The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival kicks off tomorrow with it’s opening night screening of Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, with eleven jam-packed days of film screenings, press conferences, red carpets, and celebrity sightings to follow. Are you a newbie to TIFF? Want to dip your toe into the festival waters? Don’t fret! Because the festival is located right in downtown Toronto, it’s easy for locals to pop over to King St and take in the spectacle. Literally, you don’t even have to pay a single dollar (ok, maybe transportation fare) to attend the festival. If you’re inclined to dish out some cash on some screenings, that’s an option too! Below, check out the various ways to enjoy the festival!
Ireland’s writer-to-overall population ratio has always been impressive. The little isle known for shamrocks and Guinness has been home to some of the most influential writers of the past couple of centuries. In poetry, there was William Butler Yeats. In drama, Samuel Beckett confused generations of English students with Waiting for Godot. Edna O’Brien brought women’s emotional and sexual politics to the fore. Bram Stoker introduced the world to Dracula! And of course there’s one of my all time favourites: the inimitable, infinitely quotable Oscar Wilde.
Twenty-first century Irish writers have some big shoes to fill, and so far they’ve been easily meeting the challenge. One of the most buzzworthy books this season is Normal People by Sally Rooney, which has catapulted the 28-year-old writer into the general literary consciousness. Less intensely millennial than her previous work Conversations with Friends (but only by a little), Normal People is the type of book you burn through in one sitting—a book The Guardian called “a future classic”. Rooney’s writing is difficult to explain; there’s nothing flashy or unearned in her prose, and yet with a few simple, well-constructed sentences she can take down everything from author readings (please see: “It was culture as class performance, literature fetishised for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys, so that they might afterwards feel superior to the uneducated people whose emotional journeys they liked to read about.”) to capitalism. Maybe this quality is what makes The Atlantic compare her (in a weirdly spot-on way) to Jane Austen; she is simultaneously participating in and sending up the conventions she is clearly skeptical of. In Austen’s case, it was the role of women, love, and class under the rigid rules of Regency society. In Rooney’s case, it’s the existence of art, love, and class under capitalism. So even though reading Rooney is very much like listening to your cool 20-something artsy friend talk about her life, her work feels like a natural progression of radical writers before her.
This summer, Adult Summer Reads: Amazing Quests takes us on a 70s rock adventure as we read Daisy Jones and the Six. Join us on Thursday, July 18 at 7:00 pm at the Civic Centre Resource Library for our Books with Buzz program, where we’ll be discussing this hot new title (and any other buzz-worthy books you like!).
Daisy Jones and the Six is a story about a fictional band, but don’t feel embarrassed if you had to google that to make sure. Reid’s latest novel is so steeped in 70s rock culture, from shaggy hair, bangles, desert vibes, and plentiful drugs, it definitely feels real.
If you’ve ever been the type of music fan to get caught up in a good backstory, or loves some behind the scenes drama (honestly, which of us doesn’t?), Daisy Jones has what you’re looking for. In an interview with Rolling Stone (how appropriate!), Reid speaks to her inspiration behind the fictional band, about how she “was really intrigued by that story of these two people that create this incredible, intimate art together that sounds so romantic but they’re not romantically involved.” Reid points to Fleetwood Mac and Civil Wars as examples of bands whose breakups intrigued her, which led me to recall the time in my own life when I obsessively chronicled the implosion of The Libertines. There’s something about the particular chaos and tragedy of rock bands that lends an air of romanticism and glamour, even though it is often less-than-glamourous things like drugs and jealousy that cause their downfall. Daisy Jones is proof that we are all still susceptible to that rock band charm!