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

Margaret Millar’s An Air that Kills (1957; 2016)

Because so many of Margaret Millar’s novels consider married couples – often at the point in which the relationship is strained, if not fractured – one wonders about her relationship with Ken Millar (better known as Ross MacDonald, who also wrote mysteries).

Did they squabble like Esther and Ron do at the beginning of An […]


Susan Philpott’s Blown Red (2015)

It begins with a body. And with short chapters, told from a variety of perspectives, guaranteed to create strong pacing.

Blown Red is the first in the Signy Shepherd mysteries ,and it introduces readers to the series’ star, as well as some of the other key personnel working on the Line.

One stop on the Line is relatively visible […]


September 2014: In My Reading Log

Among other books enjoyed in September were some standout novels that will be featured later this month, including Michael Crummey’s Sweetland and Magie Dominic’s Street Angel. There was also Diversiverse and the launch of RIP IX, and much musing on future Read-a-Thon choices. Award longlists began appearing (including the Toronto Book Award and the Giller Prize) […]


Nadia Bozak’s Borders

Excerpt from reading journal:

Nadia Bozak is the reason that I have copies of the three books in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy on my shelves. Books that I never planned to read, but I came across the idea that the works were somehow connected with her novels Orphan Love and El Niño. And, so, the […]


Page-turners: sometimes mysterious

Nothing like a good mystery. Some serial fun, with Giles Blunt, Ian Hamilton, Louise Penny, or my most recent discovery, the Nina Borg series by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis.

But one can find a good page-turner in the standalone novels on the fiction shelves too.

Take Claire Cameron’s freshly published The Bear, longlisted for the Bailey’s Prize and […]


Mary Lawson’s Road Ends (2013)

You might think Struan is an unlikely setting for a novel. A town you can walk through in under ten minutes (even on slippery wintry surfaces).

Knopf Canada, 2013

“Walking from one end of Struan to the other takes less than ten minutes. If you kept walking south and east eventually you would hit […]


Giles Blunt’s By the Time You Read This (2006)

Giles Blunt’s By the Time You Read This Random House, 2006 John Cardinal and Lise Delorme #4

Although I read the third book in the Algonquin Bay series decidedly out of Blackfly Season, I chose the perfect time of year to read the fourth. The beautifully hued leaf on the cover gives it away.

“Autumn in Algonquin […]


Giles Blunt’s mysteries

Giles Blunt’s Blackfly Season (2005) Seal Books, 2006

It would have been far more appropriate to have read this mystery earlier in the season in, say, Blackfly Season.

And it would have been far more appropriate to have read it in closer proximity to the first two books in this series (which began with Forty […]