Bill Bryson – Neither Here Nor There

here nor thereNeither Here nor There: Travels in Europe

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jan 28, 2019  

 

I’ve known about Bill Bryson for some time and saw a movie about his last travel adventure, but had never got around to reading any of his material. I had ‘Neither Here Nor There’ collecting dust at home with my two shelves of other books to read, and since I was about to leave on a travel adventure myself, I took Bill’s book along to pass the down time when not engaged in sightseeing, eating or drinking.
Having traveled solo like Bryson did in this book, I can truly appreciate his adventures and misadventures in an era before the internet, cell phones, and GPS. Like him, I still love unfolding a map to plan the next day’s route. Bryson is the type of person who is comfortable in his own skin and has no qualms about travelling alone.
He is a good writer, with a sarcastic sense of humor, and an unquenchable thirst for metaphors. The book is more of a collection of snippets from the various cities and towns along his route. He likes to pound the pavement and sit in local watering holes or cafes to get a good feel of each and every place his visits.
Being the author of my own travel book, with some similarities, I generally liked the read, but found it a bit awkward at times – especially when the author went off on one of his rants. His American arrogance toward the rest of the world showed through on more than one occasion. I’m not saying that Mr. Bryson is predjudice against all foreigners, from what I’ve experienced in my travels it’s just the way some Americans are. They love to travel, but expect everything, like food, to be the same as home.

Mary Queen of Scots

maryHere’s a movie for all you Outlander fans. It’s about two different Queens from two different countries trying to control their own kingdoms, while maneuvering to combine the two and decide who will rule the British Empire.

It’s a true story that takes you behind the scenes of Scottish and English royalty, revealing their personalities, quirks, ambitions and idiosyncrasies. There is plotting and deceit and treachery that offer twists and turns throughout the story.

There are only a few recognizable faces in the cast, but the acting was superb. Outlander fans might also recognize some of the scenery and at least one castle in particular. Although the flick wasn’t one we were dying to see, Cathryn and I enjoyed it, both giving it a 7 out of 10.

The Mule

muleClint Eastwood says The Mule is the last movie he’ll act in, but oddly enough, he fit the main character’s roll perfectly. The story is about 90 year old horticulturist Earl Stone who takes on a job transporting dope for a Mexican cartel after his plant business goes belly up.

Earl was only going to make one trip, but upon seeing how easy he could make a pile of cash, he takes on bigger and bigger shipments. He uses the money to try and buy his way back into his family’s good graces.

Eastwood brings back Bradley Cooper for the role of a DEA Agent who is trying to make a name for himself, and to make his boss look good, by making a large cartel bust.

The movie is descent, perhaps a bit less intense than most of Clint’s work, but with a few life lessons about family and money. Cathryn and I both give it a 7 out of 10.

Stocking Stuffers for Readers

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It’s coming. Christmas will be here before you know it. If you’re wondering what to get that person who’s hard to buy for, and they like to read, then consider getting them an autographed copy of one of my books, or a complete gift set of my Norm Strom Crime Fiction Series.

Any of my books are online through sellers like Amazon, or available at PB Books or Juniper Books, in Windsor. I will be selling and signing books at several functions and craft shows from now until Christmas. Click HERE for a complete list of the events.

If you want to see my individual books and read their intros please click HERE.

First Man

first manThere have been many movies made about space exploration, but First Man is unique in that it lets you see and experience the thrills and spills of travelling to outer space through the eyes of those who have done it. None of us mere mortals can even imagine how it feels to do the crazy and courageous stunts that the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts have done for mankind.

Continue reading “First Man”

A Star is Born

starI remember seeing the second remake of A Star is born with Kristofferson and Streisand, but barely remember the story. Besides acting in, and directing this latest installment of the tragic love story, Bradley Cooper wrote the screenplay. Although he personalized the movie by changing things like the music, he paid homage to the earlier versions by re-using character traits and certain things in the plot.

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Campus Martius – Heart of Detroit

old“After the great fire of 1805 which destroyed most of Detroit, Judge Woodward was appointed to oversee the city’s rebuild plan to lay out the streets, squares and lots with the assistance of the best surveyors from Canada. They placed their instruments and astronomical devices on the summit of a huge stone from which they viewed the planets and meteors in order to determine “true North.” Today, we still call this the “Point of Origin,” which is located in center of Campus Martius at the junction of Woodward and Monroe. It is from this point that the City of Detroit’s coordinate system was created.

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The Secret Servant – Daniel Silva

secret sevantThe Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon, #7)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Sep 14, 2018  
I’ve read a few of Daniel Silva’s novels now, and I’ve become a fan of his spy thrillers and Israeli Intelligence character Gabriel Allon. The stories are action-packed, and take us to different countries around the world. Most plots revolve around terrorism.
The Secret Servant has the Mossad and the CIA working together to hunt down bad guys and kidnappers in Amsterdam and London, England. I like how Silva’s main character relies on his support team to get things done, unlike the superhero characters of some novels.
The stories in this series are fictitious, but right on the mark with it’s tales of terror before and after 911. Allon is infamous hunting down and executing the Islamic terrorists who were responsible for Black September, the massacre at the Munich Olympics.
The story’s pace is quick and it keeps the reader flipping to the next page.

Mission Impossible – Fallout

missionWhat can I say, I’ve been a fan of Mission Impossible since Tom Cruise was kindergarten. And as much as times and television and movies have changed over the years, I love how the producers have kept the same theme and music and gimmicks. Yes, one CIA character in the new movie even refers to the Halloween masks that the IMF uses to pull off their impossible missions.

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