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

Mazo de la Roche’s Ringing the Changes (1957)

When I first peeked into the Jalna books, I discovered that Mazo de la Roche’s biographers depended heavily upon Ringing the Changes, her autobiography, which I was pleased to find in the library.

It’s that kind of old book whose pages have been turned so often that they are softer near their edges, which means […]

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The Creative Life on the Page (Five Books)

Because I forgot my key one day, I had to wait in the neighbourhood library for Mister BIP to finish work, before I could go home. I suppose I could have waited in the subway station. But it was only a 20-minute walk. Of course I walked: wouldn’t you?

One of the books I brought […]

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Margaret Millar’s An Air that Kills (1957; 2016)

Because so many of Margaret Millar’s novels consider married couples – often at the point in which the relationship is strained, if not fractured – one wonders about her relationship with Ken Millar (better known as Ross MacDonald, who also wrote mysteries).

Did they squabble like Esther and Ron do at the beginning of An […]

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Quarterly Stories: Summer 2015

This year I have read some stand-out collections, but for the most part I neglected to take notes from them:

Joy Williams’ Honored Guests, Kathleen Winter’s The Freedom in American Songs, Jessica Grant’s Making Light of Tragedy, Shawn Syms’ Nothing Looks Familiar, Elaine McCluskey’s Hello, Sweetheart, Julia Leggett’s Gone South and Other Ways to Disappear, Mark Anthony […]

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Edward Eager’s Magic by the Lake (1957)

Edward Eager’s Magic by the Lake (1957) Illus. N.M. Bodecker Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999*

It seems completely reasonable that magic is everywhere. At least, if you’re Jane.

“If I could find a magic charm right on Maplewood Avenue, it stands to reason there must be lots of it lying around still, just waiting for […]

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