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Whatever you call it, every Canadian summer home needs at least one copy of Charles Gordon's wry, affectionate, and very funny study of our national obsession with that special summer place.From the Hardcover edition.
"We are back from three months on the highways of Canada, driving 24,863 kilometres, which is 15,539 miles to you old-timers. " Clearly, after this beginning,The Canada Tripis not going to be a conventional travel guide. Nor is it a journalistic dissection of the mood of the land, because "the country has been analysed to death. " Instead, Charles Gordon keeps what he calls Inner Journalist in check to give us a record of how a typical traveller sees the country, moseying along in the family car. This makes the book not so much a "Whither Canada?" as a "Whither the washroom?" book, and we are all grateful for it. It started out as a simple idea. Gordon and his wife, Nancy (also known, to her slight irritation, as the Business Manager), the drive across Canada. Starting from Ottawa they drove east through Quebec ("Lac St-Jean is where everybody votes separatist and nobody speaks English and we are making good time and what is this trip about but being spontaneous, right? - so left we go"), through New Brunswick, P. E. I. , Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, where they learned about "soap for the moose. " From St. John's they headed west on a different route through the Maritimes to Montreal, Toronto, and Lake of the Woods (scene of the famous cottage inAt the Cottage). Then it was west along what used to be called the CPR route (with memorable side trips to places like Sharon Butala's Saskatchewan ranch, immortalised inThe Perfection of Morning) all the way to Vancouver and Victoria. Then, via Prince Rupert, they followed the Yellowhead Trail back through Edmonton and Saskatoon, hitting Flin Flon and Northern Ontario on the way home. They had a wonderful time, rambling around without an agenda, arguing whether today's view (the Gaspé coast, or the Cabot Trail, or Lake Superior, or Banff, or Long Beach) deserved a place on their Top Ten list. Another list soon developed - the small towns they somehow managed to get lost in - and because Charles Gordon is male and thus unable to stop and ask for directions, many interesting miles were added in this way. Further sacrifices were made by Nancy "for the book," including a visit to a Regina casino, but she drew the line at the West Edmonton Mall submarine. As well as these family dynamics we meet many Gordon friends and relatives, while memories of Charles Gordon's namesake and grandfather, the writer known as Ralph Connor, lend special meaning to encounters in Glengarry County, Winnipeg, and Canmore. If you insist on looking for conventional travel guide advice ("Eat here. Stay there") this book has some interesting twists. In downtown Fraser Lake, B. C. , for instance, Nancy gets carried away and asks about the house white wine. ... "'It doesn't really have a name,' the waitress replies. 'It comes in a big white box. Everybody likes it. ' Nancy tastes it and she likes it too. Wait'll the big-shot wine stewards in T. O. hear this. " Besides learning to look for wine in a big white box the alert reader will find where to ask for a Denver as opposed to a Western sandwich, and learn about the Thunder Bay delicacy known to one and all as a Persian. Ranging from moose to chipmunks, from a cool jazz festival to even cooler icebergs, and from the Prestige Motel to the Chateau Lake Louise, this book is a highly personal look at a country well worth visiting, witty and affectionate, a fact that its own citizens tend to overlook. As Charles Gordon, the perfect companion, puts it in his final paragraph, "What does Canada need, you ask, to enter the twenty-first century? More passing lanes. More ferries. Reading la
Modern management has come toThe World Beacon. This means that a new editor, Fred Morgan, has been sent to inspire everyone to get out and write newspaper stories that will matter to their readers, stories about their lives, their children, their careers - and cloth. Cloth? Clearly, the new editor is making some unusual plans and Parker MacVeigh, our hero, senses an opportunity. Parker - divorced, 40-ish - is ready for serious career advancement. When his stories about cloth get him into Fred's good graces, and a local professor reveals that there are Saturnians among us, wreaking havoc, Fred puts him in charge of the top-secret Saturnian task-force. How Parker befriends the professor and turns his staff of Tony Fruscilla (hard-nosed young reporter) and Juanita Eldridge (soft-nosed Ivy League graduate) onto a real story is the stuff of - well, of newspaper satire. For Uncle Bob, the legendary American evangelist and fishing trophy winner is coming to town, and the Chamber of Commerce expects millions of dollars to flow in as a result. The newspaper cast in this novel ranges from a man with a genius for creating the dullest headlines in the world to a freelancer who writes the stamp column under "M. U. Cilage. " Then there's Shirley Davis, Business Editor in her University of Manitoba sweater, Orville and Smokey, the old guys from type-setting, and, of course, the Russian immigrant cartoonist who keeps trying to slip in his cartoon of the Grim Pig, a confused combination of a pig and the grim reaper. This is delightful satire in the tradition of William Weintraub'sWhy Rock the Boat'and Evelyn Waugh'sScoop, and any similarity between this novel and a newspaper in a box near you is purely coincidental. From the Hardcover edition.
Move over, Miss Manners. Step aside, Emily Post. It's time for a truly modern book ("How To Make Love to a Laptopper") on proper behaviour at work ("Walk fast and carry a piece of paper") and at play ("Riding a Bicicyle Without Being a Geek"). Forget excellence. This book will help you rise above it all and become, well, not too bad. From the Hardcover edition.
In 1989, Charles Gordon wrote a book about the joys of life at the cottage called, well, At the Cottage. It was a huge success, selling thousands of copies every year since then. A copy sits, dog-eared and smeared with sunscreen, in every cottage worthy of the name, right beside the bird book with the missing pages. Now, showing the same creative spirit when it comes to names, comes Still at the Cottage. Readers will be surprised to learn that some things have changed in cottage country, which is now real estate. Suburbanism proceeds apace; the store at the dock now stocks lawncare items (this is bad). But it also stocks more fruits and vegetables (this is good). Gordon pokes affectionate fun at the surprising new technology available to people heading for the simple life at the cottage. He even proposes a solution to solve neighbour conflicts: some lakes should be zoned as napping lakes, others as jet ski lakes, others possibly as jerk lakes, and so on. Monster cottages may gobble up rocks and trees, and traffic on and to the lake may be much worse. But this book, like the slap of the screen door, will remind you instantly why the cottage is a special place that needs a copy of this very funny book.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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