New book teaches and tick­les

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Cedarville

Cedarville res­i­dent Benny Beat­tie is launch­ing a book this Satur­day, at Christ Church Hall in Stanstead, and if you’d like an easy way to en­ter­tain din­ner guests af­ter a meal, you’ll def­i­nitely want to pick one up. Ques­tions, Quizzes and Quo­ta­tions, Mr. Beat­tie’s

third book, is a “brain-chal­leng­ing book of trivia and gen­eral knowl­edge” that in­cludes 140 quizzes about na­ture, Canada, the United States and Great Bri­tain.

I tested the book out my­self with a group of friends and rel­a­tives over the week­end. The quiz ques­tions were in­trigu­ing, thought-pro­vok­ing, amus­ing as well as be­ing chal- leng­ing. And when the com­pe­ti­tion to an­swer the ques­tions got too heated, as it of­ten does when sis­ters are in­volved, we just headed to the end of the book where the chap­ter on quo­ta­tions had ev­ery­one in stitches in no time! In an in­ter­view with the

Stanstead Jour­nal, Mr. Beat­tie, a re­tired His­tory and French teacher who is also a well-trav­elled ad­ven­turer, ex­plained what mo­ti­vated him to write a brain-chal­leng­ing book. “I taught his­tory for 32 years and when I re­tired I had lots of notes and exam ques­tions. I de­cided to keep them, that maybe they’d come in handy one day. I be­gan ex­pand­ing on the ques­tions, I was al­ways good in his­tory, ge­og­ra­phy and wildlife, and one thing led to an­other. I was also in­ter­ested in quo­ta­tions. Some you learn from, some are amus­ing and some make you think; they’re of­ten good for dis­cus­sions,” ex­plained the au­thor.

Once Mr. Beat­tie de­cided to write the book, it took him about eight years to com­plete it, work­ing on it on and off be­tween his myr­iad other in­ter­ests such as lead­ing ‘Road Scholar’ in­ter­gen­er­a­tional groups on learn­ing ad­ven­tures up in Tadous­sac ev­ery sum­mer or singing in a Montreal Bar­ber­shop Cho­rus. “There are a lot of lit­tle bits of in­for­ma­tion that I added be­cause I felt they were im­por­tant and there are many lit­tle-known facts in the book, es­pe­cially about Cana­dian His­tory.”

Con­sid­er­ing what an out­door ad­ven­turer Benny Beat­tie has been all his life, he has kayaked from Montreal to Tadous­sac, from Quebec City to Tadous­sac and from Chicoutimi to Tadous­sac, it’s not so sur­pris­ing that he and his wife, Gita Jaeger, would even­tu­ally move per­ma­nently to the Eastern Town­ships, where out­door ad­ven­tures abound, from Montreal. “We first used to come to the Eastern Town­ships to ski on week­ends, then we started rent­ing a cottage in the sum­mer. We fi­nally wanted to get away from the city so we bought some land and built a house in Cedarville. We’re very happy here and we’ve met lots of peo­ple with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests. Lan­guage is not a prob­lem out here.”

Mr. Beat­tie’s pre­vi­ous book, Tadous­sac – The Sands of Sum­mer, will also be avail­able at the book launch. Whether you have just vis­ited Tadous­sac and want to learn more or you just want to learn about a beau­ti­ful and unique area of Quebec, the book is an in­ter­est­ing and en­ter­tain­ing read, filled with lo­cal sto­ries, le­gends, fas­ci­nat­ing facts and pho­to­graphs. “When I was young, we lived in Cham­bly but we used to go to Tadous­sac ev­ery sum­mer be­cause my fa­ther’s hay fever didn’t bother him there.” Mr. Beat­tie also did his Mas­ter’s The­sis on the His­tory of Tadous­sac, so he’s quite an ex­pert on the sub­ject. When he talks about the whales, his deep af­fec­tion for the wild and rugged area re­ally comes through. “I’ve had a Blue whale sur­face within spit­ting dis­tance of my boat. When kayak­ing, the bel­u­gas some­times come close – they’re very cu­ri­ous. Now the bel­u­gas are dy­ing of can­cer from the pol­lu­tion; re­cently they found around fif­teen dead new­borns,” he added sadly.

When asked about fu­ture book plans, Mr. Beat­tie men­tioned that his next book will be about oral his­to­ries, mostly in con­nec­tion with the Montreal area. How­ever, he has had so many ad­ven­tures throughout his life, some that were planned and oth­ers that were not, such as sav­ing two friends from drown­ing on the way to school, then get­ting pun­ished for it, or read­ing French to a Rus­sian train at­ten­dant on the Trans Siberian Rail­way so he could get the key to the clean bath­room, I think an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy should be con­sid­ered.

The launch of Ques­tions, Quizzes and Quo­ta­tions will be on Satur­day, Septem­ber 22nd, from 4 to 7 pm, at Christ Church Hall, in Stanstead. Re­fresh­ments will be served. If you can’t at­tend the launch but would like a book, they can be or­dered from on­line book sell­ers.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Benny Beat­tie, seen here at the Main Street Café in Ayer’s Cliff, is launch­ing his new “brain-chal­leng­ing” book this Satur­day.

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