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

In My Bookbag, Winter 2017

My reading year began with Marina Endicott’s New Year’s Eve (2011), written with literacy front-of-mind; its vocabulary, structure and tone are meant to ease the passage for readers with varying degrees of ease reading in English.

It begins simply: “The snow started before we left home.” Despite its brevity , there is going to be […]


February 2016, In My Stacks

It’s a bright sunny day, when I snap this photo. I’m even more optimistic when I think of a month’s reading, when the sun shines. More hours with good reading light. And, in February. What could be better.

You can see the sheen of it in the image, the veil of sun in the room […]


Quarterly Stories: Spring 2014

In collection reading, since Quarterly Stories: Winter 2013 I’ve read Susie Moloney’s Things Withered, the latest installment of the Alice Munro reading project, B.J. Novak’s One More Thing, and the most recent volume of Journey Prize stories. 

But mostly I’ve been dipping into single stories in recent months. Partly this was inspired by random samplings of the latest ReLit nominees (more on that project soon) […]


Mary Lawson’s Road Ends (2013)

You might think Struan is an unlikely setting for a novel. A town you can walk through in under ten minutes (even on slippery wintry surfaces).

Knopf Canada, 2013

“Walking from one end of Struan to the other takes less than ten minutes. If you kept walking south and east eventually you would hit […]


Derek McCormack’s Christmas Days (2005)

When I was a girl, I had the same kind of advent calendar that Derek McCormack describes receiving every year from his mother, the flat ones made of cardstock, with winter scenes decorating them, little images behind each flap as you discovered them. No toys, no candies.

House of Anansi, 2005 Designed and Decorated […]


The Winter Book

When I was a girl and allowed to choose my own books for a special occasion, I always selected an anthology. If I’d spotted a book like Rotraut Susanne Berner’s The Winter Book, it would have been a shoe in.

First, my choice was practical: they were larger books.

(Well, if someone is buying you […]


A Man and His Moose: Erlend Loe’s Doppler (2012)

First, it’s small enough to fit in a pocket. The book, not the moose. And there’s something charming about that, right?

House of Anansi, 2012(Trans. from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw)

And something seductive about the idea that you can easily sit down with a book and meet its characters and […]


“Fits” Alice Munro

It’s not something you hear much about anymore: once, people more commonly pitched fits, threw fits, had fits, staged fits.

Hissy fits. Crying fits. (Now rants and tantrums.) A fit of rage. A fit of pique. A fit of temper.

Blustery and ephemeral. Unpredictable and dramatic.

Fits, whether in human nature or in outdoorsy-nature, are at […]


Monica Dickens: World’s End Series

I borrowed books in this series repeatedly as a girl. I knew exactly which shelves they were on.

If that old library was still operational, I think I could find them in an instant.

What I wasn’t so sure of, was whether I would enjoy the stories as much as an adult.

Monica Dickens’ World’s […]


Fifth Window on Winter: Remembering

One of Anansi's 5 gorgeous covers: how to choose?

The final window opens with talk of ice wine, the paradox that “the hardest weather makes the nicest wine”.

And then I learn a botanical term, vernalization, which refers to “seeds that can only thrive in spring if they have been through the severity of […]