Season’s greetings and selections

Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to 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.

Chemistry professor Mark Workentin is a bit of a classroom legend, with numerous honours including the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Today, he takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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I read way too much for work – research papers – so I seldom turn to reading for relaxation. I do other things, including photography, guitar, painting, refereeing ringette. My favourite book is Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. It is set in Italy (I should have been Italian), and mixes things I like – medieval ‘history’ and mystery, hypocrisy in religion, love/sex. It has it all. It is a book about books that reminds us of the power of humour and laughter in a world that is often dark.


All time favourite TV show is The West Wing. I am intrigued (or was until the last few years) with American politics and the show was smart, funny and entertaining. It is also the show that gave me my Twitter by-line description: Abu El Banat (Arab/Bedouin for ‘father of daughters.’ I need a shirt with that on it.


I have a very eclectic taste that gets broader each day with my kids reigning over music choice in the home and car.  Favourite album is Hoodoo Man Blues by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band. Love the blues as it mixes many genres. But I am also a bit of a crooner/ballad guy, so for CanCon, I recommend the artist Royal Wood. Among his many (sad) songs, my favourite is Photograph. I guess I am getting more sentimental as I get older. “I still have, our days gone past, these photographs”

For podcasts, I jump about, listening to different ones on my walk to work in the winter so no real ‘go-to.’ Otherwise, I ride my bike and don’t distract myself. I am always up for Under The Influence with Terry O’Reilly.

Read. Holiday Edition.

Since my first daughter was a baby, we have a tradition of reading Twas The Night Before Christmas before going to bed on Dec. 24. Hard to not love that (see nostalgic above).

Watch. Holiday Edition.

So many good holiday movie ‘classics’ from Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, to Arthur’s Christmas (our go-to Christmas Eve), to the Rankin/Bass movies like Santa Claus is Coming to Town (and the song One Foot in Front of the Other), to the old classics like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life and, perhaps my favourite because I watch it with my mom, Bells of St. Mary’s. Reminds me of my Catholic School upbringing and the awesome sisters who taught me the importance of education and respect for all.

Listen. Holiday Edition.

Again, how does one pick a holiday song? Crooner: The Christmas Song by Mel Torme. Choral: Carol of the Bells. Modern: All My Bells Are Ringing by Lenka. “Take my heart this Christmas, and wrap it in a ribbon and a bow, take it wherever you go!”

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