Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.
Douglas Ferguson is an adjunct Law professor and Director of the Community Legal Services Clinic in the Faculty of Law.
Today, he takes his turn on Read. Watch. Listen.
I love to read, and often have a couple of books on the go.
For non-fiction, my favourite is the multi-volume biography The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro. The first volume (The Path to Power) was published while I was in law school. I am waiting decades later for the fifth and final volume dealing with the final years of his presidency. Caro is a master researcher and storyteller; he delves deep into Texas back country culture and Johnson’s poverty-stricken family background to trace the origin of his extreme ambition. Johnson would do anything to win, and he did. His contested election to the U.S. Senate in 1948 was gripping, with a U.S. Supreme Court judge stopping the judicial recount just minutes before Johnson’s ballot stuffing was to be revealed. I didn’t expect to like the series as I didn’t like Johnson, but I was enthralled from the beginning. I learned about Johnson’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, his masterly tactics as Senate Majority Leader, and his assumption of the presidency after Kennedy’s assassination. This is the best biography I’ve ever read.
As for fiction, I am a science fiction fan. One of my all-time favourites is Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, the story of the immortal Lazarus Long. It has time travel, adventure, social commentary, and romance – what more could you ask for? I’m also a huge fan of Kim Stanley Robinson.
This was a tough question with all the new shows that you can binge watch.
My wife Laurie and I both enjoyed Downton Abbey and The Crown, and for a while my guilty pleasure was House of Cards.
But then I remembered the show that gave me something we all need right now – hope. The West Wing.
When Laurie and I were dating, we also spent Wednesday nights watching the show. In 2004, West Wing was filming in Dundas, Ont., turning the town into a town in New Hampshire for the presidential primaries. On a whim, Laurie and I drove to Dundas on a Sunday, watched Josh (Bradley Whitford) film a scene, and then actually got to meet Josh and Donna (Janel Moloney). Those of you who have watched the show will know all about Josh and Donna. I always felt uplifted after watching The West Wing, seeing people in public service trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. It’s time for a sequel to uplift us today.
The development of my musical tastes basically stopped after university as career, children, and politics took over my life and I had little time to listen to music.
About 15 years ago I discovered the Diana Krall album When I Look Into Your Eyes, and was immediately hooked on her jazz classics. Her light touch on the piano and her deep sensual voice on songs like I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Pick Yourself Up, and Popsicle Toes made listening to music a new pleasure.
Thanks to her I discovered Frank Sinatra and other jazz greats. More recently Diana Krall has taken pop classics and reimagined them in her album Wallflower.
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