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On the Bookshelf
Reviews by Lynn Fenske
1000 Questions About Canada
What was Pierre Elliott Trudeau's favourite snack food? Who named
the Loonie? What is the Toronto Blessing? Who is the Canadian animator
who created the near-sighted Mr. Magoo? The answers to these questions
(and several hundred more) can be found in John Robert Columbo's
latest question and answer book about the people, places, things
and ideas that are uniquely Canadian. The third of its kind, researched
and written by Canada's "Master Gatherer", 1000 Questions
About Canada allows for the telling of interesting stories that
dwell on curious events in the lives and history of Canadians. Written
with an element of surprise, this book is intended for the general
reader who reads to learn and particularly enjoys off beat trivia.
It's a great edition for any Canadian who wants to be more informed
about our great nation and an excellent testimony to one of Columbo's
favourite mottos, "Canada needs only to be known to be great".
When reading a newspaper or watching the evening news on television,
are you ever annoyed by an obvious bias in the reporting? Ever amazed
at what doesn't occur to the reporter? Surprised by the narrow perspectives
that gain media prominence? If so, you are catching on to what media
critic and Communications Professor James Winter has so aptly called
"media think". According to Winter, media think is "the
ideology and the means by which the media create our world view".
It is Winter's contention that with the news media increasingly
owned by a small group of very large corporations, the public falls
prey to the "dishonesty of wealthy men on certain topics".
Consequently news reporting is bias according to the class, gender,
race and corporate allegiances of the media owners. In his book
Media Think, Winter brilliantly illustrates his point through
careful assessment of coverage of the war in Afghanistan, responses
to the September 11 terrorist attacks and in media representations
of women and visible minorities. Read this book and you'll think
twice about the daily news - first of the content, then more importantly
the context in which it is reported.
The Great Canadian Book of Lists
For those of you who want written acknowledgement that Canada has come into its own during the 20th century and has exercised increasing influence over the rest of the world, then take a look at this book of lists. It's Canadiana of a different sort - lists of pertinent, entertaining, educational information that document our unique history and cultural trends. Some lists are comparisons that transcend time. Consider the most popular baby names in Canada 1950 to 1998. How about Canada's Top News Stories 1900 - 2000. Or the leading causes of death in 1923, 1954 and 1995. There are twelve categories of lists, from arts & entertainment to politics and sports. There's even the lists of sexiest Canadian men and sexiest Canadian women (Pierre Trudeau and Shania Twain are the number one selections respectively.) The Great Canadian Book of Lists makes for great reading and great trivia questions. You'll be surprised, delighted, educated and intrigued by the entries - just what the authors wanted to accomplish.
Finally, a who's who of Hollywood North. Put together by the publisher
and editor-in-chief of Take One: Film & Television in Canada,
this book is the most up-to-date reference guide to the Canadian
film industry. A richly detailed accounting of both film and filmmakers,
it provides over 700 reviews and biographical listings combined
with a comprehensive chronology of major events in Canadian film
and television history. Each film title listed includes credits,
a mini review and significant awards. Biographical listings of directors,
producers, actors, writers, animators, cinematographers, distributors,
exhibitors and independent filmmakers include date and place of
birth, a brief career overview, filmography and, if applicable,
date of death. Inspired by the 1996 celebration of the one hundredth
anniversary of film in Canada, this edition is a self-proclaimed
work in progress. It's what Wyndham Wise considers only a start
to documenting the wealth of achievements on both a national and
international scale, featuring both the distinctly Canadian and
what Canada has exported to Hollywood South.
Start & Run a Copywriting Business
Someone once remarked that writing without selling is like acting
without an audience. For those writers interested in selling their
services in a commercial arena then this book is a must-have reference.
As part of the Small Business Series of Self-Councel Press, it provides
all the instruction needed to set up business in the competitive,
high-paying world of copywriting. By definition, copywriting involves
writing any sales or marketing document, whether it be direct mail,
advertising, online, audio/visual, annual reports or media materials.
By its nature, it is writing that is tied directly to business activity,
particularly sales and promotion and thereby is forever exciting,
challenging and creative. For anyone wanting to embark on a career
as a copywriter, this edition gives all the how-to advice from setting
up your own business entity, self-promotion, determining fees, writing
great copy and managing your resources of work, time and money.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got more reading to do.
The Online Copywriter's Handbook
Here's another valuable how-to reference for writers wanting to expand their careers, capabilities and pocketbooks. Robert Bly is an accomplished direct marketing practitioner who shares his knowledge and experience with newcomers and old pros alike. In this edition, he concentrates on the Internet and provides everything that's needed to write great copy for online applications. What is refreshing about this particular book is the author's guarantee that it will never be outdated. He provides three websites (including his own) at which readers can keep up on the latest information. Bly also publishes his address, telephone, fax and e-mail address for anyone interesting in providing feedback or sharing tricks of their own. Ready, set, network!