Bursting the Bubble [Week 8]

Bursting the Bubble, Family Time

photo 2The fact that I get to see the publishing world as an intern, book lover, aspiring writer, AND book blogger is something that amazes me week after week. I’m starting to understand just how important this internship is and I am so thankful that I have still have about four weeks left!

This week I went to an author event and a few stock signings with my wonderful colleague Anne, Rhidian Brook (author of The Aftermath), and his lovely daughter. We started at The Novel Spot in Etobicoke, where Rhidian signed books and answered questions. This is where I learned that writers should also be great speakers. Having a great sense of humor and a true belief in your story can really engage your crowd. During Rhidian’s talk, he was challenged by someone who read his book. The gentleman wondered if Rhidian had maybe gone too far, to which Rhidian replied, Thats what writers do. They spin plates and see how much they can get away with. I love that line.

That evening I attended our monthly Indigo Bookseller Reception but you can read more about that on the Retreat website next week.

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to attend a blogger lunch with Page Morgan, author of The Beautiful and photo 1the Cursed. I love blogger events like this, they’re small and intimate which allows for the chance to really get to know the author. Page (or should I say Angie — Page is her pen name) answered any question we asked, chatted about various books she’s read, gave us some behind-the-scenes stories from novel-writing, and signed all of our books.

So after all of the fun events this week and the weeks prior, what am I feeling? A little nervous as the job-search has begun but mostly I feel guilty. I swear the printer spews out pages and sounds like a beating heart. If you start the binding machine at the same time, the sound bangs through each beat. Yesterday I thought, now that is the sound of a heart breaking.

Am I the one breaking hearts?

Well, I have been 110% committed to this internship and I don’t really make time for anything else. To make things worse, my family is amazing (yes you read that right). No matter what time I get home, be it 6:15 or 7:00– my family is waiting for me to have dinner with them. I sure as heck wouldn’t wait, not if I was starving.

My VERY pregnant sister never says anything when all I talk about is what happened at work, or what author I met, or what book I brought home. She lets me gab and gab and doesn’t seem the least bit phased if I forget to ask her about her day.

And my boyfriend, that wonderful man, who comes over during the week, knowing very well that I have to eat dinner, workout, and shower before I spend a second with him. Who doesn’t get mad when I fall asleep within five minutes of sitting down in front of the TV. I would probably go into full insecure-girlfriend-mode and freak on him for not putting me at least 2nd.

The only one who seems to be holding a grudge is my dog, who doesn’t even come to the door to say hi when I get home. I give him treats to sweeten him up though 😉

So, what can a girl do in this situation but give thanks: Mom, Dad, Joseph, Jessica, Alex, and Waffles — I’m sorry for being so selfish lately. Thank you for understanding, for being there, and for loving me. Thank you for believing in me and thank you for not making me feel guilty.

This guilt is all my own creation and with every beat of that printer, I’m learning from it.

There’s got to be a balance somewhere and I will work hard to find it.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

P.S. Amanda featured me as her latest Everyday Beauty — check it out HERE.

The Aftermath [Book Review]

Book Reviews

coverMy first Random House Read for May is The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook. Before I spend the next 300 words or so praising the crap out of this novel, I’d like to share the synopsis with you.

Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund.

But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatized daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

The Aftermath is a stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, our deepest desires and the transformative power of forgiveness.

The Aftermath is officially in my top three favourite historical fiction novels of all time, tied with The Purchase and The Aviator’s Wife. It is a wonderful story about forgiveness, loyalties, and giving into your deepest desires. Rhidian Brook has created a complex story with unbelievably real characters, characters you can feel sympathy for, characters you can have a connection with. Each character experiences some kind of loss — a loss so heartbreaking that none of them know quite how to face it. This story is as much about trying to rebuild a nation, as it is about rebuilding relationships and having sympathy and compassion for your fellow human beings.

A huge part in my love for this novel has to do with the flawless writing. It’s smooth, concise, descriptive, and wonderfully thought-provoking. I love how Rhidian Brook allows you to see and understand so many sides of the same story. The way his writing shows you something extremely important about humanity: that we all feel pain and we all heal differently. That forgiveness can literally save lives.

What else can I say about this novel? Well, I don’t want to say too much or I’ll ruin it for you, but I will say that there were so many twists and turns I could barely keep up. I was literally on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, waiting for something to happen (or not happen). I strongly suggest that you add it to your “to read” list — it comes out on May 7th 2013.

He could see  a whole new city growing out of the desolation. A fine city fit for children, parents and grandparents, lovers and seekers, for the broken and the fixed, the missing and the missed, the lost and the refound.”

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

** The synopsis is from the Random House of Canada website **
** The quote is an indirect quote from page 321 of the novel **