Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Rendezvous With Raman by Arthur C. Clarke

Today I finished reading Rendezvous With Rama, an Arthur C. Clarke novel published in 1973.

At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at an inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence. It will kindle their wildest dreams... and fan their darkest fears. For no one knows who the Ramans are or why they have come. And now the moment of rendezvous awaits — just behind a Raman airlock door.

It's an intriguing story throughout. Not one of your alien vs mankind novels, but one of exploration of a massive alien created spaceship or maybe, an alien created world. As it was written 48 years ago I found it interesting that some of the technological challenges the crew faced in the 2130s have already been solved. 

The novel won the 1974 Nebula Award and the 1974 Hugo Award, both for Best Novel.  It's such an engrossing read, I can see why. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

The Listeners by Jordan Tannahill

Today I finished reading The Listeners by Jordan Tannahill.

One night, while lying in bed next to her husband, Claire Devon suddenly hears a low hum. This innocuous sound, which no one else in the house can hear, has no obvious source or medical cause, but it begins to upset the balance of Claire’s life. When she discovers that one of her students can also hear the hum, the two strike up an unlikely and intimate friendship. Finding themselves increasingly isolated from their families and colleagues, they fall in with a disparate group of people who also perceive the sound. What starts out as a kind of neighbourhood self-help group gradually transforms into something much more extreme, with far-reaching, devastating consequences

This is a deep engrossing novel which went down a road I didn't expect. Definitely worth reading.

About Jordan Tannahill


Jordan Tannahill is a playwright, director, and author. His plays have been translated into multiple languages and honoured with a number of prizes including the Governor General’s Literary Award for drama and several Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Jordan’s films and multimedia performances have been presented at festivals and galleries such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Tribeca Film Festival. From 2012 to 2016, Jordan and William Ellis ran the influential underground art space Videofag out of their home in Toronto’s Kensington Market. Born in Ottawa, he currently resides in London, England.  


Thursday, 2 September 2021

Inside Comedy: The Soul, Wit, and Bite of Comedy and Comedians of the Last Five Decades by David Steinberg

I just finished reading Inside Comedy: The Soul, Wit, and Bite of Comedy and Comedians of the Last Five Decades by David Steinberg.

From David Steinberg, a rabbi's son from Winnipeg, Canada, who at age fifteen enrolled at Hebrew Theological College in Chicago (the rabbinate wasn't for him) and four years later, entered the master's program in English literature at the University of Chicago, until he saw Lenny Bruce, the Blue Boy of Comedy, the coolest guy Steinberg had ever seen, and joined Chicago's Second City improvisational group, becoming, instead, the comedian's comedian, director, actor, working with, inspired by, teaching, and learning from the most celebrated, admired, complicated comedians, then and now--a funny, moving, provocative, insightful look into the soul, wit, and bite of comedy and comedians--a universe unto itself--of the last half-century. 

 Steinberg, through stories, reminiscences, tales of directing, touring, performing, and, through the comedians themselves talking (from more than 75 interviews), makes clear why he loves comedy and comedians who have been by his side in his work, and in his life, for more than sixty years.

If you're looking for dirt on celebrities in this book, you won't find it. Steinberg has worked with pretty much everyone in comedy and has many great behind the scene stories to tell. I really enjoyed it.

About David Steinberg


David Steinberg CM is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer, director, and author. At the height of his popularity, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was one of the best-known comics in the United States.
 
He appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson more than 130 times (second only to Bob Hope in number of appearances) and served as guest host 12 times, the youngest person ever to guest-host. 

Steinberg directed several films and episodes of television situation comedies, including Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Golden Girls, and Designing Women. Since 2012, Steinberg has hosted the interview program Inside Comedy on the Showtime network.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Feasting Upon The Bones: A Collection of Twisted Tales by Suzanne Craig-Whytock

I finished reading the short story collection Feasting upon the Bones by Suzanne Craig-Whytock. 

Step into the world of the unexpected, where things aren’t always as they seem. From disturbing jigsaw puzzles and portentous stones to mysterious notebooks and ghostly encounters, Feasting Upon The Bones is a collection of twenty-seven short stories that delve into the themes of love and loss, revenge and retribution, and mortality and immortality. Told with imaginative flair, and the occasional touch of dark humor, this intriguing series of twisted tales has something for everyone. 

Time’s a-ticking, as Mr. Death would say, so open the cover and wander around.

I found it a fabulous collection of short stories. The first story, The Grandmother Tree, really sets the tone for the rest of the collection. Some are thoughtful, others have a delightful twist to them. There wasn't one of the 27 which I didn't enjoy.

About Suzanne Craig-Whycock


Love of literature and writing came to Suzanne Craig-Whytock at an early age and continued into adulthood, leading her to earn an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has worked in education most of her life and was a high school English teacher in Ontario for over 20 years. She has authored both fiction and non-fiction works, from short stories and poetry to academic documents and educational resource materials. She regularly publishes humorous essays focused on city life, politics, current events, and popular culture on her website.


Friday, 13 August 2021

Falling by T.J. Newman

I just finished reading Falling. It is the debut novel by former Flight Attendant T.J. Newman who worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines. 

You just boarded a flight to New York. 

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard. 

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped. 

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die. The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Quite the premise for a novel! It's an enjoyable edge of your pants thriller that I enjoyed and would recommend not reading if you are about to take a flight somewhere.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Butterfly Kills (Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery #2) by Brenda Chapman

I just finished reading the second novel of the Stonechild and Rouleau mystery series, having enjoyed the first one so much.
 
Jacques Rouleau has moved to Kingston to look after his father and take up the position of head of the town’s Criminal Investigations Division. One hot week in late September, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment. In another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband. At first the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women’s pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. When Kala Stonechild, one of Rouleau’s former officers from Ottawa, suddenly appears in Kingston, Rouleau enlists her to help. 

Stonechild isn’t sure if she wants to stay in Kingston, but agrees to help Rouleau in the short term. While she struggles with trying to decide if she can make a life in this new town, a ghost from her past starts to haunt her. 

As the detectives delve deeper into the cases, it seems more questions pop up than answers. Who murdered Leah Sampson? And why does Della Monroe’s name keep showing up in the murder investigation? Both women were hiding secrets that have unleashed a string of violence. Stonechild and Rouleau race to discover the truth before the violence rips more families apart.

I found this just as enjoyable as the first. Looking forward to reading the next one.



Tuesday, 6 July 2021

The Seventh Devil by Suzanne Craig-Whytock

I finished reading a preview copy of The Seventh Devil. 

When nineteen-year-old runaway Verity Darkwood, flat broke and devastated by guilt, takes refuge in a bar to escape the unwanted attention of a stranger, she doesn't expect to meet Gareth Winter, let alone become business partners with him. 

They discover that they each possess the ability to interact with the world "beyond the veil" and, with the help of Horace Greeley III, editor of the fantastical online journal The Echo, Verity and Gareth spend the next two years on the road, helping the earthbound spirits who haunt their clients to cross over, or exorcising the demons that plague them. 

But when they stumble upon a series of unsolved child abductions spanning decades which are eerily similar to the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Verity's younger sister, they embark on a pursuit that will take them across Canada in their quest to find The Seventh Devil, the dangerous and mysterious figure who may be behind it all

I don’t usually read ghost stories but I’m sure glad I did this one. It’s a ghost story. It’s a chase. It’s a mystery. All in all it’s a fast paced, engrossing story which should be added to your reading list.

About Suzanne Craig-Whytock


Love of literature and writing came to Suzanne Craig-Whytock at an early age and continued into adulthood, leading her to earn an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has worked in education most of her life and was a high school English teacher in Ontario for over 20 years. She has authored both fiction and non-fiction works, from short stories and poetry to academic documents and educational resource materials. She regularly publishes humorous essays focused on city life, politics, current events, and popular culture on her website.