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

David Adams Richards’ Crimes against My Brother (2014)

David Adams Richards has set many works in the Miramichi, beginning with his classic trilogy (Nights Below Station Street, Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace, and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down), so that the landscape of New Brunswick has become a character in its own right in his fiction.

Doubleday – Random [...]

Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao (2014)

The dedication to Padma Viswanathan’s second novel: For the lost, and for the living.

Random House of Canada, 2014

Therein, the reader haa a clue, for The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is equally preoccupied with losing and living.

The novel opens in 2004, on the precipice of the trial which was to address the 1985 fatal bombing [...]

August 2014, In My Bookbag

On a commute during which I know I’ll have trouble concentrating, I pluck one of the mysteries from the stack.

Quercus, 2009; 2014

I’ve been discovering Peter May, Jeffrey Deaver, and Robert Galbraith this month.

Beginning with The Black House, The Bone Collector, and The Cuckoo’s Calling. Respectively.

And followed by The Lewis Man, [...]

Richard Wagamese’s Medicine Walk (2014)

One might say that Medicine Walk is a novel about the disconnect between a father and a son.

McClelland & Stewart, 2014

“Eldon Starlight. Franklin Starlight. Four blunt syllables conjuring nothing. When he appeared the kid would watch him and whisper his name under his breath, waiting for a hook to emerge, [...]

Sean Michaels’ Us Conductors (2014)

Sean Michaels’ prose invites readers to participate in the relationship between sound and shape through the simple but beautiful language of Us Conductors.

Random House of Canada, 2014

His images are simple and fresh, and they are momentarily disorienting – as beautiful things can be.

“I didn’t laugh but you did, a laugh like [...]

August 2014, In My Stacks

This summer is a record-reading summer; the weather has been brilliantly cooperative and I have read more this summer than, well, possibly ever in a summer before.

Perhaps not since girlhood days, when it was all about what time the library would open, whether I would have to wait until the afternoon.

Even if August is [...]

Steven Galloway’s The Confabulist (2014)

It doesn’t get much more obvious than stacking these truths on the book jacket: there it is.

Knopf Canada, 2014

The Confabulist Steven Galloway

For even though the noun more commonly associated with ‘confabulate’ is ‘confabulation’, what is most important here is not the story itself but the voice behind the story: [...]

This One Summer: A True Favourite

These sentences are dappled across a two-page spread of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer (2014), as though they are wafts of milkweed ink:

House of Anansi, 2014

“The first time I ever saw a milkweed was on the beach at Awago. I thought they were magic pods. I thought that [...]

June/July 2014, In My Reading Log

Days and days throughout this July have contained book after book after book: a swell of print.

From graphic novels (revisiting the Game of Thrones saga in this medium) to short stories (lots of those!), from memoirs (I’ve just finished Zarqa Nawaz’s Laughing All the Way to the Mosque) to bestsellers (I’ve just started Tom [...]

84: Best Canadian Stories (Edited by David Helwig and Sandra Martin)

These stories were chosen “to be read rather than merely admired, or even envied”, including five previously unpublished stories. Thirty years later, the list of contents conjures up echoes of the Giller Prize, Canada Reads, and even a Pulitzer.

Frances Itani’s “Grandmother” “And she has long known what the rest of us take the better [...]