelago was the heart of the Venetian republic of the eastern Mediterranean. The Signoria’s artisans produced for export fineries of silk, damasks, satins, and crystal; other goods were sourced by merchants from around the Mediterranean, and from distant England came wool and hides. The republic was renowned foremost for its command of trade in precious commodities of the Orient, which arrived from its Levantine ports of Beirut and Alexandria from as far to the east as Borneo: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, camphor, rhubarb, ambergris, sugar and molasses, and above all pepper. A Venetian merchant, Marco Polo, had explored the Indies of Asia two centuries earlier, but the Ori …
My name is Willow Yamauchi, and I am a Bad Mommy. I’m also an epic mommy, an awesome mommy, a funny mommy, a loving, caring over-functioning mommy. But the truth--the real truth--is that I am fundamentally Bad, and that’s OK with me.
I had my first child at the ridiculously young age of 24. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. I had a degree, a career, a husband, a mortgage. All I needed was the baby to have the complete package. What I didn’t get was how all this mommy business actually worked. What I also didn’t get was how alone I would find myself in my mommy-life. None of my friends were actively breeding. I was isolated in a baffling world of Mommy with little guidance.
Being a bibliophile I turned to books for direction and devoured--with great avarice--the Mommy tomes of the day: What to Expect When You Are Expecting, the Baby Book and the related gang of Mommy bibles became my lifeline. I faithfully memorized developmental charts, documented poopies and pee-pees and followed these books to the letter. I’ve always been compliant with direction, that’s my thing. I was being GOOD. Alas, my infant daughter didn’t seem to be reading the same books I was reading. Despite my adherence to all Mommy instructions, things just weren’t working out the way they were …
Robert Rotenberg is one of Toronto’s top criminal lawyers. He lives in Toronto with his wife, television news producer Vaune Davis, their three children, and their little dog Fudge. Visit him online at www.RobertRotenberg.com and follow him on Twitter as @RobertRotenberg.
Stray Bullets (Simon & Schuster) is Robert Rotenberg’s third intricate mystery set on the streets and in the courtrooms of Toronto.
Read an excerpt on Scribd.
Julie Wilson: We know that The Scotiabank Giller Prize has a huge impact on the sales for the winning title as well as its author's long term career. You're nominated for the prestigious Crime Writers of Canada 2012 Arthur Ellis Award (announced May 31) for your novel The Guilty Plea. The other nominees are William Deverell, Louise Penny, Alan Bradley and Peter Robinson, each of whom has won the award in one of the categories for Best Short Story, Best First Novel or Best Novel. How integral are awards to writers of crime fiction?
Robert Rotenberg: It seems that in the last year or two the Crime Writer's of Canada has started to break through and this year, in particular, the Arthur Ellis Awards appear to be getting a lot of attention. The CBC has gotten involved, newspapers are more on top of it. All good.
I have a theory. The Canadians are the "New …
My personal interest into the world of sports stories began one morning while I was house-sitting for my parents. I had never been a big sports fan, but, being bored, I flicked on the television set and came across the 1993 Tour de France. Lance Armstrong was going for his record fifth title. I thought: OK, I can watch this. I loved to ride a bike as a kid. And wasn’t this the guy who was supposed to have almost died from cancer?
Priscila Uppal writes in her introductory essay to Winter Sport that “sports are rife with the drama of life, with full and rich metaphorical and symbolic possibilities” and the 1993 Tour de France was no exception. Each day of the three-week race was another barrier to Armstrong’s chance of achieving his record. The most epic stages were those in the mountains: grueling climbs lined with drunken spectators slapping riders on the back as the riders ground their way to the top. There could be a gasp-inducing crash while the riders were hurtling themselves down a steep and snaking descent at 90 km an hour. In their reportage, the commentators painted the commitment and qualities of the cyclists: There were breakaways and bunch sprints, competitors suffering from road rash, and a Frenchman who continually unpacked his suitcase of courage. As well, the …