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Showing posts from December, 2017

The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age by Andrew O’Hagan

Looking for a book to kick off 2018? There’s Andrew O’Hagan’s “The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age” for timeliness and relevance.

The end of one year and the beginning of another prompts reflection of what was, introspection of what is, and resolutions for what may come, and this is no less true than the seeing out of 2017 and the welcoming of 2018. 

To that end, there were a number of topics which were top of mind as 2017 came and went: the proliferation of so-called “fake news” supported by algorithms know as trolls and bots; the rise of Donald Trump aided by foreign involvement mirroring the fall of Hillary Clinton coinciding with WikiLeaks disclosures; and the mania of bitcoin as it became a household name and the cryptocurrency reached dizzying valuations on the back of speculators’ FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”).

All of these narratives fit hand in glove with Andrew O’Hagan’s book. 

O’Hagan takes the craft of writing seriously, as his accomplished bio shows, and he …

The Martian is back (well sorta) ☾☽

Andy Weir is back with a new space-inspired novel: Artemis. No one can forget, his previous best-selling novel, The Martian, which was adapted into the blockbuster motion picture that featured Matt Damon stranded on The Red Planet. 

I thought The Martian was great. The book was slow and steady, and in doing so was able to accurately capture the feeling of being isolated in space. Growing potatoes, figuring out a way to reuse the water and supplies...it was methodological plan put into place with one man with no resources. Yes, it was a plausible narrative. 

Artemis, is different. The characters are different. It's more of a fast-action narrative featuring a smart, young millennial called Jazz Bashara who lives on the first city on the moon. She's a bit of a rebel, loves to have a good time and also estranged from her devout Muslim father. Working as a porter, to support herself, she's constantly struggling to just get by. Jazz doesn't always follow the rules, but always …

🎼 Music to my ears (especially at this time of the year)

Rachel Joyce has a style of writing that fans adore. With a simplicity in her storytelling, she's able to touch hearts better than any AI tool can. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me bring you up to speed. The latest artificial intelligence news cited that AI is that it is learning how to make you cry at the movies. Read more.) But back to Rachel Joyce's storytelling. 

Rachel Joyce is already a bestselling author, well known for books like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect. Her latest entry "The Music Shop", Joyce attempts to bring music into our hearts, as she takes us on a delightful interlude that will enrich our minds about our favourite musical masters, from Bach's Double Violin Concerto to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Did you know, for example, that even though it's common knowledge that while Haydn and Mozart were the maestros who really cracked the sonata, it was Beethoven who reinvented it? Just as he reinve…

Bring on the painters and poets 🎶

A few weeks ago, Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting sold for a record $450 million dollars. The sale of this Da Vinci painting was the talk of the art world, but the sticker price was definitely a conversation topic for weeks after. So, what was so incredibly special about this single panel (damaged) painting that earned it the title of the highest price paid at an auction? 

The answer could be any number of reasons. Perhaps one was that the buyer, Saudi Arabian prince Bader bin Abdullah, was an ardent Leonardo da Vinci fan effectively swept away by the marketing campaign by Droga5 that referred to the painting as "the male 'Mona Lisa'", thus cashing in on the emotional connection of one of the most iconic art pieces in the world. 

As you have garnered by now, I'm obsessed with art. A self-professed art-a-holic, I have never miss an opportunity to head to an art gallery in a city. My travels have taken me as far as the The Art Institute of …

On the first day of Christmas

Inspired by the famous traditional Christmas carol, The Twelve Days Of Christmas, Joshua Seigal's book Morris Wants More...For Christmas, is imaginative and entertaining. Kids will love the buildup of excitement as they anticipate what little Morris will get for each of the twelve days of Christmas. 

Meet Prince Moris, rich kid, who has everything he could possibly imagine. It's no wonder that on the first day of Christmas he expects a gift that is huge. His parents always get him whatever he wants, and the spoilt kid is going to make sure that they get the best present ever.

From day one, to day two...to day 12, Moris is unappreciative of the gifts he gets, each time demanding a bigger and bigger gift. His parents oblige, since they don't like to see their little "sweet" prince disappointed. 

But there is sweet justice in the end. And to all kids everywhere, it's a reminder to be grateful for what you have.

An unusual Christmas story. But an important lesson for…

Life is a beautiful mystery (or two)

One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality.
Two mystery books to recommend over the holidays...

The Man In The Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan

The Washington Post refers to Dolan as a writer who has a "talent for ingenious, serpentine plots". 

It's been two years since private eye Jack Pellum's wife Olivia was murdered. Jack is an ex-cox and his eye is on the murderer, who he believes is someone he saw a few days ago in the neighbourhood...the man with a fedora hat. There are some leads. Danny Cavanaugh recently hanged himself (after his wife was killed) left a suicide note: There's a killer, and he wears a crooked hat. 

Is there a connection between the murders? Serial killers usually have a common thread of behaviour. There usually is a motive. These crimes seem to be unrelated, but there are murders that go back at least 20 years. How can Jack Pellum get to the bottom of this mystery and …