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

Indigenous Tales: A Pulitzer

He was the first native American novelist to focus on the plights of the contemporary Native American.

The supporting materials in the back of the paperback edition of N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn (1966) do a fine job of explaining the unique importance of the work culturally, within the broader context of postwar American fiction. […]


Quarterly Stories: Spring 2014

In collection reading, since Quarterly Stories: Winter 2013 I’ve read Susie Moloney’s Things Withered, the latest installment of the Alice Munro reading project, B.J. Novak’s One More Thing, and the most recent volume of Journey Prize stories. 

But mostly I’ve been dipping into single stories in recent months. Partly this was inspired by random samplings of the latest ReLit nominees (more on that project soon) […]


Donna Tartt, interviewed by Jared Bland (November 2013)

The  evening in the Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library begins with a  sincere expression of enthusiasm on the part of the interviewer, introducing and welcoming the author.

Not rote expression of interest or distant admiration, but a sense of true excitement as Jared Bland takes his seat, and the author of The Goldfinch […]


Memories of making a perfect snowman

Little, Brown & Company, 2012 Reagan Arthur Imprint

If you grew up in a country where it snows, you probably have at least one memory of making a snowman.

Mine never turned out looking like they did in storybooks; the snow wasn’t always quite right, the shapes were never properly rounded, and the requisite […]


Gone with the Wind (1936)

Of a 16-year-old’s devotion

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (1936) Avon Books, 1973

This is my original copy of this novel, which I first read when I was sixteen years old. You’ve seen one like it, right?

It’s the copy that I remember seeing on the shelves of my older female relatives as […]


Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1983)

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1983) Women’s Press, 1984 

Celie begins writing letters to God because the man who is married to her mother has said that’s all who will listen, all who should be bothered with listening.

(It’s just wrong to call him her father, after he has raped and abused her, but some […]


Jennifer Egan’s A Visit to the Goon Squad (2010)

(Looking for a swallow rather than a full glass? ORANGE Squirt below.)

Dear A Visit to the Goon Squad,

I was #268 on the library hold list for you after you won the National (US) Book Critics Circle Award, but before you won the Pulitzer, although my reason for wanting to read you was actually […]


Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! (2011)

Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.

(Looking for a swallow rather than a full glass? ORANGE Squirt below.)

Loving an excerpt as much as I loved “The Dredgeman’s Revelation” brings a sense of trepidation alongside excitement when approaching the longer work.

Would Swamplandia! leave me with the same pressing desire to re-read, the […]