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Photos by Jess Baumung

Meghan Young, Writer

What’s your favourite book and why?

This is such a tough one. I grew up reading fantasy novels, but as an English Lit major, I was later exposed to so many other genres, all of which came with favorites. But if this is a do or die question, I would have to say Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

As an aspiring young adult novelist, I remain in awe of the world J.K. Rowling has created. I still remember the day the last book arrived at my doorstep; how much I wanted to devour it, but also savor it. The evolution from the first book to the last is incredible and I’ve reread the series at least five times.

Who’s your book crush and why?

Jo March of Little Women. I always wanted to be a writer and she was a writer. I admired her passion, how she would stay up all night writing stories, how her hands were always stained with ink and, overall, how she saw the world.

What can we look forward to from your Lit Squad reviews (ie. funny commentary, keeping it real, etc.)?

What I’m looking forward to the most about our discussions are the candid moments. I think there are going to be a lot of unexpected insights and, of course, a ton of hilarious banter.

What’s one thing that nobody knows about you?

I’m an over-sharer, so this is a tough one. I used to want to be an artist. I loved drawing, but didn’t want to step on my brother’s toes when he decided to pursue art. Glad I made that choice because he’s much more talented than I ever was.

What are your 5 deserted island must-haves?

Water and lots of it; a fire-starter kit (let’s face it; I’m no boy scout); milk (and a cool place to store it); tea bags, because I’m a monster without a good cup of tea; and the complete Harry Potter series.

If you were a fictional character, who would you be?

I would definitely be Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I’m forever curious, impulsive and adventurous – all of which often leads me to some tricky situations.

What’s your favourite childhood book or author memory?

The Giver.

Who’s your favourite author and why?

Guy Gavriel Kay is my favorite author. As I mentioned, I grew up reading fantasy novels and The Fionavar Tapestry was always a go-to trilogy when I didn’t have anything new on hand to read. Aside from the fact that he’s an incredible writer and storyteller, he’s Canadian! Of course, J.K. Rowling is an immediate second.

What do you love most about books?

I love the escape. I’ve been an adventurer and storyteller at heart since I was a child and books have always fed these tendencies. My parents couldn’t really afford big trips around the world, but that didn’t matter when I was younger because all I had to do was crack open a book.

What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation? And do you read the book first before you see the movie?

I tend to read books first and then watch the movie, making it hard to really appreciate the adaptations. Let’s face it, the world created in books are almost always richer. But I think one of my favorite would have to be Fight Club.

Describe yourself in 140 characters

Always exploring, always learning and never not talking.

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Jake Mossop, TV host/nurse

What’s your favourite book and why?

One of my favourite books is, How I Learned to Snap, by Kirk Read. It is a story about the author’s coming-of-age and coming-out story having grown up in a small American town. I read this book in my first year of University as I had just moved away from a small town in Ontario to Vancouver, and I was experiencing my own coming-of-age and coming-out journey. It was the perfect book for me to read at the time because I could relate to and identify with Read’s experiences, which helped me get through a transitory period in my life.

Who’s your book crush and why?

My book crush has to be Edward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. BUT the way in which I picture him – not as Robert Pattison, who they casted for the film! I mean come on, who doesn’t want a good-hearted vampire falling in love with them? So romantic, sigh!

What can we look forward to from your Lit Squad reviews (ie. funny commentary, keeping it real, etc.)?

I love to challenge what authors write and I also love to put into practice the things I learn while reading. As a member of the Lit Squad, my reviews will definitely contain witty and insightful commentary, and they will also place an emphasis on what my key take-away messages are from the books we will be reading.

What’s one thing that nobody knows about you?

I am actually bilingual. I attended French immersion school growing up and have lived abroad in Paris for a period of time. I love reading in French, as it is one way in which I maintain my fluency in the language.

What are your 5 deserted island must-haves?

1) Pizza
2) Toilet Paper
3) Tooth paste
4) Tooth brush
5) Another human (preferably a man, who can build a fire and shelter)

If you were a fictional character, who would you be?

I would most definitely be Georges Remi’s (Herge) fictional cartoon character, Tintin. I loved how intelligent he was, his knack for solving mysteries, and he could always get himself out of a sticky situation. Growing up I was obsessed with his adventures and his cute white dog, Snowy.

What’s your favourite childhood book or author memory?

As a child, my favourite thing at school was the Scholastic book orders. I would always order books from the Goosebumps series. What I loved, was going home after school with my new book, reading them in my room, under the blankets with a flashlight, and scaring the bejeebers out of myself.

Who’s your favourite author and why?

One of my favourite author’s is David Sedaris because he tells his stories with such honesty and insightful humour. He is able to take you into his world and make you feel as if you are living those exact hilarious moments right along with him.

What do you love most about books?

What I love most about books is the smell of the fresh, brand-new pages. Mmmm! Something about it is just so nostalgic. I spent almost 8 years in post-graduate studies and have been around books most my life. Luckily, I was also at the tail end of a generation where we used paper books and textbooks. Every time I’d buy a book or get a new textbook, the first thing I would do is open it at random and smell the inside. Weird, I know, but you’ve all done it!

What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation? And do you read the book first before you see the movie?

I always try to read a book prior to seeing the film version. One of my favourite book-to-movie adaptations is the Harry Potter series. When I read the books by J.K. Rowling, she did such a phenomenal job at creating this polarizing universe in which the stories took place. When production of the movies was announced, I was a bit skeptical that the films would not be able to do it justice and successfully recreate the ‘magic’ of the books. But, I think they did a phenomenal job!

Describe yourself in 140 characters

I love food, family and friends. I’m also passionate about promoting health and wellness as a registered nurse and in the media. That’s me!

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Sasha Exeter, Creative Director

What’s your favourite book and why?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book has a very special place in my heart and came to be at the perfect time. I was 17. I was searching. I was lost. Most teenagers are I think. My journey to where I am today and be somewhat credited to this book.

Fear has been something that has plagued me most of my life. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear of even being successful. The latter may seem odd but that’s because I think I was afraid of what would happen next after reaching my goals. Success brings some sort of pressure to remain where you are.

This book taught me that fear is a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself. Any new pursuit requires entering unchartered territory – that’s scary. But with any great risk comes great rewards. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Who’s your book crush and why?

I don’t have a typical book crush. No fictitious dreamy man from a novel I’ve read a bunch of times. However, I was madly obsessed with Candace Bushnell original collection of essays loosely based on her lifestyle in New York City. I first read the book, titled Sex and the City when I was a teen, which soon turned into the popular HBO series of the same name that every woman became obsessed with. Carrie Bradshaw’s character was said to be the fictional version of Candace and I love everything about the character – her quirky style, unconventional beauty, great style, eloquence, intellect and wit.

What can we look forward to from your Lit Squad reviews (ie. funny commentary, keeping it real, etc.)?

Well, I think everyone should expect to see brutal honesty, hilarious feedback and fun banter between my fellow Lit Squadders and I.

What’s one thing that nobody knows about you?

I have fear of speaking in front of large groups. Contrary to what people may think of me, I am super. I have mastered the art of being more outgoing one-on-one and in small groups but public speaking literally freaks me out!

What are your 5 deserted island must-haves?

1. lip balm
2. a thick novel. Most likely a classic that I can re-read over and over again
3. my iPhone (with actual service though because what good is a phone without reception)
4. a deck of cards
5. my laptop for writing and journaling purposes

If you were a fictional character, who would you be?

Jo March from Little Women. This response may catch people by surprise BUT we have many, many similarities. At the age of 15, I was a tomboy, geeky, clumsy, blunt and opinionated and to be honest, not much has changed for me since I was a teenager.

What’s your favourite childhood book or author memory?

This is a no-brainer. Robert Munsch 100%. I made my parents re-read me Munsch’s classic kids books over and over. The Paper Bag Princess, Love You Forever, Thomas’ Snowsuit, and Mortimer were my faves.

Who’s your favourite author and why?

This is an insanely difficult question to answer and impossible for me to choose just one. Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Authors of classic works that have transcended generation. There is no book by any of these authors that I wouldn’t read multiple times. Although I have read their work dozens of times, each time I read one of their novels, it’s like I am reading it for the first time.

What do you love most about books?

I became obsessed with books at a young age because of it’s ability to take you to another place. As you read the authors words, you can literally paint a picture of what your reading and nobody can tell you what you see is incorrect. A good author can paint a picture so vivid though that you are almost certain your depiction is exactly how the writer had envisioned it. Reading let’s you travel to places you may never travel to, meet people (characters) you may never meet and can open your imagination.

What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation? And do you read the book first before you see the movie?

The Godfather will forever be my favourite book to movie adaption. I wish I could lie and say that I read the books first, but I am not that cool. I jumped on the bandwagon of my older boy cousins and watched the trilogy a thousand times before deciding to read the novels when I was 19. To me, it’s one of the greatest films of all time. Francis Ford Coppola did a phenomenal job executing the mob drama penned by Mario Puzo and the acting from Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert Towne was unbelievable.

Describe yourself in 140 characters

It’s simple, people either love me or hate me. My approach to things can be very pragmatic. I don’t really enjoy small talk. I have extremely high standards of myself and those around me. However, I can be quite funny at times. Those who get to know me on a deeper level will agree that I am giving, patient and loving but stubborn as a bull.

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Akil Augustine, TV host

What’s your favourite book and why?

Catch 22, its the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

Who’s your book crush and why?

The Freakonomics boys; Dubner & Levitt. I like the way see things.

What can we look forward to from your Lit Squad reviews (ie. funny commentary, keeping it real, etc.)?

We are all going to find out together.

What’s one thing that nobody knows about you?

I sleep with a fan blowing directly onto my torso — May to September.

What are your 5 deserted island must-haves?

A drum, ergonomic pillow, lip balm, the largest volume of poetry available and a tarp.

If you were a fictional character, who would you be?

Bruce Wayne.

What’s your favourite childhood book or author memory?

I hated reading as a kid.

Who’s your favourite author and why?

Malcolm Gladwell, he teaches me things.

What do you love most about books?

I feel like every time I read a book I upgrade. Like when Tank uploaded all those different programs to Neo’s brain in The Matrix.

What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation? And do you read the book first before you see the movie?

Fight Club. Movie first.

Describe yourself in 140 characters.

He’s happy.

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Lauren McPhillips, Editor-in-Chief

What’s your favourite book and why?

It’s a tie between The Virgin Suicides and Lolita. Both are pretty dark in subject matter, but are so beautifully and poetically written that you hang on every word. I actually have the first line from Lolita tattooed on my wrists (tres controversial!)

Who’s your book crush and why?

Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables. He loves strong, opinionated and ambitious women. Gotta love a guy like that.

What can we look forward to from your Lit Squad reviews (ie. funny commentary, keeping it real, etc.)?

Well, I was basically born without a filter or the ability to hide my emotions on my face, so… whatever I’m thinking is what you’re going to get! My facial expressions will serve as great fodder for memes.

What’s one thing that nobody knows about you?

I cannot stand the taste or aroma of beer. Like, I actually gag at the smell of it. I know that’s not very exciting, but I’m not about to share my deepest, darkest secrets on the internet :)

What are your 5 deserted island must-haves?

Okay, these are going to sound SUPER practical, but c’mon…. if I’m on a deserted island, my main concern is survival, right?

So I would have….
– an endless supply of fresh water (duh)
– a really cosy waterproof sleeping bag
– a hammock (no one wants to sleep on sand)
– lots of really good wine (gotta keep occupied somehow)
– Bear Grylls from Man vs. Wild (I am really satisfied with myself for coming up with this one)

If you were a fictional character, who would you be?

Jo March from Little Women. Nothing stopped her from following her dreams – she was bold, strong-willed and wrote from the heart.

What’s your favourite childhood book or author memory?

Every Christmas, my sister and I would get a Bunty or a Mandy book from my parents – they’re these British ‘annuals’ that are compilations of short illustrated/photographed stories for young girls. Not gonna lie, I would be ecstatic if I still got them every year.

Who’s your favourite author and why?

Jeffrey Eugenides and Chuck Klosterman. Eugenides for the prose, Klosterman for the laughs.

What do you love most about books?

Books give birth to great ideas. Whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, humour or poetry, books allow your mind to wander to places it may never have ventured to otherwise.

What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation? And do you read the book first before you see the movie?

Little Women. Perfect as a book, perfect as a movie (it’s the only story that will make me cry whether I’m reading it or watching it). I usually like to read the book beforehand, because once I watch the movie and know the story, it’s unlikely I’ll carve out time to read the book afterwards.

Describe yourself in 140 characters.

To quote Bukowski: “She’s mad, but she’s magical. There’s no lie in her fire.”

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