Book Reviews

2021 Author EVENTS

All events cancelled due to Covid-19.

2020 Author EVENTS

RESCHEDULED due to COVID-19. DATE/TIME TBA. (Old Time: Thursday May 14, 2020.) Author Talk & Signing at Koffee House Reads (affiliated with Meaford Public Library), MEAFORD, ON. Time & Venue TBA. Directions | Website

RESCHEDULED due to COVID-19. DATE/TIME TBA. (Old Time: Friday May 15, 2020. 3:00 PM.) Author Talk & Signing at Midland Public Library, MIDLAND, ON. 320 King Street. Directions | Website

RESCHEDULED due to COVID-19. DATE/TIME TBA. (Old Time: Thursday May 21, 2020.) Author Talk & Signing at Ansley Grove Public Library (Branch of Vaughan Public Library), WOODBRIDGE, ON. 350 Ansley Grove Rd. Directions | Website

RESCHEDULED due to COVID-19. DATE/TIME TBA. (Old Time: Sunday May 31, 2020. 2:00 PM.) Author Talk & Signing at Blue Mountains (L.E. Shore) Public Library, THORNBURY, ON. 173 Bruce St. S. Directions | Website

CANCELLED due to COVID-19. Thursday June 18, 2020. 3:00 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Probus Club of Collingwood, Collingwood, ON. Members Only. Website

RESCHEDULED to 2021 due to COVID-19. DATE/TIME TBA. (Old Time: Thursday July 2, 2020. 6:30 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Cottage Dockside Reads (affiliated with Parry Sound Public Library) at the Carling Township Recreation Center (15 minutes north of Parry Sound), CARLING, ON. Directions | Website

2020 EVENTS: All 2020 events moved to 2021 due to COVID-19

Author Talks & Signings at bookstores and libraries in the following locations: Orillia, Barrie, Collingwood, Owen Sound, Kimberley, Stayner, Angus, Caledon, and more.

2019 EVENTS

Thursday June 20, 2019. 7:00 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Ginger Press Bookshop, OWEN SOUND, ON. 848 2nd Avenue East. Directions | Website

Sunday July 7, 2019. 11:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Author Event & Signing at Chapters Indigo Bookstore, BARRIE, ON. 76 Barrie View Drive. Directions | Website

Thursday July 25, 2019. 2:00 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Port Elgin Public Library, Port Elgin, ON. 708 Goderich St. Directions | Website

Monday August 12, 2019. 7:30 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Wasaga Beach Public Library, WASAGA BEACH, ON. 120 Glenwood Drive. Directions | Website

Tuesday August 13, 2019. 2:00 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Tobermory Public Library, TOBERMORY, ON. 22 Bay Street. Directions | Website

Thursday August 15, 2019. 2:00 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Wiarton Public Library, WIARTON, ON. 578 Brown Street. Directions | Website

Monday August 19, 2019. 1:00 PM. Author Talk & Signing at Lion’s Head Public Library, LION’S HEAD, ON. 90 Main Street. Directions | Website

Saturday August 24, 2019. 11:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Author Event & Signing at Chapters Indigo Bookstore, HILLCREST MALL, NORTH YORK, ON. 9350 Yonge St. Unit Y010. Directions | Website

Saturday October 12, 2019. 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM. RETURN ENGAGEMENT. Author Event & Signing at Chapters Indigo Bookstore, HILLCREST MALL, NORTH YORK, ON. 9350 Yonge St. Unit Y010. Directions | Website

Unapologetically Opinionated: Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens, aka the “Hitch,” was always unapologetically opinionated – on everything from journalism to political ethics to the non-existence of God.

Although Hitch was opinionated, he never allowed himself to be intellectually frozen. Before he died in 2011, he changed his mind as the world evolved and he saw fit. But that’s not why I find him worthy of reading and rereading. I turn to him for his informative, inviting prose and command of the English language.

Hitch was a British-born, Oxford-educated raconteur, debater, and lecturer who became an American citizen and lived almost half his life in Washington D.C. Numerous critics regard him as one of the finest English-language essayists of the last fifty years. He wrote extensively, but not exclusively, on politics, particularly American politics and the international Left. He also penned essays on history, literature, and language, to name a few of his wide-ranging topics. While some of his pieces aren’t in my wheelhouse, and I don’t endorse all of his opinions, I continue to admire his candid style.

Three recommendations: Hitch-22, A Memoir; And Yet … (Essays); Arguably (Essays).

A few Hitch excerpts:

On tyranny: “The conventional word that is employed to describe tyranny is ‘systematic.’ The true essence of a dictatorship is in fact not it’s regularity but it’s unpredictability and caprice; those who live under it must never be able to relax.”

On patriotism: “Tribal feelings belong to the squalling childhood of the human race, and become no more charming in their senescence …. But ironies of history may yet save us. English language and literature, oft-celebrated as one of the glories of ‘Western’ and even ‘Christian’ civilization, turn out to have even higher faculties than used to be claimed for them. In my country of birth the great new fictional practitioners have in their front ranks names like Rushdie, Ishiguro, Kureishi, Mo. This attainment on their part makes me oddly proud to be whatever I am, and convinces me that internationalism is the highest form of patriotism.”

For more information, see Christopher Hitchens on Wikipedia.

Author Talk & Book Signing, Meaford, Ontario. Rescheduled to 2023

Author Talk & Book Signing at Meaford Library.

RESCHEDULED to 2023.

Directions | Website

Author Talk/Gallery Exhibition Tour, Owen Sound, Ontario. Wednesday August 31, 2022

Tom Thomson Art Gallery Exhibition Tour, Owen Sound 6:00 PM & Author Talk at Owen Sound Public Library 7:00 PM, Owen Sound, ON. Directions | Website

The Gallery and Library are adjacent so you can walk from one to the other.

Inside Story: A Martin Amis Funhouse

Review of Inside Story by Martin Amis, 2020.

An Amis novel is like the weather in May. You never know what to expect. I’ve loved two of his novels (London Fields and Time’s Arrow), liked others, and, on occasion, been completely disappointed.

Amis’s prose is inventive, but it’s often overdone. He’s certainly no Hemingway, limiting adverbs and adjectives. On the contrary, Amis wields them like a boxer, at times jabbing, but usually lining them up for a haymaker. Over the course of five decades, he’s managed to alienate both sides of the reading divide: to literary stuffed shirts, he’s uncouth; to genre buffs, he’s too high-minded. As for Inside Story, I didn’t love it, yet it tickled my funny bone. And my mind. I laughed aloud and, every twenty or so pages, I stopped to think – on everything from Donald Trump to death to beauty to the history of the novel.

Inside Story is a mashup of fictionalized autobiography, literary observations, and sociopolitical opinions. Although subtitled A Novel, the book is largely (and unabashedly) biographical. When Amis is at his best, the narrative has a gravitational pull. His words spin a funhouse of warped mirrors. He regales readers with unique insights, both frivolous and cerebral. Some dismiss Amis as sexist. Others say he’s a bounder; still others, a little shite. I don’t care. I’m loathe to shun books due to their writer’s transgressions. [Having said that, if Putin writes a book, I’ll shred it.]

Alright, back to Inside Story. Martin Amis grew up in a time and place of, let’s say, amorous exuberance (Swinging London, 1960s-70s). If you enter his funhouse, you’ll encounter womanizing, yes, and braggadocio, but also poignancy, self-doubt, and generosity of spirit.

A few excerpts from Inside Story:

On the English language: “Great Britain no longer had an empire – except the empire of words; not the imperial state, just the imperial tongue.”

On the pretzel logic of Biblical hellfire: “It’s not that eternity never ends – it never even begins.”

Describing Donald Trump: “That chicken-hawk, that valorised ignoramus, that titanic vulgarian, dishonest to the ends of his hair.”

New Series Coming!

PUBLISHING NEWS: The first novel in a DETECTIVE/MYSTERY series set in New England will be published by Stark House Press, California, USA. The novel turns on CAPE COD, BOSTON, and the BALKANS, and features Detective Lieutenant Ivy Bourque.

Book One RELEASE DATE: Early 2023. Title and cover reveal in late 2022.

Stark House has also optioned the next book in the series.