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

Nathalia Holt’s Rise of the Rocket Girls (2016)

“It’s about being an explorer, a treasure-hunter.” Sue Finlay is still passionate about her work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, just as she was in 1957, when she put her love of numbers to work. (See video here.)

She speaks about the early days spent with a Friedan calculator and a notebook, the complex calulations which […]


June 2016, In My Bookbag

In which I discuss some of the skinny volumes, which have nestled into my bookbag (while longer works, like Marge Piercy’s Gone to Soldiers and Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, were left at home.

Vivek Shraya’s God Loves Hair is illustrated by Juliana Neufeld, a full-page image introducing each of the short pieces.

The collection […]

Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance (2015)

A romance can pull me through even a long classic which isn’t holding my attention otherwise. This is what got me through Vanity Fair.

And of all the chunksters on my shelves, I might stall in some, but I sailed through Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale (even though the romance is largely confined to the first quarter of […]

On Two Pieces by Tomson Highway

“I’ve always conceived of language as music,” says Tomson Highway: musician, playwright, novelist. “I play Chopin still, but in Cree,” he continues.

Then, more than a decade later, it is as though he continues this conversation, in A Tale of Monstrous Extravagance.

This slim volume is subtitled on “Imagining Multilingualism”, which might strike you as a […]

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, […]

A Voice of One’s Own: Jon Chan Simpson and Marion Milner

Jon Chan Simpson invites readers into a world of “abductions, gunshots, commando dads, street-poet moms”, a world populated by gangs and kidnapping conspiracies.

“‘This thing – chinksta.’ She stumbled over the word, at first but pulled herself through it. ‘You’re worried this is all you got,’ she said. ‘This is all you got, and you’re […]

Peter Nowak’s Humans 3.0

When I was in the tenth grade, nothing about technology intimidated me. I signed up for classes in high school which taught binary and how to write simple programs, and my first full-time job was working with a woman who could program in COBOL.

Goose Lane Editions, 2015

So I knew how to instruct […]

Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy (2015)

Quirk Books, 2015

She understands that fangirls can be marginalized and unwelcome in the nerd community, and despite recent strides and growing visibility, Sam Maggs couldn’t find a book like this one, so she wrote it.

“Being a geek girl is the best thing ever and here are all the ways you can do more […]

February 2015, In My Stacks

No matter how dilgent one has been with one’s read-o-lutions, February is not the shortest month but the longest test.

If it had a chapter heading? In which all your good bookish intentions will flake away like paper splinters from the spine of a well-loved paperback.

And, yet, my February reading, one week in, remains in concert […]

Under-represented at the table, holding their own on the page

Neither small-scale farmers nor low-income communities have been invited to the table to make food policy on a global scale.

The Stop illuminates this reality in matter-of-fact and unsentimental language, presenting facts both from a bird’s-eye-view and a grassroots perspective.

Readers are acquainted with some alarming information on an international scale. For instance, “in debt […]