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Showing posts from February, 2016

And The Oscar Goes To...


Movies have captivated audiences for generations. The visionaries gave us the silent era classics that still retain the power to astonish. The modern practitioners work within the milieu of a digital revolution and computer effects, but we can strip away the computer generated imagery (CGI) because it is about captivation; we must remain in thrall to the big screen otherwise we lose interest.

In DK's The Movie Book - Big Ideas Simply Explained, graduate film school and the pedagogy of criticism are skipped in favour of making the inspirations and messages of the movies we love (or loathe!), accessible and understandable. As the introduction states, 
"Some of the movies in this book were adored by critics; others were pure crowd-pleasers. Quite a few were neither, flops that later generations then realized were masterpieces." 
Pauline Keal, arguably the most famous of modern movie critics noted, "When you clean them up, when you make movies respectable, yo…

A Canada Reads Finalist: Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz


Two sisters, born on the exact same day, two years apart. It is often said that "history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme" so does this coincidence of birthdays foreshadow a common bond between Beena and Sadhana? At first blush, they are anything but similar. 

The sisters grew up in a little neighbourhood of Montreal north of the mountain. The neighbourhood was quite diverse. Yiddish, Greek, Italian dialects could be heard in unison with English and French. With a Scottish mum and a Sikh dad, the girls had an unusual upbringing. But be advised before you are quick to jump the gun and attribute this to their unhappiness and strife.

The novel is rife with complexity, misery, and grief. Set in Montreal and Ottawa, it starts off with the sudden death of Sadhana. But that was not the start of the emotional roller coaster. That in fact, was already in sessi…

Carry Me by Peter Behrens

The novel, epic.
The writing, refreshing and compelling.
The characters, real and relatable.
Perhaps this is not what you’d expect from a story set in Europe as The Great War dawns.
At the heart of Carry Me is a common driver: relationships and how conflict touches their lives on a most intimate level. It is a diary of sorts. The setting of the novel begins on the Isle Of Wight, off the south coast of England, in the years before the First World War. Billy Lange’s father is the skipper of a racing yacht belonging to a wealthy German-Jewish baron. The baron has a daughter, Karin von Weinbrenner. As a child, Billy is entranced by Karin, and their bond strengthens years later when they are reunited on the baron’s Frankfurt estate, with mutual like and a common love for Wild West novels of Karl May.
Friendship transpires into love, and this complex love affair has extraordinary high states. As their relationship deepens, the forces outside their control also start to weigh in on decisions. On …

The More You'll Read, The More Places You'll Go

What new books will inspire young minds this year?

I was at the preview of Owl Publishing's Spring Book Launch and along with satiating my foodie palate with delicious appetizers from Les Louises (highly recommended if you are catering a party by the way), I also got a sneak peak of the hottest new children's books. 

The event was set in the backdrop of a delightful bookstore located in the heart of Trinity Bellwoods. Type Books is a breath of fresh air, a timely diversion from the experience at mega big box bookstores that populate the city. Cozy, comfortable, with a great selection of books in every nook. It's quite easy to navigate, and in a store of that size, I was amazed to see all the hot sellers on the market from genres ranging from culinary, to children's, to contemporary fiction. 

For starters, there's Skunk On A String, written/illustrated by Thao Lam. Thao is wonderfully down-to-earth --an illustrator at heart. Skunk On A String is fully descriptive with …

Happy Valentine's Day

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Valentine's Is...Saying More Than Just "You'll Do"


I'd still trade it for you.

That is the wonderful message in Vikki Vansickle & Cale Atkinson's new book If I Had A Gryphon

This is an adorable tale of a girl wishing she had mythical creatures as pets instead of the hamster she just got.  

Sam isn't impressed by the hamster and sighs: 
"He mostly eats and sleeps and hides And gets his shavings wet."
How boring! 

Who wouldn't dream of having a pet with strange exotic powers? Vikki Vansickle & Cale Atkinson have put together a delightful story that bounces in lyrical motion and captivates with beautiful brushstrokes. 

With a unicorn, Sam figures she'd be able to braid her silky mane, and shine her horn with candy corn to get a starry sheen. 

With a hippogriff she could do lots, like RUN and JUMP and FETCH! 

But what if she had a dragon? Wait a minute. She reckons that the dragon may have a temperamental SNOUT, and she'd need a fire extinguisher to put her sneezes out. 

And let'…

Just in Time For Valentine's Day

A spotlight on Chapters Indigo's Valentine's Day pick: The Vintage Guide To Love And Romance by Kirsty Greenwood.

I have to admit that when I first heard about this book, I had my doubts whether it was the book for me. Seemed too YA-ish, too kitschy -- not the kind of book that I usually gravitate towards. But, once again I'm reminded of that old adage of never judging a book by its cover. 

Funny. Fun. An absolutely perfect feel-good book for Valentine's Day. If you want a genre to pigeonhole this book into, perhaps contemporary romance may do. But going beyond the obvious labels, The Vintage Guide To Love And Romance has been described as "Bridget Jones meets Pygmalion". 

You'll laugh, you'll hold your breath (yes, it does contain some strong language), but you'll definitely fall in love with the protagonist Jessica Beam (the protagonist), who embodies the feistiness of Samantha Jones in Sex In The City (only she's 28). 

Jess loves to party. In f…

A Week Without Tuesday by Angelica Banks

This is a sequel to Finding Serendipity. Another adventure with Tuesday and Baxterr as they return to the land of story.

Tuesday McGillycuddy loves to write, and is looking forward spending her summer with her family doing just that. Then the real and imaginary collide, setting off a course of action that will put them to the test and give them an adventure of a lifetime. 

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