The Silent Patient was a step outside my reading comfort zone

Murder-mystery-thrillers are not my usual choice for reading material. But, after reading The New York Times best-seller The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, I'm thinking perhaps I should expand my horizons. I stayed up until after midnight last night to find out "whodunnit", then couldn't sleep thinking about all the plot twists. It's a psychological thriller written mostly in the first-person voice of a psychologist so if you're a fan of pop psychology then you'll love all the references to mental illness. Alicia Berenson is a temperamental artist with a troubled…

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Life without nuts would drive me nuts

With all due respect and a measure of sympathy for those people who suffer from nut allergies, I can't imagine life without nuts. I was contemplating this the other day as I chowed down on a lovely piece of carrot cake with cream cheese icing in the IKEA cafeteria. The nuts in their cake were ground a little finer that my personal preference but we all have different tastes. Part of the fun of eating nuts is the satisfying crunch and workout our teeth get when consuming anything with nuts.…

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Eric Idle lives and writes on the bright side of life

Several years ago I reviewed Monty Python alumnus John Cleese's autobiography So, Anyway (This Parrot is Definitely Not Dead). Another Python'er, Eric Idle has now come out with his version of their epic story and as a fan of their silly, British humour, I couldn't wait to read it. Always Look On The Bright Side of Life, A Sortabiography by Eric Idle is not only the title of his autobiographical book but the final chorus written originally by Idle for their famous movie Monty Python's Life of Brian. The song Always…

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I finally managed to see The Beatles Yesterday today

The Beatles or The Stones? In answer to the Proustian question, I'd have to say I'm definitely more of a Beatles fan. I love some of the early Stones' music like Time is on My Side, and Satisfaction never fails to rev me up, but overall my loyalty inclines more toward The Beatles. The sensitivity and poetry of She's Leaving Home, Eleanor Rigby  and their many other songs can't be denied. That's why I was so anxious to see the movie Yesterday, which I finally managed to catch today—which as I'm now posting…

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Maud Lewis’s artwork lights up the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg

Art speaks to me or it doesn't. My tastes are not sophisticated, informed or educated. When I see a painting or piece of art that uplifts me or makes me feel happy, I like it. It's that simple. Which is why I don't like winter scenes, paintings of crowded city streets on rainy days or industrial landscapes. I'll never appreciate abstract art because I just don't get it.Canadian primitive folk artist Maud Lewis's paintings make me smile, fill my heart and give me hope, so naturally, I love her work.…

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Disappearing Earth offers a peek into everyday life in a remote Russian community

Certain books appeal to me for their ability to transport me to another place, another culture or another time that I would never otherwise have the opportunity to experience. That's what appealed to me about Disappearing Earth, a novel by Julia Phillips. It's set in Kamchatka, a remote peninsula extending south from the eastern coast of Siberia in Russia. It's a contemporary story about the abduction of two young sisters, 8-year-old Sophia and 12-year-old Alyona on a warm August day. This crime is the unifying thread that ties a wide variety…

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