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Showing posts from 2017

There's nothing common about Tom Hanks

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Perhaps if you are an ardent fan of Tom Hanks, you won't be surprised by the literary prowess that he embodies. After all, this Oscar-winning superstar has already published a series of short stories in The New Yorker. So, by extension, it would only be fitting that he would inevitably publish a book of some sort.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories due for release this month, is Tom Hank's debut as an author. Published by Knopf Canada, the book has seventeen short stories that somehow involve a different typewriter. Here's something that you may not know. The typewriter theme is not a mere coincidence. Tom Hanks has a long fascination with typewriters, collecting well over 100 of these literary tools in his possession. 

From my interpretation, Uncommon Type: Some Stories seems to be a metaphor for uncommon stories, which really are stories about people...different types of people. The forgotten heroes. Of course there's a typewriter eleme…

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Say goodbye to vague personality tests, because Gretchen Rubin has come up with four tendencies that apply to everyone.

Personality frameworks tend to cram too many elements into their categories. The Four Tendencies describes only one narrow aspect of a person's character. 

The Four Tendencies explains why we act and why we don't act.
Gretchen Rubin claims that when you consider the Four Tendencies, you're better able to understand yourself. This can help you build a happier life. But it can also help you understand other people, which mean you can live and work more effectively within your community. 

But where do these Tendencies come from? Are they a result of upbringing or gender? Gretchen Rubin claims that they are hardwired, and don't change with our surroundings or over time. She suggests that unless we go through some catastrophic, character-reshaping experience, then our Tendencies do not change.

So what are these Tendencies and which one are you?

UPHOLDER - respon…

After your Thanksgiving Feast you may need a bit of a detox

Hope you had a fabulous thanksgiving! 

Now it's time to get serious and cleanse yourself from all the must-haves you've been tempted with at Thanksgiving dinner. 

Two books that may interest all foodies alike.


Everything you need to eat beautiful from the inside out. From the best nutrient-dense foods to enhance your natural beauty, Eat For Beauty, gives you a snapshot of the best things to eat to make yourself feel beautiful from head to toe. 

Curious to know what foods will reduce fine lines? Here's a tip: Green beans. While some skin types have a propensity to develop fine lines, caused by a lack of seburn that can lead to dryness, introducing your diet with super-hydrated foods containing minerals that rebalance fluids and electrolytes is key. French, sting, mung and sprouted beans, all provide hyaluronic acid, a moisture magnet that helps to plump and moisturize skin so that fine lines appear less visible. 

There's also a quick tip recipe in the book for …

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

John Boyne needs no introduction. Author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, that won two Irish Book Awards, and also a Miramax movie, Boyne is now back with his new book The Heart's Invisible Furies. 

John Boyne is a great storyteller. I loved Stay Where You Are And Then Leave. Very few writers can create historical fiction characters as compelling or relatable in the modern era. The main character, Cyril, makes his entrance in Goleen – a small west Cork village, during a mass at a parish church. Mind you, Cyril isn’t quite present in the flesh for all to see yet. He’s actually in his mother’s womb. Sixteen-year-old Catherine Goggin (Cyril’s mom) recently found out she was pregnant, and Father James Monroe is about to banish her from the parish. The hypocrisy of it all is that Monroe himself has fathered two children 
Catherine Goggin is full of spunk and positivity. In a time, that one may want to crawl up into a cave and hide from the rest of t…

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

What makes someone a mother? Is it biology alone? Or is it love? This is one of the themes of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere. Already an acclaimed novelist for her previous work Everything I Never Told You, which went on to win a ton of literary awards, Celeste Ng once again reveals that her writing is on par with any of the other renowned literary CanLit authors. She knows how to weave a tale beautifully with characters that speak to the depths of your soul. She draws you in with her stories of family and relationships, and makes you wish that you never have to leave.

The story in Little Fires Everywhere centres around Shaker Heights. A community in progressive Cleveland, where everything is orderly. There are rules. And rules were put there to keep the citizens in harmony. At least that's what Elena Richardson believes. She's the matriarch of the Richardson family with four kids, Trip, Moody, Lexie and Izzy. This is a tight knit suburban family, living the American …


“There is no such thing as an ‘authentic’ curry”, writes Naben Ruthnum, in his latest book Curry: Eating, Reading and Race. Stories about reading are not necessarily stories about prejudice: forming reading habits means cultivating strict prejudices and then carefully discarding them. As the posters in the kids’ section of the library informs us, reading can take you anywhere, and damned if you’re not going to decide exactly where and when you want to go.”

2 parts memoir, 3 parts literary analysis, and 5 parts entertainment, Naben Ruthnum’s writes with precision, opening the door to introspection, making readers think twice about what they think about “curry”.

Food and literature are the defining elements of the way he sees himself in the Indian diaspora. He’s not wrong. For someone of ethnic origin we are part and parcel of the perception around that culture. For people of South-Asian origin, curry and spices are infused into our identity.
Naben Ruthnum describes how (unlike reading) ea…

Heart to Heart with Ron Sexsmith - An interview for Deer Life Blog Tour

I had a chance to read Ron Sexsmith's fairytale Deer Life in its infancy arc state. It's an ambitious book that reads more like poetry than a novel. Somehow this didn't surprise me. Ron Sexsmith is after all a songwriter, and if you follow him on Twitter, a witty, witty writer. You can read my review written a few months ago. 

When I was asked by Dundurn Press (publisher) if I would do an author interview, I jumped at the chance. Here's what he had to say about the book, his creative influences and most of all what's next.


Who has been your musical influence growing up? Did you ever meet them? If so, what was that like?
Ray Davies of the Kinks, Elton John, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen
And yes, I've actually met them all and except for Elton, I've also sang with them all too.

What inspired you to write a book? Did you struggle with the format? Writing songs verses writing a novel?
The story inspired me. I never had an idea for a story b…

Toronto Eats Up The Best Banana Bread From Pusateris

I don’t claim to be a good cook (recipe books provide me the roadmap I need to carve out my claim to fame in the kitchen), but if there’s one thing I am proud to make over and over again, it’s my famous banana bread. It’s a fairly simple recipe (something I like about it), one that I’ve perfected over the years with modifying the proportions of sugar and banana slightly. I’ve always loved this comfort, compact version of my banana bread, one that I whip up on a lazy Saturday morning in the hopes of taking it to work the following week. But sadly, it rarely makes it past Sunday night. Sure it’s delicious and easy, with a handful of ingredients, and is the epitome of comfort food…but, I've always felt the need for some validation that my recipe was of top chef calibre, one that I would perhaps find behind the well-lit dazzling glass counters at Pusateris Fine Foods or Holt Renfrew Café in Yorkville.
For years, I'd keep an eye out for another version of a banana bread recipes. Mos…

If Apples Had Teeth by Milton Glaser

Silly. Creative. Thinking outside the box. If Apples Had Teeth by renowned graphic designer Milton Glaser (the guy who was responsible for the I love NY graphic), is an absolute delight. So simple in its execution, yet so multifarious in its interpretation.
How do words interact with images? How can you have fun with language? How can you make language interesting for the younger generation? When silly meets smart, and poetry and story combine, there’s something magical that happens.  A refreshing book that takes on a new take on words and makes playtime (and learning time) just a little more enjoyable. 

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

After the massive success of her thriller The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena is back with A Stranger In The House. Shari certainly seems to be obsessed with the concept of neighbours, relationships and secrecy. In The Couple Next Door, it was a case of how well do you know your neighbours, coupled with the kidnapping of a baby. In this new book, Stranger In The House, it’s still about neighbours, this time being nosey (who can’t relate), and not minding their own business. 
The novel centres around a mysterious situation – a major accident – that devastates the life of one couple and lays the foundation of a mystery. It’s a normal night….so it seems. Karen Krupp is cooking dinner, waiting for her husband to come home. But here’s where the mystery begins. Why did Karen run out recklessly in the middle of the night, without her purse or a note for her husband…something totally out of character for her? What was she doing in a sketchy part of town? A very careful driver at the best of tim…

Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell

Can you outrun your lies? That is the premise of Mothers and Other Strangers by debut author Gina Sorell. It has a great opening line, that hooks you in, and keeps you reading, in the anticipation that you find out the end of that story.
The protagonist is Elsie, a thirty-something year old woman who returns to Toronto following the death of her mother. She’s had a tumultuous relationship with her mother (which daughter can’t relate to this?), and somehow hopes that this will be the closure she needs. But, she soon finds that there she has more questions than answers, and is also pulled into a web of deceit spun from her mom’s entire lifetime, going right back to the time when Elsie was conceived. 
While she confronts her mother’s past, she must inevitably confront her own, and the journey is psychologically draining.
We read on, hoping that the journey will provide Elsie a catharsis. With a few minor plot twists and a blast into the past, the story seems to move two steps forward and on…

Salman Rushdie is back with The Golden House

It’s the triumphant return of the man who took controversy and made a brand out of it. The book releases September 5th, but I was lucky to receive an advanced copy from the publisher. Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House is a story of epic proportions. Secrets, family saga, and betrayals, ingratiate this page-turning mystery that takes us from the shores of Mumbai to New York’s Greenwich Village.
Nero Golden is the patriarch who has come to America with his three adult sons. The eccentric billionaire’s past is unclear, and creates some curiosity (understandably) amongst the community, in particular for René – who happens to be the lens through which we navigate the novel.
Like all billionaires, Nero Golden’s life revolves around money, and this also seeps into his relationships with his sons. They are always at an arms length, knowing that at any moment he could take away their allowance. The sons, have an expectation that they will inevitably inherit their billionaire father’s fortunes…th…

Hum If You Don’t Know The Words

Steep In. The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard is infused to perfection.

I had an interest in tea (not just drinking it but actually learning about it beyond the superficial), so about 8 years ago I formalized that interest by taking the Tea Foundations course at George Brown College in Toronto.

I wasn’t interested in becoming a Tea Sommelier – that required an 8 course commitment – but did want to know more about the tea that I would be drinking at say dim sum, or omakase, or at my parents’ home where they coveted their Darjeeling tea they always brought back after their frequent trips to India. 

In retrospect, The Tea Foundations course was terrific introduction, as was the book recommendation from the course instructor, Jane Pettigrew’s Tea Classified: A Tealover's Companion, which was voted Best New Publication 2009 by World Tea Expo.

Why am I mentioning this? Fast forward to 2017’s World Tea Awards where the Best Tea Publication was The Tea Book by Tea Sommelier Linda Gaylard. The Tea Book would --hands down -- be the book that I would choose as a il…