For the Love of Mary by Christopher Meades

For The Love of Mary by Christopher MeadesECW Press is a small, Canadian press that I have really come to trust for quality work. You can’t always say that about indies who publish works by unknown authors. Their latest offering is For The Love of Mary by Christopher Meades, a satire and coming of age novel that plays with small town religious rivalries. Continue reading

Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen by Kate Taylor

proust-kosher-kitchenMadame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen is a re-read for me, after many long years. It came out in way back in 2003, i think, and that’s about when I originally read it. Kate Taylor, at the time, was a Globe and Mail personality, if such a thing exits. I remember reading it and loving it so much. I just wanted to talk to everyone about it. And I was also about mid-stride in my love affair with Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Continue reading

Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder

Girl Runner by Carrie SnyderI picked up Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder because I was looking for some running inspiration. I’m not sure if it did the trick – I spent most of the afternoon on the couch reading! I assumed Girl Runner was going to be an inspirational running story. I was wrong. It is so much more than that. Continue reading

My October by Claire Holden Rothman

My October by Claire Holden RothmanMy October by Claire Holden Rothman is what CanLit should be. It is a gripping story that is utterly Canadian. But more importantly, it made me think about Canada’s recent political history and the on-going legacy of Quebec Nationalism. Continue reading

WriteReads Podcast, starring moi!


Oh boy, have I been slacking off on the blog or what? Busy, busy, busy with stuff like going off to Turkey for week.

A couple of weeks ago when I reviewed Skim and This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, I mentioned that I was going to be on a podcast of WriteReads soon. Well, that podcast is now available for download on iTunes or you can listen to it here.

If you don’t know already, WriteReads is “the Canadian book club podcast that will change the world of literature forever”, or so they claim. It just might be true. Kurt and Tania are a blast and they have wonderful guests (like me). I had such an amazing time talking with them, hopefully that comes through and they will have me back. If you haven’t subscribed already, what are you waiting for?

Smoke River by Krista Foss

Smoke-RiverSmoke River is Krista Foss‘ first novel. It is set in the vaguely named interlake region of Ontario, in a fictitious settlement that bears a striking resemblance to the Caledonia and Hagersville area bordering the Six Nations Reserve. In recent years, Caledonia has been synonymous with First Nations land disputes, and that sets the scene for Smoke River. Continue reading

Cover Wars – Worst. Person. Ever.


I reviewed Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland a couple of months ago when it came out in Canada and the UK. I have no idea whether or not Coupland is as popular in the United States as he is in Canada, but his book is being released there this week.


I’m interested in this cover for two reasons:

  1. Coupland is a graphic designer himself. I’m pretty sure that he was not the designer of either cover, but the Canadian one feels much more in keeping with his general aesthetic.
  2. The covers are so different. The American cover makes more sense after having read the book, but the Canadian cover is more in keeping with the Canadian editions of many of his other books.

Continue reading

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan

The-ever-after-of-ashwin-raoWow. This is one hard book to review. Let me start off by saying Padma Viswanathan has written one of the bravest books I’ve seen in a long time with The Ever After of Ashwin Rao. Brave because it takes on one of the darker incidents in Canada’s recent past, the 1985 Air India bombing. Brave because it takes on the very perpetrators of this incident and condemns them as guilty in spite of the court findings. Brave because it (rightly) accuses Canada of seeing this as another nation’s problem. Brave because it tackles the inter-religious fighting in India and it’s connections to immigrants in Canada and around the world. Continue reading

Mount Pleasant by Don Gillmor

mount-pleasantEvery once in a while I get a hankering for Toronto. Not the Toronto I actually lived in, which was Etobicoke, but the Toronto I dream about – Rosedale, old quaint houses, you know, the areas I can’t afford to live in. As it turns out Harry, the very WASP protagonist of Don Gillmor‘s new novel Mount Pleasant can’t afford to live there either. Continue reading

Canada Reads 2014 – The Books

canadareads2014Wow. I had heard that 2014’s Canada Reads was going to better than ever and I didn’t think it was possible … until now. I missed Jian‘s announcement of this years books and celebrity panelists, but I’m not going to let that stop me for weighing in.

yearofthefloodFirst up: Stephen Lewis defending Margaret Atwood‘s The Year of the Flood. Can it get any better than this? No. I mean, it’s Stephen (freakin’) Lewis defending Margret Atwood and a book about human folly leading to the end of times! I love this. Lewis is one of the greatest humanitarians, thinkers, and diplomats this world has ever seen. I admire him greatly. And Margaret Atwood is Margaret Atwood. Also a mental giant, fabulous writer and admirable soul. Combined, I like to believe that they are unstoppable. The Year of the Flood is my favorite of the MaddAddam trilogy, and it is definitely a book all Canadians should read. Lewis is a great orator and he can convince me of almost anything. And he may get some pointers from his son, Avi Lewis who defended Lawrence Hill‘s The Book of Negroes to win in 2009.

orendaNext up, Wab Kinew defending The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. I am not familiar with Kinew, but from what I’ve read he appears to be another heavy hitter. Musician, broadcaster, journalist, intellectual. I think he is going to do a commendable job, but it shouldn’t be too hard. He’s defending The Orenda after all. I haven’t read The Ordena yet, but if it anything like Boyden’s other works it will not only be a good read, it will be an important read. And that is what Canada Reads 2014 is all about. Boyden’s novel Three Day Road was chosen in Canada Reads 2006, but did not win. Will this be his year?

halfbloodbluesAnnounced third was Donovan Bailey defending Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan. I haven’t read Half-Blood Blues yet, though I would like to. It comes with high acclaim, but I can see one slight draw back with it – it is not set in Canada or about Canadians so to speak. Sometimes in Canada Reads debates this can pose a problem. On the other hand, Bailey is a competitor who is not used to losing. From what I can remember he is quite well spoken, but will he be able to hold his ground against the likes of Lewis and Kinew?

cockroachBefore we start taking ourselves too seriously let’s look to Samantha Bee defending Rawi Hage‘s Cockroach. I don’t mean to imply that Bee is a lightweight or that the other panelists are not funny, but let’s face it, Bee is most widely known as a comedian. She is witty, smart and humorous and that may win her some points. I don’t know much about Cockroach, although it received a lot of acclaim when it came out in 2008. Set in Montreal, it may gain the favor of listeners/ readers from la belle provence.

annabelAnd finally, Annabel by Kathleen Winter is being defended by Sarah Gadon. I know absolutely nothing about Gadon except that she is an actress who has been in a number of David Cronenberg movies and appears to be a rising star. Annabel, on the other hand is a book I have read and enjoyed. Set on the East Coast, it is a novel dealing with sexuality and small town life. It is riveting.

So there we go. As you can probably tell I’m gunning for Stephen Lewis and The Year of the Flood to win, but realistically the book that I find most deserving never wins Canada Reads. I have yet to read three of the contenders, so perhaps my opinions will change. Who do you think will win? Only time will tell.