Sometime in August, I received an email which made me quite happy! It was from my contact at Penguin Random House Canada, and the email contained an invitation to the Penguin Random House Canada Fall Preview, for September 8, 2017! I had not been invited to Penguin for a blogger event before, and needless to say, I was very excited! And here is how it went:
– ON OUR WAY –
I don’t think I’m alone when I saw that I do not like big city traffic. While the traffic in Toronto is not as bad as in NYC, it certainly isn’t fun to deal with either (especially for someone out of town). I’ve driven through the heart of Toronto many a time, but can’t say that I’ve ever enjoyed it. My drive into Toronto usually taking 2 hours on its own, and after that, I really didn’t feel like dealing with big city traffic too (especially since the event was scheduled for 5:30, and that’s when the roads are most crazy due to people leaving work). So, my friend and I opted for leaving her car in the parking lot of a mall closer to the outskirts of the city, and taking the subway into downtown.
We normally do this because A) the traffic issue I’ve mentioned, and B) because actually really enjoy taking that subway! Our town doesn’t have a subway (and we’re just getting a train system put in now…that we don’t need). So it’s a real novelty for us to take the subway. It’s also a nice relief from having to drive! But anyway, back to the event. We left with plenty of time to spare, and due to there being no hiccups, arrived at Penguin with around half an hour to spare! So, naturally, we took a selfie to pass the time. For those of you who don’t know, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was also going on this past weekend, and we walked through some of that on our way to the Penguin event. Not wanting to be late, however, we didn’t really stick around, deciding that we’d take our time checking it out on our way back to the subway station.
– Upcoming Releases –
Then finally, we arrived at the beautiful Penguin Random House Canada office, and sat down. I recognized some faces, but didn’t know anyone well enough to actually talk to, and in this moment I was glad more than ever that my bestie had decided to accompany me to the event. (Thank you! <3) While everything was being set up, we indulged in some pop and h'ordeuvres (which were delicious by the way!) Then the presentation started, and we settled in to hear about some awesome upcoming releases! We should have probably sat closer to the stage, but chose to sit further back because we’re losers with social anxiety. Haha.
The first thing that became evident to me, was that the presenters (all Penguin employees) were having a lot of fun with the event, and that they all got on really well. There were many laughs among the presenters, and the audience as well, all throughout the event. And even though it was 3 hours long, it really didn’t feel like it, because we had a blast! Here are the upcoming releases which stood out to me the most (and which some of you might have seen on Twitter while I was attending the event):
- Demi-Gods by Eliza Robertson
- Munchies by JJ Goode, Helen Hollyman, Editors of Munchies
- My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
- Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman
- Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, Helen Goh
- The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 by Robert Lacey
Because I mostly read YA, and because most of the books which were presented at the event were adult fiction, and nonfiction, I seem to have felt more drawn to the books about food! Haha. I wasn’t hungry though, I swear! I mean, I was eating really yummy food at the event, so I have no explanation for this other than that I’m a foodie! And, I’ve reviewed cook books and such before, so it’s not really very out of the ordinary?
– Featured Authors –
Once we made it through the rather-thick booklet of upcoming releases, three Canadian authors were introduced! One of them already had her book out (Alison Pick), while the other two (Carol Off, and Tom Wilson) were the authors of upcoming releases (for this year)! This was all very exciting, and while I’m ashamed to admit that I had not heard about any of these authors before this event, it was really great to hear from them! I laughed and cried, over and over throughout the authors’ presentations, haha, no lie.
I apologize for the poopy quality of the above photos. Again, I should have sat closer to the front, and I will try to remember that for the next event like this that I attend! After we heard from each author (and an awesome musical performance from Tom Wilson), we each received one copy of each of these authors’ books, and had the opportunity of meeting the authors and having the books signed! I had not expected this, since this was my first time attending such an event at Penguin, so I was quite excited. Due to having parked our car in a mall parking lot, however, and therefore fearing that we might get a ticket, my friend and I were unable to stick around in the long line leading up to the authors’ tables. I regret this even now, but there’s nothing I can do about it now really!
Here are the 3 books which we received (all finished copies), and we were happy to find that we also received some swag stuffs (one of which is a small Penguin notebook based on a Penguin classic publication! Mine is pink, and matched my sweater on the day I had the photoshoot haha, that was not intended)!
- Strangers with the Same Dream by Alison Pick (fiction)
- Beautiful Scars by Tom Wilson (nonfiction)
- All We Leave Behind by Carol Off (nonfiction)
– Heading Home –
On our way back to the subway, although still rushing to make it back to the car before some parking lot supervisor were to notice it, we were lucky to be able to walk down the exact street on which TIFF was happening! We would have loved to stick around and maybe meet some famous people, but again, because of the car situation, had to rush through this area. It was still quite fun though!
While on the subway, heading back to the mall where we’d parked, we were able to rest and have a look at our swag and the books which we had the honour of taking home. I was also able to read a little from Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast (who is also a Canadian author! Hurray for CanLit!) Another reason why we love the subway, and prefer it to driving in a car, haha. Then we made it to the mall, found that there were still many cars parked in that parking lot (because there’s a movie theater in that mall, sigh), got into the car anyway because we weren’t about to spend another 20 min heading back to TIFF (even though it was tempting), and somehow endured the long drive back home!
THANK YOU FOR READING MY POST, AND I HOPE THAT YOU ENJOYED READING IT AS MUCH AS I ENJOYED WRITING IT! HAVE YOU EVER ATTENDED A BOOK EVENT LIKE THIS? OR ARE YOU ALREADY A VETERAN WHEN IT COMES TO THESE? HAHA. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT THEM, OR WHAT IS THE THING YOU WOULD LOOK FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT AN EVENT LIKE THIS? ALSO, SINCE THIS IS MY FIRST POST OF THIS NATURE, I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY FEEDBACK YOU MIGHT HAVE! IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LIKED A LOT? SOMETHING YOU DISLIKED? SOMETHING I COULD IMPROVE ON? SOMEWHERE I SHOULD PROVIDE MORE OR LESS DETAIL? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!