Elizabeth May Event! June 2nd, Signing “Losing Confidence”

losingconfidence.jpgTuesday evening on the 2nd of June Elizabeth May will be at Books on Beechwood from 6 to 8pm, to sign her latest book; “Losing Confidence: Power, Politics, and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy”.

A ringing manifesto for change from Canada’s Green Party leader and Activist.

We Canadians are waking up from our long political slumber to realize that there will not be change unless we insist upon it. We have a presidential-style prime minister without the checks and balances of either the US or the Canadian systems. Attack ads run constantly, backbenchers and cabinet ministers alike are muzzled, committees are deadlocked, and civility has disappeared from the House of Commons. In Losing Confidence, Elizabeth May outlines these and other problems of our political system, and offers inspiring solutions to the dilemmas we face.

“We no longer behead people in Canada, but Stephen Harper’s coup d’état cannot be allowed to stand, not least because of the precedent. Any future government can now slip the leash of democracy in the same way. This is how constitutions fail.” – Ronald Wright

globalwarmingfordummies.jpgElizabeth will also be signing copies of her recent book, “Global Warming for Dummies”.

A hotly debated topic in the political arena and splashed across the media almost 24/7, global warming has become the issue of the moment. Whatever one’s views on its cause, there is no denying that the earth’s climate is changing, and people everywhere are worried. Global Warming For Dummies sorts out fact from fiction, explaining the science behind climate change and examining the possible long-term effects of a warmer planet. This no-nonsense yet friendly guide helps you explore solutions to this challenging problem, from what governments and industry can do to what you can do at home and how to get involved.

Elizabeth May is an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer. She is the author of seven books and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of Canada medal. Since her 2006 election as leader of the Green Party of Canada, she has led the party to an unprecedented level of support among Canadians. May and her daughter, Victoria Cate, divide their time between Ottawa and New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

Review of Donna Leon’s “About Face”

aboutface.jpg Donna Leon is a generous writer. Anyone who has read any of her seventeen mystery novels to date will know that she gives not one story but three.

There is the central plot of crime and intrigue that holds the novel together. But always running alongside this is the enchanting story of the leading detective’s family life. And behind these themes is the ever-haunting presence of the city of Venice itself. Leon has lived there for over 25 years and writes about the beauty, the danger and corruption lurking in the exquisite palazzos, the sense of style, love of food and overall Venetian glamour that really takes you down the canals in the gondolas with her leading characters.

“About Face” has its own story of murder, which comes very close to the family of Guido Brunetti, the detective in charge. It is at a dinner party at the house of his father-in-law, Count Falier, that he meets a woman who turns out to be involved in his investigation into a suspicious death.

The violence is dangerous but does not overcloud an excellent detective story. Donna Leon has done it again; it’s a fine read.

Review by Anne McDougall

A review of Mavis Gallant’s “Going Ashore”

Mavis Gallant Going Ashore Mavis Gallant is our best-known expatriate writer. She has won all the top prizes Canada has to offer, including Companion to the Order of Canada, and is also recognized internationally as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

She was born in Montreal in l922, and became a leading journalist in that city. Divorced, she left in l950 to live in Paris and write short stories. Her first pieces were accepted by The New Yorker, and she has been writing them ever since – enough, Robertson Davies once surmised, to add up to twenty novels.

She herself has travelled a lot between Quebec, New England, France and Germany and writes sensitively about all these cultures, giving vivid pictures of the spots she features. Often the characters seem a bit lonely for whatever they crave for home. There is a bitter after-taste in stories like “The Rejection” and “Sunday Afternoon”. But always a rollicking movement of life pressing on and what Alberto Manguel calls in his introduction, “the sense of things”.

With the world getting smaller every day, and globalisation all around us, Mavis Gallant feels ahead of her time in what her probing, compassionate stories are trying to tell us.

Review by Anne McDougall