Space can teach us plenty about the rest of the universe. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth goes into exhaustive detail about how much time is spent on scientific observation and research, sometimes on the astronauts themselves. (Hadfield says he was “peeing for science … about 25 per cent of the time.”)
In this week’s column, I got to interview (and get a shameless photo with) a genuine spaceman.
Plus, as it turns out, Hadfield’s new memoir is good! I learned stuff.Nov 29, 2013
Last week, Marty Chan posted the following message on Twitter: “All the dapper authors wear this at their book launches.” And let me say, right off the bat, that whatever you’re picturing right now, you’re wrong. Attached to Chan’s tweet was an image of a modified bowler hat, complete with miniature clocks, springs, a padlock, and two overlapping pairs of goggles that light up with the flick of a switch.
This week’s column is about Edmonton kids’ author Marty Chan, who’s got two new books out this fall. In one, a young Harry Houdini teams up with Nikola Tesla to fight time-travel crime; in the other, a sasquatch is ridiculed for possessing only normal-sized feet.Nov 22, 2013
For the next two months, Radogoshi was held in isolation in a tiny, windowless cell. There was nothing to do. He didn’t even have anything to sit on, as his bed was folded up into the wall each morning. The only thing he had to look at was a series of 32 optical illusions on one wall of the cell. “They were to make us crazy,” Radogoshi says. “I studied psychology. I know. These were hallucinations.”
By the time he was released from jail, Radogoshi was 30 kilograms lighter than when he’d arrived. “After that,” he says, “I was active in political life.”
This week’s column is about a celebrated Kosovo writer who’s been quietly living in Edmonton for the past three years, trying to escape his past and start over writing in English.Nov 15, 2013
Nearly half of North Americans self-identify as shy. So Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows decided to gather a bunch of those people and make a book about it.
This week’s column is about the fruits of that labour: Shy: An Anthology.Nov 12, 2013
“It occurred to me that the voyage of a detective in noir fiction is very close to the voyage of childhood,” Handler says. “You are increasingly lured into a sinister world, and it turns out everyone who has assigned you your case is unreliable. You slowly have to find your own moral path in a world gone, more or less, wrong. That reminded me of being a child.”
Big column this week. Huge column. I got to interview Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket himself—and he was exactly as erudite and delightful as I’d dared hope. (He’s in Edmonton on Sunday.)Nov 1, 2013
“Had Leonardo died in 1494, he would be virtually unknown today,” King says. “Because most of the things that he is known for today—The Last Supper, the Mona Lisa, the anatomical drawings—all of those things come after the age of 42. We think of him as a genius who could succeed at anything he turned his hand to. But until he was in his 40s he had not really fulfilled all his wants.”
This week’s column is a profile of Ross King, whose new book about Leonardo da Vinci I adore. (The imagine of Da Vinci obsessing—for years—about the perfect painting of a toddler holding a cat will be with me forever.) He’s in town for approximately 40 Last Supper-related events this weekend.Oct 25, 2013
Last Friday’s column was a (second) profile of Todd Babiak, whose (other) new book is (also) really great. Two for two, Babiak. This time around we’re talking about the history of the Edmonton Public Library, which turns 100 this year.
Featuring cameos by Andrew Carnegie and the KKK.Oct 21, 2013
Last Friday’s column was about a local take on the Little Free Library movement, which aims to have 12,000 mini-libraries up and running around the world by 2014.
Ten of the most recent ones are going up in Oliver, a neighbourhood just west of downtown Edmonton that’s got some very good ideas up its sleeve.Oct 8, 2013
“When you’re writing a thriller, you have to ask yourself some pretty hard questions,” Babiak says. “How does this add to the character, or advance the story? Is this beauty for the sake of beauty? Am I being cute? My mom would be annoyed by it, and she’d want to skip that part.”
As far as guiding principles go, you could do a lot worse.
“Yeah!” he agrees. “Don’t bore your mom!”
This week’s column is a profile of arguably Edmonton’s best-known writer, Todd Babiak, whose new novel walks the line between literary fiction and a balls-to-the-wall thriller.
The book is called Come Barbarians, and I liked it a whole bunch.Sep 27, 2013
“I wanted to write about everyday people—the people who don’t necessarily make it into textbooks,” Davidson says. “Women, generally, didn’t have a lot of agency (in the 1890s). They didn’t have access to things like birth control, and they weren’t even recognized as people under the law yet. They didn’t have a lot of avenues to see justice done.”
This week’s column is a profile of Edmonton’s Diana Davidson, whose debut novel Pilgrimage is a look at the early days of the mission at Lac Ste. Anne. With a special appearance by a 100-year-old body in a well.Sep 20, 2013