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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dahanu Road

Prepare for your senses to be overwhelmed. Anosh Irani's storytelling powers are many, and he brings them to bear in this tragic love story.
The Red Garden

For as long as I can remember, I've loved a good bear story. And, for almost as long, the writing of Alice Hoffman. In The Red Garden, Hoffman weaves generations of Blackwellians with the bears on the outskirts of their lives. A totem animal, a creature of myth and reality, the bear shadows the stories of Hoffman's human characters, and creates an unbroken thread down through the centuries of the town of Blackwell, Massachusetts—that twins to the ties of love, courage and family connecting her characters.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"Wait for Me!"

There is a bittersweet and precious perspective that comes from being by far the youngest sibling in an extraordinary family. In the case of the Mitfords, that place belongs to Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire and she has done it justice in her memoirs "Wait for Me!".

At 91, the Duchess is today the last surviving member of "all those Mitford brains" (back-handed by the "brittle" Wallis Simpson in referring once to Deborah and her sisters). "Wait for Me!" is a captivating credit to the Duchess' share of "those brains" and the many extraordinary people who have been part of her remarkable life. Ticklish nicknames pepper the pages: "Muv", "Farve", "Decca", "Weenie", "Kick"... are among those fondly remembered by the Duchess, who herself was known to her family as "Debo", "Stubbo", and "Stublow" since the days when her chubby little legs could not keep up with her much older siblings.

Another devotion described by the Duchess is Chatsworth, the Devonshire's ancestral home in Derbyshire. "'See Chatsworth before you die'"-- is the stand-out praise for the property from the Sun newspaper quoted by the Duchess near the end of "Wait for Me."

Well then, add it to the list!

Friday, August 05, 2011

I have never heard a more moving tribute to the great life experience that is the elementary school track meet, than the one by Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting. You can listen to it now, as read by MacLeod, on the July 8th, 2011 podcast edition of "Ideas" titled "Footprints" rebroadcast in July as a segment of CBC Radio's "Listener's Choice". Find it at and be prepared to be uplifted.