Stationery and Kawaii Madness!

October 16.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

For stationery and kawaii enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know that I made a wonderful discovery during my visit to Kingston, Ontario for the Thanksgiving long weekend holiday last week.

While visiting the artsy core of downtown Kingston, I accidentally came across an independently-owned stationery-and-kawaii-filled shop called, Midori. I would have passed right by it if I didn’t see the painted sign outside, which said stationery in elegant, cursive print. Thankfully, I noticed it enough to stop mid-step before heading toward the nearest Starbucks Coffee shop.

Once inside, I was transported into a wonderful, little room painted in pastels featuring a variety of kawaii products imported from China, Korea, and Japan that included stuffed, plush toys, jewellery, mugs, bento boxes, handbags, and loads of notebooks, paper stationery, postcards, and pens.

I chatted with Midori’s owner and proprietor, Tina Yan, who opened the store in October of last year (2013) and discovered that not only do we share the same birthday month, but that we’re equally enthusiastic about kawaii products!

Canadian-born with cultural roots from China, Tina, thought it was important to bring popular kawaii goods from Asian countries to provide Canadian customers with products solely created and distributed in South Asian countries—which suits me perfectly fine since I don’t see the possibility of travelling to South Asia any time soon. How else will I deal with my stationery and kawaii addiction?

Tina Yan, Owner of Midori Shop, in front of Midori rabbit logo design. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Tina Yan, Owner of Midori Shop, in front of Midori rabbit logo design. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

While chatting with Tina about the possibility of featuring her and her shop on my blog, she was kind enough to allow me to take a number of photographs in her store while I searched for items that I might purchase. Here are some of the wonderful kawaii items I found in her shop:

Notebooks, red-haired girls x2. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Notebooks, red-haired girls x2. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

Kawaii black cat plush toys. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii black cat plush toys. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

Kawaii cat notebook. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii cat notebook. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

Kawaii bento box made in Japan. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii bento box made in Japan. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

Kawaii linen bag, Girl on Bicycle, baby blue. $30.00 CAD. (The one I plan on buying when I return to the shop next month!) (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii linen bag, Girl on Bicycle, baby blue. $30.00 CAD. (The one I plan on buying when I return to the shop next month!) (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

I was so pleased with this little shop, I returned twice in one day and bought the following, cute products to use for my own, personal writing and snail mail:

My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl notebooks x4, assorted. $1.15 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl notebooks x4, assorted. $1.15 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

These pretty 4″x5.5″ notebooks from the My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl line created by languo is simply exquisite. I was drawn to the art cover designs, which features a different girl in each portrait. Inside, the paper is brown, blank, and consists of 24 pages.

My only regret about the design is that there is no Asian girl with black hair on a cover. Surely, a Beauty Girl would also come from Asia, right?

While I’m excited about my purchase, these notebooks seem far too pretty for me to use right away. I have yet to decide what to write in them! In the meantime, they will sit at my desk on display.

Kawaii gel ink pens, assorted. From $1.50-$1.99 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii gel ink pens, assorted. From $1.50-$1.99 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

After testing a number of pens in stock at Midori, I decided on buying the light blue, gel-ink pen with the bear cap, 0.38mm fine point, with “love dolls every day” printed on its casing; the Fihfio floral print, gel-ink pen with a cap that says, “Your happy story;” and my favourite of the three, the BCO black, ink gel pen with the sad ghost cap, 0.4mm fine point. It runs quite smoothly with a dark imprint and is the current pen I use to write all my snail mail letters.

London postcard set. $3.75 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
London postcard set. $3.75 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

These London photograph postcards came in a set of 18. The photographs are not only lovely renditions of London’s famous city, but the paper itself is slightly glossy with an embossed texture, which give them a far more realistic feel than other glossed postcards and reprints.

For 18 postcards of good photographs for the low price of $3.50 CAD per set, you simply can’t lose, which is why when I return I’ll be buying a few more packages!

“Got a Mail” pink kawaii agenda with cards and stickers. $7.45 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
“Got a Mail” pink kawaii agenda with cards and stickers. $7.45 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

The “Got a Mail” pink agenda is not only blank, but provides the user with both a monthly and weekly date format. While the user must fill in dates for himself/herself, numbers are listed at the top margin to provide for accuracy and a little help.

At the back of the agenda is a number of blank pages for notes and includes a few cards and stickers for decoration.

The front cover also allows the user to change its design with the cards included.

I can’t wait to start using this agenda/diary in the new year.

Kawaii Cooky Mini Mate Notebook: Travel Story. $1.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Cooky Mini Mate Notebook: Travel Story. $1.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

While this notebook does not match the My Fairy Tale World series, I could not resist the adorable Cooky character with her squinted, smiling eyes and huge red hood.

She reminds me of an Asian version of the Little Red Riding Hood character. Just look at her sitting in her suitcase!

I snatched this notebook at the recommendation of Tina who also thinks Cooky is adorable.

The paper inside is white, lined, and contains 46 pages.

Because its titled, “Travel Story,” I plan on saving this little notebook for my travels.

Pacific Mall

After leaving Kingston, Ontario, I visited the Pacific Mall in Markham, a mall that specializes in Asian-imported goods and products. It was the first time I visited in over 10 years and was ecstatic to find a few more kawaii goodies.

This is what I brought home:

Red Pucca wallet. $7.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Red Pucca wallet. $7.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

The Pucca wallet is bright red in colour, which symbolizes good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture. The Kanji symbol means love. It also comes with a removable coin purse with Kanji print, five cardholders, one identification holder, and a long pocket for cash.

Kawaii origami strips x4: Molang bunny, blue and yellow teddy bear, Rilakkuma bear, blue and yellow mouse. $1.29-$1.49 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii origami strips x4: Molang bunny, blue and yellow teddy bear, Rilakkuma bear, blue and yellow mouse. $1.29-$1.49 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

At first I thought these cute kawaii strips were washi tape, but when I inquired about them I was told that the strips are meant for paper crafts like the creation of small origami stars.

Because I’m attracted to small figurines, paper crafts, and kawaii, I quickly bought four packages. While I won’t use every strip to make paper stars, I do plan on adding a little glue at the back to decorate a few of my snail mail envelopes.

Because I’m partial to cute bunnies, my favourite one is the one with the Molang bunny.

OMG Korean hair colour change doll, phone charm, green. $1.99 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
OMG Korean hair colour change doll, phone charm, green. $1.99 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

This little kawaii doll drew me right in with her bright, curly, green hair. Instead of attaching her to my mobile phone, I put her on my key ring instead. I’ve named her Kiyoko, which means child of happy generations in Japanese. I trust we’ll be very happy together for “generations” to come.

Kawaii Pocket Bunny Oil-Control Sleek Mist from Tony Moly Beauty Store. $12.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Pocket Bunny Oil-Control Sleek Mist from Tony Moly Beauty Store. $12.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

Aside for the cute kawaii bottle, this Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist helps to control the breakout of oily skin. Instead of powder to mattefy skin, this spritz can be used any time of the day. It smells good, too!

Kawaii Strawberry Lipgloss by Tony Moly. $12.50 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Strawberry Lipgloss by Tony Moly. $12.50 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

***

The Tony Moly Strawberry Lipgloss line is light and sheer and its price point high most likely because of its marketable packaging.

I really couldn’t care less about the actual lipgloss (though I had my eye on the deep pink and coral colours), but I absolutely adore the lipgloss strawberry doll caps.

It comes in coral, pink, light, pink, and a nude cream.

I pucker up every time I look at these!

***

The trip was well worth it with a number of unexpected kawaii finds. I hope to be able to travel again next month and pick up some more stationery and kawaii goodies. Which ones would you buy?

***

Do you like kawaii? What do you like most about it?

Of all the items featured above, which one(s) do you like the most?

What’s your favourite kawaii item that you own?

Where do you find or shop for your kawaii items? (Feel free to share links to websites.)

If you were a kawaii character, what character would you be?

***

zara - selfie 1

***

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving 2014

October 14.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

In previous years, Thanksgiving was a time to anticipate a tabletop filled with a traditional feast: turkey as its centrepiece, mashed potato with cranberry sauce, roasted, buttered corn, thick lasagna, a creamy potato salad, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, a little wine, and rich coffee with dessert.

But, the price to pay? A day or two in the kitchen, a potentially aggravating sit-in dinner with a few abrasive, tactless family members who are always compelled to criticize either your job, your spouse, your children, your looks, or your lack of any, and a bloated gut or terrible hangover from a few hours of enjoyable gluttony.

Thankfully, that did not happen this year.

This year, my husband and I, and our two children, rented a car for a few days, packed our bags, and travelled to Kingston, Ontario, to spend our Thanksgiving weekend with my father-in-law and mother-in-law, who we haven’t seen in a long time with our last visit to them over four years ago.

On our way, we stopped at Fairview Mall for an emergency bathroom break and happily discovered a LEGO store for the first time. My eldest son, Michael, a 10-year-old boy passionately obsessed with LEGO had a spaz attack! We spent a good half hour in the store checking out the latest box sets, admiring the coloured LEGO wall at the back, and building our own customized  mini-figures.


Michael with LEGO block at LEGO store, Fairview Mall. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Michael with LEGO block at LEGO store, Fairview Mall. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Together, we built three customized mini-figures for purchase, one meant to be a replica of my son with his medicine pouch and a weapon of choice to battle the “zombies” of the future Zombie Apocalypse; a Fairy Pie Godmother who brings pie to all LEGO-loving children of the world; and Gardenia, an avid reader, writer, and gardener:

The LEGO mini-figurines we customized on our unexpected trip to the LEGO store: Michael, The Pie Fairy Godmother, and Gardenia. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The LEGO mini-figurines we customized on our unexpected trip to the LEGO store: Michael, The Pie Fairy Godmother, and Gardenia. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

The car ride was loud and enjoyable except for the traffic we were unfortunate enough to get stuck in while on the 401. Still, we gladly took the opportunity to stop at a service station at Trenton to have lunch before arriving to Kingston.

The kids in the car on the way to Kingston. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The kids in the car on the way to Kingston. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

[caption id="attachment_8859" align="aligncenter" width="660"]The kids making faces in Trenton, at our On Route service station. We had Tim Horton sandwiches and soup for lunch. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved. The kids making faces in Trenton, at our On Route service station. We had Tim Horton sandwiches and soup for lunch. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Once there, it was not only a relief to finally arrive, but to see my in-laws after so many years. There were happy tears, hugs, and a thoughtful dinner waiting for us.

Mamá and Esly talking over dinner. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Mamá and Esly talking over dinner. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

While I was originally nervous about visiting them in respect to not seeing them in a number of years, but also because of the language barrier, once we arrived, their gracious hospitality and love made it so much easier to settle in—and stay.

We stayed for three days and two nights!

Each day was an opportunity for us to relax in our pyjamas, talk—really talk—and laugh, and ultimately spend quality time together as a family, which I found touching and rejuvenating.

Michael with his grandpa, Papá Ramiro—both in pyjamas. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Michael with his grandpa, Papá Ramiro—both in pyjamas. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Hugs for grandpa! Papá Ramiro and Xara after breakfast. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Hugs for grandpa! Papá Ramiro and Xara after breakfast. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

The wonderful gift of my father-in-law and mother-in-law is not only their strong, personal faith, but how their faith is alive and active in their lives. Papá, who is a retired pastor, does more than spend his time preaching empty words without consequence or validation. His advice is not only usually faith-based, but sound because he is a living testament of what he believes in. Mamá, too, lives out her faith by action, not simply words. To have spent time with them even for a little while was to be a part of God’s loving grace.

Mamá. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Mamá. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

It is so refreshing to be a part of such an open and loving family.

On the one hand, Mamá and Papá, have very little financially. They don’t desire a large home, nor a luxury car of which to boast about to friends and family. They travel about once or twice a year to El Salvador, not for a vacation for themselves, but rather an opportunity to give to the poor and needy while there. And they feel no compulsion to own “bigger and better,” worldly things. They live quite simply and are always content with what they have. But, it isn’t because they can’t afford a lavish lifestyle—it’s because their mindset does not focus on the importance of materialism as one of their priorities.

And yet, they have so much of themselves to give emotionally. They are open and direct, but without the need to be condescending, critical, or controlling. While they want what’s best for their son, me, and their grandchildren, they always speak and act with love, kindness, and understanding.

Papá and Esly spending time together talking on the balcony. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Papá and Esly spending time together talking on the balcony. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

We did not have a giant turkey for Thanksgiving or a lavish feast of any kind. Instead, we ate homemade soup with beef and vegetables, pupusas (a Salvadorean dish made of masa flour and mozzarella cheese with cortido, a cabbage, carrot, vinaigrette topping), mashed red bean, Salvadorean cheese, fried plantain with cream, and coffee and tea biscuits for dessert.

I spent some of my time braiding Mamá’s hair while the kids enjoyed running around the small apartment, and my husband helped Papá with the installation of Spanish accent shortcuts onto his computer/keyboard.

We also had the opportunity to see my brother-in-law, Eli, and visit his new home in Kingston. The kids took such a liking to his jokes and playfulness that they want to sleep over at his house next time we visit!

My brother-in-law, Eli, with Esly discussing politics at the dinner table. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My brother-in-law, Eli, with Esly discussing politics at the dinner table. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Aside from family time, I was also able to visit the artsy core of downtown Kingston. I discovered a nice, little bookstore called, A Novel Idea, where I picked up a Montreal Book Review publication, some Kingston Writers’ promotional cards, a few bookmarks, Kingston Art buttons, and some postcards.

All in all, it was a much-needed getaway from the city, an opportunity to enjoy a long car ride and the autumn sights, to spend some quality time with my husband’s family, and to also get some stationery shopping done, as well as some letter writing to a number of my penpals.

The view overlooking the conservation site from my in-laws’ balcony. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The view overlooking the conservation site from my in-laws’ balcony. Kingston, Ontario. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

The kids enjoying their long weekend trip to see their grandparents in Kingston. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The kids enjoying their long weekend trip to see their grandparents in Kingston. October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

This year, Thanksgiving was so much more than about eating turkey. It was as it’s meant to be, a time for thoughtful reflection and a time for giving sincere thanks for family, friends, good food, great company, and the love and grace of God and His many blessings.

Whatever faith you may have or however differently you may celebrate, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration this past weekend! While I need not worry about a turkey gut, I’ve had my fill of other delicious foods and time well spent.

Happy Thanksgiving!

***

How do you usually spend Thanksgiving?

What was most memorable about your Thanksgiving celebration this year?

If you could so something differently for next year, what would you like to do?

What are you most thankful for?

***

zara - selfie 1

There’s Nothing Short About the 2014 Giller Shortlist

10.06.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Today is an important day for those who actively belong and participate in the Canadian literary world, especially for those who submitted their work for consideration of the highly coveted and prestigious literary prize for Canadian fiction—The Scotiabank Giller Prize—especially this year.

With an increase to the financial winnings—yes, a whopping $100,000 instead of last year’s $50,000—authors this year are vying for double the money through the prize that Jack Rabinovitch created in 1994 to honour his late wife, literary editor, Doris Giller, which boasts the title of Canada’s top literary fiction prize.

Anyone who is anyone in the publishing world knows that if you make it onto the Giller Longlist, you’ve already won reputable standing — one of distinction and one of opportunity.

But, to snag a spot on the Shortlist is to bid for the biggest accolade and jackpot in Canadian fiction. Canadian stories aren’t just stories anymore, but a testament to Canada’s cultural voice through literature. What it says is honoured each and every year, featuring some of Canada’s finest literary talent.

This year, Canadian author Shauna Singh Baldwin, British novelist Justin Cartwright, and American writer and critic Francine Prose, were the writers specifically chosen to sit on the Giller Prize jury, which had the difficult, but rewarding job of reading though a number of novel submissions—to first choose the Longlist that was announced in mid-September and then to cut the list down by half, which was announced today.

Here are the six finalists:

David Bezmozgis for his novel, The Betrayers, published by HarperCollins Canada:

betrayers***

Frances Itani for her book, Tell, published by HarperCollins Canada:

tell***

Sean Michaels for his novel, Us Conductors, published by Random House Canada:

us conductors ***

Heather O’Neill for her novel, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, published by HarperCollins Canada:

girl who was saturday night***

Miriam Toews for her novel, All My Puny Sorrows, published by Knopf Canada:

all my puny sorrows***

Padma Viswanathan for her book, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, published by Random House Canada:

ever after of ashwin rao***

Congratulations to all the finalists!

The Scotiabank Giller Prize will air on CBC Television on Monday, Nov. 10 at 9 p.m.with host Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio’s Q.

***

Have you read any of the books that made it onto the Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist?

Did the books you were expecting to make it on the list actually make it?

Who do you think will win this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize?

If you were to win the Giller Prize, what would you do with $100,000?

***

 zara - selfie 1

Re-cap: Word on the Street Festival 2014

09.23.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis / @zara.tokiniha

My husband and I had planned to attend the annual Word on the Street festival in Toronto on September 21 for months since our successful visits since a few years ago. And then of course, closer to the date, we heard the disappointing news of rain and thunder showers, which literally put a “damper” on our intentions to attend. So, after waking up really early with anticipation to leave, we heard the news, and then begrudgingly went back to sleep.

After a little nap, our five-year-old daughter woke us up saying, “Mama, I thought we’re going to Toronto?” That convinced me enough to reconsider. Why disappoint my only daughter? Why break a promise to her because of a little rain? So, my husband and I got up again and were determined to head on out regardless of the potentially bad weather.

In lieu of the poor weather reports we packed our umbrellas and practically ran to catch a GO bus to head to Union Station, at which point we walked to King subway, only to turn back due to the sales booth being closed. The great thing about the weekend in Toronto is the affordable TTC Family Pass, which allows two adults and up to four children to ride the TTC streetcar and subway all day. The unfortunate thing about the weekend in Toronto is its only time to perform construction and maintenance on the subway lines, which only means closures, detours, and delays for its commuters—yes, us.

Eventually, we routed ourselves onto a subway line headed north to College, at which point we needed to hop onto a streetcar to take us to Queen’s Park. We didn’t score the new TTC streetcars only launched a few weeks ago, but got a taste of the imminent crowd that is a Toronto pedestrian lifestyle.

Even though we were late, I was able to snag quite a bit of SWAG in the form of bookmarks, postcards, buttons, posters, stickers, temporary tattoos, and even a beach ball!

Some of the SWAG items I picked up at WOTS 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Some of the SWAG items I picked up at WOTS 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

X. wearing one my favourites pieces of SWAG from WOTS 2014, play reading glasses. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
X. wearing one my favourites pieces of SWAG from WOTS 2014, play reading glasses. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

It was, however, a struggle to even get a peek at some of the books for sale at a number of tents because of the bibliotaphe mobs that surrounded these busy tables. But, because of my will, determination, and sheer girth, I was able to squeeze (and elbow) through some people to finally get near some titles.

My friends at HarperCollins Canada loaded their tent with a slew of titles, a hodge podge of genres, ready for the plucking at super-crazy, clearance prices: $3 for hardcovers and $2 for paperbacks! But, because the crowd was busy picking and pecking at books, I was only able to snag a few goodies:

Books I bought at WOTS 2014: "The Age of Hope" by David Bergen, "Solo" by Rana Dasgupta, and "Astray" by Emma Donoghue. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Books I bought at WOTS 2014: “The Age of Hope” by David Bergen, “Solo” by Rana Dasgupta, and “Astray” by Emma Donoghue. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Still, the trip was worth it since there is always a spot reserved entirely for young children and their families especially the huge stage performances by TVO Kids, which my children enjoyed.

Here are some of the highlights my little readers enjoyed at WOTS this year:

The kids posing with Chirp of TVO Kids at WOTS 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The kids posing with Chirp of TVO Kids at WOTS 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

The kids with one of my favourite characters when I was a kid---it's Polkaroo! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The kids with one of my favourite characters when I was a kid—it’s Polkaroo! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

My little cowboy and cowgirl, courtesy of Howdy, TVO Kids. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My little cowboy and cowgirl, courtesy of Howdy, TVO Kids. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Other highlights included listening in to Claire Cameron speak about her book, “The Bear,” and Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer on her beautifully written novel, “All the Broken Things.”

What a brilliant day for book lovers everywhere!

Hope to see you all next year!

***

Did you attend WOTS 2014 this year?

Which authors were you most excited about meeting?

What bookish goodies were you able to snag?

***

zara - selfie 1

Crazy for CanLit 2014: If They Were Children’s Books

09.13.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis / @zara.tokiniha

If I was a kid, what would this year’s potential Giller Prize books look like? Based on the ones listed on the Crazy for CanLit Pinterest Board, these are what I would change the titles to if the books were for children—because I’m a kid like that. (You have my children to thank, for constantly coercing me to play Tag, Hide ‘n Seek, Rock, Paper & Scissors, and LEGO on a regular basis.)

Ready, kiddies? Let’s play!

ellen in LEGO pieces***

A is for andre alexis

***

what does pastoral mean

***

i don't know how to behave bc im just a kid***

the boy in spanish is el nino***

teddy bear***

fallsy downsies we all fall down***

all the broken things are my fault***

watch how we walk funny***

canadas wonderland***

juliet was a kinder surprise***

 answer to everything is aww do i have to***

tiny wife fits in my dollhouse***

super-man***

walt disney***

How would you change some of the potential Giller Prize books’ titles if you were a kid?

Which is your favourite title change from the list I created above?

***

zara - tokidoki glow

My New Obsession: Tokidoki and Kawaii

09.08.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis / @Zara.Tokiniha

Thanks to Suzanne of the Lavender Likes, Loves, Finds & Dreams… blog I was able to finally articulate my latest obsession: all things known as kawaii—an adjective in Japanese, which means pretty, cute, lovely, charming, dear, darling, or pet and stems from the two kanji words “can love;” it’s the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture, and is commonly used to describe “cute” and “adorable” pieces of Japanese popular culture, clothing, food, toys, behaviour, and even personal appearance.

I have always been attracted to all things kawaii though I was never aware there was an actual term to describe the quality of the things I loved. My best assumption was that the origin of what I really liked simply stemmed from a general, Asian influence. When I discovered the term, kawaii, a whole world of Japanese/Asian “cuteness” literally exploded before me and I soon realized that I wasn’t alone in my own desire to collect and share my love of kawaii goodies. I soon discovered (and gladly so) that there is a large, devoted kawaii collective that is just as passionate as I am about this deeply embedded Asian context and style.

I kid you not, though most would presume that lovers of kawaii are all under the age of 12. And believe me when I tell you, I’m a lot older than that—and a lot older than I actually look. So, no. We may be obsessed with the cuteness of doll-like figures, the bursting fluff of anime characters-turned-plush-toy, or the rage that is Sanrio, but we’re pretty mature in the serious dedication we have to our own personal collections. At least I do.  And I also fulfill one of the kawaii lovers’ given stereotypes especially since the products and the social culture of kawaii is so successfully marketed towards Asians. Yes, I’m Asian (surprise)!

Still that doesn’t deter me from proudly joining what I call, The Kawaii Collective, and its craze, nor does it stop me from nurturing my slow, but steady collection of kawaii stuff. And when I say, stuff, I mean STUFF. All kinds of it. From Hello Kitty vintage, Sailor Moon and My Little Pony keychains, MocMoc bobbleheads, Momiji dolls, rolls of decorative tape and stationery, puffy rainbow stickers, to an extensive variety of Unicorno vinyl toys.

Which leads me to how I discovered my latest craze—Tokidoki. As soon as I discovered it when browsing photos on Instagram, I instantly fell in love with its colourful prints, a collage of a number of kawaii characters created by creative designer, Simone Legno.

Legno, along with his partners, Pooneh Mohajer and Ivan Arnold, created the brand of Tokidoki in 2003 in Los Angeles, California—a brand that has exploded into apparel, handbags, cosmetics, accessories, toys, and more.

It has, by agreement and understanding of kawaii lovers everywhere, proclaimed its justifiable cult status. And yes, while I have always professed to snub elitism; my fashion palette and kawaii sensibility have both succumbed to joining the cult that is known and beloved by all Tokidoki followers. (You can follow me on Instagram here.)

I did indeed gasp at the sight of Tokidoki because…well…because I’m MAD for it, much to the expectation and frustration of my Instagram followers who have had to endure a number of my kawaii and Tokidoki posts.

For my fellow kawaii-loving friends and Tokidoki brothers and sisters, here are a couple of new items that I’ve procured for your visual devouring:

Han Ling liquid eyeliner, blue geisha, red geisha. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @Zara.Tokiniha. All rights reserved.
Han Ling liquid eyeliner, blue geisha, red geisha. Not only are they cute, the brush is more like a sharp stick that helps keep the line clean. Its back print says, “Love” on it. Part of my kawaii cosmetic collection. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

***

Tokidoki duffel bag. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @Zara.Tokiniha. All rights reserved.
My very first Tokidoki purchase, a Tokidoki duffel bag. “With Devotion or Zeal” print. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

 ***

Mashi Maro notebooks and kawaii pen. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Istagram @Zara.Tokiniha. All rights reserved.
Mashi Maro notebooks and kawaii pen from my recent visit to Chinatown in downtown Toronto. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Istagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

***

Tokidoki wallet pouch, green. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @Zara.Tokiniha. All rights reserved.
My Tokidoki wallet pouch, green. “Save the Planet” print. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

***

Momiji doll, red geisha. Kawaii. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.
My newest Momiji Doll, red geisha. Kawaii. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

***

Tokidoki knapsack, green. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.
My second Tokidoki bag, a knapsack, green. “Save the Planet” print. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

***

MocMoc bubblehead, kawaii. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.
MocMoc bubblehead, kawaii beside my Tokidoki print, “Seamless Repeating.” (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

***

Tokidoki wallet pouch, blue. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.
My matching Tokidoki wallet pouch, blue. “With Devotion or Zeal” print. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. On Instagram @zara.tokiniha. All rights reserved.

***

The Tokidoki brand has within it a number of kawaii characters belonging to a sub-brand with a back story.

Here are a few of my favourite characters from Tokidoki and their stories:

SANDy:

tokidoki - sandySANDy of Cactus Friends zips herself into a cactus suit as a form of armor to face the cold and frightening world. As a representation of the cactus, she represents conservation and purity of water, a source of life.

***

Donutella:

tokidoki - donutellaDonutella of the Donutella and Her Sweet Friends series is from a planet where sugar is used as energy. When scouting for fuel in her donut UFO, she discovered Earth and the large amounts of sweets that she couldn’t resist building a sweet colony here instead of returning to her planet. She now calls Earth her home. And boy, does she make me want to eat a donut.

***

Dolce:

 tokidoki - dolce***

Prima Donna:

tokidoki - prima donnaPrima Donna of the Unicornos was once a pony who just happened to cross a magic waterfall—and ta-dah! Poof! Just like that, she was transformed into one of the many unicornos who discovered a magic kingdom on the other side.  Unicornos now live between the magic kingdom and our world. (I love her because she’s not only a unicorn with a crown, she’s also somewhat of a diva. You go, Girl…er…I mean Unicorno!)

***

Mozzarella and Bulletto:

tokidoki - mozzarella and bullettoMozzarella and Bulletto are both part of the Moofia, a group of sweet renegades assigned to take milk from bullies in the lunch cafeteria or school yard. These guys are loving and kind to the good kids and cute, too, but make no mistake about it—if you’re a bully, they have guns and they’re not afraid to use them. Their aim? Protect the innocent, give them milk to help them grow strong and healthy.

***

Latte:

tokidoki - latteLatte of the Moofia is…well…a latte. And you know how I can’t resist one of those! He’s part of the gang, but he doesn’t believe in guns. Only a high volume of calcium. He may be cute and totally kawaii, but this milk-guy will seriously kick some bully butt. Milk is what makes our teeth and bones strong, right?And boy, it is moo-a-liscious!

***

 Are you familiar and/or a fan of kawaii and/or Tokidoki?

Do you own any kawaii and/or Tokidoki pieces in a collection?

Who is your favourite kawaii and/or Tokidoki character and why?

***

 zara - tokidoki glow

Wednesday’s Wicked, New Books

09.03.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

The books have been pouring in, which can only mean a few things:

  1. I have an active constellation acting on my behalf.
  2. My bookshelves are getting a good workout.
  3. My husband will soon suspend my book-buying budget.
  4. I am frantically getting behind on my reading and reviews.
  5. Publishers like me.
  6. Twitter is useful.
  7. Rafflecopter is rigged.
  8. My postman is pissed at me—and I mean really pissed at me.
  9. I squeal and book shimmy about every 10 minutes.
  10. Authors are alive and well and still have a lot of stories to tell.

Here’s a look at the Bibliotaphe’s Closet’s latest additions:

Books for Review:

A special thanks as always to Random House of Canada for sending me the following books for review:

man

Man by Kim Thuy

If this novel is as good as Thuy’s last novel, Ru, then we’re all in for a lyrical read.

book - bone clocks

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

book - ten-o-four

10:04 by Ben Lerner

book - stone mattress

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

If you’re an Atwood fan (and really, who isn’t?), you’re going to want to get your hands on her new collection of short stories. I loved her last collection, Moral Disorder, so I’m excited to read this as soon as I can.

And of course, a special thanks to Quirk Books for sending me the following book for review:

book - horrorstor

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

When this first arrived, I absolutely fell in love with its book design. I don’t actually have to say which catalogue it resembles,  do I? I don’t think I’ll be able to look at my furniture the same way again.

Thanks to author, Eric Smith, for sending me a copy of his book (and its matching poster) for review. I haven’t hung the poster on the wall yet, only because I need to go out and buy a couple of gigantic frames. Nevertheless, I look forward to decorating my office soon with book posters galore. As for being a geek, yes, I am one.

book - geek's guide to dating

The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

Books I Won:

I apparently have an entire (yet unnamed) constellation dedicated to my good fortune. This constellation, though, seems to only favour me in winning only books because I haven’t yet won the lottery—then again, there is a HUGE money pot up for grabs this Friday, which means I’ll have to talk this constellation up for me to have even a little crack at winning.

Nevertheless, I have a heart full of thanks to send out to many generous publishers and authors who have chosen me as the recipient of their book giveaways and contests. Me and my bookshelves are honoured!

Thanks to Penguin Random House on behalf of Razorbill and the Bloggers & Books Network Program for sending me the following book:

book - art of getting stared at

The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston

I don’t have the tendency to get stared at, unless of course, I have something on my face like the remnants of the last cupcake I’ve devoured. Only then do people notice me. Still, this book looks good to read.

Thanks to my special friends at Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of the following for review:

book - mating for life

Mating for Life by Marissa Stapley

Personally, I mate for life. After being married a good 12 years to who I consider the sexiest man alive this year and for every year after, I know I’m in it forever. (I hope this book is as positive about marriage as I am.)

Thanks to Source Books who host a monthly book chat and for sending me a copy of the following:

book - paris architect

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

I love Paris. I haven’t been to Paris, but I love it still. And I look forward to reading this politically charged novel.

A big high-five to the folks at Retreat Random House of Canada for hosting a read-along. I was lucky enough to be one of the winners on the Rafflecopter to score a new edition of this book:

book - remains of the day

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Congratulations to author, Josephine Angelini, on her new publication of this bewitching YA, paranormal book. I’m glad to be one of the few winners who snagged an ARC from her blog giveaway:

book - trial by fire

Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

Tor Books sent me more magic by sending me a copy of this book, plus a cute Tor Books recycling bag as the winner of their giveaway contest. Thanks, Tor Books!

book - copper magic

Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson

Steph from the book blog, Feisty Little Woman, sent me a personal note along with my book prize from her giveaway. I was so pleased to receive both. Thanks, Steph!

book - interference

Interference by Michelle Berry

And thanks to the marketing folks on Twitter on behalf of Hyperion for sending me this book from their Twitter giveaway. I’m looking forward to reading all about Rosie:

book - love rosie

Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern

And last, but not least, a special thanks goes out to Giselle, a fellow book blogger whose reviews are as great as her web design! Be sure to check out her the book blog, Book Nerd. She sent me my choice of prize from her August 2014 Book Outlet Giveaway:

book - sharp time

The Sharp Time by Mary O’Connell

Books I Bought:

These YA books caught my eye not only because of their plots and cover designs, but because of their unbelievable prices! Yes, I bought these babies on sale and the discount was so deep, they felt like they were almost free!

book - because it is my blood

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

book - cross my heart

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

***

Based on the number of books in this collection, I think it’s fair to say that all the reasons I listed above most likely all apply to why these books may have poured in at once! Thanks to my loyal constellation, the generosity of publishers and authors, and the patience of my dutiful and hardworking postman.

(Here’s hoping that my luck is even better when I play the lottery on Friday…)

***

Of all the books listed above, which are you most interested in reading and why?

Do you have any of these in your collection?

Which ones would you like to add to your bookshelf?

What’s the last prize you won?

***

zara cat stamp

 

Back to the Grind

09.02.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I woke up, blinked, and poof—summer was done. Just like that. And it seems I’m still in a bit of a daze about it. Yes, I woke up extra early today. I hesitantly woke the children up much against their will: there was a yawn, a rollover, and a quiet plea for a little more time under the covers. But, I had to do it. Much against my own compassion for what it is to be a wee one on the first day of school, plus my own desire to simply cuddle my babies to my chest and keep them home, I had to play Mommy and be tough—well, act tough, anyway, for their sakes.

My preparation and anxiety from the night before proved to be helpful: clothes were set out, backpacks were packed, and the lunch menu already pre-planned. I washed the little one, dressed her up in clothes she agreed to wear, and tied up her hair as best as I could without any resistance, which usually happens when I put her hair up in pig-tails. So far, so good.

Breakfast was set, vitamins chewed, and the kids miraculously didn’t argue about which channel to watch on T.V.—YTV or Treehouse, which in the past meant a long and endless tirade of whining and drama that only raised my stress level and magically turned me into a frothing tyrant-referee desperate to diffuse an inevitable violence between two adamant, stubborn children willing to fight to the very end in order to watch either Toopy and Binoo or Scaredy Squirrel—a fight I really wanted to be no part of.

binoo squirrel - collage***

It seemed the morning wasn’t going to be a dreadful start to the fall as forewarned. We walked together, backpacks, and nervous anticipation in tow. Other children and their families in the community were also out in their new shoes, new haircuts, and bustling strides, eager to reconcile with old friends, and former classmates, to size up their potentially great or grave, new teachers—it was, after all, the luck of the draw.

The pre-determined personality of a teacher held the promise of either a glorious or unfortunately grotesque year. This subtle fear was apparent in both the hushed whispers between parents and the over-compensating cackles of kids who grew a couple more inches over the summer holidays. It was a chaotic buzz in the school yard, which marked the beginning of another school year, a testimony to new routines, and bigger challenges. It meant, too, a time to let go.

While I didn’t get an opportunity to meet Michael’s Grade 5 teacher in person because she was late in arriving onsite, I was still able to successfully take my daughter all the way to the other side of the school in greeting her new Senior Kindergarten teacher before the bell rang.

Michael was preoccupied in speaking with old friends, comparing notes on who ended up on the same roster, and therefore, in the same class to be overly concerned about the formalities of goodbye and good luck from his mother. Thankfully, he was still okay with his Mom giving him a hug goodbye.

Xara, on the other hand, professed she didn’t need a hug from me, that she was now in Senior Kindergarten, and therefore called to be a leader—more specifically, a Bumblebee Leader—a role model to the new kids in Junior Kindergarten who would inevitably need to be shown what to do. Uh-huh, okay.

I did, however, introduce her to her new teacher and she shyly said, “Hi,” before joining her classmates in line. The bell rang, we waved goodbye to one another, and off she went, sure of herself, telling me on the way to school that she knew to put her indoor shoes on, once she got inside, and to put her extra pack of clothes in her new cubby. She is, after all, an expert now.

As for me, I’m still dazed at the success of the morning, clinging to the thought of my children’s safety and success, hoping for the best for them, and missing them, just the same.

But, we’re still here. And even though the future continues to meet us directly, and always too soon, I’m begrudgingly happy to wish summer goodbye and hello to fall, the onslaught of cooler weather, cozier fashion, and a tizzy of new, upcoming books—and yes, to more hand-painted portraits of the my daughter’s creative imagination and marked-up reports of my son’s potential success in multiplication and problem-solving in Grade 5 math.

(Better that, than the news of a first-time girlfriend or boyfriend for each one of them! Then we’re talking about an all-out Zombie Apocalypse for Mommy—and we don’t want that.)

The kids' first day of school, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The kids’ first day of school, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

What’s your First Day Back at School been like?

What are you looking forward to learning this year? If not for yourself, your children?

What goals are you looking forward to achieving this year? If not for yourself, for your children?

Which books do you look forward to reading this fall?

***

Hope you have a great day back to school—and back to the grind!

(If it’s any compensation, just think of all the new books you get to read this year.)

***

zara cat stamp

 

 

Stuffing the Bibliotaphe Closet

08.11.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

From anticipating the end of the school year for my children in June, to planning a 10th birthday party for my son who’s obsessed with LEGO, to all the activities planned for the rest of the summer—I blinked, opened my eyes, and realized, OMG, it’s already August, with only three more weeks left until the children return to school in the fall.

Amongst some of those summer activities is continuously adding new books to the Bibliotaphe Closet collection.

Here are some new and great goodies waiting to be read on my shelf:

Books for Review:

A special thanks to Random House of Canada for providing me with the following books for review:

girls from corona del marThe Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

***

lucky usLucky Us by Amy Bloom

***

luminariesThe Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

***

colorless tsukuru tazakiColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

***

Books Won:

A special thanks to Penguin Canada for sending me the following prize through a Twitter contest:

third plateThe Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber

***

A special thanks to Doubleday Canada for sending me the following book as a prize from a Twitter contest:

distanceThe Distance by Helen Giltrow

***

A special thanks to Graywolf Press for sending me two books as my prize from a Facebook contest:

karate chopKarate Chop: Stories by Dorthe Nors

***

belmontBelmont: Poems by Stephen Burt

***

Books I Bought:

 russian winterRussian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

***

slammerkinSlammerkin by Emma Donoghue

***

known worldThe Known World by Edward P. Jones

***

how it all beganHow It All Began by Penelope Lively

***

mercyMercy by Jodi Picoult

***

alice hartle's happinessAlice Hartley’s Happiness by Philippa Gregory

***

Books Borrowed:

 innocentsThe Innocents by Francesca Segal

***

wisp of a thingWisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe

***

splinteredSplintered by A.G. Howard

***

unhingedUnhinged by A.G. Howard

***

Out of all the books listed above, which ones are you most interested in reading?

Which book do you think I should read next?

***

zara cat stamp

Crazy for CanLit 2014: My Book Cover Poem

08.08.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I’m Canadian. And while I’m not necessarily crazy, I am absolutely mad for Canadian Literature—and the annual Scotiabank Giller Prize festivities that honour the best in Canadian fiction.

Which brings me to this book cover list. While I’m keen on making lists in of themselves for almost everything I do (Post-It notes are my go-to organizational tool), the CanLit book covers eligible for this year’s Giller Prize have inspired me to create a poem made entirely of its book titles. While I didn’t use every book on the list, I was pretty close.

Let me know what you think of my “book cover” poem that reads from left to right:

can lit poem verse 1For today I am a boy

shallow enough to walk through

wallflowers.

can lit poem verse 2The world before us

just beneath my skin

between clay and dust:

can lit poem verse 3frog music, wonder—

all the broken things.

 can lit poem verse 4The road narrows as you go,

the breaking words,

the filthy few,

moving forward sideways like a crab.

can lit poem verse 5The eye of the day,

the opening sky,

the freedom in American songs…

can lit poem verse 6all my puny sorrows

tell

the hole in the middle,

I’m not scared of you or anything.

van lit poem verse 7The river burns

sweet life,

visions,

wild justice.

can lit poem verse 8I don’t know how to behave

consumed

where the air is sweet:

can lit poem verse 9sweet affliction,

the age,

a sudden sun.

can lit poem verse 10When is a man,

man?

The cuckoo’s child

can lit poem verse 11up in smoke,

the fledglings’

fire in the unnameable country,

can lit poem verse 12little bastards in springtime

foxed—loddy-dah!

can lit poem verse 13The answer to everything:

American innovations,

infidelity,

can lit poem verse 14prairie ostrich,

the tiny wife,

some extremely boring drives,

can lit poem verse 15all my sins

(Vienna nocturne),

proud flesh,

polyamorous love song.

can lit poem verse 16My October,

mating for life

the girl who was Saturday night

can lit poem verse 17will

a second chance—

my suicide.

can lit poem verse 18

Whatever Lola wants:

the afterlife of stars,

the location of unknown possibilities,

blood on a saint,

can lit poem verse 19I’m not scared of you or anything

Planet Lolita.

can lit poem verse 20Tell the broken hours,

the ghosts of Smyrna:

can lit poem verse 21the wind is not a river

based on a true story;

the wind is not a river

up in smoke.

can lit poem verse 22Watch how we walk

the incomparables—

how does a single blade of grass thank the sunHow does a single blade of grass

thank the sun?

***

What kind of thematic list can you create from the list of Can Lit books eligible for the prestigious Giller Prize?

***

zara cat stamp

Books and nooks. Writing and reading between the pages.