Weekly Geeks 2009-18

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This week, take us on a literary tour of your hometown!

Do you live in a place where a famous author was born? Does your town have any cool literary museums or monuments? Does Stephen King live at the end of your street? Was Twilight set in your hometown?

Share your fun literary facts about the town or area where you live. You can talk about famous (or not so famous) authors who live there, novels that have been set in your area, or any other literary facts that you know about where you live. Feel free to embellish with pictures of places and/or authors, maps of the area, and fun facts about the authors.

As usual, feel free to personalize this. Don’t like your hometown? Pick another! Do you live in a literary wasteland? Feel free to expand and discuss a region. Feel like returning to a place you lived 20 years ago? Go for it!

Have fun…and I look forward to reading about your literary tour!

Living in a town like Stratford offers some unique encounters that wouldn’t happen in just any town.  Living in the home of North America’s largest respiratory theatre.  We have many visitors yearly and sometimes those visitors are people that are writing the books you’re reading, or we watch them weekly on television, or starting in the latest blockbuster. 

It was a while after I was working for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival I found out one my colleagues is a published author.  Melissa Strangway author of 56 Water Street works the in the same department as I do and I hear that she’s working on her next novel.  I feel bad that I haven’t read 56 Water Street but because I work with it’s one that I should work on hunting down and read.  But she isn’t the only author that has called Stratford home.

The other, this one is a stalwart in the Canadian literary world, is Timothy Findley.  He’s an author and playwright known most, perhaps, for Not Wanted on the Voyage a retelling of Noah’s days on the arc.  I found the story exhilarating and couldn’t get enough of it.  One of Findley’s last works was a tip of the hat to the town he called home.  Spadework is a novel set in Stratford.  I read this one while living in Manitoba.  It was great reading something like that because I knew exactly where things were happening and know some of the great Stratford landmarks that his characters would have passed while navigating the Stratford streets.

Those are the authors that I’m aware of that live in town.  I’m sure with some research I would find others that are currently residing here or have lived here.  But I do know we’ve had visitors like Michael Ondaatji, Carol Shields and Margaret Atwood just to name a few.  

I know now that the festival is underway again I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more writers in our midst.

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Theatrical Thursday – The Importance of Being Earnest

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The first show that I saw at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.  For any theatre fan this would be a show you’ve probably seen it several time and probably involved with the show in someway.  But it’s a show I absolutely adore.  It’s almost sad how well I know this show, I could deliver the lines along with the cast.

There are a few interesting points about this particular production that are worth pointing out.  First is Brian Bedford is back at the festival.  That is enough to make it worth the trip to Stratford for this show.  He’s a great classic clown.  Bedford is wonderful in all that he does.  If you’ve never been to Stratford the name may not mean much to you unless you take into consideration Brian Bedford is the voice of Robin Hood by Disney.  Bedford is playing Lady Bracknell as well as directing the show.  The other exciting part of The Importance of Being Earnest is that Desmond Heeley is the set designer for the show.  Anytime he creates a set you know your breath will be taken away.

The cast of this production is amazing, you have Sara Topham, Ben Carlson, and the incomperable Stephen Ouimette.  It’s a show I could watch over and over again this season.  Wilde is a wonderful playwright and I find, no matter how many times I watch this show, I laugh so much.  If you’re looking for a comedy this is the show for you.  The players do a wonderful job of playing off each other bouncing off each others lines as if it were everyday banter.  

Shows that deal with babies left in handbags left in train stations (Victoria station of all places!) are just not done often enough.  The only problem with this show is the final line.  I love this show very much but every time I hear the last line I cringe, it’s horrible.  

It’s also important to note that the festival is doing the three act version of the show rather than the original four act.  There is some interesting trivia surrounding the the creation of the three act play but I wont get into that.  

I’ll leave you with the webcast where the general director of the festival (Antoni Cimolino) talks with Brian Bedford about his involvement in all things Wilde this season at the festival.

Be sure to watch the second part of this video.

Booking Through Thursday #35 – Gluttony

Booking Through Thursday

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

I’m definitely one that buys more books than I could possibly read.  I hear about books and rather than keeping a list I go and get the book.  In fact, I have two books that I need to pick up at the store now that I’ll get on my way to work.  I’ve been trying to curb my book buying but it’s proving to be a difficult task.  The only way to really curb the book buying would be to stop reading reviews and not enter the book store.  

I don’t know about you but it is almost impossible to walk past a book store while walking through the mall or down the street.  Are you also the type that must walk in when you see a book store?

Still Alive!

Hello All,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  There are a number of reasons for that.  First and foremost is I’ve had some major writers block, these past few days I feel as thought I’ve had nothing really to say.  Since I have noting to say I decided to keep my trap shut, not sure what the point is in posting if you feel there is nothing valid to say.  Another reason for not posting is that I’ve had an idea for a novel floating around for the last couple days.  I’ve always wanted to do some writing but have never really had the gumption to do it.  So, I’m allowing these ideas to ruminate for a while and try and make decisions on the possibility of pursuing this.

I’ve also wanted to take an opportunity to say thank you to a couple of people on here.  As those regular readers of That’s the Book! know I’ve had some health issues for quite some time.  There’s been lots of speculation and guessing at what the problem may be.  Unfortunately, nothing much has worked, so I was left with being ill since November and it’s been becoming a rather frustrating process to say the least.  Well, the last couple of weeks all that has changed, and is continuing to change.

I started with a trip to Dr. Stephen Lafay a chiropractor.  After taking some X-rays one day he showed me how totally messed up my neck is.  After looking at the X-rays it was not much of a surprise that I was getting regular migraine headaches.  After seeing him a few times I noticed a change in the headache situation.  And for that I’m thankful to Dr. Lafay and the staff.  

The following Monday, last week, I decided I’d make a trip to a naturopath, which brought me to Sunrise Health Services.  They have four doctors and I got to see Katie Branter and it didn’t take long for her to figure out what the problem is.  So now I’m taking some things to put my adrenal glands back to normal.  After being on the natural medication for a few days I noticed a change.  I used to crave sweets all the time now I don’t even think about it, which is fantastic.  When I go back on June first the plan is work on my insomnia, and if that works just as well as this is I’m really looking forward to getting some sleep.  

I hope to be back posting regularly again soon.  For the time being I’m going to consider this whole writing idea.  I’m also getting some reading in which is great.  Tomorrow you can look forward to a discussion of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for Theatrical Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday #34 – Graphic

 

 

Booking Through Thursday

Last Saturday (May 2nd) is Free Comic Book Day! In celebration of comics and graphic novels, some suggestions:

– Do you read graphic novels/comics? Why do/don’t you enjoy them?
– How would you describe the difference between “graphic novel” and “comic”? Is there a difference at all?
– Say you have a friend who’s never encountered graphic novels. Recommend some titles you consider landmark/”canonical”.

Yes, I read graphic novels regularly.  It’s a relatively new genre for me but I’ve really gotten into it.  I really lie them because it’s a different way of telling a story.  The images in a graphic novel are just as important, if not as important, as the text found with this the little bubbles we associate with comics and graphic novels.  

I’m finding there is little difference between comics and graphic novels.  I say that because most books that are considered graphic novels started out as comics and have been compiled to form the graphic novel.  That’s not to say that there aren’t books that were originally intended for this genre.  The more important point to make here is that style or type doesn’t matter as much as the tale that is being told.  If the story isn’t good it doesn’t matter if it’s comic/graphic novel/fiction.  

I would definitely say that Fables is the must read series.  I suggest that one because I’m still getting into the genre and learning more about it all the time.  I really enjoyed Walking Dead as well, I’ve only read the first book but I’m really looking forward to getting the other ones.  A great Canadian work would be Pyongyang about Guy Delisle’s trip to North Korea to work on an animated show.  Yesterday I picked up the first book in the Sandman series and I’m really looking forward to reading that one, I’ve only heard good things about it.

The Man Who Forgot How to Read – Review

2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?
The Man Who Forgot How to ReadThe Man Who Forgot How to Read

by Howard Engel

genre: Non-Fiction

I read this book as part of the CBC Book Club and the day the book came I decided to read it for the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  I really wanted to get as much out of this book as possible but I had difficulty enjoying it.  There came a point about half way through that I made the decision I needed to keep reading to make sure I got it done.  The Man Who Forgot How to Read was not as interesting as I had hoped it would be.  

Howard Engel is a mystery writer of the Benny Cooperman series.  One morning Engel woke up and found the world was different than it was the night before.  Upon going to the hospital and getting things checked out it turned out Engel had a stroke and it had some lasting effects on his ability to read.  When he tried to read the paper he could recognize the individual letters but when they were put together to form words and sentences he had no idea what was going on.

The other day I got an email from Hannah Sung and I responded to it.  I want to pass it our conversation on to you:How’s it going? Hope you aren’t too headache-y today. I’m not stalking you – just read your blog, which is how I know that about you….

…also, I know that you couldn’t stand Howard Engel’s book. Sorry to hear that! But I’m dying to know….why?

Bye for now,
H

I sent her the following message in response:

Hi Hannah!

Today isn’t too bad, I wish it was better than it is but I can live with how things are going today.  Thanks for asking.  Come now, I know you’re stalking me lol!  It’s actually funny you mention that, there are two people in Stratford I see regularly and all my friends and I refer to them as my stalkers, perhaps I’ll need to add you to the list now too!  hahaha. Anyway, I’m glad to see you’re stopping by my blog and reading things.  

As you saw I read The Man Who Forgot How to Read for the 24 hour Read-a-Thon and I didn’t really like it.  There are a couple of reasons for not liking this book.  I guess the number one reason I didn’t like it is because I felt the book was quite repetitive, it was already a short book and I think he could/should have gone into more detail in several aspects of his life (before and after the stroke). The other aspect that bothered me was the fact that I still don’t really know how he’s worked through the problem.  Well, I guess that’s still a lack of detail issue because he touched on it but I was expecting a lot more about that.  

Now I think I should also say that I’ve read a book by Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) and I didn’t like that very much either.  I didn’t like his book for the same reasons I didn’t like this one.  

Perhaps if I’ve read one of Howard Engel’s books I may have a different perspective on this book.  I may even enjoy it more if I read a book from before and one from after.  I haven’t read one of his books because I really have difficulty reading that particular genre.  And sadly this book didn’t inspire me to want to read anything else he’s written.

Thank for email, I’m really looking forward to what may be next on the list of books.  It’s been an interesting discussion this month.

Aaron

The Cellist of Sarajevo – Review

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sarajevo1The Cellist of Sarajevo

by: Steven Galloway

Genre: Historical Fiction

This is one of the few books I’ve already read for The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge.  I’ve read several reviews out there about Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo and couldn’t resist reading it any longer.  This is a wonderful book and was very glad I picked it up.  It’s one of those books that have the potential of altering the way a person thinks and lives.

This is a story that surrounds an actual event.  During the conflict 22 people were murdered while waiting for bread in the local square.  Because of this famed cellist, Vedrin Smailovic, risked his life to play his cello for 22 days in honor of the 22 people that were killed.  

Galloway tells the story through the eyes of three different characters.  Each of which has a different relationship with the situation and the cellist.  Personally my favourite story was that of Arrow who needed to protect the cellist during the time he played, to help keep moral up.  

There were so many touching moments and the end brought tears to my eyes.  In the world we currently live in there are many times we live without hope.  This novel is full of inspiration and above all hope.  It’s not a difficult read and deals with the subject of war as well as it can be dealt with.  There was never a moment I wanted to stop reading, I just devoured this novel and I’m already of thinking of reading it a second time.  And I’m not one to read novels several times, the only two I’ve ever read multiple times were: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  

If you haven’t read The Cellist of Sarajevo yet you are definitely missing out.  This is definitely a novel not to be missed.  

 

Vedrin Smailovic, The Cellist of Sarajevo
Vedrin Smailovic, The Cellist of Sarajevo

Here some others that have reviewed The Cellist of Sarajevo:

Farm Lane Books Blog seems to have enjoyed the book as much as I did.
http://www.farmlanebooks.co.uk/?p=712

As usual B&b ex libris has a wonderful review of this book.

http://exlibrisbb.blogspot.com/2009/04/cellist-of-sarajevo.html

If you would like to have your review added to this list send me an email with the link to your review and it will be added.

Weekly Review #18

This has been a slow reading week but that’s alright.  I had the house to myself this past week and it was wonderful!  It doesn’t often happen that the my two roommates leave the house at the same time.  This past week there took a trip, with some other friends to Dominican Republic.  It seems like they had a good time and I know I had a great time with them gone.  I was dealing with major headaches this week but it was nice to have the house to myself.

With my headaches it made it rather difficult to read but that’s the way life is sometimes.  In order to curb the problem I thought trying a chiropractor would be a good idea.  According to X-rays taken I think it was a good idea to see him.  My neck isn’t in good shape at all, and is being fixed.  Since going to him the headaches have started to improve, so much so that I’ll be heading back to work after being home for the past couple of weeks.

I hope to have more to report on the reading side of this next week.  But until then I hope everyone has a great week and enjoys what their reading.

CBC Book Club Update

A number of things have been going on this week over at the CBC Book Club.  There were a few things I wanted to share with you and maybe get you excited about the group.  I hope these few things will entice you to get involved.

The first exciting news to come out of the CBC Book Club this week was the top 10 list of funny books.  Everyone was welcome to suggest funny books and Hannah compiled to list to get the top 10.  Some of the books I suggested made it on to the list and I must say that I’ve read books 1-8.  So, here it is, the CBC Book Club top 10 funny book list:

1. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Friend by Christopher Moore
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
3. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
4. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
5. Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler
6. JPod by Douglas Coupland
7. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
8. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
9. The Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson
10. TIE: Village of the Small Houses by Ian Ferguson and The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

I was a little surprised to find Catch 22 and A Confederacy of Dunces on the list.  They didn’t make me laugh as much as the other books did while I was reading.  I guess it just shows the different tastes we have in books.  I’ve never read anything by Bill Richardson so I’m interested to read that one and the Ferguson brothers are quite funny so I’m sure Village of the Small Houses will be humours.

It was also announced that they’ll be giving away 2 Sony Book Readers.  Just like the one I won a month ago.  To be entered all you need to do is send questions to the author of this months book selection The Man Who Forgot How to Read by Howard Engle.  I also got an email from Hannah asking me about my thoughts on the book and sent her my response.  I’ll post our conversation later this week.

The most exciting news this week was that we are going to be discussing Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.  This is a graphic novel I’ve wanted to read for some time now and I actually ordered the book just a couple days before the announcement was made.  I hope it brings about some good discussion.

Weekly Geeks 2009-16

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I only ask you to do one, some, all or none of the following:

1. Explain your review format – if you have one. Or maybe your rating system?

2. Highlight another book-blogger’s review format by linking to a favorite example – don’t forget to tell us why they are a fave! 

3. Do a review in another book-blogger’s format of your latest read. I did this just the other day when I had read a great post discussing what makes a good review and ‘borrowing’ from a comment by 
Ramya. That post was one of Bethany’s and my example giving Ramya the credit is here.

4. Highlight a past review that you are particularly proud of and why the format or structure may have had something to do with it.

I would have loved to have seen how Dewey would have presented this – she was always so gracious and helpful with her comments on reviews. It’s wonderful that her spirit lives on with this community we are building, the conversations we are sharing, the friendships we are making and the BOOKS we are READING!

Last, and certainly not least, Dewey’s blog featured a page devoted to her 
review questionaire format which is what inspired my idea in the first place.

Happy Geeks!

I don’t think I really have a review format, and I definitely don’t have a rating system.  There are somethings that I think are important to have in the review but it really isn’t a hard and fast format.  

I’ve toyed with the idea of a rating system but I really don’t know what to use.  There are some great systems out there but I don’t want to copy something just because it works for one person.  I’d like for a system to be unique to each blog.  And it should be easy to follow.  I just haven’t been able to think of anything that would work for me so I’ve decided not to go with a rating system.

When I write my reviews I like to include a little about the book, a short synopsis.  Then state my like/dislike for the book and explain why I didn’t really like or why I did like it.  I think that’s the most important aspect of a review.  Without this even a rating system is rather useless.