• Groomed since the age of eight by his obsessive father Vince Spadea, by most accounts-except Andre Agassi's, who called Vince "a journeyman" at age 25-has been a success. At the start of the 2005 season, 19th seed Spadea was the only over-30-year-old player besides Agassi to be ranked in the top-20 on the world professional tennis circuit.

    Now in his 13th professional season, Spadea gives a riveting account of the ultra-competitive and often hilarious world of a pro tennis player. He battles injuries, coaching and agent changes, and a slight from American Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe as he continues his improbable climb back up the rankings. Along the way, he considers taking two months off to appear on The Bachelor, practices with a still combative John McEnroe in a New York City tennis club, and prowls LA parties with his buddy, comedian Jon Lovitz, trying to pick up actresses like Natalie Portman and jump start his fledgling acting career.

    Agassi, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Martina Navratilova, Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriati, Tim Henman, and Marat Safin are all analyzed in more colourful and personal terms than the tennis media has ever provided. In these pages, Spadea breaks the taboo of the "whatever you see, hear and do here, stays here" locker room mentality.

  • Whispering Pines is the first comprehensive history of Canada's immense songwriting legacy, from Gordon Lightfoot to Joni Mitchell.

    Canadian songwriters have always struggled to create work that reflects the environment in which they were raised, while simultaneously connecting with a mass audience. For most of the 20th century, that audience lay outside Canada, making the challenge that much greater. While nearly every songwriter who successfully crossed this divide did so by immersing themselves in the American and British forms of blues, folk, country, and their bastard offspring, rock and roll, traces of Canadian sensibilities were never far beneath the surface of the eventual end product.

    What were these sensibilities, and why did they transfer so well outside Canada? With each passing decade, a clear picture eventually emerged of what Canadian songwriters were contributing to popular music, and subsequently passing on to fellow artists, both within Canada and around the world. Just as Hank Snow became a giant in country music, Ian & Sylvia and Gordon Lightfoot became crucial components of the folk revival. In the folk-rock boom that followed in the late '60s, songs by The Band and Leonard Cohen were instant standards, while during the '70s singer/songwriter movement few artists were more revered than Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

    This is the first thorough exploration of how these, along with other lesser-known but no less significant, artists came to establish a distinct Canadian musical identity from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s. Anecdotes explaining the personal and creative connections that many of the artists shared comprise a large aspect of the storytelling, along with first-person interviews and extensive research. The emphasis is on the essential music - how and where it originated, and what impact it eventually had on both the artists' subsequent work, and the wider musical world.

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