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“Don’t Comb the Giraffe”: A Review of Watch Your Tongue by Mark Abley

Book Reviews

Have you heard of any strange or amusing idioms, or perhaps have one you like to use? At TEC, we’re always interested in wordplay, so we were excited when we recently received an unexpected package at the office — a large envelope from Simon & Schuster Canada filled with pre-publication copies of Watch Your Tongue: What Our Everyday Sayings and Idioms Figuratively Mean by Mark Abley. We loved the...

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Book Review: Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples

Book Reviews

      It feels appropriate that my first post for the TEC blog is a review of a style guide. In the two months since I've started working at TEC I've spent plenty of time looking through guides like the APA Publication Manual and the massive Chicago Manual of Style. The best style guides are more than a source of rules and answers for specific questions about formatting and referencing:...

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A Review of Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation by Ammon Shea

Book Reviews

    Ammon Shea's Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation (Penguin, 2014) is a usage guide of sorts, but far from being a prescriptive guide like Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage or Bremner's Words on Words, Shea's book records a variety of grammar and usage peeves, and, by examining their roots, exposes them as unfounded compulsions foisted on English users by grammar scolds.   Having previously written Reading the OED:...

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An Insider’s Tale of the Canadian Opera Scene: A Review of Dr. Bartolo’s Umbrella

Book Reviews

Dr. Bartolo's Umbrella and Other Tales from My Surprising Operatic Life By Christopher Cameron Published by Seraphim Editions, 2017   Former TEC editor Christopher Cameron's Dr. Bartolo's Umbrella is an entertaining, informative, and cheeky look at an individual's experiences working in Canadian opera. The book takes the reader through the journey of Cameron's unlikely musical beginnings, lucky breaks, hard work, and various roles within the Canadian classical music scene. ...

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The Book Is Dead! Long Live the Book!

Book Reviews

A Review of The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith Houston     Life in the Digital Lane It doesn't really matter where you go today, whether you're riding the subway, sitting in a coffee shop, or crossing the street, it seems that almost everyone's eyes are riveted to the screen of some device or another. Texts, emails, games, movies, TV shows . ...

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Punctuation* (*But Were Afraid to Ask): A Review of Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston

Book Reviews

  Like so many projects,* it started out innocently enough: a book recommendation, interest piqued by a mark recurring throughout the text, a definition that "invited more questions than it answered. " That's all it took for Keith Houston† to plunge headlong and gleefully into a study of punctuation. The result? His 2013 book Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks.     Wide-Ranging in...

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A TEC Review of Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People

Book Reviews

Zoe Whittall is the award-winning author of four novels and three books of poetry and was TEC's sponsored author at this year's Word On The Street. Her latest novel, The Best Kind of People (Anansi, 2016), is on the short list for this year's Giller Prize.  It provides a fresh take on one of the most difficult and controversial criminal and social challenges of the century. Her...

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My Three Summer Book Picks

Book Reviews

The Queen of the Night Alexander Chee Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I was given this novel by someone who thought that since I had a background in opera I might get a kick out of it, the titular Queen being one of Mozart’s most famous antagonists.   The book turned out to be an enjoyable romp of a period piece – historical fiction with a vivid, but not overwhelming, operatic theme. ...

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A Traveller's (Short) Reading List

Book Reviews

The Question of Mitbringsel Part of the preparation for my latest trip to Germany involved shopping for Canadian Mitbringsel (small presents): for my colleagues in the horn section, little boxes of maple sugar candies; for my friend Peter, chef extraordinaire, a pair of oven mitts decorated with an Inuit raven motif; and for my high-spirited French friend, Delphine, a red LCBO wine cooler with a black moose printed on it....

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Mysteries & Murders Make for a Chilling Summer

Book Reviews

In my most recent Kobo shopping spree, I was on the hunt for some great titles to carry me through the summer. I often find that I read certain genres in phases, and this summer has been no different – I seem to be going through mysteries of various kinds at a fast pace! So if you're looking for something a little creepier than your average beach read, I've...

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Austen vs Chandler: What Melissa Is Reading

Book Reviews

Since having my first baby earlier this year, my book-reading time has taken a serious hit. In fact, most of my reading for the past four months has consisted in frantically scrolling through the forums at BabyCenter. ca or skimming the pages of What to Expect: The First Year while rocking a crying infant in my arms. This past month, though, the chaos has subsided somewhat. Baby Ben’s...

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What We're Reading: A Few Picks from TEC Editors

Book Reviews

Here at TEC, we generally view summer as prime reading time, what with all the vacations, long weekends at the cottage, and general relaxation. We've all started in on our "to be read" piles, and this summer, we'll be doing a "what we're reading" series to pass on our favourites and top choices. So, read on for Beth and Lesley-Anne's choices.     What Lesley-Anne Is Reading Over the past month,...

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An Editor Reviews: Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto

Book Reviews

  How do you look at a city? What do you see when you walk down its alleys, across its streets, and through its neighbourhoods? When I look out my office window at the skyscrapers and the CN Tower, I see walls of concrete and shiny sheets of glass, but Toronto wasn't always this way.   How did the city come to be? Toronto the Overwhelming I live in the GTA, not exactly...

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Southern Comfort Gone Wrong in Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman

Book Reviews

The hype generated around the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman (HarperCollins, 2015) made many of us want to read this book. After all, it was Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, a classic in our own time. We, at TEC, were enthusiastic. We bought two copies: one for us to read in-office and one for the first of our Twitter Giveaways. ...

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How Can You Not Buy Books When Reading the NYRB?

Book Reviews

  A good question to ask, especially when reading the University Press Issue, which was released on July 9. I happened to be at Book City on the Danforth and couldn't resist picking up a copy. The New York Review of Books is, of course, an undisputed source of information for all books literary, poetic, academic, geographic, historical, and the list goes on, which makes for incredibly engaging reading....

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Book Review: Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s The Devil You Know

Book Reviews

  While reading through the January/February issue of Quill and Quire, Beth came across a review of a title that sounded so interesting, she bought it right away (at Book City on the Danforth) and brought it to the office as an “office copy. ” A book we at TEC could all take a turn reading. The title? The Devil You Know, by Elisabeth de Mariaffi.   I was lucky enough...

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The Subversive Copy Editor: A Short Review

Book Reviews

  Back when I was learning the nuts and bolts of copyediting, one of the tenets our instructor came back to repeatedly was “The Five Cs”: our goal as copy editors should always be to render text that is correct, consistent, clear, concise, and complete.  So when I spotted a slim volume entitled The Subversive Copy Editor on a colleague’s shelf, I was instantly intrigued.   Editorial subterfuge? Track changes turned...

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Creative Women Doing Sixty: Jan Wong’s Out of the Blue: A Review

Book Reviews

Jan Wong has become something of a household name for newspaper reading Torontonians. Her hard-hitting journalistic style being her claim to fame. It also became the reason for her to step aside from the love of her life: her career.   In her memoir, Out of the Blue, Jan Wong shares the most painful aspects of her life, taking us through her work-related distress that led to severe...

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Survival amidst The Blonde Fury: A Mini-Review of The Blondes by Emily Schultz

Book Reviews

In Emily Schultz’s The Blondes, women’s preoccupation with hair (especially blonde hair) plays a major role. But there is, of course, something deeper going on here. And it is through the protagonist Hazel Hayes that these deeper meanings are explored.   Hazel is a somewhat innocent yet resourceful young woman working on her dissertation in aesthetology, or the study of looking, at New York University when a viral pandemic...

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A Review of Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig

Book Reviews

In support of the Toronto Public Library’s city-wide reading event, One Book Toronto, we at TEC obtained copies of Maggie Helwig’s Girls Fall Down (published by Coach House Press) and started our own office book club.   While our opinions of the story of Alex and Susie-Sue varied, we all agreed that this poetic novel — filled with local colloquialisms and endless references to the streets and neighbourhoods of our fair...

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Review of Richard B. Wright’s Adultery

Book Reviews

In one of my first classes in Ryerson University’s publishing certificate program, my teacher alluded to some of the goings-on at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest trade publishing book fair, and the most important when it comes to international deals, publishing rights, and licensing fees. He joked that the Frankfurt cabbies were well used to ferrying about publishing types for their various illicit liaisons.   I was therefore...

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Sheila Heti’s How Should A Person Be? — A Review

Book Reviews

Sheila Heti was TEC’s second adopt-an-author at last September’s Word On The Street Festival. I enjoyed reading Sheila’s earlier works — a short story collection, The Middle Stories, and her first work of fiction, Ticknor — and I was eager to read her third book, a (mostly) fiction tale in which the character “Sheila” explores the title question, How Should A Person Be?   This was a difficult read for me....

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Richard B. Wright’s Mr. Shakespeare’s Bastard: A Review

Book Reviews

In September, The Editing Company adopted two authors at the Word On The Street Festival, Sheila Heti and Richard B. Wright. As thanks for our sponsorship, we were generously given copies of each author’s latest book: Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? and Richard B. Wright’s Mr. Shakespeare’s Bastard. After moving to our new office, I was finally able to sit down and finish...

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