Archive for November, 2009

This Thing of Darkness

Remember I previously mentioned how much I love Barbara Fradkin’s writing… well her latest book This Thing of Darkness  (published by RendezVous Crime) just reinforces my feeling. I think it’s her best yet. She uses her experience as a child psychologist to add a layer of depth to her books that most mystery novels lack. And boy, is it ever effective. In her latest a retired psychiartist is found murdered in the Byward Market area of Ottawa. As his life is examined by the authorities they come to learn that he had recently changed his will, he frequently had visits from young women known to have questionable lifestyles, and he felt compelled to help previous patients who he thought suffered more from his doctoring than they benefited from his medical practice. Add local street gang kids and an estranged son to the cocktail and you have a pretty good mix to sort through before the Ottawa police can successfully put the case to rest. It’s a great book, full of  thoughts about mental health, street people, and psychological issues that make you think. This is #7 for Fradkin in her Inspector Green mysteries and I sure hope she plans to continue the series for a long time. I love the characters central to her series, and I don’t think I’ll let the cat out of the bag if I tell you that something really shocking happens to one of them in this book. It’s a really good read… put it on your Christmas wish list.

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Jamie Oliver

On Sunday Nov 22nd I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Jamie Oliver… THE Jamie Oliver… aka The Naked Chef… speak at Roy Tompson Hall in Toronto. He was fresh from filming in Huntington West Virginia where they did a show similar to the one he recently produced in Britain which became the backbone of his new book Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals (published by Hyperion). His mission is to get people to stop eating junk food and start cooking at home. Something so simple, but for those who’ve never cooked a decent meal in their lives it’s a huge challenge. In his book Jamie highlights some of the people who took advantage of the opportunity given by him to “pass it on” … learn a few recipes from him, then go and teach those recipes to others who in turn will pass them on to others. The documentary he produced for the Food Network based on his attempt to teach ordinary Brits to cook is fascinating TV. He deserves the highest praise for what he’s done in his career, which besides teaching ordinary folk to cook, also includes revamping the whole school lunch program in Britain and opening a restaurant where he trained disadvantaged youth to be the chefs . I think he is one of the most influential young people around these days.  The book, Jamie’s Food Revolution, is a cookbook, the recipes are easy to make and delicious, and even if you never make a single one the book is a joy to read and look at. Even great for gift-giving. And by the way… he is just as charming and good-looking in person as he is on the telly.

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Congrats ladies!

Annabel Lyon has won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for The Golden Mean.

Kate Pullinger won the Governor General’s Literary Award for her book The Mistress of Nothing.

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Sarah’s an author! Sort of.

Did I see right? Sarah Palin got a $1.25 million advance for her book Going Rogue!  She didn’t even write the darn thing. She used a ghost writer. Apparently she doesn’t have very many good things to say about everyone involved in her recent campaign when she was running for Vice. Sarah sweetie… don’t burn all your bridges – you just never know when you’ll have to cross that darn river again. Gosh, golly, gee,  you of all people should know that, living in Alaska and all. :)

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Translating English into English

There was an interesting article in The Globe and Mail Book Section on Saturday Nov 14th written by J.C. Sutcliffe. He said that many of the novels that we read in English are actually “translated” for different English audiences. We all know that titles are often changed according to where the book’s audience lives - Harry Potter for instance (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone became Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US edition) but the main focus of the article was the actual wording in books.

Commenting on this he said : “What, after all, is so bad about being exposed to the English of different regions? Isn’t learning about the differences in our languages, and by extension our cultures, part of the fascination with reading?”   I just finished The Heart Specialist by Claire Rothman and it surprised me to see the word “grippe” used when referring to “the flu”. Having grown up in Montreal, where the writer has set her novel, and being familiar with the word, I found it totally acceptable, and it made the book more authentic to me than had she written “the flu”. I think it definitely enriched the language of the literature.

If you would like to read the entire article “They order these things differently” by J.C. Sutcliffe go to :

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The Giller Prize

Surprise, surprise! Linden MacIntyre has scored an upset victory by winning the $50,000 Giller Prize for his book The Bishop’s Man. 

Other nominees on the short list were  :  The Disappeared by Kim Echlin, The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon, The Fall by Colin McAdam, and The Winter Vault by Anne Michael.

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Annabel Lyon’s Novel

Author Annabel Lyon has scored a hat-trick in the publishing world with the nomination of her book The Golden Mean for The Giller Prize, the Governor-General’s Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize.

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