Saturday, 22 June 2019

Saturday Photo: Fountains, Green and Summer

First full day of summer dawned sunny and not too warm.  A welcome change from the cool, wet spring we've had.

Walking home from a raucous borough council meeting (about parking so don't ask,  it's all so badly thought through!) I remembered how wonderful it is to walk through the dark when the air is full of the smell of lilacs, mock orange and Russian olives.  The up-side of the rain has been a long spring and much green.  We should enjoy that, I guess, and stop complaining for a while.

Complaining, though, can be useful.  How else do you get positive change?  Not by saying nothing.

And so concludes the lesson for today.

The photo, by the way, is of a fountain in a nearby park.  Refreshing to sit by when the days become too hot.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Saturday Photo: Reading Books on a Rainy Day

There's more rain forecast for today, so I think I'll spend part of it reading.

This is the time of year when I set up reading lists for the book discussion groups I lead in Montreal-area libraries.  You'll find below the more-or-less definitive selection for 2019-2020.  Should be some good reading.  But seeing them listed, I realize I'd do well to get started on them !

In no particular order they are:

Milkman  by Anna Burns

The story hour  by Thrity Umrigar

The underground railroad by  Colson Whitehead

The only story by Julian Barnes

Nine perfect strangers  by Liane Moriarty

Watching you by Lisa Jewel

Where the crawdad sings by Delia Owens

The golden house  by  Salmon Rushdie

Before we were yours by Lisa Wingate

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine  by Gail Honeyman

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid

The Human Stain by Philip Roth

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Vinegar girl : The Taming of the Shrew retold  by Anne Tyler

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

Brother by David Chariandy

Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

Small Country by Gaêl Faye

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Songs for the Cold of Heart by Éric Dupont (Peter McCambridge, translator)

The Break by Katerena Vermette

American War by Omar El Akkad

Français :

Hemingway,    Ernest  Pour qui sonne les glas

Lavoie, Marie-Renée  Autopsie d'une femme plate

Joffo,    Joseph  Un sac de billes

Bismuth Nadine  Un lien familial

Dupont, Éric La route du lilas

Cognetti, Paolo Huit montagnes

Mabancktou      Alain   Les cigognes sont immortelles

Fontaine, Naomi  Manikanetish

Colette, Sidonie-Gabrielle  La retraite sentimentale  

The photo, by the way, was taken a few years ago when I had just published After Surfing Ocean Beach and was doing a mini-tour.  The book store, which I think has since closed, was formerly the theatre where my friends and I saw a lot of good films.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Saturday Photo: Hidden Corners in the City

We had friends from San Francisco in town last week, and spent some great times talking and walking and talking and drinking wine.  One of our walks took us to la rue Demers in Montreal's Plateau district. 

It is a short lane between two larger streets where extremely modest housing was built more than a century ago.  The owners have made it a greenway, with plants and cobbled paving and no cars at all.

These photos were taken a few years ago when we were briefly staying in the neighborhood, and today it's clear that the owners have decided it's time to do a little upgrading.  Several of the houses had been stripped down to vapour seal and were being re-bricked, but the charm remains. 

Things like this make a city live and breathe.  Great to see...

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Saturday Photo: Are Electric Cars the Future?

These sleek beauties are fueling up through the electric cords running to their house.  Supposedly a nearly completely electric fleet of automobiles is what we want, at least where elecricity is generated in a "green"  way.

But the price tag is still very high, even with government subsidy programs. According to a story on CTV, fully electric cars with prices of less than $45,000 are eligible for the federal $5,000 rebate while the Quebec provincial government offers an $8,000 rebate for an electric vehicle purchase of less than $75,000. Compare that with a manual shift Toyota Corolla which will put you back less than $20,000 without extras.

It's only the upscale market that is ripe for electric cars right now, as witness this lovely driveway (no unsightly asphalt) next to a house on which the owners are spending fortune to up grade...

Think we'll keep our 2002 Corolla going for as long as possible...