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 Morning at Jalna (1960)

Although the last of the Jalna books written, Morning at Jalna is only the second in the sequence.

It is set while the civil war is raging in the southern United States, and readers are immediately informed that the Whiteoaks are sympathetic to the southerners.

In school, during the 1970s and the 1980s, I was […]


Margaret Millar’s A Stranger in My Grave (1960)

Here, the figurative language of Millar’s 1950s novels (like Vanish in an Instant and  Wives and Lovers) is replaced by a cleaner style which often focuses on extremes.

“But Fielding’s pity, like his love and even his hate, was a variable thing, subject to changes in the weather, melting in the summer, freezing in the […]


Three books: Three challenges

Dominique Fabre’s The Waitress Was New (2005) Trans. Jordan Stump Archipelago Books, 2008

It begins very simply. “The waitress was new here.”

Pierre is not new; he has been the barman for years and years and years. When he watches the new waitress approach, it’s the perspective of a seasoned worker in the restaurant industry.



Another Shelf Discovery Saturday

Sandra Scoppettone’s Happy Endings Are All Alike (1978) Deborah Hautzig’s Hey Dollface (1978) Madeleine L’Engle’s Meet the Austins (1960) Sara Ryan’s Empress of the World (2001)

Just as I found that many of my favourite early reads about family and relationships featured bookish heroines, so did the next phase of my reading. Madeleine L’Engle’s Meet […]