Montreal and Quebec City (137)

This is a travel guide to Montreal and Quebec City. I always want to know more about Montreal and Quebec City.

Despite being born in Montreal, I must say that I still don’t know even half of how great this city is. And Quebec City is a place onto itself. One can tour the city for weeks and still find more to enjoy and celebrate.

Toronto may be Canada’s economic capital, but Montreal remains the country’s cultural juggernaut. The city is the standard bearer of an entire linguistic-cultural identity, Francophone Canada lives for public celebration of the arts. There are some 250 theatre and dance companies, more than 90 festivals and a fascinating medley of neighborhoods where artists, writers and musicians have helped cement the city’s reputation as a great arts center.

Montreal is also the cuisine capital of Canada. They have more exciting food scenes in North America. Montreal brims with temples dedicated to Kamouraska lamb, Arctic char, and, of course, poutine.

There are also irresistible patisseries, English pubs, 80-polus-year-old Jewish delis and magnificent food markets. It is a wonderful treasure throve of culture and food.

The city’s design looks like Europe. It is quaint with restaurants where you can food anywhere you go. The people are friendly and helpful. They treat you like their own, even if you’re a tourist.

So, as soon as the pandemic is over, or at least under control, I will go back to Montreal. I will definitely love to visit all of the places discussed in this book.


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Best Canadian Essays 2019 by Emily Donaldson (136)

This is a great book of Canadian essays.  I love nonfiction essays. They are factual and they have a cleaner finish than fiction, in my opinion.

And this volume contains some of the best Canadian essay writers such as Ali Blythe, Larissa Diakiw, Sue Goyette, Pasha Malla, Noor Naga, Authony Oliveria, Mirelle Silcoff, and much more.

The twenty essays in this volume take stands and chances. They narrate, examine and innovate. They find the techniques of poetry and fiction their own expression of truth, one that collectively “colours the world, probes its contours, and isn’t afraid to fall outside them as it does”.

The essays written in this volume have all the pieces for great literature. They highlight the best in Canada, and I am so proud that we have so many great writers!


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The Indispensable Survival Guide to Ontario’s Long-Term Care System by Karen Cumming and Patricia Milne (135)

This book is about our long-term care system in Ontario. Even before this Covid-19 Pandemic, manoeuvering around long term care has been, and is, daunting.

This book is for anyone who is about to journey through long-term care, either themselves or one of their loved ones will.

The long-term care system can be scary. Unless you work in healthcare or know someone who does, you’ve probably never had much to do with it before. But if we live long enough, we will all have to journey through it, either directly or indirectly.

One day, you may wake up and realize that your aging mother or father can no longer live in their own home alone. Maybe they were staying in an assisted living facility and suddenly couldn’t walk anymore. Or perhaps your parent kept falling. Maybe your parent or relative had a stroke or heart attack.  All of these instances will make you look very carefully at the circumstances and to evaluate long-term care and how your parent will fit in.

The good news is that you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of baby boomers will have to go into some sort of long-term care . There were more than 2.4 million people aged 65 and over as of 2019.  I’m sure there are a lot more in 2020. That’s a LOT of seniors!

People in long-term care speak a mysterious language. Long-term care can become a roller coaster ride for your family. I know it was when I had my mother-in-law in an institution about give years ago. It was a really humiliating time for all of us. My mother-in-law hated the institutional setting at first. But in about a year she did come around, and even start to enjoy it. But it wasn’t easy at first.

This book will help the reader navigate long-term care in Ontario. It is a care that is under fire right now because of the incidence of neglect of elders and sub-par living conditions, which is a real shame given that they are all paying many thousands of dollars per month for such care.

This was an eye-opening book. I picked it up on the new book shelf of my local library. I have had a few months to read it, and I needed it not because of the length of the book but because of how hard it was to read about something that isn’t supposed to be as complex as long-term care.

Long-term care is an emotional quagmire of a topic. The authors do a splendid job discussing all the important topics. I wish I had this book before I had to deal with long-term care in Ontario.

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Selected Poems 2000-2020 by Andreas Gripp (134)

I’ve been trying to read some poetry lately. And before the pandemic hit, I went to my local library and saw this book in the new book section. I immediately was drawn to it.

As I leafed through this book and realized that the author was from Stratford, Ontario, my interest in the book grew even deeper.

Andreas Gripp has been writing poetry for a long time–at least twenty years. So, this year, she decided to publish a volume of her poetry.

She has published 25 books and 17 chapter books. And now this book, represents some of her best poetic creations. They are so deep and beautiful, just like the white dove on the cover of the book.

All of her works, especially this one, represent her poetic vision in a literary endeavour that has gone on for three decades.

At this juncture in her life, she wants to explore other muses that are there in her personal universe. And I am sure whichever one she picks up, it will be very monumental and she will grace the literary world with more of her great words that are poetic regardless what type of writing she does.

Thank you Andreas Gripp for such a GREAT book!  I look forward to reading your other books. In the meantime, I will try and read more of your books. You have certainly tweaked my attention fully and you have me spellbound!


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Leonard Cohen: The Flame Poems and Selections From Notebooks (133)

This book is a stunning collection of Leonard Cohen’s last poems. They were selected and ordered by the author in his final mouths of life.

Featuring lyrics, prose pieces, and illustrations, the book also contains an extensive selection from Cohen’s notebooks, which he kept in poetic form throughout his life.

In this book, he offers an unprecedentedly intimate look inside the mind of a singular artist and thinker. He really is like no other I have ever read or listened to. He used to be my elixir when I was at low points in my life.

He certainly knew heartbreak and he writes as if he is so immersed in life that it is burgeoning from him.

This book is an enormously powerful final chapter in Cohen’s storied literary career. this book showcases the full range of Leonard Cohen’s lyricism, from the exquisitely transcendent to the darkly funny.

I will treasure this volume of Cohen’s work for a long time. I actually took a copy of the book from my local library but have since purchased it. My husband is also a Cohen fan, going to many of his concerts in London.

I wasn’t ever lucky enough to attend one of his concerts. But I have spent many an hour listening to Cohen’s records. He is truly a musical legend in my mind.

A GREAT final book before he left this world with a void that is hard to quench. Today’s musicians are very different indeed.


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Book Review: Something About Sammy

Something About Sammy
By Blaine Sims

This is a wonderful story that has breath and depth. It shows the longing of love in all its beauty. It can deeply affect a person to the core and change one’s life like nothing else can. Love can alter us and our life to the point that we will never be the same. Love is an emotion that no one should live without because it gives our lives meaning, yet it is the hardest to live with when one is overwhelmed by it.

Andrei is a straight man who moves into a new community in Blue Springs. He has experienced many ups and downs in life. But he was ready to make a new life for himself. He moved into an apartment, bought a new car, and bought new furniture. He also updated his resume so that he could find a suitable job. He seemed like a regular guy doing regular things until he met Sammy, a millennial Gay man.

Andrei’s whole world turned upside down. It seemed at first like a relationship that would never work. Andrei was decades younger than Sammy. They seemed to have little in common and didn’t have much to talk about. But when they were together, it seemed like the whole world stood still.

What shocked Andrei was that he become completely consumed by this young man. It was an obsession like no other he ever experienced. Meanwhile, Andrei must deal with a lot of confusing emotions in his life which shakes him to the core. For a while, he has no idea what is happening to him. Andrei is acting unpredictably and doing things that he never did.

This is a story like no other I ever read. It made me wonder how I’d feel if I were swept off my feet like Andrei was. Can love really conquer all in this kind of all-encompassing way?

I found myself reflecting on the nature of love and how all encompassing it really is. There is so much to reflect on and many realizations to be had as we read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to read Sims’ next book.

Irene S. Roth

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My Kind of Guy by Paddy Bostock

This is a wonderful contemporary comedy with a twist of romance and fantasy. I love the story on so many levels. It is also poignant in places as it sadly describes the political realm of the United States and its disastrous leadership now.

Not too many people are happy with the way the US is being led and how democratic systems that were prized and cherished are now under attack. It can be hard to listen to a leader who has so much that is opposed to some of the leading historical principles that have been the foundational blocks of democracy.

One of the most wonderful aspects of this story is that Paddy Bostock provides a humorous rendition of this story line about contemporary political strife. I’m sure many readers will appreciate this.

This story is about Lizzie Leah who wants to locate her lost lover, Leo McGuire. So, she enlists Mervyn Vincent, an ex-spy to look for him. However, in the process, Mervyn discovers that Leo is in an international right-wing cartel. As he is unravelling the identity of this man, including the fact that Leon Devine is his real name, he discovers that there is a lot more to this man than initially expected. He decides to get his sister Taya on board so that they can reform this man and channel his abilities in more commendable ways.

This is a story that will make the reader reflect on the US political system from an international standpoint. It is a book that lightens up the terrible plight in the United States. And given how US politics is going right now, this is a very timely story.

Thank you, Paddy for another great book. I can’t wait to read your next book.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed By: Irene S. Roth

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