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

Quarterly Stories: Autumn 2014

“Bad coffee can only keep you company for so long at four a.m. in a bus depot.”

Caitlin Press, 2014

All of the characters in Janine Alyson Young’s debut collection seem as though they would immediately recognize the truth of that. They all seem to have a spot of the drifter in them, even […]

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Alice Simpson’s Ballroom (2014)

The reader moves onto the floor with great excitement, turning the initial pages of a debut novel, heartbeat slightly accelerated, hopes and expectations heightened. It is a dance: this movement between reader and story. Alice Simpson’s Ballroom takes that connection seriously.

HarperCollins, 2014

The very structure of the novel mirrors the movements on a […]

August 2014, In My Reading Log

Although I always have a small stack of books underway, I have carried to extremes this act of multi-booking this summer.

Yesterday I finished Michael Crummey’s new novel (Sweetland), Alison Wearing’s memoir (Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter), Jan Zwicky’s poetry collection, the second volume in the Fruits Basket manga series, and Gene Luen Yang’s graphic […]

84: Best Canadian Stories (Edited by David Helwig and Sandra Martin)

These stories were chosen “to be read rather than merely admired, or even envied”, including five previously unpublished stories. Thirty years later, the list of contents conjures up echoes of the Giller Prize, Canada Reads, and even a Pulitzer.

Frances Itani’s “Grandmother” “And she has long known what the rest of us take the better […]

My mini-Canlit-read-a-thon on Canada Day, 2014 (II)

Choosing a stack based on whimsy rather than duty urged me to binge on these books with enthusiasm. The afternoon heat was held at bay by good stories and an assortment of drinks (often rum with some sort of fruit juice, from tangerine to strawberry, lemon to cherry). And without any pressing engagements, it was […]

My mini-Canlit-read-a-thon on Canada Day, 2014 (I)

Sometimes a stack of reading goes stale. For no good reason. You know what I mean.

Maybe you’re just bored with the covers. Or you’ve been teasing the books along with a page here and there, when they needed some quality one-on-one time.

That’s where I was with my stack, heading into Canada Day’s […]

Quarterly Stories: Summer 2014

Coming Home: Stories from the Northwest Territories (Enfield & Wizenty, 2012)

In the foreword, Richard Van Camp writes that this collection is a “testament to the beauty of the land, the communities and the people who choose to live here” and he welcomes readers to the works. The same words might be used as plumpy jacket […]

Summer of the Canadian Short Story Reading

Write Reads is hosting this event, which runs from June 1 – September 1, 2014.

I learned about it last week via Consumed by Ink, and how could I resist: two of my favourite things, Canlit and short stories.

But the act of choosing is almost overwhelming. And of course there’s always the possibility of a theme […]

“Powers” Alice Munro

Runaway readers cannot run away from the book after turning the final page. Instead, they have to burrow in.

Much like “Vandals” in 1994’s Open Secrets and the title story in 2012’s Dear Life, “Powers” is one of those closing stories that sends readers rushing back to the beginning.

McClelland […]

“Tricks” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2004

This story has long been my favourite in this collection, although I could not recall which of them it was, when I first approached my reread of Runaway.

When Stratford appeared in the first story, I thought maybe my favourite was coming. But, no, “Runaway” was pure sorrow. There was […]