Tessa and Scott by Steve Milton (85)

This is a book about Tessa and Scott’s journey from childhood to dream to gold. It is a tribute to this wonderful couple who brought back a gold medal and put a small town in southwestern Ontario on the map.

This book is a treasure-throve of pictures and tributes to this wonderful couple that has captured all of our attention for a very long time. Some of the photographs are priceless, each detailing how this wonderful couple believed in each other and knew that hard work would be what it took to be their absolute best.

We first met the couple in 1995. No one knew them in those days. But I somehow knew after watching a few of their performances that they would forever change skating.

Figure skating used to be quite impersonal back in the day. But Tessa and Scott brought such honesty and love onto the skating rink. They absolutely sizzled every time they skated together. After a while, I believed that they changed the nature of figure skating from simply cold dancing with double and triple axles to a figure dance from heart. They didn’t just skate.  They painted the ice with emotion and heart in such a way that I was always glued to the television when they came on.

This book is a wonderful tribute to them and to the skating world. I hope they changed the paradigm of how figure skaters skate together. After all, why skate when you can dance?

Posted in Dancing, Skating, Tessa and Scott | Leave a comment

Dissident Doctor by Michael C. Klein (84)

I have been reading a few medical books recently. I not only love the topic of these books, but I also learn so much about the state of our medical practise in Canada.

This book is written by a medical doctor. He provides an inside look at how family medicine needs to be more accountable to new mothers. It is a startling and raw book that is as honest as it is informative and eye-opening.

Medicare needs more support and family medicine deserves more respect. This book criticizes from inside the health sector by a highly acclaimed doctor from Montreal. He is a distinguished scientific researcher, veteran medical administrator, professor emeritus, recipient of the Order of Canada and lifelong gadfly.

In this book, Dr. Klein intersperses fascinating tales of individual cases with determinative elements of his personal life. As the son of American left-wing activists, he grew up singing folk songs about justice and racial equality. As a young doctor, his refusal to serve as a military physician during the Vietnam War prompted his immigration to Canada. His early experience working with midwives in Ethiopia were formative, leading him to question many standard but unjustified procedures in Western maternity care.

Dr. Klein determination in the face of great opposition and the strength of his convictions as well as his humility and sense of humour drive this powerful story of a life and career dedicated to his patients and his principles.

I loved this book from start to finish. I believe that of medical care would be far better off if it allowed for patient input. Many times patients are silenced because they don’t have the kind of knowledge and expertise that is necessary to give an informed consent in favour of a procedure. But how about our own intuitions of our bodies?  Does that always have to go by the wayside?  There is so much knowledge and wisdom that we have as patients that the physician cannot not unless he or she asks us.


Posted in Author from Vancouver, Family Medicine, Medical Ethics, Patient Care | Leave a comment

Conspiracy of Hope by Renee Pellerin (83)

This book is a must-read for all women over the age of 50 who are participating in mammograms. It is a book that will make you aware of all the dangers of conventional mammograms and how you can protect yourself against the dangers of radiation and other cancer causes.

According to Renee Pellerin, women are forced into breast screening through mammograms. Women should have a choice of whether or not to have a mammogram. But they are not. Neither are the risks disclosed of having a mammogram–and I have learned that there are many.

Women need to be given the incentive to take a more proactive approach to their healthy and overall well-being. Obviously, by having healthy eating habits and a healthy weight can help women be healthy and will reduce the risk of having breast cancer. However, so can reducing stress in their lives and living a more peaceful life.

Our world and culture makes this very hard. Being unconscious and simply following the health guidelines are very much the norm. However, when it comes to breast screening, this is hindering women more than helping them.

Pellerin suggested that perhaps we can have a kind of PAP test for breast health. This test wouldn’t be as invasive to women. Nor would the test be as dangerous to a woman’s health.

It’s hard to fathom that something that is supposed to help us prevent cancer, such as breast screening, can actually be unhealthy for women. But it is really true.  Maybe we could hope for a Pap test equivalent for breast screening. This just may be our only hope along with being proactive for our own health to ensure that we are healthy overall.

Posted in Author from Montreal, Breast screening and healthy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Can Your Conversations Change the World? By Erinne Paisley (82)

This is a book about how certain conversations can definitely change the world. The problem is that many of us are not eager to take on any conversations that are hard and that will stretch our usual points of view.

However, we live in a world where we really have to change our conversations. We have to be more inclusive and real, and honest above all else. But this is not an easy step for us, given our backgrounds that don’t honour inclusivity and openness.

Erinne Paisley takes a fresh look at how we can take steps to be far more inclusive than we are right now. She shows very poignantly that it does matter not only what we say but how we say it. Despite the fact that her topic is feminism and how to be an activist, we can all benefit from her insights about how to have open and frank conversations.

Our conversations and how we speak to others can definitely change the world. So, we have to take the time to engage in these different conversations in our lives open mindedly.

In the process, Paisley provides insights into the origins and honours of feminism and how it plays out on a global stage and what it means to be a feminist and activist today.

This is a GREAT book that I recommend to anyone in our Canadian Book Review Challenge.

Posted in Activism, Author from Toronto, Author Lives in Toronto, Feminism | Leave a comment

Motherhood by Sheila Hett (81)

And here I go into November!  I am a few days late starting to review.  But I have been reading a LOT of Canadian books.

I will start off November with a fiction book. It has nothing to do with the Canadian Book Review challenge.  But it was a GREAT story.  It was another book I found on the new fiction book shelf at my local library.

Motherhood is a wonderful story that treats the decisions of early adulthood with intelligence, wit and originality. Her previous book won international acclaim, and I can certainly see why after reading the book. But this book has just as much international claim for me, and it may be deemed award-winning in time.

Motherhood is a huge step in a woman’s life. It is a time of upheaval and uncertainty. And if a woman is a single parent, it is even a more important and poignant decision. One’s finances would figure into the definition of whether or not to have a child.

The narrator in this story struggles with her decision about whether to have a child. She wants to make a moral and meaningful choice for both herself and her baby. But there is always the question of whether we will make our decision in a timely fashion given the fact that our biological clock is always ticking in the background like a time bomb of sorts.

This book is a compellingly direct mode of communication that straddles the forms of the novel and essay. This book raises essential questions about motherhood, parenthood, and how to live.

Given my background in philosophy and questioning my decisions, I enjoyed this book. I found it to be a treasure-throve of frank and open questioning and gut-wrenching decisions.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read a book that is more than the usual idea that, yes, of course, you’re woman, so you should have kids.  Who said?!!


Posted in Author from Toronto, Essay, Fiction, Motherhood | Leave a comment

Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car by Lawrence D. Burns (80)

When I read Brave New World and 1984 when I was a teenager, I thought some of the changes that these authors prophesied what would happen to the world in the future. I remember being scared and frustrated at the ideas that these authors presented.

Fast forward many years later…I won’t mention how many, and I saw a book about a driverless car?!!!  This beyond any of the previous forecasts of what our future would hold.

As usual, I found this book on the new book shelf at my local library. I wrote my post-graduate thesis on Autonomy, so that title struck me deeply.  I knew I had to borrow it and read it.

What surprised me is that I loved the idea of driverless cars.  I also had no idea that there are approximately 1.25 million people killed in cars every year.  That is a staggering statistic. It would seem that we are distracted beyond anything we can fix.  People text, read, fall asleep at the wheel, and are just generally distracted. This kind of mindlessness has opened the door to a driverless car that doesn’t make errors to this kind of extent.

But to think that there won’t be any cars at all and that all driverless cars can be called when we need them much like an UBER cab idea.  You can download the app on your phone and bang!  You can get a cab and go wherever you want without any fuss or maps on how to get to a destination.  In my opinion, that takes away from the fun of a trip.  I love just taking a map and going to places unexpected.  Will that still be possible?

Whether we like it or not, we stand on the brink of technological revolution. This is happening, and we have been on the cusp on driverless cars for a while now. But they are just around the corner. So, we have to simply try to accept the idea of a driverless car and perhaps even welcome it.

If you are interested in the advent of driverless cars, this book is for you.  Take it out and read it, have an open mind, and see where it takes you. I believe driverless cars are inevitable now.

Posted in Author from Toronto, Driverless cars, Mindlessness, Technology | Leave a comment

The Next Ones by Michael Traikos (79)

I picked up this book on the new book section of my local library.  I have always been fascinated about who will be the next great hockey players. My husband is a hockey buff. So, now I can talk to him about these possible greats coming up the hockey pipe-line, so to speak.

The NHL is a young man’s league right now. Connor McDavid, a possible GREAT in the future, was twenty years old when he won the scoring title and MVP in 2017.

Auston Matthews was still a nineteen-year-old rookie when he tied for second in the Rocket Richard Trophy Racy with forth goals!  By the end of the NHL’s hundredth season, eight of the top thirty scorers–including four of the top ten–were twenty-three years old or younger.

Who are these fresh players, you ask?  Well, this new generation of hockey superstars grew up differently than their predecessors and they weren’t all skating on frozen ponds like Bobby Orr.

Connor McDavid strapped on roller blades and decked around paint cans in his parents two-car garage.

Auston Matthews learned to play hockey on a tiny three-on-three rink in the desert.

Patrik Laine shot pucks at pop cans, William Nylander’s Dad’s NHL buddies dropped him off at tryouts, and Johnny Gaudreau chased Skittles candies around the ice.

As you can see each person’s story is very different. What the players share are passion and perseverance–almost to the point of obsession. I just can’t believe how dedicated you would have to be to become great as these men did!

Michasel Traikos travelled around the world from Helsinki to Thunder Bay interviewing rising NHL stars and their families, teammates, coaches, scouts, and friends. The result is a first-hand look at how each young star became the player he is today–and what he might become in the future.

I loved this informative read, and will be passing it on to my husband who hasn’t seen this book yet….

Posted in NHL, Raising Stars | Leave a comment