LATEST Feature Articles
by Saturday, May 18, 2013-
Are leaders born or can they be nurtured? When I think of the qualities that signify leadership I look at a person's principles, charisma, problem solving capabilities, perceptiveness, decisiveness and their determination to complete tasks or solve problems when others falter. That requires taking responsibility and speaking your mind irregardless of whether your opinion is going to be "popular". Sometimes leaders are born when they do a particular "good" - like the little girl who stands up against bullying in her school and goes on to create an intra-school movement of awareness and action. It's recognizing a need and stepping-up. Next you need to be a good communicator or at least one in which your passion shines through so that people with the necessary skills and energy to help you fullfil the goal decide to come on board. Some say being a good delegator is key to not burning out. Creative or innovative thinking is a great quality, and intelligence comes in all forms.
Some say that "social intelligence" or "emotional intelligence" is the best quality of all. That latter term was first coined in the late 60s and became the title of a book by Daniel Goleman in 1995. A decade later Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ has been released. And it's worth taking a look at the book that popularly coined the phrase and has become a standard marker of leadership today. ...More >>
LATEST Author Interviews
by Thursday, April 18, 2013-
"If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything." - David Foster Wallace
If you want to be totally cool, subscribe to BLANK ON BLANK's YouTube video channel. It's the handiwork of PBS Digital Studios and this particular video takes an interview with the late, David Foster Wallace talking about ambition in the backdrop of his own tennis career. Apparently DFW was a seriously ranked tennis player before college. He decided that despite his high ranking he would not be able to go Pro, based on a combination of his level of talent and the "monk-like" commitment to practice hours required. The illustration compliments the conversation brilliantly. Overall a creative and intriguing viewer/listener experience.
Feature Articles >>
Friday, April 26, 2013
Literary Excursions is a niche-market travel entity. Our tagline is "Let us take you to the places where iconic authors have lived and immortalized through their writing."
The idea sprang out of years of reading great fiction, researching the authors' backgrounds for the purpose of either writing about them in feature articles or leading discussions at book events. Eventually you come to understand that the only way you can truly understand how "place" has shaped their writing, is to go to the source. The final incentive was a desire to connect book group people back to the needs of our libraries via my foundation work.
LE has come up with a list of authors and destination trips: Austen in Hampshire, England; Hemingway in Cuba (Paris, Pamplona or Kilimanjaro), Joyce and Beckett in Dublin, and of course Steinbeck in Monterey and Salinas. We incorporate aspects of local history, culture, cuisine and wines into the mix via expert guides, lectures, tours and tastings. Since we're a pretty active group, there's always an opportunity to walk, cycle, kayak or par-take in some form of physical activity to break up the laughing, talking, eating (drinking) and touring!
Back by popular demand is our trip to "Steinbeck Country" - Monterey and Salinas, California departing Vancouver on June 15th and returning on the 18th. It costs just $1575 per person (based on double occupancy) for an inclusive package of: airfare, hotel, coach transfers, breakfasts, a guided tour of Monterey and Salinas, a fabulous Monterey Wine tasting and more. Single rates provided upon request. This is a perfect "girl's get-away-weekend" or an opportunity for book groups to incorporate into the annual activity calendar. Call HSK Travel, our partners to book. +1 (604) 921-0012 and ask for Yasmin. Then join our Facebook Page. ....More >>
Book Reviews >>
Sunday, May 12, 2013
"In the early morning hours of August 5th, 1962 Los Angeles County deputy coroner, Ben Fitzgerald arrives at the home of the world's most famous movie star, now lying dead in her bedroom. There he discovers The Book of Secrets—Marilyn Monroe's diary—revealing a doomed love affair with a man she refers to only as "the General". In the following days, Ben unravels a cover-up that implicates the Kennedy's, the Mafia and the CIA. Soon the sinister and surreal accounts in the Book bleed into Ben's own life, and he finds himself trapped - like Monroe - in a deepening paranoid conspiracy.
A knockout combination of fact and legend, The Empty Glass is a rivetting debut thriller."
James Ireland Baker is the executive editor of Condé Nast Traveler. Before that, he was development editor at Time Inc. He has also worked at Real Simple, Glamour, and Us, and is a founding editor of Time Out New York. The Empty Glass is his first novel. Baker lives in Westchester County, New York. This book is published by Penguin, USA
It's not often you re-read the back cover blurb on a paperback novel after you've completed reading the book itself and realize that it captures the essence perfectly. It's not often that the book's cover art, a photo of Marilyn Monroe with red lipstick letters scrawled across that famous-tragic face, commands you to pick up the book and continue reading it every time you pass the table on which it sits in your house. It's not often that the combination of fact and fiction blend so seamlessly that you are compelled to search the Internet to establish the facts so you can confirm the depth of the vortex you are being sucked into by some pretty darn captivating noir fiction writing.
I used to live in Los Angeles where occasionally a movie theatre located on Wilshire Boulevard at the edge of Santa Monica and Westwood ....More >>
Publisher News >>
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
David R. Godine is that rare person who spends a lifetime building an exquisite list of well crafted books that appeal to the sophisticated reader. David R. Godine Books have been around over 50 years. That he's a native Bostonian gives you some idea of the nature of his eclectic taste in books, I suppose. Reading through the catalogue I see a healthy dose of original fiction and non-fiction of the highest rank, rediscovered masterworks, translations of outstanding world literature, poetry, art, photography, and beautifully designed books for children.
When French author, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006, I got an email celebrating the fact that he was a Godine author. When I was looking for a book on politics I stumbled on an excellent volume dealing with the topic of rhetoric - in its truest definition as an art form of dialogue and skilled argument vs the pedantic, obfuscating verbal diarrhea slant in which we've all come to view the topic. When I browse the back list of art books and photography I see a collection of classics on regional topics of interest like: The History of the Ocean Racing Yacht, Prints and Collections of the Adirondike Museum, Romantic Gardens: Nature, Art and Landscape Design.
Founded in 1970 Godine's first books were printed on his own presses nearly all letterpress, limited editions printed on high-quality rag or handmade paper. Many of these early volumes are now collector's items. Godine has been awarded numerous publishing awards over the years for his excellence in book production.
"On July 1, 2002, John Martin, the founder and for thirty-six years the publisher of Black Sparrow Press, closed down his shop in Santa Rosa, California. After finding new homes for four of his authors—Charles Bukowski, Paul Bowles, John Fante, and Wyndham Lewis—he entrusted the rest of his backlist to a fellow publisher, David R. Godine. The agreement was simple: Godine would keep Black Sparrow's offerings available to the trade, keep the best-selling titles in print, and keep the house's spirit alive through judicious acquisitions. In short, Black Sparrow Press would be reborn—as Black Sparrow Books at David R. Godine, Publisher."
I invite you to browse their website, sign up for their newsletter and start collecting their exquisite books for your library. They're always at the world book fairs: BEA, Frankfurt, London - a solid and cheery bunch! Congrats on the first 50 guys. ....More >>
Whistler Reads >>
Monday, April 01, 2013
Whistler Reads next event presents a rather unique personal circumstance. As the director of this program I have had the honour of putting on some 36 book events hosting various authors from near and far. This time the topic of discussion is a book I published this January. Some dear Whistler friends have offered to host the book launch and discussion in their lovely home. Please join us April 20th, 2013 between 6 and 8pm at the Nadeau residence 8417 Big Sky Terrace in Whistler BC, V0N 8B0 (click link for map). I hope the topic intrigues you. This is a large profile coffee table book on the West African nation of Mauritania (published by Ewrks Media, January 2013) containing photographs and text in three languages: English, French and Arabic. If you browse the travel section of most well-stocked book stores, you will not find another book on Mauritania like this in the English language. Books on North Africa may offer a few pages in between Morocco and Algeria. Books in French are a decade old.
I will seed the discussion on the facets of this fascinating, but little known emerging nation: its landscapes, history, culture, economy and place within the geo-political climate since the Arab Spring.
Having traveled to the country twice, first with the CEO of Red Back Mining, Rick Clark who introduced me to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Mines to determine the intent and scope of the book. Then for a second trip in April and May of 2011 in the company of my photographer, Gary Fitzpatrick, our trilingual interpreter, escorts and drivers who joined us for the material collection phase—which entailed travel throughout the capital, to major towns and medieval villages in the countryside and within the Sahara desert, to UNESCO World Heritage sites and wildlife sanctuaries in order to capture photographs and conduct subject interviews.
We returned with over ....More >>
WGBH Boston >>
Saturday, September 15, 2012
The wildly popular Masterpiece series Downton Abbey, written and created by Julien Fellowes, premiers Season III on January 6, 2013. "The war is over, but intrigue, crisis, romance, and change still grip the beloved estate." With its all-star returning cast and Oscar-winning guest star Shirley MacLaine, there's even a countdown counter on the Masterpiece site. As of today there is 113 days, 9 hours and 53 minutes to go. The site continues:
Executive Producer Gareth Neame remarks, "What a rollercoaster it has been to be part of this truly global phenomenon. We couldn't be more thrilled by the way American critics and audiences have taken Downton to their hearts and I'm so excited to be getting the third season ready for everyone to see."
The press loved the second season, with USA Today marveling, "Lightning can strike twice." The Hollywood Reporter called the series "one of the great melodramas of the modern television age." And The Los Angeles Times styled it "big, beautifully acted, and romantic."
Viewers were no less passionate, with 17.1 million tuning in across the seven episodes, making Downton Abbey, Season 2 the most-watched Masterpiece series on record. It was also the most talked-about. "What sets Downton Abbey apart," wrote Reuters, "is the buzz the show is creating on new social media websites like Twitter and Facebook." And with today's multitude of viewing options, a younger audience is being seduced by Downton Abbey's sumptuously spread-out plot, notes Masterpiece Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. ....More >>
Wine & Book Club >>
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan won Canada's highest honor, The Scotiabank Giller Prize for 2011. Esi was also longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and the Ethel WIlson Fiction Prize. That is a lot of final lists! Take a peek as Esi is awarded her prize at the Giller Prize ceremony followed by her interview on Canada AM.
The author's website describes the novel as: "Berlin, 1939. A young, brilliant trumpet-player, Hieronymus, is arrested in a Paris cafe. The star musician was never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black.
Fifty years later, Sidney Griffiths, the only witness that day, still refuses to speak of what he saw. When Chip Jones, his friend and fellow band member, comes to visit, recounting the discovery of a strange letter, Sid begins a slow journey towards redemption.
From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world, and into the heart of his own guilty conscience.
Half-Blood Blues is an electric, heart-breaking story about music, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art. ....More >>
Author Interviews >>
Monday, December 03, 2012
I almost bumped into author Salman Rushdie on the street one day in Greenwich Village, New York as we negotiated the slush and snow after a November storm. Since that time, I've been waiting for the book he would write telling of his nightmare's journey. After the release of his novel, Satanic Verses in September 1988 the Iranian religious leader, Ayotollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against him that forced him into hiding for more than a decade. Those events have had time to percolate in his memory, and at long last, his book has been released. Resembling more of a fictional international spy thriller than the true memoir of a world renowned literary figure, Joseph Anton (published by Random House) is both the name of the memoir and the pseudonym Rushdie chose for identification among his closest friends and his protectors, the secret police, etc., during those 11 years in hiding. The name, Rushdie explains, is a combination of Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov. Surrounded by "an iron ring of friends" who kept his secret hiding places, provided their own homes, and allowed him to live inside their protective cover. Rushdie explains what his life was like, as well as the political milieu at the time. An extraordinary story by one of this century's most talented writers. There's also an excellent video piece embedded at the bottom of this article worth watching. It's 90 minutes in length but gives the entire scope of the effect Salman Rushdie's book had on the Muslim world, from the first reviews of his manuscript to the India book ban that spread in countries around the world, to the northern London suburb where his book was publicly burned and the media and muslim community lit up. Interviews with journalists, publishers, his translator, his sister and people involved in the development of the story all culminate in the developing dramatic story. ....More >>
Technology Corner >>
Friday, April 26, 2013
You've dropped it, stepped on it, unintentionally launched it and it doesn't break, crack, dent or scratch. We're talking about the glass surface of your new smart phone. Out of 1.5B devices used in 33 brands, Gorilla Glass made by Corning Inc was first designed for Steve Jobs back in 2006. But there's more to glass now than transparency and protective surfaces. Check out this Bloomberg video by Adam Jason who visited the Corning Glass Company in upstate New York. [Click title for imbedded video] ....More >>
Sunday, May 05, 2013
I sit across the bistro table talking with Raseel Sehmi, the Vancouver Chapter Chair of ACUMEN. Acumen is a nonprofit organization founded by Jaqueline Novogratz in order to change the way the world thinks and deals with poverty. Acumen claims to have impacted 100 million lives "with dignity, not dependence." Raseel is telling me about her Vancouver Chapter's activities and the upcoming fundraiser in Vancouver on May 15th, 7-11pm at the trendy Electric Owl, 928 Main Street called Dignity.
The afternoon sun streams brightly through the window effectively blinding Raseel whose iridescent eyeshadow is not the only dazzling feature of this confident and composed international-based beauty. We shift the positions of our chairs so she can more easily answer my questions about how she got to be one of Vancouver's hardest working disciples of social awareness using entrepreneurial initiative.
"It's not enough to work at our 9-5 jobs," says Raseel. "Young people like myself who've been educated abroad and who've traveled the world are incredibly aware that their lives need to incorporate a greater purpose in order to find fulfillment. We probably spend as much time working for not-for-profit initiatives and various causes in our free time, as we spend at our full time jobs."
This is in keeping with my reading on Gen Y or the Millennials, as this age group is referred. A joint study by AMP Agency & COS about this demographic (born 1979-2001) had this to say:
The Millennial Generation is by far the most analyzed, most marketed to and most intriguing generation to date. It is a generation that is comprised of individuals who are extremely ambitious and not only have high expectations for themselves, but also for those around them including their friends, families, communities and brands. It is also a generation that has been shaped by tragic world events such as 9/11 and natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. The result is a group that has developed a strong social conscience amplified by technology.
When I ask Raseel how she came to live in Vancouver when her Facebook and LinkedIn profile mentions Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, India, Myanmar and London England, she answers that her parents were diplomats and she moved with her family regularly to postings around the globe. Her parents presently live in Mumbai Maharashtra, India. She came here after completing her graduate studies at SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies, London University). [Disclosure: Raseel and my daughter were classmates at SOAS] She currently works at Vancouver's hot social media company, ....More >>