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

Margaret Millar’s The Listening Walls (1959; 2016)

Although some of the characters in the Margaret Millar mysteries I have read answer their own phones, many answer other people’s phones instead: the telephones of older or more privileged relatives or those of their bosses. There’s even a switchboard operator in the mix, along with a woman better known for not answering calls at […]


Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi in the South Seas (1959)

Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi in the South Seas (1959) Trans. Gerry Bothmer Illus. Louis S. Glanzman

Pippi kicks ass.


She stands out.

Sure, a lot of the heroines I’ve been spending time with this summer are spunky. S’why I liked them.

Whether it was Ramoma adding whiskers and a tail to the Q in her […]


Mary Norton’s The Borrowers Afloat (1959)

Mary Norton’s The Borrowers Afloat (1959) Illus. Beth and Joe Krush Harcourt Inc, 1990

It was Mrs. May who first told Kate about the borrowers (although it wasn’t Mrs. May who had seen them, but her brother, when he was still alive, and just a boy).

It’s possible she doesn’t know when to keep quiet […]


Barbara Comyns' Tortured Skeletons

Barbara Comyn’s The Vet’s Daughter Virago, 1981 (1959)

It must seem a little silly, but I’ve counted Barbara Comyns amongst my favourite writers since I read 3/4 of her Sisters by a River several summers ago. Since then, I’ve steadily collected her works, but I’ve never finished that initial read and never pulled another one […]


Wanted: One Brownstone

Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl Brownstones  VMC No. 87 (1959)

Without knowing anything of it, I chose Paule Marshall’s novel Brown Girl, Brownstones to read with Black History Month in mind (along with Hannah Crafts’ The Bondwoman’s Narrative and Zora Neale Hurston’s Jonah’s Gourd Vine).

It was kind of a random pick, but now I’ve got […]