Male readers

- April 18th, 2014

A British survey by OnePoll on men’s reading habits discovered that 63 per cent of men admit they don’t read as often as they think they should. And almost 30 per cent of men said they hadn’t picked up a book since being forced to do so at school. Men are also more likely to watch the move than read the book.

Wow, I don’t know if a similar poll would produce the same results in North America.

At the moment, I’m in the process of shopping for a condo. We have several deal breakers. One of them is that there has to be some wall space for bookshelves. We refuse to even give up one book. If we have to bury them in a cramped second bedroom, fine. If they make a dining room smaller, fine. If we have to get rid of another piece of furniture, we’ll do it.

So, getting back to the survey, the reason most men say they don’t read is that they don’t have the time while others said they found it difficult or didn’t enjoy it.

I can understand people not enjoying the activity. Some people like skydiving, some people like to ride motorbikes, others like to jog, and so on. We all have more than one activity that we like to do, but I certainly don’t look down on anyone who simply doesn’t like it as a way to pass the time.

What’s also interesting is that there seems to be no shortage of books for men. Personally, I can pretty much read anything. But I know that there are books marketed at a female audience and there are books that are marketed at a male audience. And there’s no shortage for either group.

I wonder if more men would read a book if they were doing it on an e-reader.

Irvine Welsh

- April 17th, 2014

Irvine Welsh is a bit warped. I mean that in a good way. He has a new novel coming out next month and I have an advanced reading copy. Sex Lives Of Siamese Twins is the title and I so far love one of the main characters, Lucy. I’m saving most of my thoughts for the review in a few weeks, but here’s what you need to know: Lucy is a personal trainer who makes Jillian and Bob from Biggest Loser look like meek and mild librarians. She becomes a bit of a celebrity after she disarms a gunman chasing two men. The video goes viral, as they say, after a fat and out-of-shape needy artist captures the takedown on her cellphone. Lucy takes her on as a client and that’s when things start to get interesting.

Would I want to meet a real-life Lucy? Well, I wouldn’t want to be attacked by the Lucy in this novel. But sure, I’d love to meet her.

Incredibly, this is my first Welsh novel. We have quite a few of them at home and my wife loves them. I think I’ve been missing something.

New Ottawa author

- April 14th, 2014

Genevieve Julien has published her first novel. It’s called Bow to Me and it’s a coming-of-age-story in which Julien draws on some of her own experiences. I did a Q & A with her by e-mail earlier this year. Here’s a sample of the interview. I’ll provide a link to the full story in a day.

Q. What inspired you to write the novel?

A. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, actually. I was laying in bed, reading the last page of Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger (author of The Devil Wears Prada), when the idea just hit me. I should write a romance novel — which was completely out of my comfort zone as I’ve always preferred writing sci-fi horror, and supernatural fiction. The story grew to incorporate my experience with addicts and my adaptation to being a lesbian.

Writer’s Festival

- April 10th, 2014

Patricia Pearon, an award-winning journalist and author is coming to Ottawa for the Writer’s Festival. She’s going to be in Ottawa on April 26.

Here are some details about her latest book courtesy of her publicity folks.

Opening Heaven’s Door is a challenging exploration of the extraordinary experiences that many people are exposed to in life, in grief, and in near death but rarely talk about.

Sparked by events in her own family, Pearson launched into an exhaustive scientific research about dying, grief, and spiritual connectivity. She read countless historical accounts, memoirs, deathbed surveys, and pages of scientific research. She spoke to people near death, palliative care staff, scientists and people who have approached the boundary between life and death. She also explored the phenomenon of nearing-death awareness and interviewed emergency care workers and other people emerged in the daily care of the dying.

Pearson discovered people lack a common language to talk about the familiar experiences that surround death and dying. In the modern Western world it is increasingly common for people to die under medical watch or hospice care, meaning the average person has been separated from the intimate experience of death. Her book affirms that not everything about the human condition can be explained or rationalized and courageously argues that people are, in fact, diminished when they disavow the spiritual dimension of our lives.

30,000 books

- April 10th, 2014


This is not your average, run-of-the-mill, book sale. Students, staff, and community volunteers have donated 30,000 books for the Annual First Avenue Public School – Used Book Sale. That represents almost 62 books per student at the senior kindergarten to grade six school.

School Principal, Jennifer Nutt, says the credit for this amazing event goes directly to school council and their many volunteers who spend countless hours collecting, organizing, and merchandising the books – she says the sale has become a “save the date” event for the greater school community.

Ms. Nutt says, “The Glebe neighbourhood is a community that has a keen interest in the children’s education supporting the school’s holistic focus. At any time during the day a number of parents can be seen at the school helping out in a variety of ways. Our School Council helps us to maximize our use of parent volunteers in the classroom, the office, and the library.”

Public Sale
Thursday, April 10 – 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday, April 11 – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, April 12 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 13 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The community book sale is one of First Avenue Public School’s primary fundraisers. Proceeds help pay for cultural events, schoolyard renovations, additional teaching materials and student activities.