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

June 2014, In My Bookbag

I’m slipping a variety of reading into my bookbag this month.

It depends on my mood, when I’m travelling to and fro, and how much time I know I will have to spend on a bus or train, or whether it will be calm or chaotic.

Tricksters Hat BantockNick Bantock’s The Trickster’s Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity has some terrific exercises and prompts; some require some than a pen and a notebook but many of them call for just that, so this small volume is a fine travel companion. (And isn’t that a grand subtitle?)

Heather O’Neill’s second novel, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, makes for good company. The language is rich; the story has the same emotional intensity of her debut, Lullabies for Little Criminals, so I find it perfect for short commutes because part of me is tempted to read it in bursts, but another part of me wants this to last until she writes another.

Girl Saturday Night ONeillParticularly when travelling by train in southwestern Ontario, there are still a few glimpses of woodland. Theresa Kishkan’s trees in Mnemonic are west-coast Canadian trees but some of them are familiar nonetheless, and her musings on memory and experience are engaging and evocative. This might be on my list of favourites for this year: a beautiful read.

Mnemonic KishkanThe first of the volumes in Benjamin Lefebvre’s L.M. Montgomery readers, A Life in Print, is a heavy volume to lug about, but there are 80 pieces from which to choose, so for LMM fans, this is a delight to peruse in a variety of reading moods. It reminds me, too, that I have yet to revisit the unedited versions of LMM’s journals; the edited version are ATFs, so I am looking forward simply to more of what I previously loved discovering therein.

Two short story collections are also rotating in my bag: Janine Alyson Young’s Hideout Hotel and Andrea Routley’s Jane and the Whales.

Jane Whales Routley

Both debut collections by Caitlin Press, these stories are woman-soaked, with astute observations and tight dialogue working to invite the reader to read “just one more”.

Young Hideout Hotel

Monday brought this year’s summer reading from Walrus Magazine, which include “Part of the Main” by Mark Callanan, “Brute” by Jessica Grant, “Care and Feeding of the Amish” by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, “Ultrasound” by Stephen Marche, and “Watching the Cop Show in Bed” by Alexandra Oliver. If there was a category for Mag found Most Often in My Bookbag, The Walrus would win, flippers down.

What’s been travelling with you recently?

2 comments to June 2014, In My Bookbag

  • I love the sound of a “woman-soaked” book. Plus that whale cover is just so very striking. What an exciting lot of books you have going!

    I don’t travel by bus or train here out in the suburbs but I’ve always got e-books on the phone if I’m waiting around. Currently it’s Laurie R King’s Kate Martinelli series and Seraphina. Two different genres for different moods.

    • The stories are very good, often focussing on characters who are struggling to connect and missing the mark (so easy to relate) with some humourous bits here and there to lighten the load.
      When I’m at home, there is always something “else” to do, but when I’m between point A and B, there is nothing to do but read, which is the best excuse to do more of it!
      I just realized that I hadn’t finished the Martinelli series (apparently there are five books in it?) so I’ve got to reread and read on. I’ve got Seraphina at hand, but haven’t taken the plunge.

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