Skip to main content

An afternoon with Sara Gruen and Lori Lansens

The rain didn’t dampen our spirits…

After all, authors Sara Gruen and Lori Lansens were in the house. If you remember Water For Elephants (the book, and then the movie starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon), then you know Sara Gruen needs no introduction. Neither does New York Times best-selling author and screenwriter, Lori Lansens.  

The Duke Of York in Yorkville, Toronto, set the stage for this intimate mix and mingle for book sellers and influential bloggers. It was hosted by Chapters Indigo and Random House Canada, hours before the authors were scheduled for an official public appearance at Appel Salon (TorontoPublic Library).

The event consisted of three things that just were the perfect ingredients to lift my spirits. The first crucial ingredient were of course the authors. Yes, despite the overcast weather pattern in Toronto over the last few days (…I’m sure Vancouver residents are having a laugh right now), there's no way I was going to let the rain dampen my spirits, especially when there's an exclusive author event in town (and Random House is at the centre of that event). Rain, rain, go away...or stay...I've got a book to read and authors to meet.

The second thing I absolutely devour in this world is cake. And when there’s one shaped like a mountain, boy is there a story to tell. Pictured at the end of this blog, "the cake" was monumental. It was of course in commemoration of Lori’s book The Mountain Story. You'd be astonished how a grey realistic-looking mountain cake could taste so lemony delicious.

If you follow, you won’t be surprised with the third thing that always lifts my sprits. Cocktails. Of course, it's even better when mixed with the company of good friends, and there was no shortage of fun and laughter at this event. Those blogger pals and the Random House gals are a hoot. It's like being at a stand-up comedy fest. You know who you are...Lindsey and Aliya! Combine that with an out-of-this-world cocktail recipe concocted specially for this event, and it's a perfect pairing. Duke Of York, you have outdone yourself with an deliciously flavourful Amaretto and Whiskey combination…it’s a recipe that’s quite spectacular. 

Ok, back to the book. I’ve already started Sara Gruen’s At The Water’s Edge, and I have to say that so far the story is a compelling read. A blogger at the event said that this was probably the best book she has read in 2015, which is actually a huge endorsement given that she’s a blogger and has already probably read 50 books to date this year. This was also a book my colleague asked to borrow, given that she loved Water For Elephants.

At The Water’s Edge has been referred to as the Scottish Downton Abbey. That’s probably enough to intrigue you, and unfortunately until I finish the book, I don’t want to comment further on the book. The Globe & Mail calls it “a compelling comfort read with an odd plot”.

Lori Lansens book A Mountain Story, is a harrowing survival story about four strangers who spend five days lost in the mountain wilderness above Palm Springs. It is prefaced on the cover by these words: Four go up a mountain, but only three come down

Lori Lansens has been asked several times about her mountain climbing ability (rightfully so, since her book has the title A Mountain Story), but alas she says that this is a skill she lacks.

Here’s the excerpt from Lori's blog:  
“A couple of early readers of The Mountain Story have asked if I’m a big mountain climber—a natural question since I’ve written a novel about being lost in the mountain wilderness of California’s second tallest mountain. Alas, I’m not a big mountain climber. Not even a little one. I have severe motion sickness, and some vertigo, and sporadic fear of heights, and chronic fear of getting lost. Taking the near-vertical rotating tram from the scorching desert up to Mount San Jacinto’s sub-alpine wilderness at eight thousand feet was the courage equivalent of climbing Annapurna for me.”

I’m eager to read both these books and stay tuned for my reviews later.