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

My mini-Canlit-read-a-thon on Canada Day, 2014 (I)

Sometimes a stack of reading goes stale. For no good reason. You know what I mean.

Maybe you’re just bored with the covers. Or you’ve been teasing the books along with a page here and there, when they needed some quality one-on-one time.

That’s where I was with my stack, heading into Canada Day’s [...]

Quarterly Stories: Summer 2014

Coming Home: Stories from the Northwest Territories (Enfield & Wizenty, 2012)

In the foreword, Richard Van Camp writes that this collection is a “testament to the beauty of the land, the communities and the people who choose to live here” and he welcomes readers to the works. The same words might be used as plumpy jacket [...]

Summer of the Canadian Short Story Reading

Write Reads is hosting this event, which runs from June 1 – September 1, 2014.

I learned about it last week via Consumed by Ink, and how could I resist: two of my favourite things, Canlit and short stories.

But the act of choosing is almost overwhelming. And of course there’s always the possibility of a theme [...]

Joining The Book Mine Set’s Canadian Book Challenge

It’s that time of year again: time for the Canadian Book Challenge, which launches each July 1st on Canada Day.

Most of what I read is Canlit, but I am easily distracted by new and shiny books and I forget to make time to read the classics.

The first time I joined the challenge hosted by The [...]

“Powers” Alice Munro

Runaway readers cannot run away from the book after turning the final page. Instead, they have to burrow in.

Much like “Vandals” in 1994′s Open Secrets and the title story in 2012′s Dear Life, “Powers” is one of those closing stories that sends readers rushing back to the beginning.

McClelland [...]

“Tricks” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2004

This story has long been my favourite in this collection, although I could not recall which of them it was, when I first approached my reread of Runaway.

When Stratford appeared in the first story, I thought maybe my favourite was coming. But, no, “Runaway” was pure sorrow. There was [...]

“Trespasses” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2004

‘Trespass’ is a word that I associate with childhood more than most.

It slipped off my tongue every morning in school, after we sang “O Canada”, in a dutiful recitation of “The Lord’s Prayer”.

And there was always a sign warning against it when we explored the ravines and fields [...]

“Passion” Alice Munro

Like Alva in “Sunday Afternoons” and Edie in “How I Met My Husband”, Grace is a young woman with a summer job.

But even within the context of this transitory existence and experience, she settles into a routine, steadfast and predictable.

McClelland & Stewart, 2004

Soon, Grace is [...]

June 2014, In My Stacks

Steven Galloway’s new novel The Confabulist reminds me that I have yet to read his other works. Earlier this year, I started reading The Cellist of Sarajevo (because it was chosen as Toronto’s One Book for 2014) and I have Ascension and Finnie Walsh at hand too, but The Confabulist is about magic and that [...]

Megan Abbott’s The Fever (2014)

Paradoxically, the phenomenon in The Fever has a chilling effect on characters and readers alike.

The girls fall to the ground, one after the next; they writhe and tensions rise but blood is chilled.

Little Brown & Company, 2014

“As Deenie walked out, a coolness began to sink into her. The feeling that something [...]