From the moment I first experienced the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the Paramount theatre many years ago, I joined the legions of devoted fans of the Python comedy team and followed their work from small to big screen, from vinyl record to CD to CD-ROM and virtual platforms, and of course,... Continue Reading →
Bad Singer: The Surprising Science of Tone Deafness and How We Hear Music by Tim Falconer
Everyone knows him - the child in the grade school choir who is asked to mime along when the class is singing. Or perhaps you are him and you know that you really are a good singer deep down but for some reason others seem not to agree. The author of Bad Singer: The Surprising... Continue Reading →
Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Part action novel, part history, part love story – Dance of the Banished is a book which will linger in the reader’s mind. Zeynep and Ali are young Alevi Kurds in Anatolia, Turkey who are dreaming of a future together. Ali leaves his fiancée when he gets passage to Canada and Zeynep’s world is thrown... Continue Reading →
Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier (August, September 1914) by Barroux, translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone
This book’s origins are quite remarkable. It began when a French artist named Barroux noticed some garbage being thrown out on a Paris street and stopped because he saw some old magazines and had been looking for some to cut up for a project. Among the debris he also found a medal and an old... Continue Reading →
Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves by Laurel Braitman
I couldn’t resist picking up this book to read after seeing the title. It did not disappoint. The author has spent her life studying animals as a biologist and MIT doctoral student, but it was her personal story of loving Oliver, a Bernese Mountain dog with debilitating separation anxiety and huge behavioral issues, which led... Continue Reading →
The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue by David Sax
If you have ever wondered why certain foods “appear” out of nowhere to suddenly show up on every menu, store shelf, magazine article and television program, this book will enlighten you. Whether it is acai berries, Greek yoghurt or pomegranate juice, Sax gets to the root of how celebrity chefs, clever marketers, food industry strategies... Continue Reading →
Yesterday’s Dead By Pat Bourke
“If all the adults are all sick, who’s in charge?” This is the tag-line for an absorbing children’s novel by Canadian author Pat Bourke.It is set in Toronto in 1918 just as the first world war is ending and the deadly Spanish Flu hits the city. The first half depicts the challenges faced by Meredith,... Continue Reading →
Declan Hughes mystery series
Ed Loy is the private detective who returns to Dublin and encounters the gritty Irish underworld - many of whom are former school mates or neighbours. Suspenseful and rich with characterization.
The Sano Ichiro Mystery Series
This mystery series set in medieval Japan features Samurai detective Sano Ichiro. Together with his wife and best friend they delve into both the brutal world of the Imperial court, gangs and villages where evil have many guises. Although it is exotic in setting, the emotions and motivations are all too recognizable, whether it is the jealousy of the rivals for the Emperor's attention, the machinations of the thwarted concubine or the meglomania of the the cult leader and his single-minded followers. Addictive.
Fred Vargas French detective series
You can tell by the titles that this is no ordinary mystery series. Travel to France with these books and meet the most extraordinary characters to populate a contempory mystery. Vargas deserves her many awards (and more).