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Showing posts from October, 2016

With All The Mortgage Rule Changes, Does Alex Avery's The Wealthy Renter Make Even More Sense?

In a society that’s obsessed with real estate in general and home ownership in particular you wonder if Alex Avery’s The Wealthy Renter makes sense.
“Renting is the unsung hero of the housing world, renting is beautiful in its simplicity. Pay a fixed amount of money for the right to occupy a space for a fixed amount of time. It’s that simple.”
As the title of the book suggests Alex Avery is an advocate for renting verses owning, citing that people are not privy to all the additional costs that go along with home ownership. His view is that one home does not fit all and that the right home for each one of us is quite different.
The dream of ownership is a business. A big business.
Plus, as the old saying goes too many cooks spoil the broth. It seems that everyone from your family to the government has an opinion about home ownership and what you should be doing with your money. After all, the business of buying a home is a big business indeed. From applying for mortgages, to lawyers, lan…

Willowdale Yesterday's Fams, Today's Legacy by Scott Kennedy

"We can never go back. Life doesn't flow in that direction. We will never again see fields of grain at the corner of Leslie and Finch or hear the blacksmith's hammer ringing out across Hogg's Hollow, but we can take comfort in the stories and the photos of the past, close our eyes and imagine a quieter time." 
Scott Kennedy is a professional musician with an unabashed passion for history. In his book, "Willowdale Yesterday's Fams, Today's Legacy" he takes the reader through a photographic and original journey through the Willowdale neighbourhood set in Toronto's North York. 

Willowdale now is defined by the area south of Steeles Avenue; north of Highway 401, west of Leslie Street, and east of Bathurst Street. When you read the book, you'll realize that the initial Willow Dale in 1855 represented the area around David Gibson's farm at Yonge Street and Park Home Avenue. He had placed a petition around that time to have a post office to s…

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

A play within a play. Margaret Atwood retells Shakespeare's Tempest in her new novel , Hag-Seed, and does a damn good job of entertaining us.

Hag-Seed is the fourth novel in the ambitious Hogarth Shakespere series, where authors attempt to retell the great classics with a modern twist. In the Tempest, Prospero, plans to restore the fortunes of his daughter by using magic and illusion. In Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood has assigned Prospero's character to Felix, who has been unceremoniously ousted from his role as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Festival. It all happened because of Tony, the devious, twisted bastard, who worked for him. But Felix was naive, and perhaps too consumed by his own grief at the time, to notice that the evil-hearted Tony was planning to ambush his career. 

Blindsided and upset, he decided to escape as far away as possible from Makeshiweg. But, the opportunity for revenge presents itself when he finds himself a job teaching theatre in a prison. And just …

The Best Kind Of People by Zoe Whittall

Zoe Whittall's book has been highly touted in the literary world. Now placed on the Giller Prize shortlist, the novel is on the wish list of many bookish fans to win the coveted title in November. But, beyond being just a literary piece, can this book that's highly controversial in its subject matter, illuminate the discussion on rape culture? 

There was so much discussion about The Best Kind Of People, and the hype inevitably caught up to me. Initially I was skeptical of the subject matter, but talk about its literary feat peaked my interest. I was in one of those book reading moods where the thought of committing to a heavy topic almost felt like an onset to depression. 

But, I'm quite glad I ignored that glass-half-empty feeling, because The Best Kind Of People is anything but that. Zoe Whittall's writing style is different. You feel like a fly on the wall taking in the events without necessarily being sucked into the drama. You don't necessarily have to take sid…

Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji

"It's midnight and the lion is out."

This thought is persistent and insistent in Presley Smith's life. It haunts him and immobilizes his being. Is it some message from a previous life? Will this memory penetrate into his everyday existence and destroy his sanity?

Dr. Frank Sina wants to find out. Why does this phenomenon in his patient's mind begin with this single thought? A seemingly meaningless string of words that have no meaning for Presley Smith. In his sessions with Presley, Dr. Sina begins to creates a handwritten record of anything from his own or his patient's memories. He knows that whatever scraps were retrievable are probably already lost in the abyss of electromagnetic noise. 

As people leap from one life into another in an attempt to defy death, sometimes the switch is not a clean one. There is a slight chance that the past may catch up to a current life. And when those flashes of memory, slowly make their way in, they can haunt the person. Trying…

Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett

Sure it's 2016! But sexism still exists. Especially in the workplace.  Some of it is subtle. Some overtly obvious. Other times, it's just oblivious behaviours. But, what it is, is infuriating! And, we need to get right down to putting a big full STOP to it. 
That's Jessica Bennett's view. And that's why she wrote the Feminist Fight Club. 
Designed as a informative book to help you navigate the workplace today, the Feminist Fight Club is empowering and hilarious. And like any club, it starts with a few basic rules that are a parody on the movie. 
RULE No. 1: You must talk about the Fight Club
RULE No. 2: You MUST talk about the Fight Club!!! 
RULE No. 3: We fight PATRIARCHY, not each other. 
RULE No. 6. The fight is not over until we have achieved equality for ALL women. 
The book is fun because rather than just being a rant, it actually has very specific instructions on how to fight. Whether it's the guy who stole your idea in a creative meeting, or the know it all who…

Oddrey by Dave Whamond

Funny. original. Inspiring. 

You can't help but fall in love with this little girl, who strives to be her own person. When everyone is drawing a red apple, she decides to draw a blue one. Her whacky ideas don't always make her the popular girl in school, but she does prefer to dance to the beat of her own drum. She's always been that way, doing unexpected things that don't follow the status quo. 

Sometimes it's lonely being the odd one out, but the positive Oddrey doesn't let anything get her down for very long. She just gets on up and continues to make the best out of any situation.

Dave Whamond's writing and illustrations are beautifully portrayed in Oddrey. Dave is no stranger to the world of children's books. His book Frank and Laverne was one of my favourite children's books last year. Saturated with visual and verbal humour, Frank and Laverne tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a cat and a dog, told from both perspectives. 

The stren…

The Wolves Of Currumpaw by Wiliam Grill

A modern re-telling of Ernest Thompson Seaton's Lobo, the King of Currumpaw. Beautifully illustrated with a hint of sadness to the drawings. Set in the wilderness of New Mexico, in 1893, The Wolves Of Currumpaw is the story of a great wolf named Lobo. It recounts the hunting history of man trying to kill Lobo, but who eventually learns to respect the wolf. The storytelling is a bit complex and is something that will initiate a lot of conversation amongst the younger readers. It is also a longer book that will appeal to older readers. The story is a wonderful introduction of man's relationship with nature and includes accounts of Thompson's legacy to conservation. 
A reminder that history should never be forgotten.