Our Community Member Series: Meet Amy
Our Community Member Series: Meet Amy
Now that things are starting to go back to pre-pandemic levels of normal, I met with one of our hosts Amy on a rainy day in Toronto over Zoom to discuss books, community, and life. I think many of us have missed having a close-knit community and in-person connections, which is why I met with Amy to bring the spotlight on her as one of our book club Brookie hosts.
Amy works in marketing for wine brands in Toronto where she has the opportunity to invent and be part of the innovations for new wines that come into Canada. She works on three different things: cheap and cheerful under ten-dollar wine, VQA, which is a Canadian wine that she is very passionate about, and specialty products such as bringing imported wines to Canada. Her passions go hand in hand as she likes to give people a bottle of wine at her book club events. Amy is also a third culture child, where growing up she got to live around the world in places such as California, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan (where she is from) and Vancouver before settling in Toronto for the past 10 years. Reading is something Amy loves to do and she appreciates how it allows her to connect with anyone. Finally, Amy has a dog named Toffee, whom she loves as her child and she enjoys being able to bring him with her everywhere she goes.
Here’s more about Amy:
1. What drew you to BrooknBrunch?
I think I saw an Instagram ad and at the time, I really wanted to do book clubs and I really wanted especially with Covid, to do in-person events again. I’m a big reader but most people in my life are not big readers, don’t read as much as myself, or most people my age don’t read as much anymore. So I wanted to find like-minded people who wanted to read books that I wanted to read. I’m also very specific in what I like to read––mainly romantic comedies, which not a lot of people like to read because they’re very cheesy and biographies. I love reading about people’s stories and how they got to where they are. Those are generally the genres I gravitate towards and not a lot of people read those so I wanted to find others who want to read the same type of books I want to read and talk about them. Looking at BooknBrunch, I realized there were no in-person meetings in Toronto so I reached out to be like is there any way we can have stuff here in Toronto just to see if small groups of 6-8 like-minded people can get together and talk about books and or about life, which is really cool.
2. If you could pick one author to share a meal with, who would it be and where would you go?
Super nerdy answer, I thought about this and when I was little, the first series that I got really into was Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic series. I was young when the series first came out, and my parents would always give me a book as a reward for getting straight A’s. I used to collect Sophie Kinsella’s books because I love the way she writes—it’s always a little bit romantic-comedy, very comical, and very relatable in my opinion. If I could get dinner with her I’d love to pick her brain on where she got these fun ideas; was it from her personal experience or does she just have a great imagination? And where? That’s a great question, but I think it would have to be New York City and a really chic little restaurant where it’s not super loud so we can actually talk and I can hear her thoughts is probably what I would want
3. What’s your desert-island book pick–which book can you read and re-read over and over?
What book can I read over and over? That is a really tough question. I don’t know, I feel like the books I read aren’t exactly the books you would want to read over and over again. It’s more like, at the end of a hard day I just want to escape from reality for a good 30 minutes—those are the kinds of books that I generally read, so I don’t know if I would re-read anything. The plot isn’t that complicated to begin with, it’s more just like a really fun plot where everyone ends up together. I always love a happy ending, I honestly don’t know if I have a great book to recommend.
4. Do you have a self-care routine? What does it look like?
It depends on the day, but on a rainy day like today, I love a good glass of wine and then sitting down and reading a book, that is my go-to thing. I’m very lucky to have a real fireplace, so I put on the fireplace and get a little glass. of wine. There are certain authors that I really enjoy, especially authors that write romantic comedies. There’s a general pattern now where they do series in which every book is about a different character and the characters are mentioned from the previous books, which I love. I would love to read a good three-book series about three different girls, and whatever the setting could be about a group of friends or a family. That’s probably my favourite type of day
5. What was your favourite BooknBrunch event you attended and what made it special?
I think it would have to be the very first one I hosted. I did it in Maverick Brewery and I just put out six tickets. I had never done this before so I was really nervous and worried that no one would show up. I was on my own and a lot of people do sign-up, but not a lot of people show up afterwards so I was really nervous, but I showed up and it was really fun! What I really enjoyed was that it was women of all ages, so there were 20-year-olds all the way up to 50-year-olds; just people from all different walks of life. Everyone did a different job, and everyone liked different genres of books, and we all came together to talk about this book and also just to share their realities, which was really, really fun. It’s also really interesting how you could have so many different perspectives about one book that you just didn’t expect to begin with.
6. How do you choose which book to read for your events?
The events are great because Zuzana does give you a list of recommended books, but because I am so specific with the genre that I like, that I just want to read what I want to read. So there are a couple of different things: either it’s been on my TBR list, which usually comes from previous books that the author has written and I want to read it, or I am a big sucker for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. I love it whenever she picks a book and it is close to the genres I like, so I’m like I gotta read it, it’s going to be good. Or sometimes I go into Indigo and I look at the newest fiction titles that just came out. I do also like that the events hold me accountable because sometimes when I have to choose between sitting on the couch and watching TV or reading a book, I don’t always choose the latter. But when you have an event coming up, I absolutely have to finish reading this book by a certain date, which gives me a hard deadline. It’s great because then I make the better choice of sitting down and reading a book versus mindlessly scrolling through Instagram for example
7. Is there anything else you want to share about being a BooknBrunch host?
If anyone else wants to host a book event, I think it’s actually really fun. Every single time you get to meet different people and sometimes it’s the same people who come to all of your events, so it’s really nice to catch up with those friends that you’ve made through similar interests, which I really enjoy. But, if anyone else is interested in finding like-minded friends because I know a lot of people want to go to book clubs and there are obviously a lot of other options, but I find that nothing is as consistent as something like BooknBrunch where it’s kind of set up for you to be more consistent, which is something I really enjoy.
Shelby Gray is an English and Professional Writing student who lives with her two children and two cats. She has always had a love for reading and enjoys a variety of genres. Shelby also enjoys travelling and exploring new places by going for hikes and walks. She is most content when she gets to spend time recharging in nature with her children.
Favourite book: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Favourite brunch dish: Eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce and lots of coffee