The Skinny on Some Skinnies: September 2017, In My Bookbag

2017-09-13T11:12:45+00:00

In which I discuss the skinny volumes which accompany me on my travels, while the heavier volumes (like Stephen King's It and an omnibus of Shirley Jackson's short works) remain at home. On a late August afternoon, I'm taking the Queen Street streetcar, in the stretch between Beach and Parliament,

The Skinny on Some Skinnies: September 2017, In My Bookbag 2017-09-13T11:12:45+00:00

Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017)

2017-09-07T17:04:14+00:00

The dead fuel Jesmyn Ward's novels. She feels the weight of their stories; she shoulders them, shares them. In Sing, Unburied, Sing, their chorus of voices - even in the epigraphs but also in the novel - reverberates between and beyond the covers. Ward's are heart-shattering stories. But they

Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) 2017-09-07T17:04:14+00:00

The Irish Family: Kate O’Brien, Anakana Schofield, and Lisa McInerney

2017-09-18T10:58:03+00:00

These are the kinds of stories which expose the imperfections which lie beneath a carefully smoothed comforter. Honest characterization is key, Lisa McInerney explains to Marie Gethins,: "There is absolutely no element or aspect of their characters’ lives a writer should shy away from presenting, no matter how unpleasant.

The Irish Family: Kate O’Brien, Anakana Schofield, and Lisa McInerney 2017-09-18T10:58:03+00:00

Mavis Gallant’s “The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street” (1963)

2017-08-08T13:54:19+00:00

Reading this story might change your reading life forever. That's what happened to Peter Orner, whose essay on Mavis Gallant's stories is mesmerizing: "The Way Vivid, Way Underappreciated Short Stories of Mavis Gallant", published in The Atlantic's "By Heart" series. "The first story I read is called 'The Ice Wagon

Mavis Gallant’s “The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street” (1963) 2017-08-08T13:54:19+00:00

Mazo de la Roche’s Young Renny (1935; 1971)

2017-08-11T13:57:37+00:00

When I began to read this series, I worried - needlessly - about keeping the characters straight: actually, the main character is Jalna itself. "Everything about the house had been put in perfect order. Workmen had been there to mend the roof, tighten the supports of the shutters, and give

Mazo de la Roche’s Young Renny (1935; 1971) 2017-08-11T13:57:37+00:00