Favourite Posts of 2017

Sunday, 31 December 2017
It's been quiet here, but it hasn't been because I haven't been writing or spending my time exploring. More than five years is a long time to sustain a blog, and most days this one seems to be in its final days. But that said, I'm not letting it die completely (yet), even if it simply acts as a hub to share other things I'm working on.

I'm proud that earlier this year I helped launch The Inlet with a number of peers and friends. Also, this fall, The Hamilton Review of Books released our third (maybe best?) collection of reviews, interviews, and essays.

Here are a few of my favourite posts from Not My Typewriter and beyond.

Not My Typewriter
Wine. All. The. Time.
Eating and Drinking in Vancouver
Behind the Scenes at Cirque du Soleil
Places from Books: Petty Harbour
Review: Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear
Hamilton Winterfest 2017

The Inlet:
Best Antique Markets Worth a Drive
Best Free Music Series to See Before Summer Ends
Best Places to Buy Pie
Hamilton Toy Museum
Auchmar House
Safer Gigs Hamilton
Connaught Fish & Chips
Bonanza Bakery

The Hamilton Review of Books
Review: The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
Review: Baseball Life Advice

Review: The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History by David McPherson

This review originally appeared at The Hamilton Review of Books.

The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History ends with a call to action: “... I encourage you to do your part to support live music wherever you live,” writes David McPherson, a music journalist and the book’s author. “At the end of the day, that’s what will keep clubs like the Horseshoe Tavern open and viable for the next generation.”

A timely book of music nostalgia, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern explores one of the country’s most famous music venues — an institution with a nondescript facade that has stood at 370 Queen Street West since 1947. While McPherson has written his book in commemoration of the ’Shoe’s 70th anniversary in December, it also comes during a year in which historic venues like Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa and the Silver Dollar Room in Toronto have closed. In Hamilton, our own Baltimore House on King William Street shut its doors in the spring.

McPherson’s passion for music and the Horseshoe Tavern is evident as he takes readers inside the bar that the Tragically Hip immortalized in their song “Bobcaygeon” with the lyrics, “That night in Toronto/ With its checkerboard floors.” The Horseshoe Tavern was one of the first places in Toronto to get a liquor license and the first to have a television set. It was also the place for bands, including Blue Rodeo and countless others, to get their first real break.

To read the rest of this review, visit The Hamilton Review of Books

Review: Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me by Stacey May Fowles

This review originally appeared at The Hamilton Review of Books.

Award-winning novelist, journalist, and essayist Stacey May Fowles knows which sections of a ballpark are safest for her to sit in. She knows where she’s least likely to be harassed or to hear sexist, homophobic, or racist language. She also knows that despite being a space that is often unwelcoming to women, a ballpark is her “church,” a place that offers her a precious few hours of escape and a sense of constancy.

Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me is Fowles’ collection of enthusiastic essays that celebrates baseball and the “strange grip” it has on her, while also being critical of the sport. It is a much-needed look at baseball through a gendered lens, exploring topics including Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, the correlation between sports injuries and mental health, and the male-dominated media’s “very limited and skewed depiction of women’s relationships with sports.”

On many occasions, Fowles’ fandom seems obsessive. “The emotion the game stirs in me is like an itch I can’t scratch, a feeling I’ll never really understand,” she writes in the book’s first essay, “It’s Enough That We’re Here: Thoughts on Baseball and Recovery.” At times, her wistful language and metaphors that compare baseball to romantic love might seem hyperbolic, especially for casual baseball fans. However, it is quickly understood that Fowles’ love of the game is deeper than an admiration for her favourite hitters and pitchers. Baseball is a refuge from her sexual assault, infertility, and “the thick fog of sadness” that overtook her mental health.

Read the rest of this review at The Hamilton Review of Books.
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