On Netflix: My Octopus Teacher
Burnt out and recovering from a nervous breakdown, Craig Foster finds healing in the waters of a kelp forest near his South African home, and in an unexpected relationship with an octopus, who, surprisingly, is open to sharing her world with a human. This documentary started out as a random Netflix pick one evening, but quickly turned into a film that’s been haunting me, and in a good way. We need to protect the natural world, and we all need to slow down and spend more time in nature. If we do, our lives will be greatly enriched.
When I was in university I took an intensive week-long spring course called “How to Teach” instructed by Dr. Dust and his wife Laura. One afternoon, Dr. Dust marched the entire class out of our classroom, down the stairs, and into the green space outside the education building. We stopped at a nearby church on the university grounds, and he asked each student to look at the bricks that made up the church wall.
On one layer, the butt end of each brick was visible, and on the next, the side of each brick was visible; this pattern repeated for the whole of the church wall. Dr. Dust explained that this method allowed for a stable stacking of bricks so that the wall could be two bricks thick, and stronger as a result. The moral of his mini-field trip? True knowledge is learning just how much you don’t know. I’d walked by that wall hundreds of times during my time at UofA, and not once had I stopped to think about why the bricks alternated in that way from row-to-row.
This podcast episode is like that. I’ve loved my Grama’s canning since I was a kid, but I’d never thought to question who invented it, or why.
Harnarayan Singh is a broadcaster on Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi, but as a kid growing up in Brooks, Alberta, he often felt like he was living two seperate lives: one as a regular Albertan kid obsessed with hockey, and the other as a devoted Sikh who spent weekends in Calgary with his family in order to attend temple. I pre-ordered Singh’s book, and was so excited when it dropped last week. I’m not ashamed to say that I teared up twice in the first few chapters; Singh’s story is like a giant love letter to hockey and to Canada, and his obsession with Wayne Gretzky has so many parallels to my own Oilers obsession in junior high that it made my heart ache with nostalgia. This book shows how beautiful – and unifying – hockey is.
For book club: The Guest List By by Lucy Foley
Finding its way into my hands as September’s book club pick, The Guest List started a little slow. The first few chapters were awkward, and I was painfully aware that I was reading something that Foley had written, whereas in good books the story is so powerful I’m generally not aware that I’m reading someone’s prose. However, I’m glad I stuck with this one because the murder mystery soon became so compelling I couldn’t put it down (And when Foley’s cleverness in weaving each element of the story together is finally revealed, you’ll be wowed!)