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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A rose by any other name wins by a nose

Scents touch a special chord, not only in our olfactory systems but also in our hearts and in our brains. We all can relate to a certain scent transporting us to another time and place. It's a magical transformation. The smell of certain things baking in the oven may take us back to our mothers' or grandmothers' kitchens. Being near water may remind us of all those carefree days as children swimming in the lake or nearby river every summer. The fragrance of certain perfumes may transport us to memories…

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Japanese occupation of Singapore still resonates today

Every so often we read a book that gives us a renewed appreciation for when and where we were born. That's what struck me the most after reading How We Disappeared, a novel by Jing-Jing Lee. I've always felt I won the lottery being born in Canada as a baby boomer after the end of the Second World War. Growing up in a free country that offers so many opportunities and privileges as well as a comfortable standard of living is truly a gift.The main character of this book, Wang Di…

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