Sunday, August 21, 2016

Explosive Tribute To Gordon Downie

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I just think it was so fitting, so appropriate, so apropos, that tonight, in my city of Ottawa Canada there were fireworks at the same time that The Tragically Hip were performing their last concert ever, LIVE on TV from Kingston Ontario. The only thing better would have been to be there in person.
Gordon Downie, you have no idea how much your poetry and music and on-stage antics have meant to me over the years.
For those of you who may not know, Gordon Downie, vocalist of the band Tragically Hip was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer this year and this is a brief clip of their final show, viewed from my rooftop apartment. I partied with you, Gordon. 
Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for all that your music has meant to me.
You will forever be, the Canadian Muse.
*****

Sunday, July 03, 2016

So Much For Peace and Quiet...

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I was quietly reading on my balcony this weekend and then this happened!
*****

Friday, February 05, 2016

The Next Best Thing

Tonight when I got off work I heard on the radio that Yann Martel was in town, speaking about his new book at our Writer's Festival. My first thought was "Whaaaaaaaaat?
I love Yann Martel's books, and met him once back in 2003 when Life of Pi was all the rage. He signed my book back then, and even chatted with me.
And so tonight I was so upset, because if I had known about it I would have made plans to be there. As it is, they announced the thing was sold out. 

But still, I would have gotten tickets in advance had I known of it.
So, somewhat chagrined, I went to a Starbucks and drank about three gallons of coffee. 

Then I thought, "Well, at least I am going to go now and buy his new book. Like right now."
The Chapters store was just closing when I got there. I grabbed a copy of Yann's new book and went to the cashier. She took it from me and said, "Wait. Do you want a different book than this one?"
I thought she was maybe insane. A "different" book? Why would I have handed her this one?
And she literally walked away and came back with another copy she had retrieved from somewhere over yonder, behind the counter. She said, "Yann Martel walked through here today and signed a bunch of his books, would you like this one instead?"
I was like… "Do tigers live on boats? OF COURSE I want that one! Yes. Yes. Yes!"
So the night sort of redeemed itself after all. 

I'm still sad that I missed Mr. Martel in person, but ended up with the next best thing.

*****

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Faves of 2015

Let me begin by saying -- Happy [Belated] New Year to one and all.
I have not written a blog for a real long time -- but this does not mean I have given up on books. In the year of 2015 I managed to read 58 books. For most of you, this is a small number, but for me it's pretty damn good. Because truly, I am a rather slow and methodical reader. If I was a dinosaur, I would probably be given the Latin nomenclature of Slowus Turnpageius.
But a couple of books really got me flipping the page last year. I've got to admit, it was really difficult to pick a top five, but here they are:

1. Purity, by Jonathan Franzen.
2. Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates.
3. Riven Rock, by T.C. Boyle.
4. The Book of Daniel, by E.L. Doctorow.
5. A Tale For The Time Being, by Ruth Ozecki.

All of these books just had me riveted to the page. Please forgive me for not offering an extensive review of each one, but I am currently knee-deep in another real gem, and I want to get back to it here before Monday arrives and my alarm clock [which is so obviously set by Satan himself every Sunday night] jolts me into my back-breaking reality of… reality before dawn.
Now that I think of it I have to include one more book -- Native Son, by Richard Wright.
I'm really surprised at the plethora of negative reviews with the new Franzen book.
I read it with my girlfriend on the beach this summer [pictured above] and we both thought the book was flawlessly good. Why are so many reviewers panning the thing into the sand? 

Where is all the Franzen-hate coming from? I think he is, to borrow a phrase of another of my fave-authors, Martin Amis -- "simply brill".
I also read a lot of great non-fiction as well. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson. Voices In The Ocean, by Susan Casey. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
. How Jesus Became Christian, by Barrie Wilson. And perhaps the best, and most important of all -- Heretic: Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Happy reading in 2016, to everyone!
*****