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

‘Tis the Season…for Mosquitoes

So, it’s past the middle of November, so I’m surprised to find myself surrounded by so many mosquitoes.

First in the fifth volume of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series, On the Shores of Silver Lake.

Living so close to the land, the other residents are regularly brushing elbows (and paws and wings and other appendages) with the […]


Kyo Maclear’s The Good Little Book (2015)

I returned to picture books when a face-to-face bookclub read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Books without pictures still outnumber the illustrated volumes in my stacks, but I am working to adjust the balance.

The Good Little Book, written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Marion Arbona, will suit booklovers of all ages, and likely […]

November 2015, In My Bookbag

Three of the books in my stack currently are heavy or over-sized (G.R..R. Martin: I’m looking at you), but there are several skinny options making an appearance in my bookbag this week.

First, Michel Chikawanine’s Child Soldier (written with Jessica Dee Humphreys and illustrated by Claudia Dávila); he begins by introducing himself and saying that […]

I Spy with My CanLit Eye: Two Classics

Our young separatist narrator is imagining his own future and the future of Quebec, and both man and nation are struggling with matters of expression and independence, in Hubert Aquin’s Next Episode (published in 1965, translated by Sheila Fischman in 2001).

“I am the fragmented symbol of Quebec’s revolution, its fractured reflection and its suicidal […]

Alison Pick’s Between Gods (2014; 2015)

She tells you straight-up: “The decision when to begin a family story is arbitrary.”

HarperPerennial, 2015 (US edition)

And she lays out the doubts and uncertainties: “Who am I to claim the official version?”

And, so, Alison Pick is our seemingly uncertain and unsanctioned guide.

But, she also writes about the dynamic between certainty […]

Pauline Holdstock’s The Hunter and the Wild Girl (2015)

Despite its sedate and unassuming cover, Pauline Holdstock’s The Hunter and the Wild Girl begins in a rush.

Goose Lane, 2015

“With a shriek of splintering boards, the girl breaks into daylight and stands blinded, panting, sucking air as if it were a great hot soup, her chest heaving.”

This sentence and the following pages […]

October 2015, In My Stacks

My stacks for this month are works-in-progress. Because even though we are two weeks into October now, my inner calendar is still hovering near the beginning of September.

So, part of me still thinks that I will have more time to read more of the books that I’d dreamed of covering in this year’s Diversiverse […]

On Two Pieces by Tomson Highway

“I’ve always conceived of language as music,” says Tomson Highway: musician, playwright, novelist. “I play Chopin still, but in Cree,” he continues.

Then, more than a decade later, it is as though he continues this conversation, in A Tale of Monstrous Extravagance.

This slim volume is subtitled on “Imagining Multilingualism”, which might strike you as a […]

Ian Williams: Not Anyone’s Anything (2011) and Personals (2012)

If the idea of experimental or innovative short stories makes you squirm, even though you are simultaneously bored with more traditional structure, Not Anyone’s Anything belongs on your bookshelf.

Ian Williams puts relationships at the core of his work and this fiction collection exhibits this tendency as well.

I also wholly enjoyed his poetry collection […]

Austin Clarke’s The Meeting Point (1967)

The first volume of his Toronto trilogy introduces readers to Bernice Leach, who has left Barbados to work in Toronto as a housekeeper in an upscale neighbourhood in the 1960s.

She has left behind a son and his father, as well as a mother and a sister, and she is preoccupied by the adjustments required […]