The Evening Chorus sings

Helen Humphreys knows how to tell a good story. Her latest book, The Evening Chorus is about a marriage, a love affair and the effects of war on both. James and Rose marry in England during World War Two amidst uncertainty and turmoil. When James is taken prisoner by the Germans, he fills his days behind barbed wire studying birds while his young wife tries to fill her days back in England by growing a Victory garden, tending to her parents and falling in love with another man. When James's…

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Heather O’Neill takes us down the rabbit hole

When I began reading Montreal author Heather O'Neill's latest book, Daydreams of Angels, I had no idea I would be diving into a genre I thought I'd left behind about sixty years ago—fairy tales. Her two earlier books, Lullabies For Little Criminals and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night were both gritty, eloquent accounts of young adults growing up in the unsavory neighbourhoods of downtown Montreal occupied by drug addicts and prostitutes. Although I knew her newest book was a collection of short stories, I was unprepared for fairy tales,…

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Does your chicken cluck?

Chicken is one of the world's most popular sources of animal protein. With its versatility for being served hot or cold and adapted to thousands of different recipes, chicken is a diet staple around the world. In my world however, it's shrinking fast. Last night we barbecued some boneless, skinless chicken breasts from a premium brand of so-called organic chicken and after I had two or three bites, I couldn't eat any more. It's now common practice for poultry producers to enhance their products with saline injections to plump up…

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Is Timmies still a Canadian cultural icon?

Boomers remember the real Tim Horton—the handsome young hockey player who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cups back in the sixties. Tim Horton was killed in a tragic car crash in 1974 shortly after one of his entrepreneurial endeavours had just started up. Tim Hortons was originally just a system of franchised donut/coffee shops in Ontario and grew to become a national icon, representing everything Canadian. In fact, I think they should change their corporate colours to red and white. Is there a Canadian alive who hasn't…

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Circling The Sun expands the cast of eccentric characters in Africa

If you enjoyed Out of Africa, the story of author Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen's years as a coffee farmer in Kenya (is there a Baby Boomer alive who didn't love the movie with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford?), you'll enjoy Circling The Sun. Written by Paula McLain who also authored The Paris Wife about Hadley Richardson, first wife of Ernest Hemingway, Circling The Sun is the account of the life of Beryl Markham during her early years in Kenya. Kenya in the 1920s and 1930s was the land of opportunity for…

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Coffee pod pollution is a fixable problem

My name is Lynda and I confess I am a polluter. As the happy owner of a Bosch Tassimo hot beverage dispenser I regularly use the disposable pods criticized by environmentalists for polluting our landfill sites. But I can explain. I chose the Tassimo over the Keurig beverage dispenser because it makes cappuccino and latte drinks which Keurig does not. Both manufacturers are under the gun for their disposable pods but only Keurig makes a pod that is refillable by the owner. This means you can put your own brand…

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