Review: Rick Mercer Final Report

Title: Rick Mercer Final Report
Author: Rick Mercer
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Canada’s pre-eminent satirical commentator brings down the curtain on his hugely successful show in this instant #1 national bestseller. 

Rick Mercer can always be relied on to provoke a strong reaction–but what he said one fall day in 2017 truly shocked the nation. In a rant posted on social media, the great Canadian satirist announced loud and clear that the current, 15th season of the Rick Mercer Report–the nation’s best-watched and best-loved comedy show–would be the last. After more than 250 episodes, 250 rants and countless miles spent travelling the length and breadth of Canada to do everything from bungee jumping with Rick Hansen to whale watching with Measha Brueggergosman, it was time to move on. What he will do next is still unknown, and Canada eagerly awaits future developments. But meanwhile, we have this book to keep us going.

This volume brings together never-before-published rants from the last five seasons of the show, plus a selection of the very best rants from earlier years. And throughout the book, in a series of brilliant new essays, Rick shares his hilarious, moving and at times hair-raising memories from the past fifteen years. Remember when he and Jann Arden travelled by helicopter to a terrifying bat cave in a mountain? No–because that trip went so horribly wrong it never made it to the screen. Pierre Berton–what was really in that joint he rolled? (It wasn’t oregano.) What catastrophe took place in Norman Jewison’s bathroom? And can the show still go on when your director in charge is delirious from an allergic reaction? (Yes.) All this and more is revealed by Rick in some of his sharpest and funniest writing yet.

Review:

I was so excited about this book! I’ve loved watching Rick Mercer on TV since I was a kid. He’s hilarious!

This book collects his best rants from his show. He has a segment on The Mercer Report where he does a 90 second rant about something. It can be about anything from politics to celebrities to how people drive. I loved reading the rants. I have heard many of them on TV but they’re so great to read. They are short, with each one only about about a page long, so it is easy to flip through this book.

There are also some personal stories from Rick about filming the show included in the book. I love these kinds of behind-the-scenes stories about him and the show. It really makes you feel like you were part of the show.

I loved this book! It’s a must-read for fans of Rick Mercer!

What to read next:

A Nation Worth Ranting About by Rick Mercer

Rick Mercer Report: The Book by Rick Mercer

Have you read Rick Mercer Final Report? What did you think of it?

Review: Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir

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Title: Son of a Critch: A Newfoundland Memoir
Author: Mark Critch
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A heartfelt and outrageously funny memoir about Newfoundland, family, and being the weirdest kid in school

What could be better than growing up in the 1980s? How about growing up in 1980s Newfoundland, which as Mark Critch will tell you, was more like the 1960s. Critch takes us to where it all began in this tremendously funny and warm look back on his formative years. A “recovering Catholic,” he recalls his many misadventures growing up on the outskirts of a small town. And when your radio-star dad is the talk of the town, and your mom can’t stop talking at all, life at home is always entertaining.

Best known as the “roving reporter” for CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Mark Critch has photo-bombed Justin Trudeau, interviewed Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle (while impersonating Alan Doyle), offered Pamela Anderson a million dollars to stop acting, and crashed White House briefings. But in this hilarious debut, we learn that Critch has been causing trouble his whole life. Son of a Critch will have you longing for life in Canada’s most unique province–even if you’ve never been there–and marvelling at how one person’s childhood could be so ridiculously funny.

Review:

My favourite comedians are all from Newfoundland: Jonny Harris, Rick Mercer, and, of course, Mark Critch. I was so excited to learn that Mark Critch had written a book, and I knew I had to read it!

Mark Critch is one of the funniest men on TV. The segment on his show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, that I enjoyed the most was based on the news story of the boy who went up in a homemade hot air balloon a few years ago. The actual news story ended up being a hoax. Mark did a parody of this story, which was a baby in a grocery bag that blew into a tree. I still burst out laughing thinking about that sketch! I became a lifelong fan of Mark Critch. (Here’s the link to the clip on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE1CW7-bFv8)

If you love 22 Minutes, you will love Son of a Critch! This book was hilarious! Mark’s storytelling from the show was evident in this book. I learned some of the history of Newfoundland from his stories. I loved the stories and I could hear my own relatives from Bishop’s Falls, Newfoundland in this book.

I loved this book! I recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh!

What to read next:

  • Canada by Mike Myers

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  • Rick Mercer Report: The Book by Rick Mercer

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Have you read Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir? What did you think of it?

Review: #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women

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Title: #NotYourPrincess
Author: Lisa Charleyboy, Mary Beth Leatherdale
Genre: Non-Fiction, Poetry
Publisher: Annick Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

Review:

This is a very powerful collection of stories from Native American Women.

These stories were in multiple different forms. There are poems, short stories, essays, as well as paintings, photographs, and drawings. One of the stories was in the form of a comic, and another looked like pages torn from a notebook. Each of them were different and used a different format.

There were a few pieces on the residential schools in Canada. For those that don’t know, the residential schools separated Native children from their parents, and raised them to be “white.” They removed their Indigenous culture from them, and refused to let them practice it. The women who wrote these stories are the children of the kids who were sent to residential schools. Though they didn’t witness it first hand, they have seen the pain that their parents still feel from their time spent there.

There was also an essay about how racist and harmful a Pocahontas costume is for Halloween. It represents more than just a character, even if the wearer means no harm. It is a costume but it represents a real person, who cannot take it off at the end of the night. People also think that Indigenous women need to look a certain way. There were a couple of pieces on not looking Indigenous enough, as if you can’t identify as a Native Woman if you have the wrong colour hair or skin. I find it crazy that people can think that, because they wouldn’t say that other cultures. For some reason people judge Indigenous people by what percentage of Native heritage they have in their genes,

I loved this collection of Native American Women’s voices.

What to read next:

  • Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

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  • The Break by Katherena Vermette

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Have you read #NotYourPrincess: Voices Native American Women? What did you think of it?

 

Review: Harry & Meghan: A Royal Engagement

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Title: Harry & Meghan: A Royal Engagement
Author: Halima Sadat
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Pavilion
Source: Purchased
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A beautifully illustrated souvenir guide to celebrate Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle
 To mark the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, Pitkin is delighted to publish this very special new royal souvenir in celebration of a truly modern love story. Born on September 15, 1984, Harry, christened Henry Charles Albert David, is the second child of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and younger brother to Prince William. The fourth grandchild of the Queen and Prince Philip, he is currently fifth in line to the British throne. His bride-to-be Rachel Meghan Markle, known simply as Meghan, was born on August 4, 1981 and grew up in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of Thomas Markle, an Emmy-award-winning lighting director of Irish and Dutch descent, and Doria Ragland, an African American psychotherapist and yoga teacher. As an accomplished screen actress, Meghan fulfilled her childhood dream of being a television star. This is the tale of how the dashing Prince met and fell in love with the beautiful American actress. Despite their differing backgrounds and career paths, the new royal couple are united in their commitment to charitable campaigns and devotion to one another. Meghan now faces a new chapter as she becomes a senior member of the Royal Family, which she will no doubt embrace with her natural charm and elegance. With lavish illustrations and some previously unseen images, this is a souvenir to cherish.

Review:

I’m currently watching the royal wedding as I’m posting this review! I’m so excited about it, so I wanted to do a royal review to celebrate on my blog.

Harry and Meghan are an amazing couple. This book tells each of their histories, as well as details about the important royal weddings of the last century (Elizabeth and Philip, Charles and Camilla, William and Catherine). There was even a section about royal engagement rings which I loved.

The one bad thing about this book, is that it was obviously written long before there were many decisions made for the wedding. Some of the facts are dated, since we have learned concrete details in the past few weeks. However, it is a great collectible for fans. It is also a nice and quick read that is easy to pick up and put down.

I’m so excited to continue to follow Harry and Meghan’s journey! Congratulations to the royal couple!

Review: Rise of the Superheroes: Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters

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Title: Rise of the Superheroes: Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters
Author: David Tosh
Genre: Non-Fiction, Graphic Novels
Publisher: F+W Media
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

They Could Be Heroes

Rise of the Superheroes–Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters is a visual and entertaining adventure exploring one of the most popular and significant eras of comic book history. From 1956 to 1970, the era gave us Spider-Man, The Avengers, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and a flurry of other unforgettable and formidable characters.

The Silver Age redefined and immortalized superheroes as the massive pop culture titans they are today.

Lavishly illustrated with comic book covers and original art, the book chronicles:
The new frontier of DC Comics, with a revamped Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and new characters including Hawkman
Marvel’s new comics featuring Thor and The Fantastic Four
The pop art years that saw Batman’s “new look” and the TV series
Independent characters, including Fat Fury and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
Spotlights new and re-imagined superheroes, like Wonder Woman, who have become central to modern pop culture
Includes values of these comics, which are popular with collectors
Thanks to the Silver Age, superheroes are bigger and badder than ever.

Review:

This is a great book about this history of superhero comics. It focuses on the art of comics and artists who created them. It is especially good for collectors, because some prices of vintage comics are listed.

I loved that there were many original comic covers in this book. Alongside the photos, the amounts that these original comics sold at auctions were listed. It’s fascinating to see how many thousands of dollars these comics can sell for today, when they originally cost only a few cents!

One funny thing about this book, and it proves that superheroes are still extremely popular, is that even though this book was just released, the movie rankings are already out of date. Avengers: Infinity War has surpassed not only the earnings of other superhero movies, but all other movies as well. Black Panther was also a huge hit, and would be listed high up on the movie rankings. This just proves the lasting effects of these characters that were created decades ago.

This is a great book about the rise of superheroes!

Review: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race

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Title: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race
Author: Rebecca Rissman
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Capstone
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Tells the gripping story of four female African-American mathematicians who literally made it possible to launch US rockets–and astronauts–into space. Tells the thrilling tale of how each woman contributed, the struggles and resistance each experienced, and the amazing results. Consultants currently work for NASA.

Review:

This book is about the African-American women who worked at NASA. It’s a lot like the book and movie Hidden Figures but written for children.

There are many reasons this book is important for children, particularly girls of colour, to read this book. These women demonstrate how important women were to the work of NASA. They worked behind the scenes, so they were not the focal point of the news stories. Everyone can picture the white male astronauts who landed on the moon, but not the black women who did the math and science that made it possible for them to do it. It’s important for young children to be able to see themselves in historical figures.

This story also highlights the importance of math and science in the days before computers. The job titles for these women was “computer” before there were machines of the same name. Often today, children don’t understand the point of learning math when they can just do the same computations on their cell phones in seconds. But it’s important to know how to do these things, because sometimes even the computers can be wrong.

This book is nonfiction but each chapter reads like a short story narrative about the women who worked at NASA. This will make the story accessible and entertaining for young readers.

I highly recommend this book for young readers!

Review: Stan Lee

Title: Stan Lee
Author: Bob Batchelor
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Amazing Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. The Invincible Iron Man. These are just a few of the iconic superheroes to emerge from the mind of Stan Lee. From the mean streets of Depression-era New York City to recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Lee’s life has been almost as remarkable as the thrilling adventures he spun for decades. From millions of comic books fans of the 1960s through billions of moviegoers around the globe, Stan Lee has touched more people than almost any person in the history of popular culture. In Stan Lee, The Man behind Marvel Comics, Bob Batchelor offers an eye-opening look at this iconic visionary, a man who created (with talented artists) many of history’s most legendary characters. In this energetic and entertaining biography, Batchelor explores how Lee capitalized on natural talent and hard work to become the editor of Marvel Comics as a teenager. After toiling in the industry for decades, Lee threw caution to the wind and went for broke, co-creating the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and others in a creative flurry that revolutionized comic books for generations of readers. Marvel superheroes became a central part of pop culture, from collecting comics to innovative merchandising, from superhero action figures to the ever-present Spider-Man lunchbox. Batchelor examines many of Lee’s most beloved works, including the 1960s comics that transformed Marvel from a second-rate company to a legendary publisher. This book reveals the risks Lee took to bring the characters to life and Lee’s tireless efforts to make comic books and superheroes part of mainstream culture for more than fifty years. Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel Comics not only reveals why Lee developed into such a central figure in American entertainment history, but brings to life the cultural significance of comic books and how the superhero genre reflects ideas central to the American experience. Candid, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, this is a biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more – changing American culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations of readers.

Review:

I just started reading superhero comics in the last couple of years. I find the history of comics fascinating! They were always considered a lower type of book, but now they can be high literature.

This book wasn’t as much about Stan Lee, but about Marvel and the comic book industry at the time. There were still great stories about Stan’s innovations in comics. I loved the story in the prologue where his wife convinced him to try and write what he wanted for a change, since he had nothing to lose. The result of that was the Fantastic Four.

I loved the stories about how Stan Lee developed some of today’s most beloved superheroes. His boss didn’t approve of Spider-Man but he published it anyways, and the rest is history. I also love his special touch on comics, where he places himself in the stories. He still does it today when he makes cameos in all the Marvel movies.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s a great history of Stan Lee’s career and influence on Marvel comics.