Our Community Member Series: Meet TJ
Our Community Member Series: Meet TJ
Welcome back to the second spotlight in our series of meeting BooknBrunch community members! On a warm and sunny 22-degree Celsius day in Toronto, I met with TJ, another one of our Toronto-based Brookie hosts to discuss books, well-being, and community.
TJ is a born and raised Torontonian who loves reading. She has always had an affinity for libraries, bookshops, and cafes—she’s drawn to communities with literacy and learning. As a local content creator, TJ loves exploring Toronto. She does a lot of support for small, local businesses as a media consultant and works in public service. She is big on well-being and has her yoga certification. She focuses on supporting locally, doing things one-on-one on a human level, and interacting with different communities; she is tapped into different cultures, what’s happening in Toronto, and things to do.
Here’s more about TJ:
1. What drew you to BrooknBrunch?
Being someone who is super community-oriented and wanting to tap into my love for reading, exploring local, and my love for mental health, I wanted to use a platform that was already hosting something similar in terms of setting up a book club. This is something I have always wanted to do, so I was super happy to do that once I came across BooknBrunch, which already has something in place. There’s already an existing community of people who love reading, going out, and interacting with local community members. This is exactly the kind of platform I was looking for for this aspect of my life.
2. If you could pick one author to share a meal with, who would it be and where would you go?
Paulo Coelho would be the author I would share a meal with and definitely going to a nice Brazilian cafe because that’s where Paulo Coelho is from.
3. What’s your desert-island book pick–which book can you read and re-read over and over?
The Harry Potter books are a huge part of my life—I grew up with it at the same time that the movies came out as well, so it was kind of like a right of passage for me. Those are definitely coming on an island with me along with Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.
4. Do you have a self-care routine? What does it look like?
Yes, so I try to do a morning and evening routine. I always have to make it a point to at least drink water and I go outside no matter if it is snowing, hailing, or bright and sunny, I always have to go outside. That is my self-care number one in the morning because I feel like it helps set the tone for the day. Even if it is just a minute outside on the balcony or a couple of minutes just walking around my neighbourhood, it’s something that I have to do every day.
5. What was your favourite BooknBrunch event you attended and what made it special?
So I am actually fairly new to BooknBrunch, I came on this year, but it would be my own event that I hosted with Michelle Obama’s book for my Munching, Mindfulness, Mental Health/Memoirs event. It was really nice because it was a small, intimate group and we got to go to a really popular brunch spot called Insomnia that was on my list for a very long time so I was happy to check off all of those boxes.
6. How do you choose which book to read for your events?
So the themes that I’m focusing on are memoirs, mental health, and mindfulness. Any books that fall under these categories are what I’m choosing for my book club series.
7. Is there anything else you want to share about being a BooknBrunch host?
It’s a great way to connect with other people on an individual level. It’s very intimate and I love that people are coming in together and sharing their love of different themes including dining out together, sharing mindfulness practices , and doing what feels like self-care. I just love to meet members of the community, whether it’s a book club or not, I just love to get BooknBrunch out there.
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