Well, hello! If you’re seeing this, I really appreciate you.
I am here with some good news – I will be a vendor at the 2023 Toronto Stationery Show on April 30th! The banners, envelopes, scrap paper packs, and zines are back, baby. I can’t wait to show you all the new styles of banners I have and debut my newest zine ‘The Paper Trail Diary’s Guide to Being a Great Pen Pal!”
Come visit! It’s going to be a grand time full of EIGHTY-EIGHT vendors of STATIONERY! Dream come true, goodbye money!
Sunday, April 30th
10 am – 6 pm (VIP tickets for early access)
11 am – 6 pm (FREE general admission)
1153 Queen Street West
If you’re like me, books and snail mail have been comforting hobbies to have during the pandemic. Barb from Rite While U Can and I wanted to bring the Book Lover Postcard Swap to celebrate them during this year’s National Letter Writing Month!
The Book Lover Postcard Swap assigns partners to send each other postcards based on a bookish prompt. This time around, we ask that you write a note about a book that features letter writing.
If you’re interested, please read the form below carefully and sign up before April 19.
Remember to tag your posts on social media with #BookLoverPostcardSwap!
As you can probably tell, 2020 took a lot out of me, including blogging and reviewing. I did manage to write one letter to a book in the fall, and it’s a book I still can’t stop thinking about. So here’s my letter to The Midnight Library by Matt Haig!
Here’s the text:
Dear The Midnight Library —
Sometimes books drop into your life at the exact right moment. You were that for me. I’m in a period of question marks, so Nora’s story really resonated with me. I’ve always been someone who can get stuck in the “what ifs” – I wish I could go back to change things or I wish I could somehow see what would’ve happened from a decision, like a fast forward. Nora got the opportunity to do this – of course it came at the expense of her trying to take her own life (something I wouldn’t do, just FYI). Nora’s story makes you appreciate living in the moment more, and learning to trust yourself, and I really needed to read that. I liked being able to drop into her parallel lives with her, and I could feel when she’d decide to leave them. Just like Nora, I’m learning you have to want to put in the work. Thank you for being there for me.
Well, hi! It’s been a while. I’ve been itching to do another creative project lately and seeing as the pandemic kind of put the kibosh on the fun of the Notebook & Pen Swap, I figured, let’s do another Chain Letter Short Story Project!
If you like creative writing and snail mail, and want to be a part of something that makes its way around the world, then keep reading…
The Chain Letter Short Story Project is quite literally a short story that is written as a chain letter by folks all over the world. I start and finish the story, and then compile everything into a zine. You can check out the first story,second story, and third story now!
Want to be a part of #4? I’m looking for 5-10 people from around the world to join. Please note that this really could take at least a year to make its way around the globe, so this is a long term project and you should keep that in mind when signing up in terms of your address and level of commitment (if you move, please let me know).
As a contributor, you must be willing to:
Write a page of the story, keep it to either handwriting or typing about a sheet of paper in English. It must be in relation to what came before it. There may be other instructions included with the mail. I re-type them for the zine, but it’s really neat to see all the pages together.
Include any web links you’d like on your page in the zine. (Blog, Instagram, etc)
Have it in your possession for no more than 2 weeks.
Email me when you get it and when you’re done with it to get the address of the next participant. And then mail it to them. You cover your own shipping cost.
If you’re posting about it online, please tag @papertraildiary and #CLSSP4. We want to see its’ progress!
I reserve the right to pick contributors out of everyone submitted.
Participants from the last round are disqualified, to be fair.
The letter will be sent as the straightest line of destination-to-destination that I can see.
You’ll receive copies of the zine once it’s finished!
If you are interested, please fill out this form by February 27. You don’t need to be a professional writer to take part in this!
Well, it’s been a very long time since we did a Book Lover Postcard Swap! Barb of Rite While U Can and I figured now was a good time to bring it back, as we’re in the… 10th? 11th? week of self-isolation here in Canada and figured everyone else could also use a pick-me-up! So this time around we want you to write a postcard about a book that brings you comfort! A book you look to for refuge or perhaps a book that’s helped you through this worldwide crisis.
If you’re interested, sign up on the form below before Friday, May 22!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a book review.. it’s not that I haven’t been reading (have finished 13 so far in 2020), I just haven’t had the energy or care, even though I’ve read some really good books recently. I spend all day on the computer and just don’t want to do the same at home.
Yesterday I was thinking, well what can I do that shows off books I love that’s not writing a standard review (also have thoughts and feelings on that) and something that can be a bit ~on brand~? And then I thought, I will write books letters! (And ignore spelling mistakes!)
So please see my first one here for the fantastic Layoverland by Gabby Noone, about a girl who dies in a car accident and finds herself in between life and death (which is an airport!), assigned to help people pass to heaven, and gets paired with the guy who put her there. It’s supremely clever and I really liked it.
Dear Layoverland, I’ve always been really interested in stories about the in-between life and afterlife. I still think about Boo by Neil Smith often. I’m not a fantasy reader, but these types of stories are like fantasy to me. I’m interested in how people imagine something none of us know. It’s wild! So I was excited to read this & I was not disappointed. And what a moral quandary – a girl finding herself in the airport of in-between, destined to help guide others to heaven, only to be paired with the guy responsible for her death in a car accident. And she has to develop feelings for him too? Oh man. I felt how angry and confused she was, and I was rooting for her the whole way. But that ending was too soon for me!! >_< This was pitched for fans of The Good Place, and I agree. This was original, a complex question of humanity, and a triumph of curiosity. Xo, Jess
Well hello there. Here I am once again at the dead end of the year, waiting until the last second to decide on my favourite books. While I haven’t blogged very much this year, I did keep a steady reading pace! I’m ending 2019 with a count of 56 books. Before I get further into my yearly analysis, here are my top 10 books of 2019!
Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
For being the most fun book I’ve read in a long time, and for putting a big smile on my face whenever I think about it and its wonderfulness. For being the book that everyone wanted to share, for everything that it inspired, and for its wonderful world.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
For being a story that spoke to my bookish soul, for actually being a bookish book and not a faker. For the amount of times I needed to use sticky notes to remember places that had me laugh in public or squee with glee. For a girl with her planner.
Internment by Samira Ahmed
For being a story that is too close to real. For instilling both fear and courage in me. For its fierce protagonist. For the power it should’ve had in moving readers the way The Hate U Give did.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
For making me feel hot and cold at the same time. For Sally’s beautiful writing. For being a slow, quiet twist of fate and choices that tangles two people.
Slay by Brittney Morris
For being kick ass. For showing a smart, creative girl can be in charge but still get a reality check and not fail. For being fast-paced, full of adventure, and with a good, solid story.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
For being so freaking adorable it’s ridiculous. For being so British. For the way it exposed gaslighting in a way that was much needed and realistic. For not making the characters communicate by post-it for the entire book, but long enough for it to be sweet and silly.
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
For a feminist rom-com in the Suffragette era. For being super sexy and a ton of fun to read. For showing the internal struggle of the characters of the tie between what they’re fighting for and what they feel.
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
For being so dark of a hole that I fell right in. For taking me places in a book I’ve never been before. For breaking my heart.
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
For being a clever little minx of a rom com by flipping the script. For getting major league baseball players to discuss how their wives spend too much time with emotional labour. For being fun, silly, and soft.
Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins
For being a YA story I hadn’t seen before. For not being a romance and instead being about two characters figuring themselves out but still having people around them for help. For being a book about two teens traveling outside of the US.
So, another year of YA and rom coms, which I’m totally fine with. I can feel myself moving farther out of YA stories, which is a bummer but at least I’m finding other stories to read. (Lately I’m having this frustration with YA in that I’m finding the books I’m interested are good stories in idea/theory, but the writing isn’t good enough.) I was happy to find a few books this year that were about women in their thirties who aren’t using dating apps or are about being a sad mom, so I’ve considered that a win for myself. I didn’t really push myself very far in terms of comfort zone this year so maybe in 2020 I can be better at that. I also need to be better about putting books down when I’m not enamoured with them – I spent a lot of time reading mediocre books this year, when instead I could’ve used that time to find better ones!
Also in terms of blogging, I really let The Paper Trail Diary and most of my creative endeavours slide this year. (Sorry! I’ll plan on doing a Notebook & Pen Swap in early spring!) I hope that in 2020 I can re-evaluate what I want this site/brand/whatever to be (like… does anyone even read blogs anymore?) and can figure out what I want to do with it moving forward. I barely even posted to Instagram this year because I’ve got myself stuck in this hole of how pictures should look, and I can rarely achieve that look.. I have to let that go. (But I’m still mad about the algorithm). Anyway… I have goals!
If you’ve reached this far, thank you, and happy reading <3
What books did you love this year? What are you planning for 2020?