Toronto Book Reviews
September 6th, 2011
The Little Book of Rob Ford Cover
Before we start, here is a bit of wisdom from Mayor Rob Ford: “I don’t understand. Number one, I don’t understand a transgender. I don’t understand: is it a guy dressed up as a girl or a girl dressed up as a guy? And we’re funding this for, I don’t know, what does it say here? We’re giving them $3,210?”
(The Little Book of Rob Ford: Book Review
August 26th, 2011
Bad Girl and Other Perils Cover
A columnist for the Toronto Sun is not the first person you might think would write humourous stories, but Mike Strobel’s Bad Girls and Other Perils provides some “cheap” entertainment. This is not a putdown, either — there is a time when a guffaw at a tawdry short story can be good!
(Bad Girls and Other Perils: Book Review
August 19th, 2011
A Century of Parks Canada Cover
Parks Canada is arguably a major player in the image of accessible Canadian wilderness. In charge of over forty parks in the hundred years since its inception, the corporation certainly deserves a tribute. A Century of Parks Canada is aptly named, but at $35, is it worth the read?
(A Century of Parks Canada: Book Review
August 3rd, 2011
Toronto: Including Niagara Falls
and Welland Canal Cover
I look through the innumerable photo books on Canada — we get it, our country is beautiful — and then I see one that’s just Toronto. Interesting, I think, considering how, traditionally, the other provinces (and even other parts of Ontario) have been promoted as much more interesting.
(Toronto: Including Niagara Falls and Welland Canal: Book Review
July 27th, 2011
Trillium and Toronto Island Cover
Mike Filey is a fairly well-established authority on Toronto, and his new book Trillium and Toronto Island delivers what it promises (once you realize that Trillium is a steamboat ferry). For a book of its kind, $25 may be a bit pricey, considering the few colour photos scattered throughout, though personally I will never tire of antique pictures.
(Trillium and Toronto Island: Book Review
July 18th, 2011
Spectacular Canada Cover
There’s little doubt at this point that Canada is spectacular in its beauty, but even photo books with spectacular subjects can’t guarantee the same. There are a lot of them out there, and for every Gerald Bryan Hall’s Spectacular Canada, there are five books that can’t make as good a claim to your attention — not to mention your wallet.
(Spectacular Canada: Book Review
July 12th, 2011
Our Canada: Picture Perfect Cover
Canada certainly lends itself to photography, which we can all celebrate. But photography leads to photo books — and as for me, whenever I see a pile of photo books featuring the same range of mountains, rivers, trees, and sunsets, I heave a sigh. At $35, the price of Our Canada: Picture Perfect isn’t too steep for a hardcover photo book, but it’s still a purchase you want to be sure about, and there are just so many to look through.
(Our Canada, Picture Perfect: Book Review
June 27th, 2011
Making the Scene Cover
Any book that shows how Toronto the Good became Toronto the Hip (as far as it did, anyway) is going to be mainly concerned with hippies, and Henderson’s Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s is no exception. However, the author explores a number of different viewpoints — not all equally in-depth, of course — in his campaign for the cool Toronto.
(Making the Scene: Book Review
June 25th, 2011
In Search of the Grand Trunk
Although In Search of the Grand Trunk is not actually about the Grand Trunk (it’s only a metaphor, Ron Brown assures us), it is more or less, like most of his books, for rail enthusiasts. Luckily, Ontario is a pretty good place for rail enthusiasts, or at least Ron Brown seems to think so.
(In Search of the Grand Trunk: Book Review
June 23rd, 2011
Imagining Toronto Cover
Imagining Toronto. “Toronto is real; why would I imagine it?” you ask. Well, you might not, but that is because other people, many of them famous, already did that for you. And for just over $20, Amy Lavender Harris wants to show you just how much influence they have had on our city and its inhabitants.
Toronto is not a glorified hogtown, she wants us to know, but neither is it a world-class city. It has its own hard-to-qualify status, but more importantly, it has a place in the hearts, minds, and writing of those who have visited it.
(Imagining Toronto - Book Review
June 21st, 2011
Local Motion The Art of Civic
Engagement in Toronto Cover
Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement is, if I can say so without blushing, a good book. Toronto is a city in which a lot of movements play their part — music, art, architecture, nature — but, for some reason or other, politics is close to the heart of most Torontonians. Maybe we feel like we never got a good start at it. At any rate, a handbook for educated city-dwellers to make their mark ought to be in their hands.
(Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto Book Review
June 11th, 2011
Weird Ontario Laws Cover
There has been so much written on the topic, you’d think “weird laws” was a genre. But I guess there’s never been a “weird laws” book specific to Ontario until now. The book isn’t much to gawk at; it’s got an average price, and an obvious premise.
(Weird Ontario Laws Book Review
June 9th, 2011
Cycling In Ontario Cover
You pick up Cycling in Ontario because you recently bought a pretty good bike — not the bike-shaped objects they sell at department stores — and besides, the cover is nice. After what you paid for a decent bike, $25 seems like a pretty good deal. Not bad reasons; but what’s inside?
(Cycling in Ontario: Ulysses Guides Series Book Review
May 30th, 2011
Trouble in the Camera Club Cover
It’s been four years since Don Pyle began releasing his vintage photos online, and it seems he finally decided to publish. The collection — a huge number of candids, concerts, and news snippets he took as a teenager — is meant as an inside or “underground” look at the punk music movement that took place in the late ’70s in Toronto.
(Trouble in the Camera Club Book Review
May 28th, 2011
Toronto Fun Places 5th Edition Cover
Despite the name, Toronto Fun Places isn’t modern poetry — it’s a handbook for families looking for a lunch, a day, or a week out in the GTA. The guide is researched and written by Nathalie Prézeau, a Montréal-born mother of two who calls herself a permanent tourist in Toronto.
(Toronto Fun Places Book Review
May 15th, 2011
A Guidebook to Contemporary
Architecture in Toronto Cover
A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto by Margaret and Phil Goodfellow (published in 2010) captures an aspect of Toronto that often goes unappreciated – the modern architecture of Toronto.
(A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto Review
May 12th, 2011
City of Words Cover
It was only when Sarah Elton read In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje and followed the novel’s protagonist through the urban landscape of 1920s Toronto that she really fell in love with her home city, prompting her to create a thrilling literary map in City of Words: Toronto Through Her Writers’ Eyes.
(City of Words: Toronto Through Her Writers’ Eyes