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

TGIF: In the workplace, on the page (2 of 4)

A new Friday fugue, running through this month, considering the ways in which our working lives appear on the pages of novels and short stories.

Wasn’t I just talking about novels set in bookstores? Yup, in last Friday’s post (here). Gabrielle Zevin’s book fits perfectly on that shelf.

Arsenal Pulp, 2009

But if you’re […]


Michael Crummey’s Under the Keel (2013)

After hearing Michael Crummey read two poems from this collection on “The Next Chapter”, I rushed to find a copy of Under the Keel.

House of Anansi, 2013

(Rushing is relative, mind you; I am chronically behind in listening to bookish podcasts: this interview actually aired in September 2013.)

Galore was one of my favourite […]

December 2014: In My Reading Log

Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods (2014)

Comprised of five long and two short works, these tales are peopled with losses and lonelinesses. Hues of red, black and white dominate the volume, with other colours used sparingly for contrast. Panel use is unpredictable, with images sometimes boxed but often sprawling and dripping across pages, so that […]

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 […]

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 […]

May 2014, In My Reading Log

May tallies something like this: 24 books (including verse, graphic novels, and kidlit), 2 magazines, assorted stories, 2 cookbooks, and a picture book (Marilyn Nelson’s A Wreath for Emmett Till). (Surely I’m not the only person who has trouble keeping track now that there are notebooks and files to update?)

May’s first post was devoted […]

May 2014, In My Bookbag

Are you still there? If so, many thanks.

It’s been quiet around here; I realized that my database had tripled its allotted storage and was refusing to hold even one more byte sometime in March, and the oh-so-smart-coder-types have only recently gotten things back in working order. Many thanks to these tech-minded folks. The up-side […]

Steffie, Angel, Baby and More

When I was in high school, I read Fran Arrick’s Steffie Can’t Come Out to Play (1978) more than once.

I even wrote a book report on it in the ninth grade, when the assigned reading included J. Meade Falkner’s Moonfleet and Robert Westall’s The Machine Gunners. (Wanted: female characters.)

Quite likely this story of […]

About Darkness: Some recent discoveries

Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night, written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen. Published in 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

“There are definitely faster methods of making a picture, but few more enjoyable in a backwards sort of way.”

The artist was speaking of production, but the artwork is eminently […]

The City of Toronto: Five Books, One Award

The shortlist for the Toronto Book Award nearly always introduces me to the work of one writer whose work I did not know. (This year, I “discovered” Kevin Irie’s poetry.)

• Kamal Al-Solaylee, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes (HarperCollins Canada)

Harper Collins, 2012

Much of this memoir speaks of confinement but even in […]