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Showing posts from November, 2017

From Winning the Pulitzer to The Fresh Complaint

What is it about complaining that feels so good? 

This is one of the themes that Jeffrey Eugenides tackles in his book of short stories, Fresh Complaint. It is the first collection of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. 

A retrospective collection of 10 stories, Jeffrey Eugenides is able to use his astute talent for observation and pull us into the world of the characters. I enjoyed the first one called "Complainers". It's about two women who are friends. Della is 88, and resides in an assisted-living facility. She is suffering from dementia. Her friend Cathy brings her one of her favourite books wrapped in exquisite style, but she notices that her friend doesn't really notice the book once she opens it. 

The story goes back and forth, recounting their lives and their support of each other through the years as they manoeuvre through divorce, meddling husbands, and the inevitability of getting old. 

I enjoy short stories, and this one will be on my books…

The Illustrated Mahabharata - The Definitive Guide to India's Greatest Epic (DK Books)

To label The Mahabharata as "India's Greatest Epic" is, in the opinion of your humble scribe, the personification of understatement. Once one distills the elements of this magnum opus into its essential elements -- something that can unarguably take years if not a lifetime -- there is still much to learn and mull over. Having said this, the masterful DK (Dorling Kindersley) rendition, expertly penned and contributed by none other than Devdutt Pattnaik and Bibek Debroy is an evident labour of love and devotion thanks to the DK India team that put it together. It is a brilliant effort and acknowledged as such by in this article: How a 15-member team produced a lush visual version of the ‘Mahabharata’.

My first experience with the book came in an abridged format made for kids. I was 10 years of age and the illustrated book was gifted to me during a visit to India. Subsequent generations of Indian children have read similar versions in comic book format under the Am…

The Secret Sauce Of Subban Success

Truth be told, I'm not a sports fanatic. I watch sports on occasion, if there's a world cup or Olympics. But even I know P.K. Subban. The moment I watched him in an interview, I was in awe of a superstar who carried himself with such humility. I was struck by his eloquence, and admired this incredibly successful well-rounded player, who at such a young age seemingly had achieved such greatness. 

The interview also featured the entire Subban family. And I was further in awe of the success that this family collectively had achieved. Did you know his other two brothers have also been drafted to the NHL? Inspiring. How could one family raise such incredible children? At the time I wondered about this, but the thought just lingered in my mind until I came across a new book by Karl Subban and Scott Colby, published by Random House Canada.

How We Did It: The Subban Plan For Success In Hockey, School & Life. 
~ By Karl Subban and Scott Colby

Karl Subban is the dad of P.K. Subban. Toge…

An Exclusive Interview with Bestselling Author Karen Swan

What would the holidays be without another Karen Swan romance thriller to whisk us into a feeling that anything can happen, and love is in the air.  

Mystery, intrigues and a whirlwind romance are key ingredients in Karen's novels, and her new book The Christmas Secret is full of unexpected twists and turns, and of course a whole load of chemistry. 

So before you dive into this book by the Globe and Mail bestselling author during the holidays, here's something else you can sink your teeth into: an exclusive interview with Karen Swan herself. 

Does Karen Swan have a muse? What's her writing style like? Where's her favourite place to write? What are her Christmas traditions? (SPOILER ALERT: Christmas Eve = Gifting a Book) 

So many questions...and we have the answers. Just keep on reading this blog, to find out what makes Karen Swan tick. 

But just before we get to that, you just may want to make a note of this in your calendar. Did you know that Karen Swan will be in town nex…

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Taking a departure from the epic battles and military focused historical fiction that made him famous, Bernard Cornwell dives into the thespians' world during the Elizabethan era in Fools and Mortals

Set back in A Midsummer Night's Dream, when young Richard Shakespeare has run away to London to carve himself a space in the world of theatre, Fools and Mortals plays out like a stage production. The narrator, Richard Shakespeare who had been estranged from his older brother William for a while, needs a job and becomes an actor at William's theatre company. But brotherly love does not dominate their relationship, and it is evident that the tension between the two siblings runs high. William continues to be dismissive of his brother, offers no preferential treatment, and, more often than not, chooses other actors for roles that Richard clearly covets. 

But, Richard can hold his own and is determined to find a great role (ideally playing a man) in one of London's prominent p…

Stolen Words - Written by Melanie Florence. Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard.

A new picture book about the legacy of residential schools. 

One day, after school, a little girl asks her grandpa how to say "Grandpa" in Cree. The question stops him in his tracks and the answer is not one that you would expect. Instead it comes with a sadness, as he realizes that he has lost his words. 

With a natural childhood curiosity, the little girl wants to know more, and questions her grandpa to tell her the story. How did Grandpa lose his words? Who took them away from him? 

The story does not end there, because the next day when the girl meets her Grandpa after school she has a surprise for him. Words that will make him smile.

Tânisi, nimosôm

They are Cree words that he recalls from when he was a child. Smiling the girl pulls out a book "Introduction to Cree" and hands it over to her Grandpa.  

Word by word, the words that were stolen in his youth start coming back to him. 

A book about the power of words. The power of stories. And a relationship that is pure …

I Am Not A Number

Powerful. Poignant. Part of our history.

We need more stories that are representative of our history. Not just those that are covered in our history books, but those that have been repressed so that the truth be hidden from our children. Since the truth is the truth, and we must face head first if we are to move forward as a better nation.

The injustices that occurred in the residential school system were an atrocious blemish on our country's image, but if we do not face up to our past, then we cannot create a better future for our children.

I Am Not A Number, written by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer is one such book. Set in Nippising First Nation, the "I" in I Am Not A Number, refers to eight-year-old Irene Couchie, who is forcefully taken away from her parents Ernest and Mary Ann, along with her two brothers, to live in a residential school system. Irene's number was 759. 

They are wards of the government, now. They belong to us.
The story takes us step-by-step throu…