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

How Much Happiness, Really

Is it too much? Or, just enough. What am I to make of this final story in my Alice Munro reading project. (I read her last collection, Dear Life, in 2012.)

While rereading Too Much Happiness, I was constantly aware of the references to being happy, to happiness, in the stories.

Straight away, in the […]

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Sigal Samuel’s The Mystics of Mile End (2015)

There are five windows on the cover of Sigal Samuel’s debut novel; in only one of them does a pair of people appear.

Freehand Books, 2015

In three of the windows there is a solitary silhouette, and in the window at the top, the blind is nearly pulled to the bottom of the sill.

The […]

“Wood” Alice Munro

Strangely enough, although I read this story twice earlier this year as well, when I scanned the table of contents I could not place it.

Planning to reread for a third time this morning, I had no idea; it wasn’t until the talk of the truck and Roy’s need to gather the wood sooner than expected, that I […]

Gilaine E. Mitchell’s The Breaking Words (2015)

As was the case with her first novel, Gilaine Mitchell’s follow-up is set in the small town of Stirling.

In her debut, Film Society, a group of women meet to watch their favourite films in the red brick house at the end of Anne Street.

One of the characters in Film Society, Del, works at the Sears […]

“Child’s Play” Alice Munro

On the list of 10 Perfect Alice Munro sentences, recently selected by CBC, this is the first: “Every year, when you’re a child, you become a different person.”

It begs the question, “When does one stop becoming somebody new every year?”

Perhaps after an event like the incident described in this story, which isn’t shared with […]

Beth Powning’s A Measure of Light (2015)

If you recognize Mary Dyer as being one of the Boston Martyrs, you will expect Beth Powning’s tale to be a harrowing one. To some extent, this is the case.

Knopf – Penguin Random House, 2015

But even if the historical record considers the most remarkable aspect of Mary Dyer’s story to be her death, A […]

“Some Women” Alice Munro

Unsurprisingly, “Some Women” offers readers a panoply of images of womanhood.

It begins by hearkening back to an earlier time, when “girls wore waist cinches and crinolines that could stand up by themselves”.

But then locates the narrator as being so old that even she is amazed by the number of years that have passed, […]

Re-reading Anne (with the #GreenGablesReadALong in mind)

Maybe if I had heard of Reeder Reads’ Green Gables Read-a-long straight off, I’d’ve reread more diligently but, as it was, I learned of it at the end of February; at first I just dabbled in the rereading and I only got serious about proper cover-to-cover reading at the end of May. But now, having finished […]

“Face” Alice Munro

“You think that would have changed things?” “The answer is of course, and for a while, and never.”

In interview with Eleanor Wachtel, Nick Hornby discusses the “problem of being divided being two worlds” saying that many of us have a version of this in our own lives.

This is true for the narrator of this […]

“Free Radicals” Alice Munro

As one of the shorter stories in this volume, I was inclined, at first pass, to presume it was a simpler story. Its ending seemed to underscore this impression.

Without going into detail, the story has the kind of resolution which could serve as the sole focus of discussion, in terms of what Nita actually concealed […]