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