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 […]


Louis Riel: On the Page, On the Stage

The Canadian Opera Company is now presenting a new 50th-anniversary production of “Louis Riel”, originally written for the celebration of the Canadian centenary in 1967, with an attempt to shift that oh-so-colonial gaze, now including indigenous artists and languages with more nuanced representations of the historical figures.

These are powerfully important figures, and seeing their stories […]


Quarterly Stories: Spring 2014

In collection reading, since Quarterly Stories: Winter 2013 I’ve read Susie Moloney’s Things Withered, the latest installment of the Alice Munro reading project, B.J. Novak’s One More Thing, and the most recent volume of Journey Prize stories. 

But mostly I’ve been dipping into single stories in recent months. Partly this was inspired by random samplings of the latest ReLit nominees (more on that project soon) […]


Re-reading Oryx and Crake, Notes on a Saturday

What a delicious juxtaposition: the lushness of the farmers’ market this morning – and all the bounty and treat-ness that entails – with a re-read of Oryx and Crake planned for the remainder of the day.

Like many other readers, I’ve been tremendously excited by the prospect of the trilogy’s completion, and have reserved this […]


Nicolas Debon’s Four Pictures by Emily Carr (2003)

There are a number of ways in which one can get to know Emily Carr.

Groundwood Books – House of Anansi, 2003

First, for the bookish, via her own writing.

Klee Wick (1941), The Book of Small (1942), The House of All Sorts (1944), and, published posthumously, Growing Pains (1946), Pause (1953), The Heart of […]


Kim Echlin’s Inanna (2003)

“I like telling stories of women who act on their passions.”

“I like these strong female characters.”

“When I talk with readers I feel an enormous appetite in women to explore both their strength and their emotional connectedness, which still tend not to be honoured in the dominant culture.”*

Any one of these statements would […]


A Literary Three-Way: About the Girls (II)

I was inspired to re-read Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad after I read The Odyssey (with and without pictures).

“The story as told in The Odyssey doesn’t hold water: there are too many inconsistencies.”

Atwood describes the impetus for retelling this classic tale as follows:

“I’ve always been haunted by the hanged maids; and, in The Penelopiad, so is […]


BHM: Z.Z. Packer

Riverhead, 2003

It’s been a long time since a book inspired me to create a Spelling It Out.*

Generally speaking, it coincides with an author’s shifting onto my MRE lists (Must Read Everything).

Consider it official: Z.Z. Packer’s Drinking Coffee Elsewhere makes her a MRE author for me, and now I’ll spell out my reasons […]


Not-So-Sweet and Swedish: Mankell

The Kurt Wallander series was one of the first of the Scandinavian mystery series to cause a buzz in North America, but I was frustrated by the fact that the earliest volumes weren’t translated into English as quickly as I wanted them.

You see, I’m obsessive about reading mystery series in order, which can traced […]


An Assortment of Teenlit: Four Books

Aristophane’s The Zabîme Sisters Trans. Matt Madden (2010)

This was the happy product of a browsing session on a summer day that found me seeking the relief of the public library’s A/C.

I brought it home and took it to bed on a still-too-hot night, the sort when you really can’t concentrate on anything but […]