June 24, 2009

The Scream Literary Festival

The Scream Literary Fest is hitting Toronto from today 'til the 13th of July. Since I am involved as a volunteer, I thought I would write a little bit about the event here. It is a week long celebration of the book, and a slap in the face to those who claim the book is dead. As a child of the internet age, I feel it is very important to recognize that online media should not replace the book, but provide new ways to share stories. Some may claim that the internet is dealing killing blows to literature, but I believe there are still many surviving bookworms in the world today who will keep it alive.

The festival is a series of very creative events involving books, theatre and music. Exploring all of the ways that words are central to our lives, these events mock the idea that literature is in decline. It can be found everywhere in our lives. Story-telling is a non-exclusive part of humanity, and there will never be a day when book reading has become an activity of the past. Not if Scream has anything to say about it.

June 19, 2009

About Hobbits

Various current dietary theories give evidence that Hobbits should be quite physically fit. Although the stars of the film version were quite thin, Tolkien described the race as "fattish in the stomach", which is really quite unlikely given their lifestyle. It seems the movie-makers may have inadvertently corrected the mistake. The Hobbits' tendency to eat seven meals every day, according to current weight loss claims, should keep their metabolism going all day to burn off all of those calories. That plump little misses seen at the end of Return of the King should be quite a lot thinner if she enjoys all of the Hobbits' daily meals: breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

Another factor that should lighten the weight is their drinkage of tea instead of coffee, and with most meals. Many weight-loss diets recommend drinking tea with every meal to fill up the tummy with a low-carb treat, making it difficult to fill up on the more fattening foods.

Hobbits are also known for eating simple foods such as bread, cheese, taters and meat. In my own humble opinion, foods such as these are not so fattening, and the major cause of the obesity epidemic in modern North America is fast food and trans fat, not red meat and starch. Accompanied by a day of farming, before industrial technology, the Hobbits' diet really should earn them a thinner stomach.

June 15, 2009

New Target Audience for Garth Nix

Perhaps my previous experiences with Nix's writing were from a more youthful point of view, but I could swear his new series, Keys to the Kingdom, is aimed at an audience that is more appreciative of the fantasy genre. Judging from the first book, Mister Monday, I would recommend it for the young and very young of heart.

Although a fast-paced page-turner, this book would have been better off without some of its fun little quirks. For example, the attempt to lure in a more profitable consumer is ruined as Nix tries to simulate teenage chat speak in an e-mail between two characters. He slaughters the use of acronyms and makes young adults cringe at his shorthand. The action-packed conclusion was somewhat ruined by over-explaining the events to an underestimated reader. The result involved several yawns during the climactic duel between the protagonist and Mister Monday himself.