What to Read; What to Watch….

If you download the New Yorker podcasts, The Writers Voice,  or Fiction, you’ve heard short fiction by Lorrie Moore.  She’s an excellent novelist, it turns out.  Her 2009 book, A Gate at the Stairs, is a masterpiece about sex, race, social class, middle America and a bit of a thriller thrown in.  The book is about a bored second-year university student in a liberal arts college in the US mid-west.  She needs money and agrees to  babysit for a couple who is about to adopt a baby.  The book is deep, and  humorous. gate

I may be a sucker for Ottawa in the fall, but yesterday’s televised walk thru the bare trees  on the grounds that surround Rideau Hall made me feel almost weepy.  Dozens of would-be cabinet ministers, their husbands, wives, and children – sometimes even their parents — walked the lovely pathways to Rideau Hall  for the swearing-in ceremony.  There was snow on the ground, but the paths were brushed clean which meant the women teetered on high heels and the men wore tasseled brogues.  To be sure,  it was all stage-managed by the Liberal machine — but it was beautiful.  And quiet and non-urgent.  Truly a spectator sport.  I have occasionally  watched   the swearing-in of cabinet in the UK — and generally the soon to be cabinet ministers escape from a dingy taxi in front of 10 Downing St. and launch themselves over the 10 feet of pavement to the front doors of #10.


Monitors at the gym, showing Newsnet, mid-afternoon, Wednesday

But  watching Newsnet’s live coverage from a bench in the gym, I was struck by how lovely and glowing they all looked:  there was ageing and truly loyal Carolyn Bennett walking with her husband through the woods  — she wore a lovely swishing red coat.  There was Chrystia Freeland in a black wool coat and boots, holding hands with her 10 year old blonde son who wore a red Roots “Canada” sweatshirt  and red mittens.  There was Marc Garneau and his family.  There was Pablo Rodriguez, his wife and I’d guess 16 year old daughter… The promenade went on for an hour at least. There was an edict (I’m sure) not to wear tory-blue, or ndp-orange– or any shade of green! And all invitees complied and donned  greys, blacks, and reds…

And we all remember the scene the day 4 years ago when Trudeau en famille took the same pathways in October’s bright light .  However  they almost skipped to Rideau Hall with the backdrop of dazzling fall leaves, and blue sky and security men…

Of course I’m not a Liberal but this was the best show in town that day.

What to watch? The Human Resources Manager is an Israeli film that is bittersweet.  The HR manager at a bakery is tasked with returning a dead employee back to her family in Romania.  It’s clever, humanquick moving and oddly — believable.  Shows a lot of scenery about Romania in winter, and the relationships of all the characters are starkly but realistically drawn.

Just watched auteilIn the Name of My Daughter, it has subtitles.  It’s a wonderful mystery and a true story about a man whose 14 yr old daughter dies while on vacation with the man’s ex-wife and her new husband.  It took from 1974 to 2012 for the scales of justice to tip in the aggrieved father’s favour —  The acting is excellent, and you won’t want to miss a minute of it.

Unless you like a lot of kissing (and I mean just kissing) and pretty ladies, and dull scheming men, don’t watch frenchThe French Minister. The first half hour is great, maybe the first 45 minutes but after that you can make dinner or listen to a podcast instead!

All three dvd I borrowed from Halifax Public Library.

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