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We have reached the final Simon Recommends!  Last but definitely not least, Marketing Associate, Michelle recommends Richard Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality.  A book for adults and children alike, Dawkins explains the difference between myth and truth.  With illustrations by the stunning artist, Dave McKean, this book is a win-win: beautiful writing mixed with gorgeous illustrations.  Watch Michelle’s recommendation and then read her review.  Be engrossed by the magic of reality yourself!

Thank you for joining us for our Simon Recommends feature and we hope you have some wonderful recommendations to keep you busy with books for the holiday season!  Happy Holidays!

Richard Dawkins is the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and has spent much of his career revealing the wonders of science to adult readers in books like The Greatest Show on Earth and The God Delusion. In The Magic of Reality, Dawkins teams up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena and answers questions like: How old is the universe? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? And who was the first man, or woman?

It is a treasure trove of fascinating information for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works and a must-have for this holiday season.

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This week, Digital Marketing Assistant Vanessa recommends one romantic, creepy and mystical novel — The Taker by Alma Katsu.  Alma is extremely active on social media, so follow her on Twitter @almakatsu.  To hear more, check out Vanessa’s video and read her review after!

Alma Katsu’s The Taker, the first book in a new trilogy, has everything a fantasy novel should have: a bit of magic, romance and of course, the supernatural. The whole story shifts between the present and the 1800s where the main character Lanny tells Luke her journey in becoming immortal and the consequences that come with it. The story is dark and, at times, twisted.

This book kept me reading into the wee hours of the night. The story is beautifully written and there is a good balance of plot and character. I can almost see it becoming a movie!

All in all, The Taker is an unforgettable love story with twists and turns that will keep you reading. Kudos to Katsu for making such an amazing debut novel! Paranormal romance and historical fantasy fans cannot miss this book. As for myself, I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Reckoning, out next year!

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Welcome back!  We had our first snow in Toronto yesterday and so today, we have the perfect read for you to curl up on your couch with while the snow makes for a picturesque holiday season!  Marketing Assistant, Loretta recommends Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers.  There has been plenty of talk about this book, but you can just by hearing her speak, how touching this novel truly is.  After the video, read her review.  Enjoy!

It is rare to encounter a character with a wisdom that you believe, or a desire that draws your empathy to tears. Alice Hoffman has written the strength and tragedy of Masada through four women who have earned their wisdom through loss and who uphold their desires with hope.

Each of them cross the desert, fleeing from death only to encounter more hardships. The beauty of this book is borne of the love that lies beneath these hardships and of the magic and the strength that bind them when everything around them turns to ash.

Alice Hoffman has written a book that will move you. I hope you’ll let it.

In a galaxy far, far away…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away .. a book by Princess Leia floated into the atmosphere..

Okay, well it wasn’t that long ago and not that far away, but on Wednesday, my current book was feeling a bit too heavy and I needed a one night break.  Walking past a shelf by the office kitchen, I stopped to browse the back of Carrie Fisher’s autobiography Wishful Drinking – a mere 162-paged hilarious book full of pictures and (as per the flap copy suggested) “the crazy truth that is her life”.  Not only am I not a huge Star Wars person, but I hardly knew anything about Carrie Fisher and who she was.  Now, however, I am quite the expert.

This book was insane, sad and hilarious, all tied up in two little buns!  I was caught laughing out loud  multiple times on the subway and definitely got a few of those looks (yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about).  Regardless, I’m pretty sure I can make you want to read this in a few small points:

1. Carrie is the product of Hollywood’s Sweethearts gone wrong.  Actress Debbie Reynolds (from Singing in the Rain) and crooner Eddie Fisher were married just long enough to have two kids before a tragic accident lead to Eddie leaving Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor (who also happened to be a close friend)!  Trust me, this story is a twisted one.

2. Carrie addresses what it was like (and the awkward situations arising from) being the most fantasized-about woman for nerds worldwide.

“Oh my God!  I thought about you every day from when I was twelve to when I was twenty-two.”
And instead of asking what happened at twenty-two, I said, “Every day?”
He shrugged and said, “Well, four times a day.”
Welcome to the land of too much information.

3. Her father accidentally eats his own (wildly expensive) hearing aids!  Now this story was the one that had me howling on the subway.  A detailed account of how this came to be is the perfect way to bring you back to life after the crowded, mind-numbing half hour subway ride to and from work.

4. Her mother bought her and her grandmother a very specific erotic toy for Christmas!  The rational of why it is the perfect stocking stuffer is definitely worth a read.  Christmas IS coming!  Just joking..

5. Even through all her crazy stories, Carrie is a warm person.  Her pride in her daughter, one of the only things she thinks she did truly well, is extremely touching.  She is honest about all the insane events that occurred in her life and open about the fact that, although she knows it is different from the lives of most people, it was all she ever knew.

If you loved this, you will love the book, and thankfully her second memoir, Shockaholic  (detailing her experiences with electro-shock therapy) is in stores now!  I will most definitely be grabbing one of those for myself!

Carrie’s book is also a one woman show that aired on HBO!

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After many reviews on fiction and non-fiction, we have a special treat this week!  Publicity Assistant, April recommends a book for all you foodies out there — the biography of Chuck Williams, founder of William-Sonoma.  Merchant of Sonoma tells the story of Chuck’s life and experiences while simultaneously providing recipes for some of Chuck’s favourite meals.

Not to mention that Christmas is coming and this is definitely one of those intriguing, beautiful books that will make the food-lovers in your family melt like butter!