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 […]

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Mavis Gallant’s “The Picnic” (1952)

The weight of the brooch pulls the fabric of young Margaret Marshall’s picnic frock. It always hangs just fine off her navy blue shorts, but the light-weight dress doesn’t provide a suitable backdrop.

How disappointing for young Margaret, who so treasures this gift from Madame Pégorin, the photo of the woman’s beloved poodle encircled by seed […]

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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 […]

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Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am (2016)

In interview with Mark Medley in September, Jonathan Safran Foer discusses his new book, Here I Am, in such a way that it’s clear it feels distinct from his other writing for him.

Hamish Hamilton – PRH, 2016

Many of the attendees are carrying copies of his earlier books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely […]

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Reasons to read Gary Barwin’s Yiddish for Pirates (2016)

For a love of birds with wings, especially parrots.

“But what did happen to Adam and Eve? Did they hollow out the Tree of Knowledge, make a canoe and then paddle east to Europe? Fnyeh. Not these Heyerdahls. But, if there ever were an Adam and Eve, who knows where they went? Maybe they were Indios—or […]

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Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s The Spawning Grounds (2016)

The Boston Globe called her fiction “Pacific Northwest Gothic” and her latest novel, The Spawning Grounds, fits that description well.

She made a splash on Canadian readers’ stacks since The Cure for Death by Lightning was shortlisted for the Giller Prize (A Recipe for Bees was also nominated for the Giller, and there have been other […]

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The Ransom Riggs’ Trilogy

With a lengthy TBR, it’s sometimes difficult to finish reading a series: this year, with trilogies, I am exercising my completion muscles. Earlier this year, I went back and reread the initial volume of Margaret Drabble’s Thatcher trilogy and Judith Kerr’s Out of the Hitler Time trilogy, and then finished the other two volumes in each. Then […]

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Sun-Mi Hwang’s The Dog Who Dared to Dream (2016)

Sun-Mi Hwang’s The Hen Who Believed She Could Fly was a runaway bestseller for its Korean author, who had previously published more than 50 books and was surprised to find her work such a phenomenon, not only in Korea but beyond.

Abacus – Hachette, 2016

The Dog Who Dared to Dream is poised to experience […]

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The Inseparables, Tobacco Wars, I’m Still Here

Having stories narrated by – or assembled via – a number of voices is a popular way of  world-building. Each of the following books plays with this technique, allowing different perspectives to combine and create a more credible space for readers to inhabit.

Just as in Meg Wolitzer’s The Position, the matriarch in Stuart Nadler’s The Inseparables […]

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Jay Hosking’s Three Years with the Rat (2016)

If a story’s beginning looks at its reflection in a room made of mirrors, does it see its own beginning-self reflected back? Or is the reflection actually the story’s ending?

Hamish Hamilton, 2016

This is the kind of question that I can imagine keeps Jay Hosking up late at night. The characters in Three […]

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