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

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These stories were chosen “to be read rather than merely admired, or even envied”, including five previously unpublished stories.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 [...]

“Trespasses” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2004

‘Trespass’ is a word that I associate with childhood more than most.

It slipped off my tongue every morning in school, after we sang “O Canada”, in a dutiful recitation of “The Lord’s Prayer”.

And there was always a sign warning against it when we explored the ravines and fields [...]

“Passion” Alice Munro

Like Alva in “Sunday Afternoons” and Edie in “How I Met My Husband”, Grace is a young woman with a summer job.

But even within the context of this transitory existence and experience, she settles into a routine, steadfast and predictable.

McClelland & Stewart, 2004

Soon, Grace is [...]

“Silence” Alice Munro

In the story, it is Joan who prolongs the name “with a certain tone of celebration”.

Penelope.

But it’s easy to imagine that it is actually Alice Munro who is savouring every syllable as she draws it out in ink.

Pen-ell-oh-pee.

You can imagine her there, [...]