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

Margaret Millar’s The Listening Walls (1959; 2016)

Although some of the characters in the Margaret Millar mysteries I have read answer their own phones, many answer other people’s phones instead: the telephones of older or more privileged relatives or those of their bosses. There’s even a switchboard operator in the mix, along with a woman better known for not answering calls at […]

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Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures (2016)

“There was virtually no aspect of twentieth-century defense technology that had not been touched by the hands and minds of female mathematicians.”

HarperCollins, 2016

That might not come up in math class at school, but it’s evident on every page of Hidden Figures.

“What I wanted was for them to have the […]

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Telling Stories: Five 2016 Novels

It’s not all “Reader, I married him” but plenty of contemporary novels are preoccupied by the idea of storytelling, and often one voice does speak to us directly even now.

Periscope Books, 2016

In Tabish Khair’s Just Another Jihadi Jane, the storyteller’s direct address appears regularly and spiritedly.

“Yes, well, if you insist, I […]

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Riel Nason’s All the Things We Leave Behind (2016)

The title of her second novel might well have been a discarded option for her debut; Riel Nason is back in familiar territory: the intersection between memory and identity, the line between mysticism and madness, and sibling bonds in a coming-of-age tale.

Goose Lane, 2016

Now it is 1977 and readers are introduced to Violet, […]

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Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed (2016)

If you’re a fan of Margaret Atwood’s retelling,of The Odyssey, The Penelopiad, you’ve probably already got a copy of Hag-Seed on your stack.

Knopf – PRH, 2016

Ditto if you’re following the Hogarth Shakespeare retellings. Already published this year are Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time (The Winter’s Tale), Howard Jacobson’s Shylock Is My Name (The […]

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Toronto Book Award 2016

This is the award’s 42nd anniversary and the prize is announced on the evening of October 11, 2016 at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon in the Toronto Reference Library.

This year’s finalists for the 2016 Toronto Book Awards are Howard Akler’s Men of Action (a memoir), Ann Y.K. Choi’s Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety (a novel), The Ward: The Life and Loss […]

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The Fold’s 2016 Reading List (Part One)

The FOLD (The Festival of Literary Diversity) is an annual event, in Brampton (Ontario, Canada) dedicated to telling more stories, to having audiences connect with a wider variety of storytellers. You can check out their lineup of terrific writers and storytellers who were a part of the debut festival in May this year, here.

Earlier in […]

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Tricia Dower’s Becoming Lin (2016)

Reading Becoming Lin reminded me of discovering Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room and Marge Piercy’s Small Changes. Two unapologetically feminist novels which I felt had poured out of my own heart into some other writer’s story. I inhaled these books, and I felt the same sense of intense recognition and kindred-spirit-ness in Tricia Dower’s newest […]

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Jay Hosking’s Three Years with the Rat (2016)

If a story’s beginning looks at its reflection in a room made of mirrors, does it see its own beginning-self reflected back? Or is the reflection actually the story’s ending?

Hamish Hamilton, 2016

This is the kind of question that I can imagine keeps Jay Hosking up late at night. The characters in Three […]

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Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes (2014)

How many times have I fallen for this trick? A Stephen King novel opens with a vividly sketched scene, of ordinary and likeable people going about the business of their everyday lives, when disaster strikes, and someone dies.

Gallery Books – S&S, 2016

Mr. Mercedes is no different. A job fair is planned and desperate job-hunters […]

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