25th Trillium Award

The Best of Open Book 2012

 
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Happy Holidays! At the end of the year, we like to take time to reflect on the highlights of the past 12 months. We've pulled together for you a list of the year?s most-read articles and features on Open Book: Toronto and Open Book: Ontario.

In 2012, Open Book celebrated its fifth year online. Thank you, readers! Your continued interest in and enthusiasm for the Ontario literary scene keeps us going strong.

And now, the Best of Open Book for 2012.

WRITERS IN RESIDENCE
Each month, Open Book: Toronto welcomes a new Writer in Residence (WIR), and each month, we are enchanted, entertained and intrigued by our WIRs' insightful and smart blogs posts. A hearty thanks to our WIRs of 2012: Ava Homa, C.B. Forrest, Sarah Tsaing, Susan Hughes, Pasha Malla, Sheniz Janmohamed, David L. Tucker, Stacey Madden, Erin Shields, David Groulx and Sachiko Murakami.

FOCUS ON ONTARIO
Each writing community in Ontario is unique, with different hang-outs, habits, landmarks and opportunities. Open Book is celebrating the vibrant literary cultures in regions across our province with our new "Focus On" series, which kicked off in November. The series highlights events, introduces key players in the community and promotes the local literati.

In November, the focus was on literary Niagara. A highlight of the month was an article by Harry Tournemille, "Garden City Writing," that delved into the topics of writing, art and location.

Did you know that Muskoka is a literary hotbed? Read "Connecting to Creativity in Muskoka" by Lizann Flatt to find out about Muskoka's literary scene, and be sure to check out our month long Focus On: Muskoka.

BRIAN PANHUYZEN'S NIGHT IS A SHADOW CAST BY THE WORLD
Toronto writer Brian Panhuyzen?s ambitious novel, Night is a Shadow Cast By the World, kept us eagerly anticipating Tuesdays and Thursdays when we would post a portion of the book on Open Book. By the time we finished posting the section we were serializing on the site, we were completely caught up in this gripping literary adventure about books, aviation, travel and love.

ERIN KNIGHT: POET AND MOM
"Writers and mothers have their hands thick with the putty of becoming and creating." Open Book: Ontario's Contributing Editor, Erin Knight, is a devoted mom and a successful poet. Balancing motherhood and art isn't easy, and Knight was curious about how other creative mothers manage. She's not alone. Her article "Mom's the Word: Tips and Confessions from Writing Mothers" was one of the most-read articles of the year.

GRACE O'CONNELL ON WRITERS' RETREATS
"Banff, Yaddo, Sage Hill, Mom's basement... there are endless options for writing retreats all over the world, from the fabulous to the humble, and from the sanctioned to the DIY," writes Grace O'Connell, Open Book: Toronto's Contributing Editor. A room of one's own sounded pretty good to many of you, and Grace's article, "Writers and Retreats: Pros and Cons," quickly soared to the top of the Most Popular Reads list.

NATHANIEL G MOORE AND LYNN CROSBIE
"The thing is, I?ve been talking to Lynn about this interview for 100 days, probably more. Maybe 200 days. I don't even know how I know her or why she even speaks to me. Or if we even speak to each other." Nathaniel G. Moore speaks with Lynn Crosbie and charts his first 72 hours with her latest and much-loved book, Life is About Losing Everything.

DALTON HIGGINS: OUT OF THE BLUE WITH JAN WONG
"Jan Wong is, as we would say in the hip-hop parlance, gangsta." In "Jan Wong Comes Out of the Blue and Into the Black," Dalton Higgins speaks with journalist and author Jan Wong about self-publishing and her much buzzed-about book, Out of the Blue.

NICOLE BAUTE'S PROFILE OF MARTY AHVENUS
"As readers go digital and bookstores close, it?s easy to see Ahvenus as representative of a bygone era, a time when independent booksellers were the primary intermediaries between books and readers." Nicole Baute's engrossing feature about the life of bookseller Marty Ahvenus and the changes in bookselling in the past 50 years reminded us of the pleasures of community and browsing a good bookstore can provide.

BECKY TOYNE ON PERSONAL LIBRARIES
"VIA Rail ticket-stub bookmarks show I read Robertson Davies and David Mitchell when on a cross-Canada train trip in spring 2007. A cardboard cut-out Cadbury?s bookmark in the shape of some sort of cartoon dinosaur tells me I read (possibly pimply faced from chocolate consumption) Manuel Rivas?s The Carpenter?s Pencil at Easter." Open Book columnist Becky Toyne struck a chord with Open Book readers with her column "Books As Caretakers of Jouneys", in which she writes about personal libraries as reflections of one's self.

SHAUN SMITH, ET AL, ON ENDING A NOVEL
Shaun Smith consistently has readers flocking to Open Book: Ontario at the beginning of each month for his beloved Fiction Craft column in which he asks other writers about their writing styles and habits. The column that you favoured was on the topic of how to end a novel. Authors Deborah Kerbel, Ben Stephenson, Lilian Nattel, Dave Hugelschaffer, Kyo Maclear, Lauren B. Davis, Benjamin Wood, Tamara Faith Berger and Jeffrey Round shared their writing tips.

GEORGE MURRAY'S QUESTIONLESS BOOKS INTERVIEW
George Murray?s Questionless Books Interview series, in which he asks people in the book business to finish statements about books and publishing, always ranks high with our readers. Visit Murray?s Author Blog page for a full list of the interviews (you can also find them in our archives), and find out how the literati finish this statement: ?The biggest reason to anticipate the future is....?

ROB MCLENNAN'S PROFILE OF COLLECTED WORKS
"Given that most independent booksellers in Canada are struggling, or even closing, it would seem as though Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar, nestled in the Parkdale neighbourhood, slightly west of Ottawa?s downtown core, has done the impossible, not only thriving, but doubling the size of their store over the past two years," wrote rob mclennan back in May. Sadly, it looks like Collected Works is closing, but mclennan's profile of the bookstore is still well worth reading, if only as a reminder for us to support those bookstores that we love.

ASHLIEGH GEHL ON THE NORTHERN WOMEN'S BOOKSTORE
We've seen the news items far too often in the past few years. Independent bookstores are facing hard times, and many of them are having to close. In "The Last of Its Kind," Ashliegh Gehl looks at the challenges that independents face and profiles the Northern Women's Bookstore, which is still going strong in Thunder Bay.

THE OPEN BOOK APP
We launched the Open Book App in the spring of 2012, and we still can't get over how much we love it. The app connects you with the vibrant literary scene in Toronto and throughout Ontario with its interactive map that directs you to literary events and literary landmarks. Did we mention the app is free?

Coming up in 2013: New columnists, original videos, fresh articles, on-the-scene event coverage, up-to-date book news, engaging and provocative blogging from our Writers in Residence and many more exciting features!

Best wishes for 2013!
Open Book: Toronto & Open Book: Ontario

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