Archive for April, 2009

Who is Inger Ash Wolfe?

I was intrigued by The Calling (published by McClelland & Stewart) simply because of what I read on the jacket of the book …”Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym of a well-known North American writer”. What? It took me a few seconds to realize that they weren’t going to tell us who wrote The Calling.  That alone made me want to read it. I started putting two and two together and came up with my own theory of who the writer actually is and why we’re not to know. Anyway, it is the first in a series of mysteries involving 61 year old Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef who is the acting chief of the Port Dundas police force… that was my first clue about the writer. The story is good, gripping, gruesome and intriguing. You’ve got the mystery unraveling in the book to figure out, plus the mystery of who the writer is. Great fun and of course it’s well written… the writer has obviously had lots of experience. Read it and let me know who you think the author is and I’ll tell you who I think he/she is.

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The Da Vinci Code follow-up

Those of you who are fans of The Da Vinci Code (and who isn’t) will be happy to know that author Dan Brown’s long awaited follow-up book will be released on September 15th. His new book, published by Random House, is titled The Lost Symbol and  will feature the former Da Vinci Code protagonist Robert Langdon.

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New or Used?

Do you like second-hand bookshops? Are you one of those people who can roam around for hours, checking every shelf, looking for a buried treasure among the ruins?  Or do you find all that chaos and clutter unbearable?

I can’t stand books that have been mangled or damaged in any way. And when people write in them – oh, I really hate that. When I buy a book I examine it thoroughly before I’ll take it to the cash. I can’t even stand library books that are tattered or showing signs of age. Deal or no deal, I am not the least bit tempted to wander around second hand bookshops. But Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, that’s definitely the exception.

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At your local newsstand

There’s a really neat magazine out there called mental floss. It has a really interesting article in the Mar-Apr 2009 issue and you don’t have to search through to find it. The cover says “The 25 most powerful books of the past 25 years … p.36” Interesting stuff – take a peek.

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Healthy Reading

For anyone who is interested in nutrition or health issues, these books are informative and full of good advice. Whenever I use the word ‘diet’ I don’t mean any low fat, low carb, low sugar, low salt, no taste book that promises you’ll lose weight but doesn’t tell you that you’ll gain it all back later. In my case ‘diet’ refers to what you eat, plain and simple. I will never, ever, recommend a diet book so if that’s what you’re looking for – you’ll have to look somewhere else.

In Defense Of Food by Michael Pollan is a book I recommend separately, but I can’t emphasize enough how important this book is. It’s straight-forward, simple advice on how to eat well.

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating by Walter C. Willet, M.D. (A Harvard Medical School book  co-developed with the Harvard School of Public Health) … a VERY important book – read it!

 The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell PhD. is the world’s largest study ever undertaken in the field of nutrition. A huge book, but easy to digest.

 What To Eat by Marion Nestle is a walk through your local grocery store that examines our modern-day ‘diet.  She is Prof. of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University.

Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins  examines our whole being (body,mind and soul) and focuses on cultures around the world where people live long, productive, healthy lives.

The End of Food: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Food Supply-And What You Can Do About It by Paul Roberts is a real shocker that focuses on the modern day problems of eating the way we do and what the consequences are.

The Vitamin D Cure  by James E. Dowd, M.D. is a real eye-opener. I hate the title but I guess it gets people’s attention. A must-read for everyone who wonders about our current obsession with this vitamin.

Survival Of The Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalem is a really neat book. He highlights how many of today’s diseases were conditions that enabled our ancestors to actually survive, and also demonstrates how little modern medicine really understands about human health. It’s fascinating.

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A Prisoner of Birth

Jeffrey Archer’s A Prisoner of Birth(published by St. Martin’s Press) came out in paperback format about a month ago. Do not buy it and put it in your bag to read while you commute back and forth to work. If you do, I guarantee you will be so engrossed in the book that you will miss your stop. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s that good. A gripping story, well written (of course – it’s Archer!) and definitely hard to put down.  I have to admit that I can’t remember most of the many details in the book – I read it when it first came out in hard cover, but it’s one of the best books I read last year. I do remember that it’s the story of Danny Cartwright, an ordinary bloke who just happened to be out celebrating his engagement to Beth Wilson on a night everyone would love to forget. A fight at the local pub turns bad and he ends up being sentenced to 22 years in Belmarsh prison for a murder which he says he didn’t commit. The trouble is that there are 4 witnesses to this murder, all high profile citizens, and they all point the finger at Danny. Revenge and justice figure into the equation and eventually all four witnesses end up fighting for their lives. It’s definitely one of Archer’s best books. Trust me.

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An interesting study.

Does reading fiction makes you less socially awkward?  Raymond Mar, Asst. Prof. of Psychology at York University is conducting a really interesting study, and his findings so far seem to indicate that people who read fiction have better social skills and more empathy than those who read non-fiction. Huh! … Looks like even reading Danielle Steele  makes us a better person … :)

Check out his article at :

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