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

The First Jalna Story: Meeting Adeline

In 1944, Mazo de la Roche published The Building of Jalna, nearly twenty years after she began to work with the Whiteoak family on the page. The beginning grew out of the middle, you might say.

Jalna was actually written first, begun in 1925 and published in 1927: the fifth in the sequence of the […]

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In My Bookbag, Winter 2017

My reading year began with Marina Endicott’s New Year’s Eve (2011), written with literacy front-of-mind; its vocabulary, structure and tone are meant to ease the passage for readers with varying degrees of ease reading in English.

It begins simply: “The snow started before we left home.” Despite its brevity , there is going to be […]

Margery Sharp’s The Rescuers (1959; 1977)

When I was a girl, I was too afraid to watch the part of the Disney movie in which Penny is lowered into the darkness in a bucket.

If I had actually read the stories on my bookshelf, I would have had great sympathy for the mice in the Prisoner’s Aid Society. They spend much […]

The Promise Falls Trilogy

Promise Falls has a history. You might not think so, but it matters.

“Are we too insignificant up here: A couple of hours away from New York? Is that what we’re foolish enough to think? Let me tell you something, my friend. You want to strike fear into the hearts of Americans? Then go to […]

November 2016, In My Reading Log

In the wake of my IFOA reading list and the literary prizelists of the season, my November reading felt relatively whimsical. Without duedates attached to the majority of my reading, it was a pleasure to slip into volumes which had sat untouched in recent weeks.

Each of these three volumes covers, in one way or another, […]

The Fold’s 2016 Reading List (Part Three)

The FOLD (The Festival of Literary Diversity) is an annual event, in Brampton (Ontario, Canada) dedicated to telling more stories, to having audiences connect with a wider variety of storytellers. You can check out their lineup of terrific writers and storytellers who were a part of the debut festival in May this year, here.

Earlier in […]

Stephen King’s End of Watch (2016)

In the final volume of the Bill Hodges trilogy, the timeline briefly veers back to the opening scene of Mr. Mercedes. This time, a few minutes after the scene which opens the series. (Then it returns to a contemporary setting, a few years after Finders Keepers.)

Scribner – S&S, 2016

This kind of attention-to-detail, […]

Stephen King’s Finders Keepers (2015)

A detective haunted by past cases left unresolved or unhappily resolved? This offers a terrific launching pad for storytelling.

Pocket Books – S&S, 2016

Particularly when the detective is no longer in an official capacity and has more time on his hands to ruminate and regret.

“There’s not a day that goes by when he […]

Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes (2014)

How many times have I fallen for this trick? A Stephen King novel opens with a vividly sketched scene, of ordinary and likeable people going about the business of their everyday lives, when disaster strikes, and someone dies.

Gallery Books – S&S, 2016

Mr. Mercedes is no different. A job fair is planned and desperate job-hunters […]

The Fourth Nina Borg Mystery: The Considerate Killer

“’What the hell makes you think,’ she said, in her most glacial voice, ‘that I am anybody’s victim?’”

Soho Press, 2016

Nina’s question, in an earlier volume of the series, is ironic in this context: The Considerate Killer begins with two blows to the back of Nina’s head and a lingering state of unconsciousness, […]