Review: Talking to Canadians: A Memoir

Title: Talking to Canadians: A Memoir
Author: Rick Mercer
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Canada’s beloved comic genius tells his own story for the first time.

What is Rick Mercer going to do now? That was the question on everyone’s lips when the beloved comedian retired his hugely successful TV show after 15 seasons—and at the peak of its popularity. The answer came not long after, when he roared back in a new role as stand-up-comedian, playing to sold-out houses wherever he appeared.

And then Covid-19 struck. And his legions of fans began asking again: What is Rick Mercer going to do now? Well, for one thing, he’s been writing a comic masterpiece. For the first time, this most private of public figures has turned the spotlight on himself, in a memoir that’s as revealing as it is hilarious. In riveting anecdotal style, Rick charts his rise from highly unpromising schoolboy (in his reports “the word ‘disappointment’ appeared a fair bit”) to the heights of TV fame. Along the way came an amazing break when, not long out of his teens, his one-man show Show Me the Button, I’ll Push It. Or, Charles Lynch Must Die, became an overnight sensation—thanks in part to a bizarre ambush by its target, Charles Lynch himself. That’s one story you won’t soon forget, and this book is full of them.

There’s a tale of how little Rick helped himself to a tree from the neighbours’ garden that’s set to become a new Christmas classic. There’s Rick the aspiring actor, braving “the scariest thing I have ever done in my life” by performing with the Newfoundland Shakespeare Company; unforgettable scenes with politicians of every variety, from Jean Chretien to George W. Bush to Stockwell Day; and a wealth of behind-the-scenes revelations about the origins and making of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Made in Canada, and Talking to Americans. All leading of course to the greenlighting of that mega-hit, Rick Mercer Report . . .

It’s a life so packed with incident (did we mention Bosnia and Kabul?) and laughter we can only hope that a future answer to “What is Rick Mercer going to do now?” is: “Write volume two.”

Review:

Rick Mercer is one of my favourite comedians. He has hosted satirical news shows, such as The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, as well as many Canadian awards shows. In this memoir, he talks about his early life and how he got into show business. He’s had a fascinating career that has led him to becoming one of the funniest Canadian entertainers.

My top 3 favourite comedians are from Newfoundland: Jonny Harris, Mark Critch, and Rick Mercer. The beginning of this memoir was set in Newfoundland during Rick’s childhood. I traveled to Newfoundland a couple of years ago and I have family who lives in Newfoundland (in Bishop’s Falls which also got a little cameo appearance in this memoir). Canada, and particularly Newfoundland, are such small places that even one of my English university professors was mentioned in this book. All of the Canadian references really made me feel connected to this book.

I’ve watched both of Rick’s shows since I was a child. I’ve been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. Many of his best jokes were in this memoir, including his segment called Talking to Americans. He would interview Americans and tell them made up things about Canada that they believed. I remember watching one episode where he told people in an American city that Canada was going to start using the 24 hour clock. They congratulated the country on adopting this way of counting time. This was some of his classic comedy, that made me laugh out loud many times while reading this book.

Talking to Canadians is a hilarious Canadian memoir!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rick Mercer Final Report by Rick Mercer

Son of a Critch by Mark Critch

Have you read Talking to Canadians? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – November 29

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished Talking to Canadians by Rick Mercer.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – November 28

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 7 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… Talking to Canadians: A Memoir

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading Talking to Canadians: A Memoir by Rick Mercer.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Canada’s beloved comic genius tells his own story for the first time.

What is Rick Mercer going to do now? That was the question on everyone’s lips when the beloved comedian retired his hugely successful TV show after 15 seasons—and at the peak of its popularity. The answer came not long after, when he roared back in a new role as stand-up-comedian, playing to sold-out houses wherever he appeared.

And then Covid-19 struck. And his legions of fans began asking again: What is Rick Mercer going to do now? Well, for one thing, he’s been writing a comic masterpiece. For the first time, this most private of public figures has turned the spotlight on himself, in a memoir that’s as revealing as it is hilarious. In riveting anecdotal style, Rick charts his rise from highly unpromising schoolboy (in his reports “the word ‘disappointment’ appeared a fair bit”) to the heights of TV fame. Along the way came an amazing break when, not long out of his teens, his one-man show Show Me the Button, I’ll Push It. Or, Charles Lynch Must Die, became an overnight sensation—thanks in part to a bizarre ambush by its target, Charles Lynch himself. That’s one story you won’t soon forget, and this book is full of them.

There’s a tale of how little Rick helped himself to a tree from the neighbours’ garden that’s set to become a new Christmas classic. There’s Rick the aspiring actor, braving “the scariest thing I have ever done in my life” by performing with the Newfoundland Shakespeare Company; unforgettable scenes with politicians of every variety, from Jean Chretien to George W. Bush to Stockwell Day; and a wealth of behind-the-scenes revelations about the origins and making of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Made in Canada, and Talking to Americans. All leading of course to the greenlighting of that mega-hit, Rick Mercer Report . . .

It’s a life so packed with incident (did we mention Bosnia and Kabul?) and laughter we can only hope that a future answer to “What is Rick Mercer going to do now?” is: “Write volume two.”

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Books I’m Too Scared to Read

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Books I’m Too Scared to Read. Here’s my list:

1. It by Stephen King

2. Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

3. Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

4. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

5. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

6. You by Caroline Kepnes

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: The Matzah Ball

Title: The Matzah Ball
Author: Jean Meltzer
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Mira Books
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Oy! to the world

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

Review:

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt has a secret career as a bestselling Christmas novel author. She has to keep it a secret because her father is the well-known Rabbi Goldblatt. Rachel also has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which she also keeps a secret because people often think that’s not a real condition. When her publisher decides they want a more diverse, Hanukkah themed story, she has to find inspiration. Jacob Greenberg was Rachel’s boyfriend at camp when they were twelve-years-old, until he broke her heart and humiliated her in front of everyone. Jacob returns to New York to put on the event of the season: The Matzah Ball. Rachel has to find a way to get a ticket to the Matzah Ball to find the inspiration she needs to save her secret writing career.

This was such a fun holiday rom com. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Hanukkah themed rom com, but I loved learning about these traditions. One important theme of the story was shame. Rachel was ashamed of her success as a Christmas novelist because she was Jewish. Christmas brought her joy, and it isn’t shameful to enjoy certain holidays, whether they are part of your religion or not.

Rachel was also ashamed of her illness because of how other people perceive it. Her condition is invisible, which always makes it more difficult for others to believe when they can’t see it for themselves. It’s important to remember that there are invisible diseases and conditions, so people shouldn’t be judged for their symptoms even if they aren’t visible.

The Matzah Ball was a wonderful holiday rom com!

Thank you HCC Frenzy for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

Have you read The Matzah Ball? What did you think of it?

Review: David Copperfield’s History of Magic

Title: David Copperfield’s History of Magic
Author: David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman, David Britland
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An illustrated, illuminating insight into the world of illusion from the world’s greatest and most successful magician, capturing its audacious and inventive practitioners, and showcasing the art form’s most famous artifacts housed at David Copperfield’s secret museum.

In this personal journey through a unique and remarkable performing art, David Copperfield profiles twenty-eight of the world’s most groundbreaking magicians. From the 16th-century magistrate who wrote the first book on conjuring to the roaring twenties and the man who fooled Houdini, to the woman who levitated, vanished, and caught bullets in her teeth, David Copperfield’s History of Magic takes you on a wild journey through the remarkable feats of the greatest magicians in history.

These magicians were all outsiders in their own way, many of them determined to use magic to escape the strictures of class and convention. But they all transformed popular culture, adapted to social change, discovered the inner workings of the human mind, embraced the latest technological and scientific discoveries, and took the art of magic to unprecedented heights. 

The incredible stories are complimented by over 100 never-before-seen photographs of artifacts from Copperfield’s exclusive Museum of Magic, including a 16th-century manual on sleight of hand, Houdini’s straightjackets, handcuffs, and water torture chamber, Dante’s famous sawing-in-half apparatus, Alexander’s high-tech turban that allowed him to read people’s minds, and even some coins that may have magically passed through the hands of Abraham Lincoln.

By the end of the book, you’ll be sure to share Copperfield’s passion for the power of magic.

Review:

This book is a journey through magical history. Each chapter features one of twenty-eight magicians over the last few centuries who contributed to the history of magic. These magicians used the latest technology to create their illusions, and many of these illusions are still performed today.

Many of the props used in these historical performances are kept in David Copperfield’s history of magic museum. It sounds like a fascinating place to visit. There are props and costumes from the last two hundred years in the museum. Some of the tricks are still a mystery today because the magician’s secret was never revealed.

One thing I found fascinating about this book is that many of the illusions created at least a century ago are still used today. The illusion of sawing someone in half was created in the early 1900s, and it is still a popular performance today. David Copperfield took these illusions to another level by performing them on himself rather than an assistant. It’s amazing how even with our advances in technology, these illusions are still captivating audiences today.

David Copperfield’s History of Magic is a fascinating and entertaining book!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read David Copperfield’s History of Magic? What did you think of it?

Review: Once More Upon a Time

Title: Once More Upon a Time
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Novella
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire… But first they must remember what that is…

Review:

Ambrose and Imelda were a Prince and Princess who married and were given their own kingdom to rule. However, when Imelda got sick, they made a deal with a witch to give up their love for each other but stay together for a year and a day. Once the time is up, the witch makes another deal with them to give them their freedom if they can get her a special potion from another kingdom. The couple agrees to pretend they are still together until they can get the potion. They have to eventually learn what their hearts truly desire.

This fairytale story was short and concise. Though it was a novella, there was great character development. Ambrose and Imelda weren’t the heroes of their families, but they became the heroes of their own story.

This story was also hilarious. The narrator made sarcastic comments on what was happening and the fairytale tropes in the story. This funny narrator made the story so enjoyable!

Once More Upon a Time is a fun fairytale story!

Thank you Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing a copy of this book.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Have you read Once More Upon a Time? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – November 25

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is What Once Was Mine by Liz Braswell.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The 12th installment in the New York Times best-selling series asks: What if Rapunzel’s mother drank a potion from the wrong flower?

Desperate to save the life of their queen and her unborn child, the good people of Corona search for the all-healing Sundrop flower to cure her—but mistakenly acquire the shimmering Moondrop flower instead. Nonetheless it heals the queen, and she delivers a healthy baby girl with hair as silver and gray as the moon. With it comes dangerous magical powers: the power to hurt, not heal. For her safety and the safety of the kingdom, Rapunzel is locked in a tower and put under the care of powerful goodwife, Mother Gothel.

For eighteen years Rapunzel stays locked away, knowing she must protect others from her magical hair. But when she leaves the only home she’s ever known, wanting only to see the floating lights that appear on her birthday, she gets caught up in an adventure across the kingdom with two thieves—a young woman named Gina, and Flynn Rider, a rogue on the run. Before she can reach her happy ending, Rapunzel learns that there may be more to her story, and her magical tresses, than she ever knew.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Geis II: A Game Without Rules

Title: Geis II: A Game Without Rules
Author: Alexis Deacon
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Nobrow Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 12, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The second volume of Geis picks up right where the first graphic novel concluded: with the contenders divided against their will and thrown deeper into the mysterious game. Can the alliances of power be relied upon when so many rewards lay upon the line?

Deacons’ stunning illustrations carry forward the compelling and critically acclaimed narrative as the trilogy reaches its midpoint.

Review:

The competition continues in this second book in the Geis series. Everyone in the kingdom is competing to become the leader. However, only a couple of people know that they will fight to the death. Anyone who doesn’t win the competition will be killed. In this story, everyone is divided into two teams, either black or white. Alliances are broken as the stakes keep getting higher.

This is a fast paced and action packed story. There was more tension in this story because the stakes of the competition were raised. The fact that only some of the characters know that the competitors are destined to be killed also increased the tension.

I love how each character has a distinct appearance and style. Sometimes when a graphic novel has an extensive cast, it can be difficult to differentiate between the characters. It’s easy to tell these characters apart in this graphic novel.

Geis II is a great graphic novel! I hope the story will continue because it ended on a cliffhanger.

Thank you Nobrow for providing a copy of this book.

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

Other books in the series:

Have you read Geis II:A Game Without Rules? What did you think of it?