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

In My Stacks, May 2016

How much of your reading is non-fiction? Does it fluctuate, or are you committed to reading (or not reading) it?

When others were participating in non-fiction November last year, and actually reading a lot of the books that I’d been kinda-half-sorta thinking about reading, I realised that tending towards fiction had shifted into reading almost […]


Infinite Riches: Virago Modern Classics

And what will you find in this collection of short stories, edited by Lynne Knight and published under this title (and under The Secret Woman) in 1993?

Thoughts and ideas about many things.

About marriage:

“If she had never, from the first, regarded her marriage as a full cancelling of her claims upon life, she […]


Michelle Cliff’s Free Enterprise (1993)

This isn’t necessarily a story that you will know.

Penguin Books, 1993

And nor are you expected to.

“We all know how history comes down to us, which stories, which versions tend to be passed on.”

But here, in Free Enterprise, in a novel, we might find another version of truth.

As Jessamyn West […]


In My Reading Log

The majority of my reading time this year has been devoted to the books which have been living for years, though neglected, on my own bookshelves. In May and June, I had a planned rebellion, and I enjoyed a great number of new books. But now I have returned to my own shelves once more.



Nadeem Aslam’s Season of the Rainbirds (1993)

His literary biography is impressive at-a-glance. Even this, his first novel, was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Maps for Lost Lovers won the Kiriyama Prize. And he’s received a Lannan Literary Fellowship.

1993; Anchor Canada – Random House of Canada, 2013

For readers, these are indications of quality, yes, but some might say that […]


Monsters and misfits: The Wives of Bath

Sixteen-year-old “Mouse” Bradford feels like a monster, with her companion, Alice, her humpback.

How fitting, then, that there are bars on the windows of Bath Ladies’ College, the boarding school to which she is sent in late 1963.

“My God! It looks like a prison,” her father says, driving up the ravine hill of the […]


Once Upon a Time: Fragments

Once Upon a Time has wrapped up for another year, but I haven’t properly mentioned some books, including two terrific books of Inuit folktales which I’ll discuss tomorrow. But, first…

Cameron Dokey’s The World Above is part of the series of retellings from Simon Pulse; there are about twenty retellings in all, and they all seem to […]


Taking a Tour of Newford

I’ve been wanting to holiday in Newford for more than ten years; finally, this spring, I spent time in Dreams Underfoot.

“In Newford, creation is the supreme act of magic, whether that creation be a painting, a fiddle tune or a poem, an AIDS clinic or battered children’s shelter, or one’s own family and a […]


Reading Jane Urquhart

A quick glance at my bookshelves and you would think that Jane Urquhart is one of my favourite authors.

I have all of her novels save one — a couple of hardcovers purchased new — but I have a habit of leaving them unfinished.

Nonetheless, the themes she pursues in her fiction are just the […]


Three novels by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry’s The Giver (1993) Bantam-Random House, 1999

“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”

From the opening sentence, this novel has an ominous tone. Doesn’t it? ::squirms in chair::

And it’s pervasive. Only a few pages later, his younger sister is whispering about “The Ceremony of Twelve”, which is what […]