Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clinton in Exile: A Review

My girlfriend is a member of the Harper-Collins website's "First Look" book club of books. She handed me the due to be released book Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House by Carol Felsenthal. She wasn't that interested in the book, but knew I had a liking for political books and sometimes the life and times of interesting people.

Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House is a decent read about Bill Clinton's life after leaving the most famous address on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. The book is written by Carol Felsenthal who is a journalist who writes in depth magazine and newspaper articles about politics. This is perhaps why the this particular book is only a "decent read."

The main problems with the book is the way it is written and the sources of the information. The book is obvious to the reader that is was written by a journalist because throughout the writing their are quotes here and there. This prevents the prose from getting into a good narrative flow that most books have. The reader cannot get over that the author insists on noting who said what in terms of proof of where the author got their source from. In some cases this would have easily been resolved by utilizing more endnotes stating the different interviews and only inserting the quotes when it advances the story or can't be written any better. The author failed to do this adequately, leaving the narration to stop and start in quite a number of places. This book should not be an ongoing interview with the characters, but be as a result of many of interviews to gather and then present the information in a succinct well written way.

The second issue is the sources of the information. In a blog entry at the Huffington Post, the author admits there were times when some sources refused to talk to her. A prime example of this is:

"People who hoped for a job or a state dinner invitation or a diplomatic posting often did not want to talk to a writer whom the Clintons did not select and could not control." - Carol Felsenthal

Felsenthal admits that she was not an authorized biographer of Bill Clinton. This means she probably did not get to interview Bill or even Hillary Clinton herself at anytime or, at times, some people even close to the ex President who may want further employment in the future in relation to the Democratic Party. An interview with Bill on how he was living his life after leaving the White House may have been of great assistance to this book. Because the author is missing these key sources, the reader is left to wonder who exactly did the author interview? Sure there were key sources quoted, but the reader can't help but wonder how much speculation was made by the author in order to fill in key points due to some sources, like Bill and others, were refusing to talk.

There are quite a few good points about the book. The relationship between former President Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, interesting anecdotes about Bill Clinton noted by those close to the former President, how Bill felt about Hillary's campaign trail towards the Senate and the White House as well as other similar interesting stories make the book fascinating. Felsthenthal relays an interesting story as to how Bill Clinton, at first, seemed hesitant about advancing his post Presidency career by holing himself up in at his and Hillary's new digs in Chapaqua, New York to eventually starting a speaking tour and writing his personal memoirs.

Felsenthal's book is a decent read. The would be an "excellent read" if the issues with the writing and the sources were a corrected. But it is at least a decent read if one wanted to answer the question "Whatever happened to Bill Clinton after leaving the White House?"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Marvelous Montana's

On Friday night, I went out with a friend of mine for a dinner and a movie in Richmond Hill.

We met at Richmond Hill Centre Terminal. Since we were there anyway, we decided to go to Montana's (located at: 8735 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, ON). Now I haven't been to a Montana's in ages, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

We were greated and seated fairly quickly for a Friday night shortly after 6 P.M. as the place was, at most, half full.

The waitress, Vanessa, was friendly and quick with the drinks, appetizers (Garlic Bread with Cheese) and serving our meal hot and fresh. I had the Big Sky burger with fries and this was perhaps one of the best burger meals I had in a long time!

Also, the menu it is listed as all soft drinks have "free refills." Normally like at a place like Swiss Chalet where there are "free refills" the waitress takes her sweet time at refilling your glass. Most of the time with this offer, you have to end up asking for a refill before the waitress even notices. Not at this Montana's location, Vanessa had the glass refilled three times without me having to request it.

This particular Montana's is also in a great location for dinner and movie out with friends as there is a major movie theatre next door. All in all, the dinner was well priced (forty dollars an under which included one alcholic drink) and in a prime location next to a movie theatre.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Great Graystones Batman!

Last night my girlfriend and I headed out for dinner to Graystone's Restaurant (14889 Yonge Street, Aurora). Now I admit, I have lived in Aurora for almost thirty years and have never set foot in this place. Not sure why, but sadly to say, I'm dissapointed I didn't eat here sooner!

When we arrived, the hostess took our jackets and hung them up herself. She didn't even say, "you can hang up your coats of there" like some other restaurants would.

The hostess then showed us to our table and offered us the menues. The waitress quickly followed up by taking and serving our drink order. She then took our food order of Lemoni Chicken and Fucilli.

The food and service were excellent! The food came within ten minutes of us ordering and was well presented with garnishes included. The waitress even refilled our water glasses and was very attentive to our table without being to intrusive in our meal.

I still can't believe I've never visited this place for dinner! Warning to Graystone's Restaurant....WE WILL BE BACK!

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