Blog Posts

On police cameras, Ferguson, and justice

Chatter about police wearing cameras while on duty has been picking up over the past year. The recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has only amplified such calls. Really, as more and more ordinary citizens undertake lifelogging seriously, police wearing cameras will be inevitable. For an example from some recent and near-future fiction, look no further than Halting State, by Charles Stross.

Home via Halifax

I’m home. I’m sitting in my bedroom, in my slightly-too-short-for-this-desk rolling chair, a cup of tea in my big blue Eeyore mug to my right, and my fabulous bookshelves to my left. Oh, and my room is a mess. My suitcases lie on the floor in front of the bookshelves and TV, bulging and gravid with my life in England. I haven’t even attempted to unpack yet. I need to tidy the room first, for it has become mired in the accumulated kipple of two years’ near-continuous absence.

Missing the little things in England

Right, so, I’m going back to Canada in four days. Unlike last summer, I’m not coming back after five weeks. As I have begun to pack up my life in preparation for this move, I’ve started fantasizing about all the things I’m eager to do once I’m back in Canada. But that got me thinking about all the things I’ve become accustomed to over here in the UK. There are things I’m going to miss having as part of my daily life.

Last day teaching in England

Picture if you will: finding it difficult to get a job in your chosen profession near home, you elect to move to an entirely different country to start your career. Now, some of you might have actually done this. So factor in having stayed in your hometown for almost your entire life, including university studies, with only occasional forays to other places.

Visit to Kentwell Hall

It has been ages since I blogged. There’s plenty I could talk about: TV shows that I have enjoyed lately, the Ontario provincial election and voting by special ballot, my impending return home … and I may indeed get around to blogging about these. For now, though, let’s talk about Kentwell Hall. Last Sunday, I accompanied my landlady and her daughter to Kentwell Hall Through the Ages. Ordinarily this stately manor house has re-enactments from a single time period (often Tudor).

Amsterdam travel diary: Wednesday

When I went to Edinburgh, we took a Sandeman’s walking tour of the city. These tours are given by freelance guides who hire Sandeman’s to promote them; they are “pay what you want” tours, where one pays the guide at the end within their means and according to their satisfaction with the tour.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Count of Monte Cristo cover image

I didn’t plan on reading The Count of Monte Cristo so soon after The Three Musketeers . But on my first visit to the Thunder Bay library after my return from the UK, I saw this lovely edition with an introduction by Umberto Eco, one of my favourite authors. The introduction isn’t much to talk about—it’s short, which is actually a point in its favour; and it’s informative but not quite insightful. I gave The Three Musketeers five stars and a glowing review.

The Three Musketeers has nothing on…

Blood and Iron

Jon Sprunk

Blood and Iron cover image

Blood and Iron, not to be confused with the urban fantasy novel of the same name by Elizabeth Bear, is the first entry in a trilogy by Jon Sprunk about fantasy nations at war. Our hero is Horace, a shipwright and carpenter stranded on the shores of a hostile empire, at their mercy, who suddenly finds out he can do magic. What ensues in the slow self-destruction of the capital city of this kingdom within the empire while Horace stands around making amazed noises at it all.

Horace is essentially an…

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) cover image

Oh dear God I want to kill Kvothe.

I don’t want him to die. I want to kill him.

I would like to excise him from this book. Could I possibly get a Kvothe-less version of The Wise Man’s Fear? Is that a thing? Would that work? It would hopefully be better than this.

I’m twitching, a little, because of course, back in my review of The Name of the Wind, I praised Kvothe:

It's easy to like Kvothe. I won't say it's inevitable, since I can also see some people disliking him. But he already scores points bec…

A Fair Country cover image

My exposure to politics as a child was, like so many things, gradual and haphazard. There were the overt attempts to indoctrinate me into democracy—vague spectres of mock elections in grade six dance in the deep recesses of memory. There more subtle episodes, such as the late-night satirical sketches of Royal Canadian Air Farce, where most of the humour would go over my head for years after I started watching. There were the disruptive moments, like that day in grade seven when I came home for…

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz cover image

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a kind of bildungsroman for an anti-hero. We first meet Duddy through his Scottish history teacher, the tired and broken Mr. MacPherson, who earns Duddy’s enmity when he insults Duddy’s father and quickly finds out that he has crossed the wrong boy. From the first, Mordecai Richler establishes that Duddy is a bully and prone to holding a grudge. Indeed, Duddy’s long memory figures prominently in a novel that is, as its title implies, his personal journey into…

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains cover image

I love libraries! I hadn’t planned to get the illustrated version of this, or probably read it at all. But then there it was, on my library’s New Books shelf, staring at me … and I stared back … and I borrowed it. Because that’s what libraries let you do. They let you take books, as long as you promise to bring them back. It’s amazing.

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains is a short story reimagined as a picture book for adults. Actually, I think we need more picture books for adults. No, not…