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 Atwood’s Hag-Seed (2016)

If you’re a fan of Margaret Atwood’s retelling,of The Odyssey, The Penelopiad, you’ve probably already got a copy of Hag-Seed on your stack.

Knopf – PRH, 2016

Ditto if you’re following the Hogarth Shakespeare retellings. Already published this year are Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time (The Winter’s Tale), Howard Jacobson’s Shylock Is My Name (The […]


Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible (2016)

Read it? I hadn’t even heard of it. Despite having read all of Curtis Sittenfeld’s other books.

Ah, well, it all made sense when I recognized that it was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

See, not REALLY a Curtis Sittenfeld novel. Merely Curtis Sittenfeld in Jane Austen’s clothing.

But, then, this first sentence: “Well before his […]


Curtis Sittenfeld in Interview (2016)

Browsing with a bookish friend in Type Books the other day, I literally gasped when she gestured to Eligible; I had missed the news that Curtis Sittenfeld had something new on the shelves.

Random House, 2016

There aren’t that many authors who’ll make me gasp (but it also happened when I saw the new Alissa […]


October 2015, In My Reading Log

I pulled André Alexis’ Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa (1994) off my shelf when Fifteen Dogs was nominated for the Toronto Book Award (since then, FD has also been nominated for the Giller Prize and the Rogers’ Writers’ Trust Fiction Award). There aren’t any notable four-legged characters, but the collection is fascinating.

In speaking of his dreams, […]


Summer Reading To-Do List for Sunny Days (2 of 4)

Such good reading this summer, so far. In other respects, perhaps mine has not been the most productive summer. But it all depends what one puts on a to-do list, doesn’t it! What if your to-do list was all about the books in your stacks?

Little, Brown and Company, 2015

For memoir readers:

Remember the […]


Emerging and Established: The Journey Prize Stories 26 and Margaret Atwood

Just as the jury enjoyed reading the stories submitted for tthe 2014 Journey Prize, other readers can also value the “exposure to a new generation of writers who are extending the tradition of Canadian short fiction well into the twenty-first century”.

McClelland & Stewart, 2014.

Edited by Steven W. Beattie, Craig Davidson and Saleema […]


Jonathan Bennett’s The Colonial Hotel (2014)

Readers might expect a retelling of the ancient Greek tale of Paris and Helen to be a bulky, wordy novel as useful for propping up a window on a hot summer day as for entertainment; but Jonatham Bennett’s contemporary version of the story is a slim, polished novel that one would need to lie flat to allow only […]


Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird (2014)

Girl Cave Rose. Prince Dark Mirror. Crow Cellar Ring.

One has the sense that Helen Oyeyemi thinks in threes.

Also that she views the world through a slightly skewed lens.

Hamish Hamilton – Penguin, 2014

But Boy, Snow, Bird is not simply a random collection of resonant images and ideas; the book is named […]


Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites (2013)

Who is Agnes?

Little, Brown and Company, 2013

“Criminal. The word hangs in the air. Heavy, unmoved by the bluster of the wind. I want to shake my head. That word does not belong to me, I want to say. It doesn’t fit me or who I am. It’s another word, and it belongs […]


Wayne Johnston’s The Son of a Certain Woman (2013)

“The Son of A Certain Woman. You don’t have to have read Joyce to ‘get’ it. But it’s a touch more fun if you have.”

And that is because it is Wayne Johnston’s “Joyce book”.

Which one might take to mean that it’s about the Joyce family. (Primarily about Percy and his mother, Penelope, but […]