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

Chinese Girls: In Fiction, In Photos

Bette Bao Lord’s In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (1984) opens when Bandit is living in China in her grandparents’ home. She is ten years old (nine in Western birthdays) and she is about to learn that she will be going to live in the United States.

  “Holding Precious […]

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Mavis Gallant’s “The Legacy” (1954)

Inheritance: a common literary theme. Here, Mrs. Boldescu has died, leaving behind four grown children and a family grocery shop on St. Eulalie Street in Montreal: “Rumania Fancy Groceries”.

Small shops in 1935, imagine “Rumania Family Groceries” on the signClick for source details

Carol and Georgie are the older brothers, and the youngest boy is Victor, who […]

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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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Jane Hamilton’s The Excellent Lombards (2016)

Excerpt from my reading journal:

Having read all of Jane Hamilton’s novels, and having waited since 2009 for another, I was pretty psyched for The Excellent Lombards.

Grand Central Publishing, 2016

My favourites were The Short History of a Prince and The Book of Ruth, which I read very quickly, but perhaps not as […]

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Lisa Moore’s Flannery (2016)

Lisa Moore builds folks from the ink up: she is standout at characterization.

Groundwood Books, 2016

One of the elements that makes her characters so convincing is the echo effect, the reverberations off seemingly extraneous details (in images, in descriptions, in settings) to construct multi-faceted individuals.

Readers who have come to admire this quality in […]

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October 2015, In My Reading Log

I pulled André Alexis’ Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa (1994) off my shelf when Fifteen Dogs was nominated for the Toronto Book Award (since then, FD has also been nominated for the Giller Prize and the Rogers’ Writers’ Trust Fiction Award). There aren’t any notable four-legged characters, but the collection is fascinating.

In speaking of his dreams, […]

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Summer Reading To-Do List for Stormy Days (4 of 4)

Such good reading this summer, so far. In other respects, perhaps mine has not been the most productive summer. But it all depends what one puts on a to-do list, doesn’t it! What if your to-do list was all about the books in your stacks?

House of Anansi, 2015

For off-the-land adventure: 

Gather nuts and […]

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Summer Reading To-Do List for Stormy Days (3 of 4)

Such good reading this summer, so far. In other respects, perhaps mine has not been the most productive summer. But it all depends what one puts on a to-do list, doesn’t it! What if your to-do list was all about the books in your stacks?

Cormorant Books, 2015

For coming-of-age devotees: 

Accompany Lawrence Nolan on […]

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Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border (2015)

It’s an old term, ‘wolf border’, from the Finnish language: susiraja.

The boundary betweent the capital region and the rest of the country: everything which lies beyond the border is wilderness.

HarperCollins, 2015

Certainly Rachel does have to explain a lot about her scientific work with wolves beyond the border.

And it’s not only Londoners […]

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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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