Happy August Long Weekend!

So we’ve reached another summer milestone. The Civic holiday weekend has graced us with
its presence and we’re able to spend an extra day relaxing and soaking up the

This holiday seems to come for no specific reason at all,
which made us wonder why we’re allowed this extra day of summer bliss.  After some research we’ve discovered that the
reason we are able to sleep in today and enjoy some well-deserved R&R is
just exactly that – to relax, in an official capacity.
In Toronto, we call
this day Simcoe Day, after John Graves Simcoe, who came here in 1792 and
founded the city of York, which eventually became known as Toronto. The first Monday of August became an official
holiday in Toronto in the late 1800’s when the city council felt that the
people could use another “day of relaxation” in between the Canada Day and
Labour Day weekends.  Bravo!  A city politics decision we can get behind.

In honour of this official day meant specifically for us to
sit around and do nothing but read, watch TV, go to the gym or whatever it is
that you call relaxing, we have rounded up some of our favourite artists
straight outta’ Toronto.  We’ve compiled
an awesome group of songs and created a mini playlist that we hope will successfully
accompany this most fantastic of summer weekends.

Rave: Great vacation reads

Vacation time is here, and one of the ways we love to relax is with a good book. Whether on the beach or inside by a cozy fire, we’ve found some great reads for our break. Here are three that we’ve been sitting down with:
Set in 1962, The Help is a story about the white children of Jackson, Mississippi, and the black women who raised them. The story begins when Skeeter Phelan comes home after graduating from Ole Miss to find her much-loved maid, Constantine, is gone. When her mother offers no answers about Constantine’s whereabouts, Skeeter embarks on a journey to find her. 
Skeeter asks two maids to help her – the always-loyal Aibileen and the always-loud Minnie. In doing so, Skeeter is exposed to the tough realities of racial divide. While Skeeter’s journey begins as a pursuit of the truth, together these three women start a movement that forever changes their Southern town. Written by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a hopeful book about the boundaries that exist and the time to cross them. 

Transitioning between the past and present, Sarah’s Key breaks the silence on Paris’ Vél’ d’Hiv’ roundup of Jewish men, women and children. The book begins in 1942, when French police arrest Sarah and her family. With no foresight of the danger that lies ahead, Sarah locks her brother in her family’s apartment cupboard to try and keep him safe. While the French police hold the family captive at the Vel’ d’Hiv’, Sarah holds the key to her brother’s life in her pocket.
In 2002, journalist Julia Jarmond’s editor assigns her to write an article to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Vel’ d’Hiv’. As Julia begins her investigation, the information she discovers connects Sarah’s past to her own family’s future. Following Sarah’s journey from the roundup on, Julia’s life becomes forever intertwined with hers. Written by Tatiana De Rosnay, Sarah’s Key is an unbelievable Holocaust story about our duty to always remember. It’s not a light read, but will be one of the most memorable books you pick up.

After giving birth to a daughter during a monsoon in a remote Indian village, Kavita has no choice but give her up. Kavita brings her baby to a Mumbai orphanage with nothing but a silver bangle. Meanwhile, in California, American-born Somer and her Indian husband Kris decide to adopt a child from his birth place, Mumbai.
Though she loves her adoptive parents dearly, Asha takes a break from college life to discover her roots. She returns to Mumbai to find out who she is and where she came from. Switching between the stories of the two families, The Secret Daughter, written by Canadian Shilipi Somaya Gowda, tells the story of a mother suffering the loss of her daughter, and a daughter’s search for the mother who gave her up.

Pick up one of these books and become immersed in another world, giving you the mental break that you deserve during vacation. Happy reading!

What are your top vacation book picks? Tweet us – @rockitpromo!