Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

In My Stacks, May 2016

How much of your reading is non-fiction? Does it fluctuate, or are you committed to reading (or not reading) it?

When others were participating in non-fiction November last year, and actually reading a lot of the books that I’d been kinda-half-sorta thinking about reading, I realised that tending towards fiction had shifted into reading almost […]


Louis Riel: On the Page, On the Stage

The Canadian Opera Company is now presenting a new 50th-anniversary production of “Louis Riel”, originally written for the celebration of the Canadian centenary in 1967, with an attempt to shift that oh-so-colonial gaze, now including indigenous artists and languages with more nuanced representations of the historical figures.

These are powerfully important figures, and seeing their stories […]


Debra Komar’s The Lynching of Peter Wheeler (2014)

Debra Komar creates a narrative which manages to straddle the line between scholarly analysis and page-turner, relying upon court records, newspapers, and other historical documentation to gather evidence surrounding the murder of 14-year-old Annie Kempton in Bear River, Nova Scotia in 1896.

Goose Lane Editions, 2014

“This book looks back so we can see […]


Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch (2014)

Within pages, the bookish will find a niche to inhabit in Rebecca Mead’s book, in much the same way that the author has inhabited the pages of Middlemarch.

Bond Street Books – Doubleday, 2014

Perhaps not in exactly the same way, for as the author posits, that particularly profound experience might be rooted for […]


Notes on Reading Julie Macfie Sobol & Ken Sobol’s Love and Forgetting

While Love and Forgetting was in my stack of current reads, I listened to the World Book Club’s podcast edition of a discussion of Albert Camus’ The Outsider.

Camus is someone whose work I associate with formal study, not pleasure, but Harriet Gilbert’s interviews draw me into subjects I don’t seek out independently, and in […]


Mark Bittman’s VB6 (2013)

In my family, you didn’t have to buy diet books.

It wasn’t that we weren’t shopping at Stuckey’s and Coyle’s: we did so, in bulk.

But someone else in the family was guaranteed to have bought whatever new diet book was making waves, so you could borrow their dogeared paperback.

So, I’ve read a lot […]


Carolyn Abraham’s The Juggler’s Children (2013)

Less than a penny. That’s how much it costs to read a single letter of DNA. Between 2000 and 2003, the cost fell from $1.50 to less than a single cent. “Suddenly DNA was mass-market.”

Random House Canada, 2013

Carolyn Abraham hadn’t been saving her pennies for this purpose but, when her daughter was […]


A Complicated Marriage (2013) Pssst: also, a giveaway

** Below, there’s an opportunity to win your own copy of A Complicated Marriage ** [Edit: Now complete.]

The sound of high heels clicking. The spill of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker’s music. A paisley-draped foam couch. Smoking a Pall Mall. Drinking a gin and tonic. A handkerchief kitchen.

Counterpoint Press, 2012

Janice Van […]


Sally Armstrong’s Ascent of Women (2013)

Is it still a radical idea? The notion that the world can no longer afford to oppress half its population. Apparently so.

Random House Canada, 2013

Sally Armstrong’s work considers the ways in which the world’s largest problems — poverty, conflict and violence — are being addressed via efforts to restore the historical imbalance between […]


Iain Reid’s The Truth about Luck (2013)

When I started reading The Truth about Luck, I was taking the bus to meet a friend to go book-buying.

House of Anansi, 2013

We had chosen the date and destination a month ago; the only thing left to decide the night before was the exact time that we would meet in the morning.