Tag Archives: reading

Book Report: The Marrow Thieves

I just finished reading Cherie Dimaline’s book, The Marrow Thieves.  It’s kinda sad that it was voted out on Day Three of Canada Reads.

The Marrow Thieves is a story about a world in which Indigenous peoples are being hunted and harvested for their marrow. Why, because, the rest of world have lost the ability to dream. The book follows Frenchie as he travels north and meets with various other runners.

The Marrow Thieves reminds us of how the European settlers abused the Indigenous people upon contact. I was reminded of the horrors of the residential school system and the “sixties scoop” while reading this book.

This book is must reading for anyone wanting to better understand the continuing Indigenous experience.

Episode #113: Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis is an award-winning Canadian author of six best sellers and co-founder of PR company, Thornley Fallis.

We spoke about his time in politics, how he became an author, and how his books reflect the various conversations we are having in today’s political discourse.

Listen below:

Girth Radio
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You can also subscribe to the podcast via RSS Feed if you’re so inclined.

Recorded live at Girth Radio.
Music by Afraaz Mulji.

If you enjoyed this episode you’ll also like:

Ep106: Ed Keenan, Toronto Star
Ep104: MP Arif Virani
Ep99: Richard Peddie, MLSE

Listen to other Girth Radio podcasts like The Freeze with Brian and Tyler.

Book Report: Poles Apart

I can get used to this. It’s early March 2018 and I’ve already read three Terry Fallis books. This last one, Poles Apart (2015), is another tale written in the humourous style Canadians have come to know and love about Fallis’ books.

Just before I started reading this book, I reached out to Fallis to ask him on my podcast. I sat down with him early this week and will be releasing that episode this weekend. So I don’t want to spoil some of the insights that Fallis shared.

However, what I will say, is that Fallis does not disappoint in Poles Apart. It’s both a funny and insightful read. We know the funny. Insightful because Terry explores the feminist movement from the standpoint of a feminist who happens to be a man.

Pick up this book from Amazon, your public library or listen to it on Terry Fallis’ website.

 

Book Report: One Brother Shy

One of my friends, Dave Fleet, used to work for the agency Thornley Fallis. That’s when I probably first heard about Terry Fallis. Then came the popular MeetUps I used to attend in Toronto around media, PR and social media.

I think I heard about his podcast, Inside PR. But I definitely became aware  of him when his novel, The Best Laid Plans, was made into a TV series of the same name.

And it’s taken me this long to finally read one of his book, One Brother Shy.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book so funny. The first book(s) I remember reading that made me laugh was Robert Ludlum’s Road to Omaha and Road To Gandolfo.

Thanks Terry for writing a wickedly funny book set (for the most part) in Canada.

I see a little bit of Alex MacAskill in me. Naturally, I’m an introvert. However, unlike Alex, I’m born this way. Also like Alex, I can be gregarious as well.

If you’re looking for a book about family, overcoming setbacks, and international adventure with a touch of funny this is the book for you. Pick it up at your favourite local bookstore, Amazon, or public library.

Book Report: Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night

While reading Jason Zinoman’s book, Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night . I was reminded of many moments that I got to watch over the years. You see, I was, and remain, a huge fan of David Letterman.

While I stopped actively watching TV in 2000 (I got married and we decided to not get cable) I still followed the Letterman and his show online. I remember sneaking down the stairs every night just before 12:30am to watch his 3 joke opening monologue, Stupid Pet Tricks, calling familiar strangers on the phone, drop stuff off the building and interview Richard Simmons for the hundredth time. I had both of his Top Ten List books and a framed Time magazine cover on my bedroom wall. I even once had tickets to go see his Late Night show in New York City. I wished I actually asked my parents to help me get there. Sigh. And even after I got married I still had his photo in my wallet. Yes. I was a huge.

However, some parts of the book upset me a bit. For example, I always thought the character of David Letterman that I saw on TV was just that. A character. Yet, Zinoman writes that that was actually the real Letterman. I struggle with the notion that Letterman was never satisfied with his show/success or was really angry underneath it all.

Letterman now has his popular Netflix show, My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. Thank goodness I don’t need TV to watch!

Thanks Jason for writing this book. And thanks Dave for continuing to make us laugh.

Book Report: The Marriott Cell by Mohamed Fahmy

We recently went back to visiting our local library branches.

The first book I borrowed was Mohamed Fahmy’s “The Marriott Cell.”

Fahmy is a former CNN and Al Jazeera  journalist who was wrongly imprisoned on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization. He would go on to spend over 400 days in prison including Egypt’s infamous prison for terrorists Scorpion Prison.

In today’s climate of “fake news” and the disintegration of local news his story is a chilling reminder that one of the main roles of journalists is to hold power to account.

To learn more about Mohamed Fahmy visit his Twitter account.

Going back to the library

We finally went back to the library this weekend. It’s been a while to be honest. We used to go a lot when Kahzmir was much younger and when I still used to watch movies on my DVD player.

Toronto Public Library

I used to spend lots of time at the library. In middle school I would go early to JB Tyrell and hang in the library. In high school I used to go to Fairview Public Library on the weekends. Yes, it was a place to do my homework. But it was also a place to socialize with my friends. In university I would travel over an hour to go to York University on the weekend. Yes, to do homework. Which I could have done at home. But also to hang with my friends.

Libraries are more than just a place that collects books. It’s a community hub.

The timing was right to get back to visiting our local library. We’re reading less. Yet, we know how important reading is. Both as entertainment and for learning. And Toronto’s libraries offer some really cool programming for kids and adults.

This weekend we visited Cedarbrae Library in Scarborough. Every weekend we’re going to try and visit a different library in Toronto.

Cedarbrae Library
Source: Toronto Public Library

Here are the books I took out:

The Marriot Cell

Let The Games Begin

If you have a book you’d like to recommend to me, please let me know in the comments section.

Tales From Beyond The Tap by Randy Bachman

Many of you who know me know that I am a huge Neil Young fan. To this day, he is one of Canada’s most successful and well-regarded songwriters and musicians. However, when it comes to Canadian rock royalty there is probably no one else who has penned and produced as many hits than Randy Bachman. He has fronted two of the biggest names is Canadian rock: The Guess Who and BTO (Bachman Turner Overdrive).

I have had the opportunity to both hear him play as well as listen to him speak. Both live. And here in Toronto. Along with Canadian indie band, The Sadies, he opened for Neil Young a couple of years ago at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This past year, he published a book and was part of a speaker series at the Reference Library in Toronto.

#tbt with Randy Bachman. Canadian music icon and amazing storyteller.

A photo posted by @karimkanji on

Tales From Beyond The Tap takes an inside look at Bachman’s life. Everything from his songwriting process, his relationship with Burton Cummings and siblings, his popular CBC show Randy’s Vinyl Tap, and his thoughts on the future of the music business and everything in between are covered in this book.

Randy has penned some of rock’s most beloved anthems. Tales From Beyond The Tap is Bachman at his best. A must read for any rock and roll fan.

Book Review: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story

Robyn Doolittle
Robyn Doolittle

To say that I was glued to this Robyn Doolittle’s book until I was finished reading it would be an understatement. It’s taken me longer to start (and finish) blogging about the book than it took me to actually read it.

Crazy Town us the perfect title for this book. It’s not so much as Toronto being a crazy town as it is a play on the bubble that the Ford family has created for itself over a generation.

Everything that you would expect to be in this book is there. Everything. Including the research process and behind the scenes meetings and conversations between Doolittle and her superiors at the Toronto Star.

What struck me the most about this book were two things that have nothing to do with Ford.

The first is the amount of research and discussions that occur before a word is even typed and subsequently printed. For every piece that Doolittle has written there is literally a team of editors, (sometimes) publishers and even lawyers (especially when reporting on Rob Ford) that need to go over her research and submission. Nothing is left to chance and all sides of the story are discussed and dissected. Reading her book gave me a new found appreciation for the news reporting process that the Toronto Star follows.

The second, and most disturbing, revelation has to do with the seemingly archaic laws in Canada surrounding access to information. Our public institutions (government and public services such as police) gather so much information in the name of the greater public good. However, accessing that information is next to impossible for ordinary citizens such as me. And the media? Well, they have the resources and the knowledge on how to ask and what to ask. Yet even they have the hardest time getting access to information.

As a book, Crazy Town has it all. And by all, I mean everything you could ever want to know about Rob Ford. His parents (enterprising), upbringing (silver spoon), siblings (crazy people usually influenced by drugs it seems), career before politics (nada), his brushes with the law (international and usually involving booze) and his current political life (unbelievable).

This October, Toronto will go to the polls to vote for who they want as their Mayor. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for or not vote for. Unless you ask me. However, I do have one suggestion: READ. THE. BOOK.