Fave Five: Fall Reads

Know that feeling when you finish a good book and fear you may miss the characters like they were your friends? Most of us on the fourth floor are just that type of bookworm.When a lot of  reading is a big part of our job, a good book is the sweet downtime we crave to connect with our inner fantasy world, even just for an hour or two.  

Like any awesome book club, we whittled down our communal list to five (sometimes) funny, (often times) historical and (every-so-often) light reads!

1982 by Jian Ghomeshi

Not only is the man the host and co-creator of the national
radio program Q, but Ghomeshi has now added the title of author to his resume.

Set in one year of his life, Ghomeshi pens a coming-of-age story based on the desire of his 14-year-old self to be David Bowie: eyeliner and all. Much to the chagrin
of his Iranian parents, Ghomeshi embarked on the journey to transform himself in order to win the
heart of an older woman (she was sixteen – oh, young love) in Thornhill. Funny and
heart-warming, the story is structured around 12 songs and important
moments from 1982. The book will be released by Penguin Canada tomorrow!
The Paris
by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife captures
Chicago in the 1920s. Chronicling the story of Ernest Hemingway and his wife
Hadley, who had all but given up on love before she met the famed author at the
age of 28. Before meeting Hemingway, Hadley was a gifted musician,
taking care of her sick mother. The golden couple of that era, they had a whirlwind romance before moving to Paris. Transitioning into the Parisian
lifestyle proves difficult, as Ernest struggles to find the voice that will
make his writings famous, documenting his life in a novel that would eventually
become The Sun Also Rises. Meanwhile,
Hadley struggles to hold onto her sense of self, juggling the role of wife,
friend and muse to the budding author. As if that wasn’t enough, a deception
 involving Hadley’s friend threatens to unravel their marriage.

Major “aww” factor: it is said that Hemingway wrote “that
he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
” That is
until you realize how creepy is it to have a love triangle with your BFF, and
that Hemingway was married four times…

And the award for the longest book title goes to… Putilizer
Prize-winner Studs Terkel. Yes,
it’s not exactly the new kid on the block but still a book that we can
easily pick up during busy times because it’s written in small, easy to
digest pieces.

Dolores the waitress, with the grace of a
ballerina, the parking attendant who says ‘working people are better tippers
than Cadillac drivers’ and the cashier of thirty years who
can tell totals without looking at the screen are the subjects of the book that take us through the
lives of everyday workers, giving snippets of their triumphs, fears and (inevitable) lay-offs.

The story shows how they survived the daily grind and how they’ve been
touched by the people they encounter while on the job.  

Dotted with illustrations and photos from the 1900s, the
novel takes us through the beginnings of Gabrielle Chanel, her ascend to Coco Chanel, and the celebration of her creative genius and the only fashion
designer to be named on Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.
Chanel is synomous with couture collections and the signature No.5 scent, and
much has been written about her beginnings as a seamstress and her fashionable return (at
the age of 70) to resurrect the House of Chanel. 

Hal Vaughan, in this part-suspense thriller, part-wartime narrative, tells the story of Chanel’s life
between 1941 and 1954 which has never been fully told by Chanel or by her many
biographers. Vaughan reveals Chanel’s collaboration and affair with high-ranking
Nazi officials, how she became a German intelligence operative and how she escaped an arrest in France. It’s a gripping read for fashionistas and bookworms alike.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry gives us a sneak peek into
the life of Harold Fry, a retiree living with his wife Maureen who is very
particular about the difference between jam and marmalade. 

One morning, Harold receives a post from an old co-worker, Queenie Hennessy (a name evoking images of
dollies, pink things and frolicky puppies) who writes her goodbyes from a
hospice. With a response in hand, Harold walks to the mail box to reply with well
wishes, but along the way is compelled to deliver the letter by hand, believing
that as long as he keeps walking, Queenie will live. 

This is the first novel by Rachel Joyce, incorporating a light read with bold characters that come to life- heck, Harold
could be one of our grandfathers…if they were British…

Rave: Tron: Legacy

Not all of us on the fourth floor have seen the original 1982 Tron (some of us weren’t even born yet!). But our respective boyfriends, fiancés and husbands have all been excited about Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures’ Tron: Legacy for the past year or so – ever since it was announced. So when Barb at Disney generously offered us tickets to an early screening, we were naturally curious and excited to see what all the fuss is about.

The verdict? Go see it on the big screen. It is the coolest-looking movie that we’ve seen since Avatar.

In case you aren’t familiar with the original, which starred a very dapper young Jeff Bridges, computer programmers create an alternate virtual world that real people can enter. There are battles, neat graphics (for the time) and ultimately good (Kevin Flynn) triumphs over evil (Ed Dillinger). The new version does a decent recap for those who haven’t seen the original.

In the 2010 continuation, Kevin Flynn’s company has grown into an ultra-successful computer corporation, but he disappeared years ago. His son, Sam, has no idea where his father went when he was a boy, and believes he died. Sam eventually enters the same virtual world his father helped create and discovers a place far more advanced and dangerous, where his father is living, unable to make it back to the real world because of his nemesis, Clu.

The coolest parts of the flick are the amazing special effects and graphics. The virtual world is scary and dark, with streaks of neon colour and beautiful “programs” (computer programs that look like people). The whole thing reminded us of an apocalyptic place, where programs fight life-or-death gladiator battles against each other, with super-advanced vehicles and discs. Life in this world is pretty bleak.

The graphics are so well-done that we didn’t realize until about halfway through that the main villain, Clu, is actually a computer simulation of Jeff Bridges with his voice (seriously, didn’t realize). The Daft Punk soundtrack is killer and the techno beats are perfectly paired with the fight and party scenes.

Two of our favourite parts? The first series of battles that Sam Flynn fights against programs. The fights left us on the edge of our seats, and dazzled by the streaking neon lights and sticks that turn into lightcycles (like motorcycles, but cooler).

Our second favourite scene is a party in a club – bluish-white floors, lights and clothing, gorgeous people (well, programs), and wicked club music by Daft Punk. The duo make a cameo in the movie as masked DJs spinning the beats.

There are some cool fashion and decor moments as well. We especially love this look – the sleek platinum bun and super smokey eyes are hot.

Oliva Wilde is great as Sam’s love interest, Quorra. We’re fans of her jet-black asymmetrical bob.

If you have someone in your life who wants to see this, but you were on the fence – go! It needs to be seen on a big screen to fully appreciate it, and is well worth the price of admission. Opens today in theatres.