riding with rilke

by: ted bishop
!/images/98.jpg (Riding With Rilke – Ted Bishop)!

as the subtitle suggests this book deals with riding and books, in an equal measure. i heard an interview with ted bishop on cbc, which brought me to a bookstore for further insight.

the moment i opened to the first page i knew i was leaving with a copy. the first thing my eyes set on was the table of contents – first chapter: why a duc?

i headed straight for the checkout, and as i set the book on the counter the merchant explained for several minutes how mr. bishop had taught his literature class at the university of alberta, and had introduced him to many of his now favourite books.

i started to get a bit of an author-crush as i left the store.

the book is divided in three. the first section deals with riding a ducati motorcycle to texas. the reasons for the method of travel and the reasons for the destination are explored creatively and thoroughly. the third section brings the author and the book home.

bishop quickly triggered my boyhood love of motorcycles and drew me into his adventure. i’m sure a contributing factor to my headfirst dive into his experience is that we share the same city of residence, so his perceptions and bias were easy lenses to look through. nevertheless, by the time ted was on the road, i was glad i was along for the journey.

after the book travels to texas the reason for the destination comes to the forefront and the style and substance of the book shifts to a more scholarly, opinion-driven style. it is no less interesting, but is a marked shift in pace and tone.

the middle section wanders through a few different styles, and near the end of the writing adventure it begins to feel as though the story is about to morph into a spy novel.

the third section eases into the familiar travel style of the first section, and finishes off the book and the trip with a climax that almost feels fictitious.

“you should pick up a copy”: and read it yourself. an entertaining read from a strong canadian author.

books editing

sailor’s word book

!/images/95.jpg (Sailor’s Word Book)!

you’d think a sailor’s dictionary would be full of naughty words. but not this one. i love discovering the culture and history of words: where they came from, where they’re going and how they were used on the decks of ships in times past.

h1. here are some of my favourites:

a word not much used by seamen. it is, however synonymous with storms, gales, &c.
the inhabitants of the torrid zone, who twice a year, being under a vertical sun, have no shadow.
a name formerly applied to those mariners who were expert navigators.
the art of conducting vessels on the sea, not only by the peculiar knowledge of seamanship in all its intricate details, but also by such a knowledge of the higher branches of nautical astronomy as enables the commander to hit his port, after a long succession of bad weather, and an absence of three or four months from all land. any man without science may navigate the entire canals of great britain, but may be unable to pass from plymouth to guernsey.

h1. Sample page 1

h1. Sample page 2

if you’d like a copy for yourself – click here


for whom the bell tolls

by ernest hemingway

!/images/94.jpg (for whom the bell tolls)!

for whom the bell tolls begins and ends in a forest in the middle of the spanish civil war during the year 1937. robert jordan is a dynamiter whose mission brings him into the hill country where he must win the favour of the antifascist guerrilla forces so they will aid him in blowing up a bridge.

This is the best book Ernest Hemingway has written, the fullest, the deepest, the truest. It will, I think, be one of the major novels in American literature.

The New York Times Book Review, J. Donald Adams

books code

Building Accessible Websites – Joe Clark

!/images/63.jpg (Building Accessible Websites)!

“Building Accessible Websites – link to amazon”:

*Place Published:*   Indianapolis, Ind.
*ISBN:*   073571150x
*Keywords:*   Web sites – Design
*Format:*   Paperback
*Authors:*   Joe Clark
*Publication Date:*   c2003.

If fear of lawsuits, government mandates, and human-rights complaints is driving you to make your website more accessible, you’re doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Aks yourself if it makes good business sense to ignore a substantial portion of your potential audience. Why turn away visitors who may be blind, deaf, or otherwise disabled?

Building Accessible Websites teaches how and why to use web accessibility techniques, with an emphasis on phased accessibility that scales to the needs of small, medium and large budgets. Whether you’re an individual developer running a hobby site or the head of a large corporate web team, Building Accessible Websites shows you affordable, technically manageable ways to make a website accessible to people with disabilities

Not only has Joe Clark written the best book i’ve read on accessibility, “he’s made it available for free online”:

but you should still buy it.


george grant – lament for a nation

!/images/56.jpg (george grant – lament for a nation)!

Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism

author: George Grant

publisher: Carleton Univ Press

place published Ottawa

ISBN: 0-88629-257-3

keywords: Nationalism – Canada Canada – Politics and government – 20th century Diefenbaker, John G. (John George), 1895-1979 United States – Relations – Canada

page count: 111

“In a society of large bureaucracies, power is legitimized by conscious and unconscious processess” – page 57

i’m not often fond of political rhetoric, but i am quite taken with George Grant. i was drawn to this book as i have respect for the ideals and ideals of the man, and wanted to discover what caused his sadness for our nation. this book was published in 1965 and i found it to be a difficult read as many of the intensely reinforced political examples were from the period of 1960-1965 – not one i remember well.

one of the striking features of this book was not just the title, but the subtitle – “the defeat of canadian nationalism” – that caught my interest. in reading this book i wanted to discover what grant considered to be “canadian nationalism” that was lost. i wanted to glean an understanding of a historical nationalism and consider it in modern canada.

many of the themes in the book ring true today; the east/west power conflict, decisions based on trade relations rather than national self-interest, and the ever present and shaping will of america. the basic premise of the book is that as our economy is further entwined with america we become inextricably linked to the cultural and social demands of that nation. there is only so much room on the plate for national adgenda, and every large and small decision that ties our economic fate to america means less room for canadian culture.

there is a possibility of interacting with america in a manner that is beneficial and constructive for our culture and our economy, but that would mean our neighbours to the south would have to work at the relationship of our two countries. there is no advantage of interest for them to do so. logic would argue that decisions in the best interest of our national culture would be the easy to make, but america is the most powerful nation in the world, and aligning our economy with that powerful machine drives a lot of the policy making in our country.

“This was Mackenzie King’s chief political achievement. The organization of the war and postwar reconstruction was carried on within the assumption that government action never questioned the ultimate authority of business interests to run the economy.” – page 61

grant writes that decisions made in the favour of large business are often in opposition to the health of canadian nationalism. i found this particularly disheartening in light of our current social climate, and our current prime minister – a liberal ex-finance minister.

having read through the book, i can clearly see how we could make canada stronger. however, i can see that it’s unlikely to occur with the government currently in power. as our country aligns further and further with our -neighbour- neighbor to the south, i’m beginning to understand that many of these decisions were made 40 or 50 years ago.


Visual explanations : images and quantities, evidence and narrative

!/images/51.jpg (Visual Explinations – Edward Tufte)!

Visual explanations : images and quantities, evidence and narrative

Graphics Press

Cheshire, Conn.



Tufte, Edward R., 1942-


View or Purchase Online


Where We Stand: Class Matters

First Line: “Everywhere we turn in our daily lives in this nation we are confronted with the widening gap between rich and poor.”
!/images/35.jpg (Where we stand – bell hooks)!

Author(s): Bell Hooks

ISBN: 0-415-92913-x

Publisher: Routledge

Original Price: $16.95

Rating: 8 of 10

This incisive examination of class is rooted in cultural critic hooks’s (All About Love) personal experience, political commitment, and social theory, which links gender, race, and class. Starting with her working-class childhood, the author illustrates how everyday interactions reproduce class hierarchy while simultaneously denying its existence. Because she sustains an unflinching gaze on both her own personal motivations and on persistent social structures, hooks provides a valuable framework for discussing such difficult and unexplored areas as greed, the quest to live simply, the ruling-class co-optation of youth through popular culture, and real estate speculation as an instrument of racism. Although the reading level and the price are both steep, this title is highly recommended for most public libraries and academic social science collections.
DPaula R. Dempsey, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Purchase At Amazon


The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

!/images/34.gif (Philosophy of Andy Warhol)!

Author(s): Andy Warhol

ISBN: 0-15-671720-4

Edition: Paperback

Publisher: Harcourt

Original Price: $14.00

Rating: 7 of 10

Warhol talks: about love, sex, beauty, fame, work, money, success; about New York and Americanca; and about himself. “A constant entertainment and enlightenment.” -Truman Capote.

Purchase At Amazon


philedelphia fire

!/images/33.jpg (philedelphia fire)!

Author(s): John Edgar Wideman

Description: When African-American writer Cudjoe returns to his hometown of Philadelphia to write a book about the 1985 police firebombing of a black cult, his homecoming spurs within him a myriad of memories and impressions. While recalling the abandonment of his white wife and two children, his failed novel and a dead mentor, he provides rich observation about the about the crumbling state of a once-beloved city. As his research unfolds, he examines issues of sex, race and the life of the city, ultimately uncovering information that sets the entire city into motion. Philadelphia Fire won the PEN/Faulkner Award for 1991.

ISBN: 0-679-73650-6

Genre: African Americans

Publisher: Vintage Books USA

Original Price: $12.00

Rating: 8 of 10

Purchase At Amazon


war with the newts

!/images/32.jpg (War with the newts)!

Author(s): Karel Capek

Description: The visionary Czech writer Karel Capek (1890-1938), one of the century’s great authors, first gained fame during the 1920s and 1930s when his short stories, novels, satires, journalism, children’s books, and plays made him the most important writer in his native country. War With the Newts, one of the great dystopian satires of the century, is about the discovery by a Dutch sea-captain of a race of giant, intelligent, talking, and walking newts. When humans begin to exploit the newts as slaves, the creatures organize to fight the oppression, taking up arms and challenging the humans for control of newt destiny and freedom.

This novel came very close to winning the nobel prize for literature when it was released, however, the incendiary subject matter of the book prevented it from garnering the prize.

ISBN: 0-945774-10-9

Genre: Action

Publisher: Catbird Press

Original Price: $11.95

Rating: 7 of 10

Purchase At Amazon