As laid out in the first-ever Evan Yeong Literary Awards, the purpose of these blog posts has been to provide a retrospective of the books read in the past year. Typically these have been written and published in January, but here we are. Better late than never, as I always say.
This is the first of these awards to be written during my relatively new career in publishing. While I wouldn’t say I have a strong understanding of the ins and outs of what’s hot in the industry, I certainly have a healthier grasp of things, especially compared to past years when I had none whatsoever.
The other notable difference is that the list of books read has been censored in part, due to a number of the books having been unsolicited manuscripts that I was asked to read during my time as an Editorial Intern at Penguin Random House Canada. A handful were also unpublished manuscripts or ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and have been marked as such. You can check out a full list [with the exact dates of when I read each one] at this link.
ALMOST AS COMPLEX AS THEIR NAMESAKE
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
Those who aren’t as familiar with the works of C.S. Lewis should know that “Aslan” is the name of the Judeo-Christian-God-stand-in of that author’s Narnia series. The lion is a complex figure, embodying a dichotomy of a being that is “isn’t safe” while also “good”. Aslan himself is a likewise complicated man, having been raised Muslim, converted to Christianity in his teens, then back to Islam, a faith he continues to practice, and did during the writing of this book. A fascinating fact for both believers and nonbelievers alike is his statement that whether or not he was the son of God, the Nazarene definitively performed miracles.
SHOULD HAVE WON THE 2017 GILLER PRIZE
Brother by David Chariandy
One of many short, powerful works of fiction that I read this year, Brother is as unpretentious and beautiful a novel as you’re likely to find, and a worthy contender for Canada’s loftiest and most coveted literary prize. Shining a spotlight on Scarborough in the 90s, an area that I have (recently) shamefully joked about only “technically being Toronto”, this book would have served as a reminder of the real life stories that are overlooked and underheard.
The actual winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize was Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square, which I read the ARC of. Brother was longlisted. Continue reading
Posted in art, Canada, Christianity, Comedy, food, Islam, literature, race, relationships, religion, review, science, sex, writing
Tagged An Ocean of Minutes, Anonymous, Beauty Queens, Blink, books, brother, David Chariandy, E. V. Cunningham, Evan Yeong Literary Awards, Horns, horror, Joe Hill, Joey Comeau, Joy Kogawa, Libba Bray, literature, Malagash, Michael Pollan, novel, Obasan, race, relevant, Reza Aslan, romance, satire, Ted Dekker, The Botany of Desire, The Case of the One-Penny Orange, The Incest Diary, Thea Lim, Zealot
It’s a term that elicits a broad range of emotions, with each of our respective childhoods affecting how we react to it. Who we were, growing up, is a significant factor. But what about instances when who we are now is worlds apart from the person we once were?
Having spent much of her career up to now working in television, Mum is Anne-Marie O’Connor’s first short film, and one that she created with the help of star Kate O’Donnell, a transgender actor. Her debut short focuses on a trans character of the same name whose visit home is derailed by the discovery that her mother is in very poor health.
Much like the director, O’Donnell’s limited experience is also in television, where she starred in an episode of the transgender romcom series Boy Meets Girl. As the character at the centre of this short film she delivers a performance that, while uneven at points, always feels painfully real. Continue reading
Posted in Europe, family, film, lgbt, review
Tagged actor, actress, Anne-Marie O'Connor, Ash Palmisciano, Boy Meets Girl, childhood, family, Galway Film Fleadh, Joseph Pearson, Kate O'Donnell, LGBTQ, Margot Leicester, Mum, short film, trans, Transgender
Look, at this point pretty much everything is pointing towards 2 Broke Girls not getting a Season 7. I have a Google Alert set up for any related news, and week after week I’m sent articles tracking its flagging viewership and overall ratings. At 4.6 million, last month’s “And the Alley Oops” marks the smallest audience the show has ever had throughout the course of it airing. What’s more, at the time of this writing CBS still has yet to renew the sitcom for its 2017 fall lineup.
With all of that being said, and this very likely being the penultimate episode, I’m definitely realizing very late in the game that this show is all about Ms. Caroline Channing.
It’s an odd prospect to consider given how much the sitcom has focused on Kat Dennings’ Max Black. Dennings objectively has the larger personality and star power, given her minor role in the Thor franchise. Considering how much 2 Broke Girls has doubled down on their crass humour and one-liners, Max shares the title role but commands a larger portion of the spotlight. So what do I mean when I say it’s really all about Caroline? Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, money, review, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the Rock Me on the Dais, Beth Behrs, Bobby, Candy Andy, Caroline, CBS, characters, Current Total, Disney, funny, Han, Kat Dennings, Matthew Moy, Max, movie, New Total, press junket, relationship, review, Rock Me Amadeus, S6E21, Sophie
I mentioned not too long ago that chances are Season 6 of 2 Broke Girls will be 22 episodes. That means that “And the Alley-Oops” is the antepenultimate installment, and you would hope that at this point the showrunners would begin lining things up in preparation for the finale. Nope, this is just an episode about bowling.
Caroline and Bobby have some mild conflict, but even it describing it that way feels hyperbolic. Max is very much a footnote to the episode, and on the outskirts the rest of the diner gang get up to their own light shenanigans. In other words it’s pretty par for the course, as 2 Broke Girls has been lately, but at Episode 20 we should expect a little more. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, relationships, review, sports, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the Alley-Oops, baby, Beth Behrs, bowling, Caroline, CBS, Christopher Gorham, conflict, Frank, gremlin, Han, Jonathan Kite, Kat Dennings, Matthew Moy, Max, Oleg, relationship, review, S6E20, Sophie
It’s funny, because with a title like “And the Baby and Other Things” you would think that this episode would be centred on little baby Barbara and her parents, Sophie and Oleg.
What’s also funny is that I wrote that opening line before watching this episode, and hey, I was exactly right. The “Baby” in question actually has nothing do with the daughter of the most-cheered-for couple on prime time television. That being said, Sophie and Oleg were actually one of my favourite parts of an episode that continues the trend of Season 6 being heavily back-loaded with Caroline-centric plots. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, family, relationships, review, television
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the Baby and Other Things, baby, Beth Behrs, Caroline, CBS, Christopher Gorham, Denise, family, Han, Jonathan Kite, Kat Dennings, Mail Boxes Etc, Matthew Moy, Max, Mikaela Hoover, Oleg, review, Rose Gold iPhone, S6E19, Sophie, The Bachelor