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

Vickie Gendreau’s Testament (2012; 2016)

Originally written after the author had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, Testament is a response to the news that Vickie Gendreau would have little time left to live: about a year.

2012; Book Thug, 2016

The novel’s translator, Aimee Wall, writes about the work, a few months after its author died, in Lemon […]

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December 2016, In My Bookbag

In which I discuss some of the skinny volumes which have kept me company while on the move, while heavier volumes (like Connie Willis’ Crosstalk and Steven King’s 11/22/1963) stayed home.

Warsan Shire’s chapbook is my skinniest book of the year. I finished reading it on a single commute, but rather than read another volume […]

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August 2016, In My Bookbag

In which I discuss some of the skinny volumes, which have nestled into my bookbag.

(Meanwhile longer works, like Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber and Greg Iles’ The Bone Tree, were left at home.)

Patricia and Fredrick McKissack’s Best Shot in the West tells the story of Nat Love, who was born into slavery in 1854 and became […]

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Where the Girls Went: Three Novels

Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and, most recently, The Widow: girls make for good pageturners.

But Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Fiona Barton are looking to tell different kinds of stories about girls.

In a BookPage interview, Gillian Flynn tries to explain why Gone Girl captured “the popular imagination so thoroughly”.

“It’s perhaps […]

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Ian Williams: Not Anyone’s Anything (2011) and Personals (2012)

If the idea of experimental or innovative short stories makes you squirm, even though you are simultaneously bored with more traditional structure, Not Anyone’s Anything belongs on your bookshelf.

Ian Williams puts relationships at the core of his work and this fiction collection exhibits this tendency as well.

I also wholly enjoyed his poetry collection […]

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BIP’s Snips: Abbreviated Bookishness

Penguin-Razorbill, 2012

Mariko Tamaki’s (You) Set Me On Fire (2012)

Read: At the hair salon, on the TTC, standing in line: everywhere. Allison’s voice is strong and compelling. I could pick up this story and immediately fall into step with her, even if I only had a very short time to read. Warning: Bad […]

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Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin series

It begins with Butterworm “the neighborhood’s oldest resident”, the tale slipping between his bared teeth:  Courtney Crumrin: The Night Things, written and illustrated by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press 2012).

He introduces readers to Courtney Crumrin, who is new in town. Her parents have run out of credit and have begged rooms with an older uncle, Aloysius Crumrin, […]

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TGIF: In the workplace, on the page (3 of 4)

A new Friday fugue, running through this month, considering the ways in which our working lives appear on the pages of novels and short stories. The first two weeks appear here and here.)

Tightrope Books, 2011

Kathryn Mockler’s Onion Man (2011) “The first night, time went by fast because it was new, but since […]

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TGIF: In the workplace, on the page (2 of 4)

A new Friday fugue, running through this month, considering the ways in which our working lives appear on the pages of novels and short stories.

Wasn’t I just talking about novels set in bookstores? Yup, in last Friday’s post (here). Gabrielle Zevin’s book fits perfectly on that shelf.

Arsenal Pulp, 2009

But if you’re […]

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Partitions: Neverhome (2014) and Between Clay and Dust (2012)

Neverhome is set in the years of the American Civil War and narrated by a fledgling letter-writer. She has survived the conflict and adopted this strange chore of authoring.

Little, Brown and Company, 2014

“When I’d eaten up my given share of a day I’d take up my pen to write Bartholomew. I […]

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