Author archives: Julie Coulter-English

Remember Me: World Alzheimer's Month

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September 2015 is the fourth global World Alzheimer’s Month. This year’s theme is Remember Me. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, it is estimated that 44 million people worldwide are living with dementia. Two remarkable debut novels published last year spotlight unforgettable characters who happen to have dementia. In Emma Healey’s Elizabeth Is[...]

City of Migrants: Toronto

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In 1847, Toronto was Canada's largest city, boasting a population of 20,000, largely English and Scottish Protestant. Between May and October of that year, more than 38,000 economic migrants fleeing the potato famine in Ireland, many of them typhus-infected, disembarked at Toronto. Although the majority of immigrants moved on to other cities, Toronto would r[...]

A Settlement Story: Jane Addams

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An Illinois senator’s daughter, Jane Addams was a 27 year old medical school dropout when she and a friend, Ellen Starr, decided to travel around Europe. Both were feminists dedicated to social activism, particularly global peace, the eradication of world poverty and the improvement of the status of women everywhere. It wasn’t until the pair visited Toynbee [...]

The Perfect Work Environment

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It was the perfect work environment.  Everything was laid out logically to avoid congestion and reduce backtracking. The design aesthetic was minimalist. The materials maintained in pristine condition. Large windows on two adjoining walls often let in enough light to work by. The entire space couldn’t have been much more than 500 ft² (46 m²), ruling out any [...]

A New Pandora: The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

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When your dreams come true, your true has moved. It’s been twenty years since the Breakdown. When the fungus turned everyone in its path into hungries who literally ate civilisation. Some thirty miles north of London, a fortified base operated by a skeleton staff is the site of a small, jury-rigged laboratory and a classroom. Here Dr. Caroline Caldwell obse[...]

First Contact: Alexander Calder

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On a recent trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, I was looking for the way out and exited into a spacious landing and wide stairway. The pale walls and stone stairs gleamed with soft light. Soundless, suspended over the stairs, a Calder mobile wafted on the breeze I had created by opening the door. For more than ten minutes I found myself wond[...]

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

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Happy 148th birthday to British novelist and playwright, John Galsworthy! John Galsworthy was born on August 14, 1867 in Surrey, England. Although more popular as a playwright during his lifetime, Galsworthy is now famous for his fiction masterpiece, The Forsyte Saga, which won him a Nobel prize for literature a year before his death in 1933. The saga trace[...]

My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh

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A dark-themed debut novel with a Baton Rouge, Louisiana setting, My Sunshine Away plays with genre. Initially, it seems coming of age story about a family neighbourhood in the late 1980s, early 90s told by an unnamed fourteen year old boy who has a devastating crush on the girl across the street. Suddenly a crime is committed, drawing the reader into a myste[...]

Guests on Earth: A Fictionalised Chronicle of Mental Illness

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A fictionalised chronicle of life in a real institution, Lee Smith's Guests on Earth takes place during the 1930s and 1940s at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1936, F. Scott Fitzgerald left his wife, Zelda there to be treated for schizophrenia (she is now thought to have been bipolar). Orphaned at thirteen and inconvenient to her g[...]

Summer Reads Part IV - Black River by S. M. Hulse

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Driving to his hometown deep in the canyon made by mountains, retired Corrections Officer, Wes Carver feels lost. Sixty years old and widowed five days earlier, Wes is returning to appear at the parole board hearing of the convict who tortured him twenty years ago during a prison riot. Bobby Williams, claiming to have “found Jesus”, is now a Bible-reading, c[...]

Summer Reads Part III - The Odyssey

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Before the creation of the Marvel universe's superheroes and supervillains, there were epic poems of Greek superheroes and supervillains. One of these poems is The Odyssey, an extravagant account of a shrewd soldier/king, Odysseus, making his perilous and tardy way home to Ithaca after ten years of fighting spectacularly in the Trojan War. One of Odysseus’ c[...]

Summer Reads Part II- The Future for Curious People

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More alternate reality than science fiction, The Future for Curious People unites comedy with romance in a tale of destiny vs design. Evelyn is a librarian who, in her spare time, volunteers to record classic novels for the visually impaired. Minor detail that she converts the sad endings to happy ones. Charlotte the spider, Anna Karenina and Mme Bovary all [...]

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