#TBT Road Trip through Eastern Quebec, Fall 1987

These chilly and wet autumn days are reminding me of a solo road trip I made from NYC through New England and in to Quebec in the fall of 1987. I made it all the way out to La Belle Province’s far eastern regions, to the Gaspé Peninsula, the lobster tail-shaped region that juts out in to the Atlantic Ocean, where it was chilly and the scenery spectacular, from Parc Forillon, a little-known jewel of Canada’s network of national parks that’s along the ocean, to the majestic Percé Roche (aka le rocher percé or ‘pierced rock’), which I’ve written about here on this blog. I had a timer on my camera and was able to take these pre-social media selfies. 

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

1993, another Time Canada’s Conservatives Were Soundly Swept from Power

With the welcome change of power occurring tonight in Canada, I’m remembering Fall 1993, when my wife and I were in Canada on a late autumn road trip. A week in late October found us in a wee beauty spot called Margaree Harbour, on Cape Breton island, in the province of Nova Scotia. With its scenic Cabot Trail, I like to call Cape Breton the Big Sur of Canada. 31 Cabot Trail iI

That year, October 25 happened to be the date of a Canadian federal election, and a local friend we’d made, Geoffrey May, invited us over to have dinner and watch the returns with him and his wife, Rebecca Lynne, and a friend of theirs. It turned out to be an amazing night, as in this election Progressive Conservative party members in the federal parliament were swept out of power in one of the most lopsided defeats ever in the history of modern elections. Prime Minister Kim Campbell lost her office, and Liberal Party leader Jean Chretien became PM. It was a celebratory evening—for comparison’s sake, imagine all Republican officeholders in the U.S. losing on the same day!

We were renting a small vacation house that week from Geoffrey’s sister, Elizabeth May, then the head of Sierra Club in Canada. Ms May, of course, has since become a prominent Canadian politician, leader of Canada’s Green Party, first Green Party member of the Canadian Parliament. I’ve written more about that special vacation, including about Geoffrey and Elizabeth’s fascinating parents (the Mays were all friendly with Farley Mowat), and that year’s World Series, when the Bluejays last won it all, all assembled at the post, Why I Write this Blog.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Marking Photojournalist Ruth Gruber’s 103rd Birthday

As a longtime book editor, I’ve had the privilege of working with dozens of talented authors. Amid all these superb writers one sub-group stands out: authors in their 80s, 90s, or even older, in their 100s. This group has included Edward Robb Ellis (1911-1998), author of A Diary of Century: Tales by American’s Greatest Diarist. Here is a collection of posts I’ve written about him. In 2017, I helped sports cartoonist and journalist Murray Olderman bring out his tenth book at age ninety-four, The Draw of Sport.A Diary of the Century, Edward Robb Ellis

Ahead of Time, Ruth GruberAnother of these remarkable authors is Ruth Gruber, like Ellis born in 1911, with whom I’ve published six books, including her memoir Ahead of Time: My Early Years as a Foreign Correspondent, also the title of a documentary about her. Ruth turned 103 this week, and is still going strong. This is a collection of posts I’ve written about her. Earlier this week, on the day of her 103rd birthday, I shared a post on Facebook, inviting friends to celebrate her birthday with me there, embedded below. You can join me in celebrating her amazing life and career here on her Facebook page.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

On the Rails Headed Home

Canadian train travelers, I’m sure VIA Rail gives you headaches at times, but consider yourself fortunate you don’t have Amtrak as your national passenger rail carrier. On our recent vacation, my wife and I flew to St. Louis, and after seeing family for a few days there, began voyaging back east on the rails. From St. Louis, we took Amtrak to Chicago, arriving almost ninety minutes late that night. After three days there we took a 9:30 PM train, the Lakeshore Limited, that actually left at 10:30, then arrived the next morning in Cleveland at 9:30, instead of 5:30. Following three days in Cleveland, we boarded the Lakeshore Limited again, a 5:50 AM train that left at 7:10. It arrived thirteen hours later in NYC, about two hours later than its scheduled arrival.

In the course of these trips we learned that Amtrak doesn’t really own the track its trains ride on, and is thus subject to the schedules of the freight haulers who do own the rails. I love train journeys, but Amtrak makes it really hard to love it at all.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

En Route from St Louis to Chicago

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

On Vacation in St Louis


Having a great time on vacation in St. Louis with my wife Kyle, son Ewan, and his best pal, Nolan Marsh. Soon, my wife and I will be on our way to Chicago, then Cleveland.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Farewell to a Great Canadian, Farley Mowat

Farley MowatI’m sad about Farley Mowat’s passing. What a great Canadian, and such a conscious dweller on the planet. He righteously raged about ill treatment of people and wildlife and abuse of water and air long before Earth Day was a yearly observance. Margaret Atwood’s praise is fulsome:

“Farley Mowat’s books have marked Xs in the sand, and have struck their own igniting sparks….His rage can be Swiftean, his humour Puckish, but his compassion for all creatures great and small has been consistent.”

Farley Mowat

I had the privilege of publishing three of Farley’s books in the States, including a revival of People of the Deer, his debut, first published in 1951, about the prodigious caribou migrations in the far north which he observed as a young scientist, and the indigenous peoples who relied on the herds for their subsistence and sustenance. He focused on a particular tribe, the Ihalmuit, who had been very badly treated by the Canadian government. He reported on it all in compelling detail and with a fluent narrative that was inherently enjoyable; for an avid reader, this book, all the books of his that I’ve read—about fifteen out of his forty or so titles—were so enjoyable, they practically read themselves. His books were often secular crusades for better treatment of wild things. Though I never met Farley, and only spoke with him briefly one time by phone, I’ve long felt a personal connection to him. I read his best known book Never Cry Wolf, for a middle school class, always remembered his name, and looked for his titles. In early adulthood, when I opened Undercover Books with my family, we ordered, stocked and sold Farley’s titles. Later, as an editor and publisher I began looking for Canadian books to which I could acquire the rights to publish in distinctive US editions. I enjoyed presenting Canadian culture to Americans.

A serendipitous encounter on a Canadian road trip made with my wife in 1993

In the autumn of that year we were touring Cape Breton Island and driving its scenic Cabot Trail—think of it as the Big Sur of North America’s east coast—when we came upon the wee village of Margaree Harbour, hard by the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We stopped at a local establishment called the Hungry Piper Gift Shop & Tea Room, a charming spot that sold woolens, tartan ties, Celtic music cassettes, items emblazoned in Gaelic, Cabot Trail postcards, local crafts, and served light fare. We soon met the shop’s proprietors, the May family, a clan with whom Kyle and I became fast friends. They were John and Stephanie May, a married couple, and their grown son Geoffrey, married to Rebecca Lynne. We learned from Stephanie, a voluble storyteller, that they’d come from Connecticut originally, and that they’d moved north during the Vietnam War, lest Geoffrey be exposed to the U.S. military draft. John had held an executive position with an insurer in Hartford, and Stephanie was politically active, working for a nuclear freeze and on the McGovern for President campaign in 1972—alongside a young Arkansan named Bill Clinton, who in 1992 of course had been elected U.S. President. The Mays’ decision to move was also triggered after Stephanie discovered she’d earned a spot on President Richard Nixon’s sinister “enemies list.”

By 1993 when we met, the Mays had been thoroughly ensconced in Canada for almost twenty years. On the property with their shop was a sort of derelict schooner, rather incongruous in their parking area. Upon close inspection I saw emblazoned on the side was the name “The Happy Adventure,” the very boat that Farley Mowat wrote about in his very funny book, The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float. (It opens with him buying the boat at an auction, going halves on it with his friend and publisher, Jack McClelland of McClelland & Stewart.) The Mays were friends with Farley, who donated the broke-down vessel in hopes it would prove a tourist attraction for them. Mr & Mrs. MayGeoffrey May, PT, Rebecca Lynne, friend

33 Kyle Cabot Trail

Stephanie and John had another child, a grown daughter named Elizabeth who was the head of the Sierra Club of Canada, living in a distant city. She owned a little house, also in Margaree Harbour, not in use, which the Mays suggested we could rent during our stay. Kyle and I took them up on it, and with a spirit of adventure undimmed by the fact the house had little heat and hot water, we loved our time there, nearly a week. I had a portable radio with me, and so got to hear the Toronto Blue Jays win the World Series, when Joe Carter hit his walk-off homer in Game 6, made indelible by his jubilant romp around the basepaths. A couple nights later we joined Geoffrey and Rebecca Lynne at their home for dinner. This happened to be the day of a Canadian federal election, and Geoffrey invited us to stick around and watch election returns with them. It turned out to be an amazing night, as this was the election in which the federal tories were entirely swept out of power in one of the most lopsided defeats ever in the history of modern elections. It was a celebratory evening—for comparison’s sake, imagine all Republican officeholders in the U.S. losing on the same day!

Our landlord for the week, Elizabeth May, has since become an important Canadian politician, leader of Canada’s Green Party, and the first Green Party member of the Canadian Parliament. Elizabeth has been giving some very moving interviews today, about the long friendship she and Farley shared, including one on CBC’s As It Happens. She had been looking forward to wishing him a happy 93rd birthday, which would have come next Monday, May 12. She also put a moving statement on her website.  I remain in touch with Geoffrey May, an advocate for Gaelic education. The books of Farley Mowat, and road trips like the one in Cape Breton, have made Canada an indelible part of my mental and emotional landscape. I’m sorry he’s gone, but marvel at the thought of his forty books, translated in to more than fifty languages, selling collectively some fifteen million copies. What a grand authorial career. In the gallery below are pictures of all of Farley’s books in my home library.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Howard Engel, Honored as a True Master of the Detective Novel + an Epitaph to Oliver Sacks

August 30, 2015 update: Sad word this morning brings news of the death of Oliver Sacks at age 82. It was an honor and a privilege in 2006 to publish an essay by him as the Afterword to Howard Engel’s ingenious mystery novel Memory Book, a piece that was also published in The New Yorker. The novelist consulted with Dr. Sacks after he’d suffered a stroke that left him with alexia sine agraphia, aka word-blindness, a condition that leaves a patient unable to read, though able to still write. Sacks continued writing about Engel’s condittion in subsequent years, with a 2010 New Yorker piece and then in his 2010 book The Mind’s Eye. (If as a tribute to Sacks The New Yorker opens its online archive outside their paywall I will link to the articles here.) The blog post below, written in 2013 as a tribute to Engel now stands also as a testament to the generosity and curiosity of Dr. Oliver Sacks, RIP.
—-

EngelI’m very happy to see that Canadian mystery author Howard Engel—author of Memory Book, a Benny Cooperman Detective novel with an Afterword by Oliver Sacks, which I published in the US in 2006—will receive this year’s Grand Master award from the Crime Writers of Canada. Their announcement reads,

The Crime Writers of Canada has. . .added an eighth prize to their list of awards this year. The CWC Grand Master Award for Crime Writing in Canada will go to a Canadian crime writer with a substantial body of work that has garnered national and international recognition. This year the award will go to Howard Engel, author of the award-winning Benny Cooperman detective series.

Engel is a gem. Here are some of the words his fellow writers have used to describe him:

“Benny Cooperman is a lot of fun to hang out [with]. I’m delighted to see him getting into trouble again.”—Donald E. Westlake

“Mr Engel is a born writer, a natural stylist…This is a writer who can bring a character to life in a few lines.”—Ruth Rendell

“Engel can turn a phrase as neatly as Chandler…Benny Cooperman novels [are] first-class entertainment, stylishly written, the work of an original, distinctive, and distinctively Canadian talent.”—Julian Symons

The prolific Sacks, neurologist and author, contributed an essay to Engel’s book because he was fascinated by a condition the author had endured. Engel wrote Memory Book after suffering a rare kind of stroke that left him with alexia sine agraphia, aka word-blindness. He was no longer able to read, but somehow still capable of writing. Painstakingly and ingeniously, Engel placed his protagonist, private eye Cooperman, in a similarly perplexing condition. According to a post by blogger Allyson Latta, Sacks still consults with Engel from time to time on the mysteries of his condition. Showing that the writing of Memory Book was no fluke, in 2008 Engel published his twelfth book in the Cooperman series, East of Suez, and in July 2014 he will publish City of Fallen Angels, featuring a new series character, Mike Ward. I’m very glad this recognition is being given to Howard Engel, and I’m also very happy for his agent, Beverley Slopen.Memory BookMemory Book back coverHoward Engel titles

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI