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centre of the universe: Haze: a blog tour

I know you remember when I did the blog tour for Aussie author Paula Weston’s Shadows. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to read the next book in the series. Well. To be honest, I’ve just been waiting and waiting. I mean it SEEMS like a super long time, but really, it’s only been about a year. A … Continue reading →

Things Are Good: The 7 Common Points in Self-Help Books

“There’s always room for one more self-help book” said every publisher ever. On the other hand, there are too many books and not enough time to read them all (especially if you read self-help books). Having never read one, I was interested in what all the fuss is about then I saw Forbes’ article on the core tenets of the genre.

Save yourself some time and check out this short list of seven things to think about.

7. Human needs: Accept your inherent irrationality and learn to fight it.

Human beings are neither robots nor computers – and as it (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

I love Nicholas Carr’s book. There are lots of studies and science mixed with many stories and asides and discussions of philosophers and other great thinkers. It reminded me of reading a Bill Bryson book. You get the facts painlessly. And it presents a strong argument for keeping kids (and everyone) off-line when they work, but I’m still unlikely to  convince them to actually turn off facebook.  Reading the bare bones here doesn’t do it justice, but here’s what I don’t want to forget about my memory:

The Medium is the Message

He quotes McLuhan from 1964 – “The electric (Read more…)

centre of the universe: A Gift of the Prairie

THE BOOK THAT MY POEMS ARE IN IS HERE! THE BOOK THAT MY POEMS ARE IN IS HERE!! Extra points if you can name the reference there. It’s called A Gift of the Prairie and it is published by the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre. This was a project co-ordinated (and edited) by the inimitable Bernadette Wagner. The book features … Continue reading →

A Puff of Absurdity: Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century

I feel like I don’t have to read this one with all the press it’s getting. Maybe next summer.  This is the gist I’ve gotten so far:

 Michael Rozworski wrote a piece about it recently. In brief: the basic thesis of the book is that capitalism has a tendency towards the concentration of wealth in few hands.  And there’s a discrimination inherent in the system that ensures whites are better able to make it at least into the middle.

In Canada right now, our distribution looks like this: * the top 10% owns 58.2% of the wealth, up (Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Summer Political Reading List #nlpoli

If you are looking for some political reading over the summer, here are a few books worth checking out.

Tragedy in the Commons by Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan. Here’s the whole Random House blurb: 

In Tragedy in the Commons, Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan, founders of the non-partisan think tank Samara, draw on an astonishing eighty exit interviews with former Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum to unearth surprising observations about the practice of politics in Canada.

Though Canada is at the top of international rankings of democracies, Canadians themselves increasingly don’t see politics as a way to solve society’s problems. Small wonder. In the news, they see grandstanding in the House of Commons and MPs pursuing agendas that don’t always make sense to the people who elected them.

(Read more…)

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Summer Reading Sale!

If you prefer your books in dead tree format, do I have a deal for you. Three of my books are available for 25% off! Get all the deets here. Alltop was originally published in parchment.

Christy's Houseful of Chaos » politics: A is for Activist

I found a neat book for children of activists! It is called A is for Activist and it is by Innosanto Nagara. While the book is a baby board book it held more interest for my six year old than my three year old, as he could relate to the abundance of poster-carrying protesters. Each letter is tied in with at least one activist-related word, including those normally hard to use letters: V is for Vox Populi, the voice of the people, X is for Malcolm X and Z is for Zapatistas.

There’s lots of room for discussion of concepts (Read more…)

Christy's Houseful of Chaos » politics: “If you Give a Gay Mouse a Cookie” by Art for a Democractic Society

I bought the book “If you Give a Gay Mouse a Cookie” by Art for a Democratic Society because a facebook friend recommended it, and I have to admit, I’m disappointed. I recognize the spirit of the book. I recognize that they are trying to rebut the crazy “gay marriage will lead to bestiality and people forcing you to marry them” nonsense by saying no, gay marriage will lead to good things, and as expected they followed the pattern established by Laura Numeroff where one (good) thing leads to another.

What I didn’t expect was that the book would erase (Read more…)

centre of the universe: Competition?

Hi cenobyte, How have you been? I understand you only wanted to communicate to your previous consultant but I am emailing you now check on the update for your book. We are celebrating our 17th anniversary this month and we’re giving out almost more than 50% discount. I am not sure if you are particular […]

centre of the universe: Cherie from the vanity press called today

I received correspondence today from the vanity press that keeps contacting me. You remember this from such escapades as Nathan’s going to publish my manifesto and Suggestions for Nathan regarding my manifesto and A Mouthful of Marbles and Nathan’s gone missing. A woman called “Cherie [REDACTED] a Publishing Consultant from [REDACTED]” contacted me today. Below is my […]

centre of the universe: NATHAN, WHERE ARE YOU?

In January, I was contacted by Ex Libris, a vanity press that uses extremely aggressive marketing techniques to bilk writers out of their hard-earned income. I have asked repeatedly to be taken off of their contact lists, to no avial. When they contacted me in January 2014, I began a lengthy correspondence with my contact […]

A Puff of Absurdity: On The Sixth Extinction

Look inside!

We’re in the midst of a mass extinction, but Elizabeth Kolbert is actually somewhat hopeful about it all.  We are at a truly extraordinary moment of history in which we are cognizant of our own demise (except for those in denial) and, therefore, able to affect how it turns out if we can just get our act together!

This book has been on the NY Best Sellers list for four weeks for good reason.  It’s full of scientific data, but it’s written conversationally.  We get to know all the people involved in the research.  They’re all pivotal to (Read more…)

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: An Early Morning TV Interview About My Book

Yesterday morning, I got up really early and travelled to the studios of CanadaAM in Toronto.  Here’s the interview about the new paperback edition of my book, “The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I’ve Learned from a Life of Caregiving” (House of Anansi Press, 2014).  Available everywhere in Canada now and for pre-order online in the USA.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Marcus Aurelius

I continue to be profoundly moved by the wisdom of the classical authors. It’s often hard to accept that some of them were writing two or more millennia ago: many seem so contemporary they could have been written this century. Of late – within the past year or so – I’ve been reading Lucretius, Aristotle, […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Beyond The Book Lecture: John Gormley – #UofR 2014

I’ve been to a lot of University of Regina lectures over the years. None by a right wing radio commentator, until tonight, and it didn’t turn out how I expected. I know there are people who reeeally don’t like John Gormley and his radio show. I used to listen to it frequently while I worked in a job that had me in a car most of the day, traveling the province’s east side. I’ve not really tuned in too much the past 6 years, while I work meters from where his talk was given Tuesday night. It’s not easy to (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Machiavelli and the Elizabethans

In 1555, Bishop Stephen Gardiner wrote a treatise to King Phillip II of Spain, in which he borrowed (aka plagiarized) extensively from Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Discourses. Gardiner did not credit Machiavelli or attribute any of his quotes, but rather copied some of Machiavelli’s content verbatim or very closely. This was less than two […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What’s in a missing word?

There’s a line in one of Horace’s epistles that really caught my eye. In Latin it reads: Utque sacerdotis fugitiuus liba recuso, pane egeo iam mellitis potiore placentis Horace: Epistles, Book I, X No, I can’t translate it.* However, I was reading David Ferry’s 2001 translation and he renders it like this: I’m like that […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Reading: A Canadian tragedy… or not?

The map above might show the making of a serious tragedy for Western and especially Canadian culture. It indicates in colour which nations read the most. Yellow is the second lowest group. Canada is coloured yellow. In this survey, Canada ranks 10th – from the bottom! Twenty countries above us have populations which, on the […]

PostArctica: Bookish Butch

Proud to say my favorite former used bookstore owner has won best blog in the GLBT category! Way to go, Caroline!!

Canadian Blog Awards 2014 results

Bookish Butch

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lucretius and the Renaissance

It’s fairly clear, even after reading only a few verses, why Lucretius’s didactic poem, On the Nature of Things – De Rerum Natura – made such an impact on thought, philosophy, religion and science in the Renaissance. It must have been like a lighthouse in the dark night; a “Eureka” moment for many of the age’s thinkers. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Amo, Amas, Amat…. and what?

My well-thumbed copy of Eugene Ehrlich’s book, Amo, Amas, Amat and More, is dated 1985. It’s amusingly subtitled “How to Use Latin to Your Own Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others.” It’s still in print, it seems, or was as recently as 2006. I’ve read my copy on and off for the past 25-plus […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Raisin and sourdough this week

While I haven’t tried to make a sourdough raisin bread yet, that idea occurred to me while I was making my latest breads, this week. I’m sure it would be a good mix, but I’ll have to build my levain up again, since I used all my countertop levain in yesterday’s bread (about 350g). I […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Corn and other breads

The last loaf of January, 2014 was a machine-made corn bread, made using a recipe from Washburn’s & Butt’s 300 Best Canadian Bread Machine Recipes book that I’ve mentioned previously. It’s a good book for bread machine users. Unlike my previous efforts to tinker with bread recipes, I used the basic, printed 1.5-lb. recipe without […]

centre of the universe: Dear Nathan – IMPORTANT INFORMATION

I got a phone message from Nathan! (The ‘consultant’ Ex Libris has assigned to my book.) It was the same voice mail that he’s left the past three or four times he’s called. He’s very persistent. Unfortunately for Nathan, I don’t answer telephone calls for which I do not recognize the phone number. Fortunately for […]