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

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 [...]

Candace Savage’s A Geography of Blood (2012)

“The ‘geography’ in question is the Cypress Hills, a broken rise of land that straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, just north of Havre, Montana,” the author explains.* 

“The country is a complete knockout for anyone who enjoys the romance of the Earth’s history or who is susceptible to the wild, windblown beauty of natural prairie.  I was [...]

“Silence” Alice Munro

In the story, it is Joan who prolongs the name “with a certain tone of celebration”.

Penelope.

But it’s easy to imagine that it is actually Alice Munro who is savouring every syllable as she draws it out in ink.

Pen-ell-oh-pee.

You can imagine her there, [...]

Shari LaPeña’s Happiness Economics (2011)

The next time someone says to me that funny books are always disappointing because they’re funny-dumb, I’ll be pointing them to this novel: it’s funny-smart.

Brindle and Glass, 2011

Happiness Economics opens with Will Thorne struggling with the idea of being a poet in a world which does not value poets.

Except that in [...]

“Soon” Alice Munro

Readers who were left with an abundance of questions after reading “Chance” might turn to “Soon” believing that some will be answered.

McClelland & Stewart, 2004

But Juliet’s reappearance holds no promises of resolution; there are just as many new musings unaddressed.

Most prominent are the questions outwardly posed at [...]

Bookish Synchonicity: The Age, What We All Long For

Gerry stands on the pedals of her bike, rides a slow, controlled slalom down the hill, forces the cars behind her to change lanes.

Her muscles shudder with the effort. The horn blares make her smile.

At the bottom of the hill, she tucks as the traffic light slips [...]