Category Culture

Celebrate Irish writing on St. Patrick’s day

If you don’t fancy drinking green beer, there are lots of other ways to honour Irish culture: there’s plenty in film, art and literature that avoids the pastiche of leprechauns and shamrocks – but have clear Irish voices with universal appeal. Here are three books published in the past year from some of the country’s […]

Rob Ford, it’s not about ‘sexual preference’

So Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wants the rainbow flag – the Pride flag that represents the gay community – taken down from city hall. Earlier this week it was flown up the flagpole – by order of the city’s Protocol Chief –  at the request of a Toronto group to show solidarity for Russia’s gays […]

Giller Prize memories and reviews

A long red rose landed on my desk, along with an embossed invitation. It was one of the most coveted events in the city – and I was on the list. Writers, publicists, book editors, book sellers, publishers – we were excited about a celebration of Canadian books the likes of which this country hadn’t […]

A reason to take public transit

The Toronto Transit Commission used to be touted as the best public transit system North America. Not any more. The joke is that TTC stands for “Take The Car.” And that’s exactly what I do most days. I can bypass the centre of the city, taking main arterial roads and highways, and get to work […]

Thank goodness, I’ll never know Dorothy Parker

While there are artists I admire – writers, songwriters, singers, essayists – there are few I would want to meet. I imagine the magic they exert on my life would change. Do I want to know anything about them personally? Not particularly. They’re entitled to their privacy; I’m entitled to my fantasy. There a few […]

Bloggers: A lesson from Roddy Doyle and Stompin’ Tom Connors

Books really can cause a stir. Particularly when the authors are Roddy Doyle and Stompin’ Tom Connors – you know, rock star, party-worthy types. Both came to mind this week – Stompin’ Tom because he passed away on Wednesday; Roddy Doyle because I came upon an article he wrote about writing. They’re both cultural giants, […]

Two books, two reviews

  If you need something to read this weekend and you’re willing to spend sometime with a literary writer, I’ve read and reviewed both these books and think they’re worth the time spent:   In this era of in-your-face erotic fiction epitomized by Fifty Shades of Grey, Australia’s Chloe Hooper gives us an erotic psychological thriller […]

Grown-ups can play piano, too

There are few things that say home like the sound of a kid playing piano. The sound of stilted scales drifting through open windows and into the spring or summer air, the floating notes representing what the kid wished her spirit could do while she had to stay inside, practicing. I didn’t understand that feeling, […]

So long pennies; my two cents’ worth

So long, penny. Here in Canada, the government has decided to put you out of production – you cost 1.6 cents to make and so you just don’t make economic sense. As of Feb. 4, 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint has stopped making you. Even though you clog up my purse, I’ll miss you. You […]

Driving pet peeves – they’re universal

There was an 80-car pile-up on Highway 401 just outside Toronto on Friday. It appears that lake effect snow squalls had a big part to play in the crash but, as one police constable told the Toronto Star, it wasn’t just the snow: “It’s obviously drivers’ reactions in weather conditions of that nature that led […]

Drinking and driving in County Kerry

Next time you go to County Kerry there may be more drunk drivers on the road. Kerry County Council has passed a motion to let some rural denizens drink even though they’re legally drunk – all in the name of fighting loneliness on the isolated windswept peninsulas. Here’s a story we worked on today about […]

When a wooden spoon is a threat

When I was a kid I would sometimes wonder, in certain situations, why grown-ups didn’t do something. Now I’m asking myself, should I do something. My daughter’s friend, S., had a sleepover with us last night. We went to a movie, did a little bit of shopping, made breakfast together this morning – simply had […]

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