Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature.

This week our lists are all about the ten best bookish memories we have. I haven't ordered mine in any particular way but they are listed in the order I thought of them. I was excited about this week's list. I sat down to start it, only managed to come up with five, and then gave up. Then, this morning (Tuesday), I started really thinking about some bookish memories on my commute and decided to give it another shot. When there's a previous post that relates to the memory, I've linked the title. Enjoy!

Don't forget to check out their blog for a full list of everyone participating in this week's list!

Sarah Dessen has been my favourite author for years. I’ve been reading her novels for probably…twelve years now. I first discovered her books when I was working at my public library (more on that later). I was shelf reading (aka making sure the books were in the right order on the shelves) and I came across Someone Like You (with the old school cover no less). I thought it looked good, took it home, and fell in love. I immediately told one of my best friends about it, she read it, and just like that, we were hooked. Fast forward to just over a year ago when we found out Dessen was going to be in Toronto. I entered some contest hosted by Penguin Canada and then promptly forgot about it. Until I got an email two days before the event telling me that I was one of the winners and I would get to go to a special meet and greet before the talk and signing. AND I could bring a friend! After I stopped hyperventilating, I called my friend and she had pretty much the same response. There were about fifteen winners and their friends in the room and we all got to chat with Sarah prior to the signing. I didn’t think I could love her any more but that event clinched it. She is so down to earth and just fabulous. We got to have our books signed before everyone else and have a little one on one time with Sarah. Unbelievable. My friend and I were definitely some of the oldest people there by almost a decade (most girls were 14-16 and we were 24 at the time) but we so didn’t care. We got to meet our favourite author and it was amazing.

Emily Giffin is another of my favourite authors and when she was promoting her latest novel Where We Belong last year she had a tour stop in Toronto. Naturally, I decided I needed to go. First I planned to go with a coworker but things changed and she had guests that night (it was unfortunately the Thursday before the last long weekend of summer). Then, I was going to go with the owner of the other blog I write for (Novel Escapes, in case you didn’t know) but a family thing came up and she wasn’t able to go. THEN I was going to go with another blogger but her hubby got last minute Blue Jays tickets and she had to stay home with their son. So. There I was. Alone and on my way to the city (you didn’t really think I’d skip it, did you?). And you know what? It was great. In fact, when Emily asked if I was there with anyone and I told her that I got bailed on three separate times, she made sure I got a t-shirt. Pretty sweet, eh? I’m sure I babbled like an idiot when I was chatting with her because I was just in awe. Even with that, and the fact that the picture of us came out blurry, I still had a fabulous time and I’m so glad I decided to go.

Late last summer/early fall, I heard about the event Random House of Canada and Chatelaine magazine were holding. It was all about the upcoming fall books and was to be a night of fun and bookish awesomeness. I met up with a fellow blogger (the third one from the above story!) and we headed to the event together. It was so great to meet a blogger in person and we had a great time at the event! There was delicious food and a fab swag bag. I also finally got to meet Lindsey who looks after sending books to bloggers for review at Random House. It was an excellent night all around.

Getting an internship at Random House of Canada
Just over a year ago I came across a publishing certificate that was offered by a university in Toronto. I was interested because I was currently unhappy at my job and wanted to figure out a way to work with books that wasn’t in retail or a library. Cue my surgery last January and I had to put the idea on the back burner for a bit. Once I moved and got settled in my new job, I started taking courses online last fall. Through this course, we get emails telling us about internship opportunities. I wasn’t going to apply for any originally but I decided it was now or never and applied to a couple. Fast forward a few weeks and I was hired as one of two publicity interns at Random House. Holy crap. I’m just in week four now and I still pinch myself every once and awhile. I can’t believe I’m actually here! Of course, I have no idea what this will lead to and I’m trying not to stress about that (though my boyfriend and close friends will tell you that I’m not succeeding at that). For now, I’m enjoying the ride.

Talk about a bunch of book lovers in one place! In November the ladies of the Ontario Blog Squad organized the second annual meet-up in Toronto. I really wanted to meet some of these bloggers in person so I got my ticket and waited (im)patiently for the day of the event to arrive. Due to last minute Facebook communication, I met with another blogger from the city I live in and we traveled by train together into the city where we met up with even more people before heading to the event. This event was just so much fun and it was amazing to have that many book lovers all together (there were about 70 of us, I think). There were authors, people from publishing houses, prizes, and one huge bag of books to take home. I can’t wait for this year’s event!

The public library in my hometown

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a library card. My mom is a huge reader and always encouraged my sister and I to read (which she probably regretted when we would read instead of cleaning our rooms…). I can remember going down to the library in my hometown when I was younger and getting to pick out whatever books I wanted. I loved wandering in and out of the stacks and picking out books that I liked. I can recall when I got old enough to move to the next level up…and the one after that…and the one after that…until I was finally looking in the adult fiction section. By that time, I was working at the library and stayed working there for the entire four years I was in high school. I think this was probably the best first job anyone could ask for. OK, any book worm could ask for! :) Our library used to be a post office and I think it’s just a beautiful building. It now has a snazzy new addition so it’s much different and bigger than when I worked there. Even though I’ve been accumulating various library cards (I have four in total from the different places I’ve lived…), I have yet to find a library that I like better than the one I grew up in.

When I decided to start this blog just over two years ago I had no idea what it would turn into. I just wanted a way to talk about books some more. Since I started Books Etc. I’ve met some amazing people – both in person and online. The book blogging community is fabulous and I’m so glad I’m a part of it. Writing this blog is also what prompted me to finally start thinking about working in the book world and I don’t think I would have started the publishing courses without it.

The same day I found out I won the Sarah Dessen contest, my grandmother surprised my sister and I with an unbelievable trip. She was sending us on a four day cruise to the Bahamas and then onto Universal for three days (it’s amazing I didn’t completely lose my mind with excitement that night). The reason for this completely out of the blue and extremely generous trip? My sister had been thinking for awhile that she wanted to work on a cruise ship but had never been on one and we’re both obsessed with Harry Potter. And who cares about a reason, anyway? I have the world’s best grandma and got to go on a fabulous vacation. We only had the afternoon the first day we were at Universal so we showed incredible restraint and didn’t go to Harry Potter world until the next morning. That didn’t stop the stupid grins and squealing when we saw the castle as we walked into the park, though! Since we were staying on the park grounds we got early access into the HP part of the park so we, like many others, made a beeline for it the next morning. We were in total awe of the awesomeness that was the park. We did each of the roller coasters, ate at the Three Broomsticks, shopped at some of the stores, and tried Butterbeer (delish!). Sometimes I still can’t believe we were actually there!

Working at a bookstore

The first store I worked in!
OK, those of you who really know me are probably thinking, “WTF? I thought she hated her life when she was working at Coles?” That is true. It was not my dream job by any means and it was essentially a job I had out of necessity. I worked there the summer after my first year of university, all through second and third years of university and year of post grad (let me tell you, finals + working in retail in December = a whole new version of hell), and after I graduated up until I got my first “real” job. Just over three years if you add it all up (and if I did my math correctly) and a total of three stores in three very different malls and cities. Retail was not my dream. But talking about books all day? Awesome. The thing I miss most about working at Coles is recommending books to people and hearing them talk about their favourite books. But the thing I miss the most? Some of the people I worked with. I made so many friends while working there and there are three of them that are incredibly close and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. What can I say? Book people like book people! :)

So, if you can count, you’ll realize there are only nine things on this list. I’m sure there’s a tenth but my mind is hiding it from me at this moment in time. I think I’ve had a pretty great bookish life so far. Here’s to even more bookish awesomeness in the future!


  1. Wow you do have the best grandma ever! I am so jealous of that trip and I would love to go to Universal Studios and go to Hogwarts! It would be amazing. And so jealous that you worked in a bookstore!

    Becca @ Lost in Thought

  2. I LOVED the stories about Sarah Dessen and Emily Giffin! They are definitely some of my favorites as well and I cannot even imagine how awesome it was to chat with them for a little! I keep avoiding author events because I read way more than any of my friends around here, so I'd probably would end up going by myself. I am avoiding no longer! Your Emily Giffin story has definitely inspired me. Such great bookish memories!


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