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A Literary Roundup...

A few things from my travels on the web that I've been wanting to share with you this week, a collection of the literary sort - the weird, the witty, and the wonderful.

- Did you watch the Superbowl this past Sunday? If you did, you witnessed Tom Brady win his seventh Superbowl after his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady has had much success on and off the field in his career, and in difficult times, he has turned to this one book time and again for guidance.

- I'll admit that I wasn't one of the 96.4 million people watching football this past weekend (I grew up in a house where the other football reigned supreme), instead, I was watching Dumplin' on Netflix with my kids. If you haven't read the book, or seen the movie, I strongly suggest that you do. You can't help but root for Willowdean Opal Dickson, a character that author Julie Murphy wrote as a flawed human, saying "it's her ability to recognize her fears and push past them. If you ask me, that's way more brave than being fearless." And besides, Willowdean aka. Dumplin' is a Super Dolly Parton fan, and to that we can all relate.

- What's not to love about Dolly Parton? When she's not funding a COVID vaccine, she's giving away books. LOTS OF BOOKS. "If I'm remembered 100 years from now, I hope it will be not for looks but for books," Dolly said recently. Her worldwide charity organization, Imagination Library, sets out to inspire kids to love to read, and was started as a tribute to her father. Every month the program gifts 1.5 million children's books, and to date, she has given away a total of 129,412,491 books!

- And Stephen King is helping to fund this elementary class' literary project in Maine through a generous gift from his foundation to help them publish a pandemic-inspired book.

- Popular Montreal children's author and illustrator Elise Gravel ended 2020 by raising thousands of dollars by selling her drawings to help the most vulnerable, and she's at it again. She started off 2021 inviting her social media followers to donate to the Old Brewery Mission in exchange for a personalized design. So far she's raised nearly $15,000 for the homeless.

- And this 11-year-old girl from Waterloo is hoping to inspire others with an anti-bullying book she self-published during the pandemic. Flamingo Feet is about a jazz dancer fighting off some mean competition. All book sales in February will be donated to Pink Shirt Day on the 24th.

- Thinking about where to take the kids on March Break? Take the kids on a journey without even leaving your couch with these worldly and magical tales.

- While we wait out this pandemic, and dream of the days we can explore the world again, here are some great shows, books, films and podcasts to help you escape during lockdown.

- And while we're all grounded at the moment, the good news is that we're officially past the mid-point of winter (that was Wednesday February 3rd at 4:49pm according to the Farmers' Almanac), and the even better news is that there are lots of great new books to read while we wait for Spring.

- February is Black History Month and the best book to kick off your reading list this month is Four Hundred Souls, edited by Drs. Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. They enlisted the help of 90 writers to tell 400 years of African American History.

- And a little closer to home, growing up, this writer never learned much about Black History in Atlantic Canada and set out to correct that. She hopes her new history series aimed at kids fills the gap and helps to share these important stories.

- And for further reading, be sure to check out these 6 Black Canadian writers to watch in 2021, including two who are on the CBC Canada Reads shortlist.

- Here's a good piece on the therapeutical value of reading.

- And here are 8 books that lasted the test of time and continue to be life-changing, promoting health and wellness. Have you read any?

- Lately I've been hearing about all kinds of book clubs from people, all with a specific niche: cookbooks, science, history, local, Reese Witherspoon, Canada Reads, romcoms, the list goes on. But here's one I never heard of, and now that I have, I would love to become a member. It's also the oldest running book club in Canada, but you see, not just anyone can join. A couple of requirements: enjoy sipping sherry, own formal evening attire, and you need to be voted in. The caveat? One member selects a book and reads aloud to the group.

- They might be on to something with the reading aloud of books. At one point, reading aloud was thought to cure ailments.

- And to end this week's list, a bit of erudite silliness from The New Yorker.

Happy reading, and happy week.

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