Monthly Archives: April 2012

Speaking of Meeting Writers…or “The Writer’s Festival”

The Writer’s Festival has been taking place, in Ottawa, since 1997; twice per year since 2004. It has welcomed writers, from Canada and abroad, who write about a range of topics and in a range of formats: science, history, poetry, politics, drama, fiction, non- fiction, biography, music, spirituality, TV and film scripts….in short, it’s a dream for the lover of the written (and spoken) word.

And the Festival doesn’t present just anybody. During it’s time, it has “featured more than 50 Governor General Award winners, two dozen Trillium Award winners, eight Giller Prize winners, seven Pulitzer Prize winners, five Booker Prize winners and Nobel Laureates Naguib Mahfouz and José Saramago, along with bestsellers and wonderful emerging voices.”

But don’t think that what we’re dealing with here are snooty intellectuals. The Festival has worked with writers and other organizations to support the development of literacy within the community; specifically within schools, with the homeless, First Nations, new Canadians and parolees.

The Writer’s Festival runs from April 26 to April 30 at various locations around the city.

P.S. It seems that Nick Cave was at the Festival in 2009. I wasn’t, but someone, who took this cool video of Nick reading, was.

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Local Author Sightings

Although I’ve written in a number of formats, I’ve never written a book. And, in my mind, that’s what separates the wheat from the chaff. So, I get pretty wide-eyed when I get an opportunity to meet an author. And, there are opportunities coming up right here in Ottawa.

Saturday, April 21, local author Cathryn Morgan will be signing copies of her book GrrrOUCH! Pain is like a grouchy bear, starting at 2:00 p.m. at Chapters in Kanata.

Saturday, May 5, another local author, Linda Poitevin, will be at Coles Bookstore in Carlingwood Mall from noon until 2:00 p.m. to sign copies of the first two books in her fantasy series, SINS OF THE ANGELS and SINS OF THE SON.

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The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

It seems to me that death is the new sex. That is, we handle the topic of death much like the Victorians handled the topic of sex. We deny it, don’t want to talk about it and, as a result, we are unprepared when it comes.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing‏ gives us an opportunity to look (albeit in a hands-off kind of way) at the harsh physical and emotional realities of a fast approaching death from the perspective of the patients of a palliative care worker.

Bronnie is a free spirit, travelling around, moving from job to job as she enjoys different places that her heart tells her to see. Eventually, she is drawn back home to her native Australia, where she takes a job caring for a terminally ill woman. One such job leads to another and Bronnie finds herself in the thick of profound lessons that are found during the time that precedes death.

The number one regret of the dying? “The regret of not having lived a life true to themselves.”

(Anyone besides me worried that they may have the same regret when their time comes?)

The book’s strength lies in the list of regrets of the dying and discussions of life altering epiphanies. It is written in a very straightforward, simple way with a view to inspire thought and, possibly, change in the lives of those who still have lots of time left.

The kindle version of this book is available for $O.99 USD until this Friday.

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Free Books!

This may not be news to anyone in the 21st century, but….FREE ebooks! 🙂 Yes, it is true that I could go on and on about the wonderfulness of the (hard) printed word, but as someone who also enjoys the content of a book and free stuff, I find the concept revolutionary and the, occasional, e-printed word quite acceptable.

I have also found that there are e-books that are temporarily free and there are e-books that are permanently free. So, please, if you do have the technology, but like me, you’ve been using your computer predominantly as a typewriter, check it out.

( I do realize that there are loads of other “permanently free” books hanging around the internet, but I have yet to check them all out.)

And now back to my musings on the topic of “what exactly is a blog” and “how exactly does it work”….


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Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Many residents in the building are retired and elderly, so many of the books are from the 70’s, 60’s, 50’s, 40’s and even the 30’s, the odd time. The ones from the 30’s and 40’s feel like historical artifacts and I like to browse through them just for that reason.

Little Bee is not one of them. (I saw a copy of it at Coles just the other day.)

This book is one of those that you can’t put down even after just the first few paragraphs. The novel is clever, light and profound. The story is told alternately from the perspective of a Nigerian refugee, Little Bee, and an English magazine editor, Sarah.

Little Bee has narrowly escaped the militia of her native land and heads for England, where she is detained at an immigration detention center for two years and escapes only because a fellow detainee exchanges their freedom for sexual favours with a detention officer. Sarah is on her way to her husband’s funeral with her 4-year-old son Charlie (a.k.a Batman), when Little Bee appears on her front step.

As the story unfolds, we find out that an earlier chance encounter between the two women changed the course of both of their lives and they need to deal with issues of suicide, betrayal, murder and what is to become of Little Bee.

What other bloggers thought: Little Bee, Reading Challenge Book #2, Little Bee, Bookslist: Must Read Travels.

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First up: The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

….is an absorbing read, which is part fantasy, part reality, part history and altogether fiction.

Willie Upton, a brilliant graduate student, returns home disgraced, pregnant by her married professor. Her family has deep and illustrious roots in the small town of Templeton and through letters, journals and first-hand testimonies of the deceased, Willie’s heritage comes to light as she searches for her real father and tries to figure out what to do next.

Here’s more from the author.

And, what another blogger thought: Monsters of Templeton,


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And, so, it was that I moved to a building on the outskirts of Westboro…

…Like many condo buildings, it has a library; a little one, in the corner of the laundry room. This corner is rather special to me, simply because it has books and books have always had a magnetic effect on me….

…Since before I could read, books were  my refuge; libraries and bookstores, my places of worship. Visiting them was an emotional and multi-sensory experience….ahh, the loftiness of my favourite childhood bookstores; the creak in their wooden floors; the hushed atmosphere; just being surrounded by such vast stores of knowledge and possibilities! My grandmother’s permission to handle a book was a gateway to experiencing something sacred….

…The library in the laundry room became especially special when I retired thanks to a chronic illness. Going to a full-sized library has often not been an option. But, going downstairs to see if there were any new contributions often is.  And, so, I began to read….


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