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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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 […]

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Peter Nowak’s Humans 3.0

When I was in the tenth grade, nothing about technology intimidated me. I signed up for classes in high school which taught binary and how to write simple programs, and my first full-time job was working with a woman who could program in COBOL.

Goose Lane Editions, 2015

So I knew how to instruct […]

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Miranda Sherry’s Black Dog Summer (2015)

It’s frightening, what happened to the author late one night travelling on a dark road after an exhausting studio session, forced to suddenly stop because of two shadowy figures ahead. (You can read about the event in an article on her UK publisher’s site, here.)

Simon & Schuster, 2015

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“Home” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

Alice’s father has remarried, and Irlma has made many changes in the house.

“Irlma is a stout and rosy woman, with tinted butterscotch curls, brown eyes in which there is still a sparkle, a look of emotional readiness, of being always on the brink of hilarity. Or on the brink […]

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Mireille Silcoff’s Chez L’Arabe (2014)

Weeks after reading these stories, a glance at the table of contents brings back their characters and arcs in a moment. (With “Flower Watching” and “Eskimos” I also required the aid of the characters’ names I’d noted.)

These stories stood out, not only as independent narratives but, simultaneously, for the connections between them; as with […]

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My mini-Canlit-read-a-thon on Canada Day, 2014 (II)

Choosing a stack based on whimsy rather than duty urged me to binge on these books with enthusiasm. The afternoon heat was held at bay by good stories and an assortment of drinks (often rum with some sort of fruit juice, from tangerine to strawberry, lemon to cherry). And without any pressing engagements, it was […]

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Megan Abbott’s The Fever (2014)

Paradoxically, the phenomenon in The Fever has a chilling effect on characters and readers alike.

The girls fall to the ground, one after the next; they writhe and tensions rise but blood is chilled.

Little Brown & Company, 2014

“As Deenie walked out, a coolness began to sink into her. The feeling that something […]

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May 2014, In My Reading Log

May tallies something like this: 24 books (including verse, graphic novels, and kidlit), 2 magazines, assorted stories, 2 cookbooks, and a picture book (Marilyn Nelson’s A Wreath for Emmett Till). (Surely I’m not the only person who has trouble keeping track now that there are notebooks and files to update?)

May’s first post was devoted […]

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“Floating Bridge” Alice Munro

Jinny has been standing on shifting ground.

Expectations are thwarted: these are times of transformation.

This was true, too, in “Gravel” and in “Oh What Avails”.

But there she is: the space in which she is standing shifts both literally and metaphorically.

Things have been all-a-shift for some time now.

Readers have the detailed […]

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