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

Austin Clarke’s The Meeting Point (1967)

The first volume of his Torono 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 […]


The intersection between pictures and stories

From my discovery of Neil Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine books, I have sought out books that play with form. (Even earlier, I fell hard for Anastasia Krupnik’s To-Do lists which appeared as handwritten notes on lined paper in Lois Lowry’s books.)

Recently, Kim Belair’s and Ariadne MacGillivray’s Pure Steele (2013) struck my fancy. Each of its pages […]

BIP’s Snips: Abbreviated Bookishness

Penguin-Razorbill, 2012

Mariko Tamaki’s (You) Set Me On Fire (2012)

Read: At the hair salon, on the TTC, standing in line: everywhere. Allison’s voice is strong and compelling. I could pick up this story and immediately fall into step with her, even if I only had a very short time to read. Warning: Bad […]

A Voice of One’s Own: Jon Chan Simpson and Marion Milner

Jon Chan Simpson invites readers into a world of “abductions, gunshots, commando dads, street-poet moms”, a world populated by gangs and kidnapping conspiracies.

“‘This thing – chinksta.’ She stumbled over the word, at first but pulled herself through it. ‘You’re worried this is all you got,’ she said. ‘This is all you got, and you’re […]

Weekend ReLit Sampler: On a Bookish Plate

The ReLit Awards, founded by Kenneth J. Harvey, are considered Canada’s “pre-eminent literary prize recognizing independent presses” (taken from the prize’s website, where you will also find longlists and shortlists: lots of good reading). 

Serving today, a plateful of the 2013 Short Fiction winner (Ian Rogers’ Every House Is Haunted) with side-servings of Alex Leslie’s […]

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 […]

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 […]