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Reviews Written by
Bernie Koenig (London, Ontario Canada)
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The Radleys
The Radleys
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Happy Family, Jan. 27 2014
This review is from: The Radleys (Kindle Edition)
The Radleys are a normal middle class English small town family, except for one thing. They are vampires. Peter is a small town doctor, who apparently was born a vampire, and Helen, his wife, was turned. They are in denial and have not told their children, which causes some problems as son Rowan can't sleep and has rashes, while daughter Clara is trying to be a vegan and is constantly getting sick.

And we also get excerpts from The Abstainer's Handbook.

One night at a party one of the boys goes after Clara, and in self defense bites him. For the first time she tastes blood, and it overwhelms her, resulting in her killing the boy. Enter Will, a non repentant killing vampire, who happens to be Peter's brother. Also enter Chief Inspector Allison Glinney, of the Unnamed Predator Unit, which keeps tabs on the vampire scene, but who are also after Will. Also thrown into the mix is a neighbor of the Radleys whose wife had been killed by Will some years ago. So he knows what they are.

This book is really a nice story about a good family who happen to be vampires. In many ways it is also a nice romance, where Peter and Helen rekindle their love, where Rowan finds love and where Clara comes to accept who she is.

Mingus Speaks
Mingus Speaks
by John F. Goodman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.16
36 used & new from CDN$ 23.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Mingus: The Man and His Music, Jan. 27 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mingus Speaks (Hardcover)
I usually hate biographies: I don't want to find out that someone whose work I love is an idiot, or worse. But Mingus plays a very special role in my life. It was after seeing him in 1960 I decided to go into music. Even though I am a drummer, Mingus is one of my influences, especially in terms of my conception of rhythm.

I have read everything out on him, as well as owning everything he ever did. So when this new book came out, I had to get it.

To an old Mingus follower like me there isn't a whole lot that is new. But here we get to hear it all in his inimitable voice, transcribed from interviews with someone he knew and trusted.

The book is divide by subject matter: The Avant-garde, Studying and teaching, Recording from the period, Authenticity, reminiscing about other musicians, the music business,, women, and so on.

Goodman does a great job of getting Mingus to speak, and Mingus obviously felt comfortable speaking to Goodman.

If you are at all interested in Mingus' music, and don't know much else about him, this book is a great introduction. WE see how his music is an extension of himself.

In classical music we separate the roles of composer, performer and conductor. But we don't do that as much in jazz, especially with someone like Mingus who composed in ways that reflected his playing, or how his playing reflected how he composed. And both get reflected in how was a bandleader.

In his own words, we hear his thoughts on music, on the music business, and on the people around him.

A must for all Mingus fans, AND for people interested in these general issues.

Cemetery Girl: Book One: The Pretenders
Cemetery Girl: Book One: The Pretenders
by Charlaine Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.52
37 used & new from CDN$ 10.92

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning, Jan. 21 2014
I love graphic novels and looked forward to this one. (I can't understand how one reviewer didn't realize it was a graphic novel.)

Harris and Golden create a great character in Calexa. Many questions remain unanswered here but I am sure they will all be answered by the end of the trilogy.

Even knowing it is a projected trilogy, I couldn't wait, and dove right in. With graphic novels I like to go through them three times. First I read the words to get the story line. Then I just look at the graphics and see how they convey the story, and them I put them together. It is, after all, a graphic novel.

WE are at the outset presented with a mystery. Calexa gets dropped into a cemetery, presumably the person either thought she was already dead, or would die soon from whatever wounds were inflicted on her. But she survives, without any memory and lives in the cemetery. I like the way Harris and Golden introduce supporting characters like Mr. Kelner and Lucinda.

I also like how finds herself indecisive when dealing with what she sees, due to her own situation.

I anxiously await the next installment.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
by Karen Russell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.14
37 used & new from CDN$ 2.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Imagination, Jan. 12 2014
I got this book thinking it would be a novel about vampires. But I quickly discovered that, while then title story is about a vampire, in a sense, the book is something else.

What we have here an incredible range of writing, coupled with a great imagination. WE meet this vampire who doesn't really know what it means to be a vampire, we meet people who are given a potion so they produce silk, we get invited to watch whales eat krill described as a sporting event, and so on.

I don't want to get into describing each story---some of the comments have already done that-- but just want to emphasize the great imagination and great writing.

Usually I am not a great fan of short stories---I read too many at one one time and then forget them. But these stories are so distinctive, they will all stay with me.

Born Weird
Born Weird
by Andrew Kaufman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.57
8 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not that Weird, Jan. 12 2014
This review is from: Born Weird (Paperback)
This is an amusing book, but it is no where as weird, or funny, as I hoped it would be.

We have five siblings, each with a particular attribute which was given to them by their mother. Mother, known as the shark, gave them these attributes hoping they would be helpful, but they turned out to be a curse.

Mother calls all siblings to her deathbed so she can eliminate these curses.

The book is about the siblings all coming together to do this. It is a bit of a romp, with them running allover, Canada and a fictional country of Upliffta.

while I could visualize a lot of what was going on--and I kept thinking this would make a better madcap film than a book--I also got confused with some of the ways in which Kaufman went back and forth with time.

Amusing, but not the hilarious romp I was expecting.

Calling Mr. King
Calling Mr. King
by Ronald De Feo
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.37
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Mr King Rules, Jan. 5 2014
This review is from: Calling Mr. King (Paperback)
This is a very clever, very funny, very dark book about a hitman who wants to change his life.

We learn about his childhood in upper New York State and how he got into the business and we learn a bit about his most recent jobs. We see that he is losing his appetite for the work, but he really doesn't understand why.

As a result of a job he did the Derbyshire he develops an interest in Georgian architecture and realizes he lives near a whole bunch of Georgian buildings.

Because of a screw up he is given a holiday sent to New York, where he buys all kinds of books on Georgian architecture and even goes to the Frick Museum to see a show on the British painter Constable. he gets to visit his hometown and starts to reminisce about his early life and how he got where he is. He is then sent to Barcelona for a job. In Barcelona he has time so he learns about Spanish architecture and starts to seriously tour the city. On the day of the job he doesn't feel well, delays going, and then misses the job.

He decides to stay in Barcelona, the last place the Firm as he calls it, would think of looking for him.

I don't want to give anything away, but the book ends perfectly.

A really enjoyable book, very well written.

Burn Notice Season 7
Burn Notice Season 7
DVD ~ Jeffrey Donovan
Price: CDN$ 35.00
23 used & new from CDN$ 17.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Suspense, Dec 29 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Burn Notice Season 7 (DVD)
We here at home have watched the whole series. Season 1 was okay so we thought we would give season 2 a shot, and then season 3, etc. We found that each season got better: The scripts got tighter and there was great character development. The addition of Jesse was great.

But season 7 goes in a whole new direction where Michael is under cover trying to get into a terrorist organization.

As an aside, it is interesting who defines what terrorism is, and in this season we had fun with that question.

Michael gets involved, and strange things happen. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that Michael really loses his sense of who he is, which creates some interesting problems. We watched the last 3 episodes on the edge of our seats. Phenomenal tension, great acting and excellent script writing and directing.

If you have enjoyed any of the earlier seasons, watch them all and get ready for the roller coaster of this season.

Mozart Album
Mozart Album
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 32.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 3.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Versions of the Greats, Dec 29 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mozart Album (Audio CD)
I love different versions of music. here the Canadian Brass play brass arrangements of various Mozart pieces written for orchestra and or for voice and orchestra.

I do a radio show where I play mostly classical music and I love to play original versions and then other versions of pieces, such as these arrangements.

This is a fun record, and should be enjoyed by all Mozart lovers.

Orphan Black: Season One [Import]
Orphan Black: Season One [Import]
6 used & new from CDN$ 24.49

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, Dec 29 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This show is incredible. The acting of Tatiana Maslany is absolutely incredible, playing all the versions of the clone. She brings out individual characteristics of each.

The show is incredibly tense and we found we could only watch one episode at a time. The tension in how the plot developed as well as the tension between the characters is incredible.

The plot moves along as the various clones discover each other, and discover things about how they came to be.

Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell is excellent as a sympathetic but very confused person. And Jordan Gavaris as felix is also excellent.

Indeed, this is as close to a perfect series as there can be. Excellent writing, acting, and directing.

Season one ends with enough to keep us guessing and to wait for season two.

Professions of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature
Professions of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature
by George Haggerty
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 17.35

5.0 out of 5 stars How To Teach These Issues, Dec 29 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an excellent, though, perhaps, somewhat dated book on how to present lesbian and gay issues in the classroom.
Some of the issues dealt with simply deal with definitions of what properly constitutes gay and lesbian literature. A lesbian novel that follows the traditional heterosexual model may not be deemed lesbian because of its structure, while novels that imply lesbianism might be truly revolutionary.

Other issues involve how to present these issues to straight classes, how to, or not to, out one's own sexuality, and how literature can express these issues.

I taught philosophy, not literature, so did not have many of these issues to contend with, but I wish I had read this book before I wrote my own. I would have approached some of the issues differently.

I bought this book since I had just read Ms. Zimmerman's full length work on lesbian literature (reviewed here)and found this to be an excellent companion.

Anyone teaching in these areas will find this book helpful.

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