November 27th, 2013
Picking out the perfect wine for a holiday dinner party from the stacks of bottles can be daunting, not to mention the sticker shock when we think we’ve found a match.
Lucky for us, Calgary wine experts Darren Oleksyn and Shelley Boettcher have taken the guesswork out of finding the right varietal and vintage with the fourth edition of Uncorked! The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25. This newest edition found the two journalist friends teaming up to tackle the dozens of new wines that have entered the Alberta market including a larger section on wines under $15.
So go on, serve delicious wines that don’t break the bank.
Who’s the hot hostess now? —Laura Lushington
$14.40 at Amazon.ca
October 30th, 2013
Canadian writer Alice Munro has said, Dear Life, her most recent collection of short stories, will be her last.
If you haven’t yet discovered any of Munroe’s 13 other beautiful books, her last is a good place to start. The newly awarded Nobel Prize winner for literature is best known for short fiction works that explore the lives of girls and women from small towns in southern Ontario and Canada. Dear Life follows this pattern and paints vivid pictures of the complexities and extraordinary experiences of ordinary life.
Life, it’s a beautiful thing. —Sara Samson
$11 at Amazon.ca
October 23rd, 2013
For more than 35 years the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has been the leading event of its kind, drawing international filmmakers, conservationists, adventurers and explorers to our mountain town.
This year’s guest speakers include rival Antarctic explorers James Castrission, Justin James and Aleksander Gamme. For nine days guests can attend seminars, film screenings and lectures to learn about and experience some of the most remote places in the world.
Now that's a mountain high. —Sara Samson
The Banff Centre, October 26 to November, www.banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival
Leo Houlding in the film The Last Great Climb, screening at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. Photo: Alastair Lee.
October 9th, 2013
WordFest brings local, national and international writers and reader to Calgary for seven days and 60 events worth of literary fun
Lit-nerds look forward to this prestigious literary festival all year as an opportunity to chat with their favourite wordsmiths, share their work and take in a few performances. WordFest is spicing things up this year with some new programming including the Literary Death Match, a humorous reading series that brings together new and emerging authors to perform their most electric writing before a panel of judges who will declare a winner.
Canadian-legend Margaret Atwood kicks off the festival with readings from MaddAddam, the final book in her internationally-celebrated dystopian trilogy.
We feel smarter already. —Sara Samson
October 14 to 20, events take place around Calgary and Banff, www.wordfest.com
October 4th, 2013
Two of Calgary’s top food connoisseurs have new books. Who's hungry?
My Favourite Restaurants: Calgary, Canmore and Beyond (8th Edition): One of Calgary’s most recognized food critics, John Gilchrist, reviews and recommends almost 300 restaurants, food trucks and bakeries in Southern Alberta. This handy little guide will ensure you always know the answer to, “where’s good?” $14.40 at indigo.ca
Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook: This beautiful recipe book by local food writers Julie Van Rosendaal and Pierre Lamielle is a collection of illustrations, recipes and photos, sure to inspire home chefs. Whip up a batch of crumpets or toffee buns for your own tea party. $21.91 at Indigo.ca
August 28th, 2013
Searching for a new read? Herewith, 8 of our favourite page turners for long weekend downtime.
Sarah Bancroft, Editor-in-chief
The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.
What's not to love about 1930s Manhattan with its Jazz Clubs, grande dame hotels, cigarettes and cocktails. That's why they call it the good old days. First time novelist Towles draws a compelling and entertaining portrait of youth, hi jinx and serendipity surrounding his witty heroine Katey who lands a dream job at Condé Nast. For a period piece, the themes are utterly modern. Love, lust, social climbing and ultimately, fate. $13.99 at Amazon.ca
Alexandra Suhner Isenberg, Fashion Editor
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I usually read books on my Kindle but I bought this at the last minute in an airport, because the cover looked pretty. Luckily, the story was good too, spanning decades and featuring a remote island, a mysteriously ill actress, an Italian inn-keeper, and Richard Burton. $14.43 at Amazon.ca
Sara Samson, Calgary Editor
The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner
This memoir by a trio of 20-something New Yorkers chronicles their decision to quit their demanding jobs and travel the world (think Eat, Pray, Love, but from a younger perspective). A must-read for travelers and those looking to develop a serious case of wanderlust. $12.99 at Amazon.ca
Maria Tallarico, Managing Editor
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Life After Life explores the life (or rather, lives) of Ursula, who is born over and over again - each time her circumstances are altered, with far-reaching consequences. The quietest and most convincing heroine we've come across in ages, be prepared for some very late nights with the reading light on. $14.97 at Amazon.ca
Kat Tancock, Toronto Contributor
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
This long weekend I'm curling up with the long-awaited MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood, the third in the trilogy that started with Oryx & Crake. Atwood's dystopias are chilling because they come so close to reality, but that's what makes them all the more important to read. $16.47 at Amazon.ca
Julie Whelan, Toronto Contributor
Just Kids (Audio) by Patti Smith
At just under ten hours, listening to Patti Smith read her memoir is no small commitment but there is something amazing about hearing her voice as she describes coming to New York, embracing music and meeting and loving the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The wild cast of characters includes Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Edie Sedgewick, Sam Shepard and the Hotel Chelsea of course. At www.audible.com
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The film version of of Adichie's last novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, is set to screen at TIFF but this weekend I'll be picking up her latest novel, Americanah, an epic love story that follows its characters from Nigeria to the UK and the States. $18.77 Amazon.ca
Marianne Wisenthal, Toronto Contributor
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is a rare blend of whodunnit suspense, relatable characters and snappy writing. Warning: Best not read after a fight with your husband! $14.97 at Amazon.ca
February 21st, 2013
A visionary among illustrators and graphic designers, Calgary ex-pat Matt Luckhurst reimagines the tale of Paul Bunyan and Babe… with pancakes.
In this fun and hilarious re-telling of the classic American tale, Paul and his best BFF go off in search of work and pancakes only to learn that you need to eat a variety of foods to feel good inside. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure is certainly an escapade worthy of a spot on the coffee table.
And now we're craving a short stack. —Kait Kucy
$14.40 at Chapters.ca
February 1st, 2013
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
—Pride & Prejudice
The biting social commentary of Jane Austen may be lost on most toddlers, but it’s never too early to start them on the classics.
A new Pride & Prejudice board book tells the darkly romantic tale of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in just 12 words, each accompanied by sweet images of needle-felted figures. If your tot seems more of a Herman Melville fan, the Cozy Classics series also includes Moby Dick. Come spring look out for Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
At this rate, we see a Man Booker prize in our babe’s future.
$9.81 at Amazon.ca
January 11th, 2013
A clothing collection inspired by a classic book and not a video game? Ears up, bunnies.
babyGap is launching an adorable, limited-edition collection based on Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It's not too early to stock up on Easter outfits (after all, it is in March this year), and the breezy dresses adorned with rabbits, chunky knit hat with bunny ears and nostalgic onsie with an illustration of Peter (pictured) will make the backyard egg hunt look like a Town & Country photo shoot.
That's sweeter than a cream-filled egg. —Maria Tallarico
Pieces (0-24 months) from $19.95, in store Monday, January 14 at babyGap and online January 17 at gapcanada.ca
December 7th, 2012
We love the idea of having our kids make Christmas presents, but not everyone wants gifts covered in glue, glitter, and scribbles.
How about letting them design motifs and patterns on professionally-made notebooks, T-shirts and greeting cards? Vancouver company Kibooco has launched a holiday pop-up shop that allows just that (look for the full book creation site in the new year).
Choose your item, and then use the icons and mouse to decorate. The software is ridiculously easy to use - so easy that this parent couldn’t figure it out because she over thought everything. Of course the 3-year-old easily managed to design a pretty cool notebook covered in ice cream cones and excavators. Lots of excavators.
The best part? There’s no opportunity to spill glitter or eat glue. Just don’t let them wreck your computer. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Order your artwork before December 10 and get delivery before Christmas. Notebooks start at $16, t-shirts start at $32, www.kibooco.com