Festival News: Reviewing the Toronto Book Awards

This year, we are happy to welcome back our Toronto Book Awards‘ bloggers, Christine and Carol Sweeton – our mother/daughter blogging team! They will be reading and reviewing each of the 5 finalists for this year’s Toronto Book Awards, which were announced on August 30, 2012. To see who is nominated this year, click here. To read more about Christine and Carol, click here.

This is their second post of the series. Today, there are reviewing Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, The Music and The World in 1972 by Dave Bidini. To see their first review, click here.

About the Book:

From acclaimed musician and author Dave Bidini comes a brilliantly original look at a folk-rock legend and the momentous week in 1972 that culminated in the Mariposa Folk Festival.

July, 1972. As musicians across Canada prepare for the nation’s biggest folk festival, held on Toronto Island, a series of events unfold that will transform the country politically, psychologically–and musically. As Bidini explores the remarkable week leading up to Mariposa, he also explores the life and times of one of the most enigmatic figures in Canadian music: Gordon Lightfoot, the reigning king of folk at the height of his career. Through a series of letters, Bidini addresses Lightfoot directly, questioning him, imagining his life, and weaving together a fascinating, highly original look at a musician at the top of his game. By the end of the week, the country is on the verge of massive change and the ’72 Mariposa folk fest–complete with surprise appearances by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and yes, Lightfoot–is on its way to becoming legendary.

Chris and Carol’s review:

Carol read Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, The Music, And The World in 1972 by Dave Bidini, first. This text immerses the reader in Canada and specifically, the Toronto music scene in 1972 and makes them feel as though they were there. The book’s focus centres around Lightfoot and Mariposa ’72, a seminal Canadian folk festival held on Centre Island. In 1972, Carol was 17, and living in rural Southern Ontario and as she states, “It was a time of my life when I was really ‘into’ music. What was being said by Canadian songwriters was important. I, of course, had many of Lightfoot’s albums (on vinyl!).”  All of the references to events, musicians, and songs in Bidini’s book caused Carol to reminisce. Upon completion of the book she passed it onto her daughter and wondered if the age gap would play a role in Christine’s enjoyment of the book.  Steve Rushin from Sports Illustrated is quoted on the book’s back cover as saying “I could read Dave Bidini all day” and Christine ended up having a similar experience. While reading the text was oviously not a nostalgic experience for her, Bidini’s prose and style could captivate anyone. The story moves from fact based reports to casual letters written to Lightfoot and beyond. Carol and Christine agree that this is a book so delightful that it transcends generations. Read it to remember or for enjoyment.

See Dave Bidini read from his nominated title at The Word On The Street in the Toronto Book Awards Tent at 11:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Make sure to say hi to Carol, she will be volunteering in that tent!


One thought on “Festival News: Reviewing the Toronto Book Awards

  1. How interesting that it appealed so much to both readers, regardless of the different generational experiences. This is my first time reading Dave Bidini and I’m quite enjoying it; the historical elements are interesting, but I especially like the letters.

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