Thursday, October 04, 2007

Spanish Fly

Hold on, he's coming: The Soul Man. As in Sam Moore, the surviving half of legendary Stax Records duo, Sam & Dave. They were the inspiration for John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd's Blues Brothers act. Sam is playing all the Alberta hot spots - Medicine Hat, Fort Macleod, and Sherwood Park (Saturday October 6 @ Festival Place). Yup, Fort Macleod. Of course, I can't help but think of the scene in the Blues Brothers film, when the reformed band steals a gig at Bob's Country Bunker and only avoids lynching by the redneck crowd with repeated versions of the theme from Rawhide and "Stand By Your Man." Sam is playing the historic Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, so I think he'll be okay.

But another Soul Man is coming too, this one the Chicken Soup for the Soul man: Jack Canfield. The "beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series" and "the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold..." is appearing at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton on October 11. He is speaking about his book The Success Principles, in which lays out his 64 principles for success. Canfield will be familiar to folks from his appearance in the hyper-successful film/book, The Secret. (By the way, The Secret is available as a free downloadable eAudiobook via our new NetLibrary digitial audiobook service [here])

Soul man? More like soulless man? Certainly listening to Canfield on the CBC radio phone-in it is easy to dismiss him as a glib, fast-talking salesman for his radio-friendly unit shifter/book-products. Just listening to him is a bit exhausting! But the Soup books definitely hit a collective nerve and have been a source of comfort, even support, for many, many people. And Canfield's new book is can't-go-wrong stuff: take full responsibility for your life, always ask for feedback, control your spending - with a fresh spin - "Reject rejection", "Become an Inverse Paranoid" (see the world as out to help you instead of out to get you).

Calgary-based author Will Ferguson's first novel, Happiness TM [originally published as Generica] is all about a Canfield-type self-help guru, Tupac Soiree. This is a very funny satire about what happens when a seemingly innocuous self-help book actually works - readers become happy! But as happy readers begin quitting their jobs the entire economy collapses and the end of the world approaches. An excellent poke at the self-help industry.

Will Ferguson reads from his second novel, Spanish Fly, at Volume II Books on October 4th. This novel is about con men during the Great Depression, including one Jack McGreary - one of the main characters of Happiness TM. This makes Spanish Fly a bit of a prequel to Happiness TM. The novels are quite different however, with the new one more serious in tone.

To set the right 30's dust bowl mood, Ferguson talked his pal, Calgary roots musician Tom Phillips, into recording a soundtrack CD for the novel. That's right, a soundtrack for a novel! The CD is all original songs - 3 have lyrics by Ferguson himself. You can listen to excerpts [here]

If you are down in Calgary for WordFest, Ferguson is reading in Calgary on October 11th and Banff on October 12th.


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