A Walk to September

This is up later than usual. We’re a little over 24 hours before the calendar switches to October and life will be extremely busy for the month of All Hallows Eve. I’m excited to change my Twitter name to a Halloween pun and trying to convince work to do a team costume. Alas, none of this will be the focus of this blog post. Gather ’round.

September = Toronto International Film Festival and this year, I didn’t go as press. I saw three films:

I really enjoyed Jojo Rabbit and The Vast of Night. Jojo Rabbit is a satire where a 10 year old German boy has Hitler as an imaginary friend and has his love for the Nazis’ questioned. I was worried about this film but given that it’s 1) a satire 2) directed by Taika Waititi who is a great director and 3) Waititi is Jewish and Moari. It’s a film that truly understands how satire works which is surprisingly difficult given how often mistaken their work as satire. It won the People’s Choice award which is how I got to see it because the winner gets screened for free on the last day of the festival.

The Vast of Night is set in 1950s New Mexico where a teen telephone operator and a radio broadcaster investigate a strange frequency. The characters where fantastic and the pacing was pitch perfect. I highly recommend it.

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson was disappointing especially given its premise: a closet Black teen keeps reliving the same day which always ends with him being murdered by the police. There were style choices that I wasn’t a fan of like the repetition of Tunde’s short biography and I also don’t think it adds anything to the larger conversation of police brutality. It felt like it missed.

I attended Indigo’s Teen Preview event where we got to see upcoming books. You can see the full list here. I just wanted to highlight some of the titles I’m really excited for below:

I was asked by Word on the Street to moderate a version of the Toronto Comics panel I did at TCAF with Jason Loo, Stephanie Cooke and Andrew Stevenson as panelists. It was great and it was fun discussing comics at a place that isn’t just showcasing comics. It meant reaching out to folks who probably don’t read comics as much or at all.

My 2019 August/September reads:

  1. Wayward Sisters: An Anthology of Monstrous Women edited by Allison O’Toole and M. Blankier
  2. The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler
  3. The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe
  4. The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong
  5. The Missing American by Kwei Quartey
  6. Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

On whether or not I’ve hit my reading resolutions this month:

For a few weeks, I was reading international crime fiction/thrillers which was pretty cool. Three of them were translated into English. I read a comics anthology which isn’t something I usually do although I don’t know if I’ve been reading a variety of comics like I had hope this year.

Also: Wayward Sisters won the 2019 Gene Day Award for Independent Press Anthology Collections at SPX so congrats to the team! It’s a great book. I’ll be contributing a short story to their next anthology and the experience has been great so far.

Lastly, I got to read Cherie Dimaline’s new book and was reminded of ow talented of a writer she is. She’s Métis and the upside of being conscious of who I’m reading is that I can now say that I’ve read more books by Indigenous people this year than I have in the past. In fact, I have three books currently on my to-be-read list: memoir, fiction and poetry. I’m really glad I chose to document my reading this year and it’ll make for an interesting year-end episode of Put A Blurb On It.

Well…that’s that. This has mostly been a stream of consciousness and zero editing has gone into this post. I’ll probably go back through it later but it’s refreshing to get this all out before my October gets too busy.

Until next time…

Published by Ardo Omer


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