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

Louise Erdrich’s Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (2003)

The table of contents is simple but thrilling for me, the book’s five chapters all themes and topics of great interest: Books and Islands, Islands, Rock Paintings, Books, and Home.

If the other titles in the series (from National Geographic)  are even half of what this volume appears to be, even at first glance, I’m […]

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Mavis Gallant’s “Wing’s Chips” (1954)

This feels like a quintessential Mavis Gallant story: expectations and disappointments swirling around a young girl’s form, as she begins to assemble a set of truths about the world.

The town in “Wing’s Chips” would never make it onto a postcard of Valley-living(Click for source details)

Although the setting appears to be so familiar as to […]

Hodgepodge of Irish Bookishness

There’s some Irish in me and some on my bookshelves, too, but this March, with Reading Ireland hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and memories of reading Irish short stories with Mel at The Reading Life, I went for a library browse to add to the volumes I’d pulled from my shelves.

The first plucked were Kate O’Brien’s […]

Mavis Gallant’s “The Deceptions of Marie-Blanche”

If the story were titled “Les Deceptions de Marie-Blanche”, it might be translated as “The Disappointments of Marie-Blanche”: an apt choice.

San Francisco Earthquake, 1907 – Click for source details

And, yet, as it stands, there is the added implication that Marie-Blanche has not only been disappointed by her love affairs, but that the […]

In My Notebook, April 2017

Sometimes it’s not so much about a list. More about ideas and possibilities. Either way, my notebook is busy this month.

With Kinna’s 2017 Africa Reading Challenge, I’m eyeing the possibilities. Maybe some Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo or Buchi Emecheta, some Chinua Achebe or Brian Chikwava, or maybe, finally, Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Sometimes it’s very much about a list.

Like […]

Mavis Gallant’s “The Picnic” (1952)

The weight of the brooch pulls the fabric of young Margaret Marshall’s picnic frock. It always hangs just fine off her navy blue shorts, but the light-weight dress doesn’t provide a suitable backdrop.

How disappointing for young Margaret, who so treasures this gift from Madame Pégorin, the photo of the woman’s beloved poodle encircled by seed […]

Indigenous Tales: A Pulitzer

He was the first native American novelist to focus on the plights of the contemporary Native American.

The supporting materials in the back of the paperback edition of N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn (1966) do a fine job of explaining the unique importance of the work culturally, within the broader context of postwar American fiction. […]

Mavis Gallant’s “Going Ashore” (1954)

For the first time, twelve-year-old Emma Ellinger feels truly connected to her mother. They are finally “doing something together, alone, with no man, no Uncle Anyone, to interfere”.

Tangier, Moracco 1887 Click for source data

It’s true that the cruise hasn’t gone entirely as planned; they have packed the wrong clothes (all summer dresses, […]

Intersection: Games and Books

The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board and Table Games by Margaret K. Hofer is a sriking showcase of the games in Ellen and Arthur Liman’s historic collection of American games.

It began with a $6 yard-sale purchase in 1980 and grew to contain more than 500 games which they donated for display […]