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

Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café (1990)

“Do you remember, Big Sister, all those good times? In Cousin Chan’s abandoned house right in the middle of our neighbourhood, a dozen or so girls lying together, cooking together, working the fields, laughing and gissipping the entire day.”

The excerpt from this letter, from Fong Mei in March 1919, in her report […]

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February 2016, In My Bookbag

My reading resolutions for this year revolve around a set of too-long-unread books. Many of which were too-long-unread because they are long and complicated. Like Marge Piercy’s Gone to Soldiers and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Gardens in the Dunes, which I have been leaving at home, while these slimmer volumes have been travelling with me.

Jeremy Love’s […]

February 2016, In My Stacks

It’s a bright sunny day, when I snap this photo. I’m even more optimistic when I think of a month’s reading, when the sun shines. More hours with good reading light. And, in February. What could be better.

You can see the sheen of it in the image, the veil of sun in the room […]

December 2015, In My Reading Log

Three of these books were inspired by the conjunction between my own shelves and this year’s Random House Bingo, which has a CanLit theme.

The Tiger Claw filled my Nominated-for-the-Giller square, Evan Munday’s second October Schwartz for the Mystery-or-Thriller square, and Elaine Lui’s book about her relationship with her mother perfectly suits the celebrity-memoir square.

Have you […]

December 2015, In My Bookbag

What I was not carrying in my bookbag this month: David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten, Shauna Singh Baldwin’s The Tiger Claw and the third volume in G.R.R. Martin’s Ice and Fire series.

These hefty volumes stayied at home, but these slimmer books were travelling this month. And there was more to-ing and fro-ing this month than usual: nice to have […]

The Next Chapter makes introductions

One of my great pleasures is listening to Shelagh Rogers’ “The Next Chapter”, via podcast on the CBC.

I particularly enjoy the interviews and discussions when I have already read the book being discussed (or I have read an earlier book by the author, but I have not yet read their latest), and many of […]

Confined: Margaret Atwood and Claudine Dumont

“If prison isn’t prison, the outside world has no meaning!” So says Aurora to Charmaine in Margaret Atwood’s new novel, The Heart Goes Last.

McClelland & Stewart, 2015 (Penguin Random House)

It dates back, the CanLit icon’s interest in imprisonment, a preoccupation with the idea of lives which are lived inside and lives which […]

‘Tis the Season…for Mosquitoes

So, it’s past the middle of November, so I’m surprised to find myself surrounded by so many mosquitoes.

First in the fifth volume of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series, On the Shores of Silver Lake.

Living so close to the land, the other residents are regularly brushing elbows (and paws and wings and other appendages) with the […]

I Spy with My CanLit Eye: Two Classics

Our young separatist narrator is imagining his own future and the future of Quebec, and both man and nation are struggling with matters of expression and independence, in Hubert Aquin’s Next Episode (published in 1965, translated by Sheila Fischman in 2001).

“I am the fragmented symbol of Quebec’s revolution, its fractured reflection and its suicidal […]

Pauline Holdstock’s The Hunter and the Wild Girl (2015)

Despite its sedate and unassuming cover, Pauline Holdstock’s The Hunter and the Wild Girl begins in a rush.

Goose Lane, 2015

“With a shriek of splintering boards, the girl breaks into daylight and stands blinded, panting, sucking air as if it were a great hot soup, her chest heaving.”

This sentence and the following pages […]