book – A Piano in the Pyrenees

I am on a reading listening binge. (Thanks to and hours each day on my bike with a Nano.)

The Ups and Downs of an Englishman in the French Mountains

A Piano in the Pyrenees: The Ups and Downs of an Englishman in the French Mountains

What? He’s not the world’s most famous skateboarder.

He’s Antony Gordon Hawksworth, better known as Tony Hawks, English comedian, author and philanthropist.

I loved his first book — Round Ireland with a Fridge and somewhat liked his second book — Playing the Moldovans at Tennis.

Piano is his fourth book. And it is excellent. I love the amusing, understated British humour.

A Brit out of his element in rural France after impetuously buying a house. Brilliant.


A guy named Dave Nicoll also liked Round Ireland with a Fridge. Inspired, he decided to travel round the WORLD with a fridge.

book – All the Pretty Horses

For some reason I thought I’d like All the Pretty Horses, the award winning novel by Cormac Mccarthy.

That would be wrong.

… The plot is simple enough. John Grady Cole, a 16-year-old dispossessed Texan, crosses the Rio Grande into Mexico in 1949, accompanied by his pal Lacey Rawlins. The two precocious horsemen pick up a sidekick–a laughable but deadly marksman named Jimmy Blevins–encounter various adventures on their way south and finally arrive at a paradisiacal hacienda where Cole falls into an ill-fated romance. …

The writing is excellent. But the plot plods and has nothing more to redeem it than tired “folk wisdom of uneducated cowboys” cuteness. The last time that engaged me, Clint Eastwood was a young man.

Thumbs down.

All the Pretty Horses

All the Pretty Horses

I bought it as an audio book. But since no one has (yet) come up with a convincing enough neologism to claim the prize, I cannot VERBalize what I did with Pretty Horses.

… “ristened” … GAK.

win an audio book from Rick

I recently read listened to an audio book called I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert.

Now if you love Colbert, you will love this book.

If you really love Colbert (as I do) you will really love this book.

He’s a one trick pony — making fun of stuffy right-wing mentality by pretending to be a diehard right-winger himself.

I Am America (And So Can You!)

I Am America (And So Can You!)

The contest:

Brian challenged me to come up with a new word to properly describe the process of listening to an audio book. A new verb.

Not “read”. Not “listen”.

Whoever comes up with the best neologism wins a free audio book from !!

Contact me.

Banff Mountain Festival

Up in the mountains for the weekend, for those interested, I’m blogging the films and book presentations over on my hiking website.

For example, John Harlin III (the son) presented the personal background story of his new book, The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain that Killed My Father.

IMAX had a big hit with Everest. They’ve followed that up with a movie called The Alps.

Harlin, in the film, repeats the cimb of the Eiger where his father had fallen to his death. With his wife and daughter looking on.

To see the trailer click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Banff Hostel – Mountain Film festival

For the Banff Mountain Festival I’ll be staying at the Banff International hostel.

Coolest attraction there is the man made ice climbing wall. (Not sure if it is in operation yet this winter.)


I have a standard $150 ticket package for events. But I’m guessing just the ambiance of the mountain resort over the festival days will be the highlight.

book – A Thousand Splendid Suns

I had mixed feelings while reading the second novel by Khaled Hosseini of Kite Runner fame and infamy.

Certainly it’s not as strong as Kite Runner.

I bought the audio book anyway because the subject is so important to me: the plight of Islamic women.

Too bad Hosseini is so predictably sentimental. From the New York Times, MICHIKO KAKUTANI:

And like its predecessor, it features some embarrassingly hokey scenes that feel as if they were lifted from a B movie, and some genuinely heart-wrenching scenes that help redeem the overall story.

It could be a fantastic book, but isn’t.

Yet, I will likely still read Hosseini’s next book. And watch the inevitably successful movies adapted from them.

I guess I’m hooked.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

movie – Kite Runner – delayed

I read the book. Here was my review then:

Kahled HosseiniThe Kite Runner. 2003. Books set in Afghanistan are hot in 2006. This critically acclaimed example is a great eye-opener for those who do not know that part of the world, like myself. It is intense. Painful to read. It reminded me of A Separate Peace, by Knowles. By the last page, however, I was disappointed. Far too cliché and predictable. It is lame in the way formulaic TV movies are lame.

Still, I am very keen to see this important movie.

Author Khaled Hosseini has come out in support of a decision to delay the film version of his novel The Kite Runner over fears for the stars’ safety.

Studio Paramount Vantage has put the film back by six weeks, after three young Afghan actors said they could be targeted over a homosexual rape scene.

The studio has also arranged for three families to go and live abroad.

Hosseini said he “applauded” the decision. “Afghanistan has become a pretty violent place,” he added.

The overall message of the film is tolerance, love, friendship and forgiveness …

“If the boys and their families think there is a reasonable risk of threat to them, then you have to take all of the steps that you can to make sure they are okay,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

“I applaud the studio for delaying the release of the film even though it goes against whatever commercial wisdom there is.”

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Kite Runner author supports delay

To see the movie trailer click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.