Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Make Your Own Path On Life's Journey

Yesterday I drove to Barrie to say goodbye to a friend.

I hadn't seen Frank Nelson in person in a couple of years, and it had been much longer since I had seen Frank on a regular basis. We worked together at Chapters/Indigo many years ago.

But he continued to inspire me. And he continues to inspire me to this day.

On December 8, 2017, Frank Nelson passed away. I won't say that he "lost his battle" with cancer; and that's because he won his battle. He won the battle on so many accounts. When Frank was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2010, he began a phase of creating a bucket list that involved "Paying it Back" and helping others in need.

Frank's desire to take $1000 and give it to a complete stranger turned into an incredible legacy of caring and giving.

The last time I saw Frank was a couple of years ago when we arranged to meet at a Tim Hortons in Barrie.

In his relentless desire to support and help others, Frank spotted a Facebook post about my most recent book (Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores & Libraries) and offered to buy a number of copies of it for those interested in reading it but who couldn't afford to purchase a copy.

Over coffee, Frank and I caught up on one another's lives since we both had left Indigo, we laughed about some memories of our times at Indigo, I signed the books, and I left further inspired by his unabashed generosity and kind spirit.

And I have continued to watch and admire the amazing legacy of giving that he has fostered.

Below is a brief 2 minute clip of a talk Frank gave earlier this year at Georgian College from a full 40 minute video which was recorded and produced by the good folks at Five Points Media. The entire talk is wonderful, but I wanted to capture Frank's brilliant "takeaways" regarding the life clock that is wound for each of us, the paths we decide for our life journey and the importance of those moments of human connection.

Frank didn't just give and care for others, but he also continues to inspire others through the Glowing Hearts Community Give and Get Centre and other similar programs that are focused on returning value to people in the local community. (This 1 minute video below features Frank sharing how that works)

The world can truly be a dark and often frustrating place. There are, often, too many things we can point at that illustrate the ills that people do to one another.

But there are people like Frank who bring light and kindness and goodness to the world and to the lives of other. And they remind me that the world and that people can be absolutely magnificent and caring, and generous and kind-hearted.

The world is a better place for people like Frank. And I am a better person from having the honour of calling him a friend and the human connection that I had with him.

Thank you, Frank.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

What Canadians Read in 2017

One of the things I always loved about Kobo was their willingness to share insights about reading data.

I rec'd two messages from Kobo today that really tickled me.

One was about my Kobo Reading Life. (And yes, when I created Kobo Writing Life I DID base it on the already awesome "Reading Life" program the company had crafted)

Interesting to see how much MORE reading I have done in the past month compared to the one before that. Not working 60 to 80 hours a week can have that positive affect on a person's reading time. (I'm MUCH richer for the reading experience)

The other was a fascinating series of lists and stats about what Canadians were reading on Kobo in 2017. Below are some snippets from that message:

Kobo Book Report: What Canadians read in 2017
TORONTO, Dec. 7th – With the last chapter of 2017 soon coming to a close, the annual Kobo Book Report once again reveals insightful eReading trends from the past year.

Rakuten Kobo strives to help you fit reading into more parts of your day, including the commute, the wait in the bank lineup or when you want to take a book to lunch.

  • Time of day for most reading is, perhaps predictably, during the morning and evening commute and into the evening hours.
  • Canada’s biggest reading day—when the most people were reading—was June 30th, just ahead of the 150th Canada Day. So, on a long weekend, we eschew parties and barbeques and instead curl up with a book!

Let’s take a peek at what resonated with Canadians this year.

Canada’s top ten bestselling titles this year—those that raked in the most sales:

1.    The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware
2.    The Handmaid's Tale – Margaret Atwood
3.    The Silent Wife – Kerry Fisher
4.    Origin – Dan Brown
5.    Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter
6.    The Girl Before – JP Delaney
7.    The Fix – David Baldacci
8.    Lion  – Saroo Brierley
9.    Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris
10.    Blink – K.L. Slater

  • Although Queen of CanLit Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was originally published in 1985, it enjoyed an impressive resurgence this year due to the TV series of the same name—a testament to how books and TV are interacting to bring great stories to life on screen and in stores.
  • Canadian Shari Lapena became a household name with her 2016 thriller, The Couple Next Door, skyrocketing her to the top of bestseller lists here at home as well as internationally. This book stood the test of time, with its popularity extending throughout this year. 

Most Read

But as every booklover knows, buying is one thing, actually reading books is something else. We all have towers of books on our bedside table, or, in our world, lists of books in our Kobo libraries.

Here are the books Canadians actually read…

Top ten Most Read books – that is, the books that actually got finished:

1.    Secrets in Death – J. D. Robb
2.    The Right Time – Danielle Steel
3.    The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter
4.    Y is for Yesterday – Sue Grafton
5.    The Late Show – Michael Connelly
6.    Use of Force – Brad Thor
7.    When the Music's Over – Peter Robinson
8.    Glass Houses – Louise Penny
9.    Rituals – Kelley Armstrong
10.    Come Sundown – Nora Roberts

Three Canadians made our page-turner list; it appears Peter Robinson, Louise Penny and Kelley Armstrong all have the knack to get our adrenaline pumping with thrillers that keep us reading into the night.

Just one more chapter, err, or two…

You know how it is when you fall in love with a great read – you can’t put it down! That’s what happened with these books.

The top 10 gripping novels with the longest average reading sessions:

1.    The Girl With No Name – Diney Costeloe
2.    The Clay Girl – Heather Tucker (Canadian author and a 2017 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize finalist)
3.    The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter
4.    Mississippi Blood – Greg Iles
5.    Remains of Innocence – J. A. Jance
6.    The Married Girls – Diney Costeloe
7.    Little Girl Lost – Carol Wyer
8.    Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter
9.    A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny
10.    Unspoken – Lisa Jackson

Canadian’s love a good eBook binge. The anti-heroine theme made popular by books such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins were instrumental in the creation of a new sub-genre, and Canada’s passion for the bad girl shows no sign of slowing down.

I am, of course, not at all surprised to see Kobo Writing Life published titles included in these lists. Proof that readers care MOST about a great read and not where or how it was published.