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

Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch (2014)

Within pages, the bookish will find a niche to inhabit in Rebecca Mead’s book, in much the same way that the author has inhabited the pages of Middlemarch.

Bond Street Books – Doubleday, 2014

Perhaps not in exactly the same way, for as the author posits, that particularly profound experience might be rooted for [...]

Priscila Uppal’s Projection (2013)

At twenty-eight years old, Priscila Uppal meets her mother in Brazil, twenty years after her mother has abandoned daughter-son-husband.

Two decades later, their relationship is a complicated one between near-strangers.

They spend twelve days together and the experience is shared in Projection within a framework of movie titles.

This organizing principle reveals the tangible and [...]

My Bloody Valentine: On Lawrence Hill’s 2013 Massey Lecture

This year’s Massey Lecture text begins with passion and grandiose declarations.

“I have had a lifelong obsession with blood, and I’m not the only one. As both substance and symbol, blood reveals us, divides us, and unites us. We care about blood, because it spills literally and figuratively into every significant corner of [...]

Notes on Reading Julie Macfie Sobol & Ken Sobol’s Love and Forgetting

While Love and Forgetting was in my stack of current reads, I listened to the World Book Club’s podcast edition of a discussion of Albert Camus’ The Outsider.

Camus is someone whose work I associate with formal study, not pleasure, but Harriet Gilbert’s interviews draw me into subjects I don’t seek out independently, and in [...]

Denise Chong’s Lives of the Family (2013)

Listening to an interview with Amy Tan, for the Guardian book club, I was struck by the fact that she lifted many of the stories from her mother’s life for the pages of her work.

Yet, while reading Lives of the Family, it is easy to imagine so many of these stories slipping into the [...]

Maturing dog, variations on an old trick?

I’d been meaning to try it. E-reading. In theory, I knew it could be sensational.

In the ’90s audiobooks were often of poor production quality, and those I listened to were most useful as sleeping aids; audiobooks now are consistently quality productions and can be truly outstanding.

Things change, right?

So I never dismissed the [...]

A Fainter Footprint, So Far

Other Friday Fugues here have focussed on Bookish Books and Epistolary Works, this year’s Friday Fugue is A Fainter Footprint. As in, leaving a fainter footprint behind, ecologically speaking.

To date, there has been much talk of recent cookbooks, those which are light on resources but heavy on flavour and table-appeal.

Clotilde Dusoulier’s The French Market [...]

Mark Bittman’s VB6 (2013)

In my family, you didn’t have to buy diet books.

It wasn’t that we weren’t shopping at Stuckey’s and Coyle’s: we did so, in bulk.

But someone else in the family was guaranteed to have bought whatever new diet book was making waves, so you could borrow their dogeared paperback.

So, I’ve read a lot [...]

Carolyn Abraham’s The Juggler’s Children (2013)

Less than a penny. That’s how much it costs to read a single letter of DNA. Between 2000 and 2003, the cost fell from $1.50 to less than a single cent. “Suddenly DNA was mass-market.”

Random House Canada, 2013

Carolyn Abraham hadn’t been saving her pennies for this purpose but, when her daughter was [...]

A Complicated Marriage (2013) Pssst: also, a giveaway

** Below, there’s an opportunity to win your own copy of A Complicated Marriage ** [Edit: Now complete.]

The sound of high heels clicking. The spill of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker’s music. A paisley-draped foam couch. Smoking a Pall Mall. Drinking a gin and tonic. A handkerchief kitchen.

Counterpoint Press, 2012

Janice Van [...]