Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bibliofile



Lest you think I can't spell I thought I'd remind folks that the title I use for this post each month is my way of updating you on the file of books I've been reading. It's just my way with words, or non words, if you will. I mean, of korse I cahn spell.

Of course, the title might have come from the picture in this post. Then, though, it would have been Biliopile. But I digress.

Anyhoo, I started off the month with a lengthy look at rock promotor Bill Graham. As a music lover I found this book fascinating, full of anecdotes of his relations with the major rock acts of the day. As the owner of the Fillmore East and West he saw them all. I also enjoyed learning a little bit about the man himself.

The rest of February was taken up with an escape to Narnia. C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia in the 1950s. I'd never read them as a child and until now my only reference point was the 2005 movie The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

I loved them, all seven of them. I can see how their escapism would appeal to pre-teens...and old men such as myself!

So the eight books this month plus the six I read in January brings me to 14 books so far this year. I've set a goal of 75 books this year and I'm sure I can reach it.

And in case you think all I do is read, this month I discovered a raft of British TV shows on On Demand. Five Days, Utopia, Life's Too Short and The Hour were among the series I got through. I enjoyed them all.

Here are the books I read:

Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out - Bill Graham, Robert Greenfield
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 1: The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 2: The Lion, The With and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 3: The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 4: Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 5: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 6: The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 7: The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis

How about you?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Bibliofile - January 2015


Surprised to see me? Yeah, I know I said I was through with blogging but owing to mounting pressure from my many loyal followers to share my ongoing reading habits - thanks Bryan - I've sheepishly caved in.

I'll be brief because I don't want to block up the blogosphere. (I'd hate to bump a post about kittens.)

I got through 6 books this month. A slow start to 2015, I know, but it's all part of my new and relaxed approach to life. Or something like that.

Among the highlights were Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn's memoir. Apart from being a great musician, Cockburn is an activist and quite spiritual. The latter two qualities take up quite a bit of the book but it's nevertheless interesting to see what makes the guy tick.

So Anyway... by Monty Python's John Cleese was a bit of a disappointment. He hardly talks about his days in Python at all. I think it's just a cash grab because I think he's still paying alimony to three wives. Or maybe I'm just Pythoned out having recently watched a six-part documentary on the comedy troupe.

The best read of the month was Punishment by Linden MacIntyre. It was a page-turning thriller which one review I read compared it to the likes of Dennis Lehane's Mystic River. And I love Lehane.

Here are the books I read in January...

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
Rumours of Glory - Bruce Cockburn
The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft
So Anyway... - John Cleese
Punishment - Linden MacIntyre
Gray Mountain - John Grisham

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

And It's Goodnight From Him


One of my all time favourite British comedy shows has to be The Two Ronnies. At the end of each show usually they'd sign off the first Ronnie saying "It's goodnight from me." And the second Ronnie saying "And it's goodnight from him." I'll always remember that line. And that's kind of how I'm feeling as we begin this new year when it comes to social media.

I think I'm going to give it a toss. Why?

On Facebook I'm a little fatigued and overwhelmed when it comes to pictures and videos of co-called "cute" cats. My God, a cat's a cat. I know what they look like already and I'm aware of their moods. Why do you think I got rid of mine? Then there are the folks that keep telling me what they're eating complete with so-called "yummy" pictures. People please, you really eat that stuff? Then don't you dare share pictures of it leaving your body. Some of those things probably turn into rocket fuel once they're digested.

And blogging? What the hell has happened to blogging? Well it seems all the bloggers are on Facebook sharing pictures of their cats and their dinners. The people's dinners, not the cats. Though nobody seems to be having cats for dinner.

There was a time I had three blogs on the go: a music blog, a political satire blog and my humour blog. Then it dwindled to one and then that one dwindled. There's very little sense of community any more among the folks in the blogosphere. I used to join blogging communities and then after I'd invested the time and effort to stay on top of things they'd just fold up their virtual tents and fade into the deserts of the interwebs.

Nowadays I pretty much blog for myself...and my mother. Just kidding. She's dead. I'm not kidding about her being dead. That wouldn't be right. But she is. Dead. But I'm sure she'd comment on my blog if she was alive.

But the biggest reason I'm giving up on Facebook and blogging in 2015 is my wife. That's right. She bought me a giant pack of underwear for Christmas. She said something about the ones I sit around in all day while I blog and comment on Facebook were getting, um, she said, smelly. Now there's a vision you don't wanna concentrate on for too long. Not that I'll be posting it or anything.

And it's goodnight from me.

This week's Studio30+ prompt was "smelly". No, really, I'm not denigrating Studio30+ or anything. That really was the word they proposed: smelly. Right.



Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge - December (Am I Late?)

For reasons that will soon become apparent, I missed the deadline for PJ's last Photo Blogger Challenge. But as I sit here in the Canadian deep freeze of -23C I think you'll appreciate my delayed efforts with respect to the prompt Tis the Season.


The season started out normally enough with a bit of a snowfall.


I got the outdoor lights up just prior to our first dump of the white stuff.


And then my wife and I gave all that up and escaped to Panama for two weeks where it was over 30C every day. We golfed.



We spent a lot of time at the beach.



And we enjoyed the gorgeous sunrises.

So that's why I'm late this month. Are you feeling sorry for me yet?

Monday, 5 January 2015

Bibliofile - December 2014/Best Reads of 2014


Well, I didn't hit 100 but I sure came close. After reading 7 books in December when all was said and done I'd read 98 books last year. Like the other months last year, December had it's highlights including books by Augusten Burroughs, Rachel Joyce and Stephen King.

In Dry Burroughs, who wrote the biographical Running With Scissors about his dysfunctional upbringing, again returns to his own life in a very humorous look at a very serious subject: addiction.

The Love Song of Miss Queen Hennessy was a simply delightful read about the woman at the centre of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, itself a wonderful page-turner.

And finally, what can one say about Stephen King that hasn't already been said. In Revival King returns to form as an intriguing story teller who lulls you in then hits you with a brick in the face near the end.

Here are the books I read:

Dry -Augusten Burroughs *****
Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones - Paul Trynka ****
Special Deluxe - Neil Young ****
The Love Song of Miss Queen Hennessy - Rachel Joyce *****
Awakening - Ray N. Kuili ***
A Grief Observed - C.S. Lewis ****
Revival - Stephen King *****

Now every one and their dog has been talking about their favourite books of the year, so I may as well too.

Keep in mind these may not all be current best sellers. They're just books I read this year. And since I've been reading for the last 12 months I went with my favourite 12 books of the year, although I kind of cheated because one choice is a trilogy and another is two books in a series. But, hey, this is my blog and I can do what I want.

1. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
2. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
3. I Was Dora Suarez - Derek Raymond
4. The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden - Jonas Jonasson
5. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin
6. Here Comes The Night - The Dark Soul of Bert Burns
and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues - Joel Selvin
7. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
8. Stoner - John Williams
9. Before I Go To Sleep - S.J. Watson
10. The Divergent Trilogy - Veronica Roth
11. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
12. The Rosie Effect/The Rosie Project - Graeme Samson

How about you? What were your faves?



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Nodding In Agreement - @Studio30Plus Writing Prompt


Bob and Carol had spent three nights together now... in the office. They were senior officers of the In Your Face ad agency and they'd been putting their heads together on a pitch for a new client. Ted and Alice had tried and failed.

"Ouch" yelled Bob. "What?" cried Alice. "My head hurts from putting our heads together" said Bob. Carol was nodding in agreement. "Oh yeah, well my neck hurts from always nodding in agreement" said Carol. You don't always have to agree" said Bob. "Well the prompt says 'nodding in agreement', right? It doesn't say nodding in disagreement, does it?" "I see your point" said Bob "right at the tip of your head, hah, hah, hah." "O knock it off" said Carol. "We have work to do."

"That's right," said Bob. "But so far we've failed big time" he said sadly, looking to see if Carol was nodding in agreement.

"We need to achieve the level of exposure similar to CS Janey," said Carol. "CS Janey? Who the hell is CS Janey? queried Bob. "You know, CS Janey over at Studio30+," said Corol. "The blogger of the week? Hell, she's so good she's been blogger of the week now for something like 150 weeks!"

"Oh, yeah, right" said Bob, nodding in agreement, "how the hell does she do it?

"Well I don't think she has anything to do with it, actually" said Carol knowingly. "Wait," said Bob. "Did you just say that knowingly?" "Yes I did" said Carol nodding in agreement knowingly. "Well, out with it cried Bob. Are you nodding in agreement knowingly? What do you know that I don't know?

"Well" said Carol "I think the folks over at Studio30+ would be nodding in agreement when I said someone's simply nodded off and forgotten to update the Blogger of the Week feature."

"I think I see where you're going with this" said Bob. "You're saying all we have to do is nod off and maybe our client (italics Bob's) could get 150 weeks of free publicity."

"Exactly" said Carol, nodding in agreement.


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