Bella's Bookshelves

Trigger Happy: On Literature and Fear

Posted by in other book stuff

The recent article in the Guardian about US students requesting trigger warnings on works of literature that could potentially trigger memories and feelings of trauma has been circulating with rather diverging opinions. This type of thing resonates differently with people depending on their experiences but also on how they’ve dealt with them. Nevertheless, comments are generally polarized, with little variation: mainly, by those who think trigger warnings are valuable and even necessary and those who staunchly disagree. Steven Beattie, writer and critic and author of the blog That Shakespearean Rag, is one…read more

22

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt: A Review

Posted by in book reviews

I have a good reason for reading mostly short stories, aside from the fact that my leisure time is limited (and I thoroughly enjoy them). It’s also that I have trouble focusing on novels. Few of them keep my attention for long, and I don’t say that to be snotty or judgemental of the writing or story: no, it’s likely the self-diagnosed attention deficit disorder that I’ve acquired over the last couple of years. I struggle daily with this issue; it’s a wonder I get anything done at all. Along comes the…read more

11

Project Bookmark Canada: What it is and why you should support it

Posted by in other book stuff

I recently had the privilege of being featured on Project Bookmark Canada’s site as a Page Turner. What this means is that I wrote about what the project is, what it means to me, and how it ties in with my profound love of CanLit. And then I donated $20 to help the organization—spear-headed by author Miranda Hill (Sleeping Funny, one of my favourite story collections)—put up bookmarks across Canada for the nation’s literary enrichment and cultural heritage. You can read the post here (apparently, Google gets pissy if you duplicate…read more

0

The Back Forty

Posted by in book-related events

Back forty: n. wild or rough terrain adjacent to a developed area. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this morning—I only know that it far exceeded what I could have imagined. My husband of 11 years woke me up with the best birthday card I’ve ever received. I was ugly crying before I even got out of bed. Then he led me around the house while I found and opened 50 gifts. Forty of them were wee baggies of candy with slips of paper describing beautiful, touching reasons he…read more

30

The Bear, by Claire Cameron. A Reaction

Posted by in book reviews

Perhaps even more so because it’s based on a true story in a place I’m well familiar with, The Bear by Canadian author Claire Cameron absolutely devastated me. A family of four goes camping on Lake Opeongo in Algonquin Park, at Bates Island. In a horrifying and chaotic sequence of beginning pages, the parents are attacked, killed, and—yes, as is naively, gruesomely witnessed by Anna, our narrator—eaten by a black bear. The children, a five-year-old (Anna) and her toddler brother (Alex, aka Stick), who have been shoved into a Coleman…read more

13

Hello Again, Plus Simon & Schuster’s Winter Survival Pack

Posted by in book blogs, CanLit

It embarrasses me to say I haven’t posted here in almost a year. I wanted to, but I didn’t know how all of a sudden. Aside from freelance work, writing short stories, and teaching creative writing, I was having an existential crisis as a book blogger. I goggled at the piles of books sent me that I hadn’t yet read, was overcome with guilt, and also, unrelated to the guilt, began to wonder why I was reviewing. Which then made it increasingly difficult to review. I asked myself who really cared, who really read,…read more

11

Short Stories for Breakfast Weekly Recap

Posted by in Short Stories for Breakfast

I’m really enjoying this practice, you guys! It hits so many spots: an enriching start to the day, an entrance into the creative state of mind, a way to sample as many authors as I can, to get through the many books I have I’ve not yet touched. Christians often read daily devotionals, and you know, I get it. My daily devotional is a short story in the morning. It is truly edifying. On that note, I’m reminded that last year I drew up a book proposal for an anthology…read more

4

Short Stories for Breakfast Weekly Recap

Posted by in Short Stories for Breakfast

Hi guys! Apologies: I’ve been preoccupied with other things lately, and I missed the last two weeks’ recap. I’ll include them here with this week’s. Just a note: There isn’t a single book in this pile I wouldn’t recommend. God, I have good books! April 22: #shortstoriesforbreakfast: Spending time with Saleema Nawaz Webster, who currently deals with the aftermath of a fire having ravaged her home last night. Reading “Scar Tissue,” from her collection MOTHER SUPERIOR. Freehand Books, 2008. Thinking of you, Saleema. April 23: #shortstoriesforbreakfast: “Miracle Mile,” by Alexander MacLeod, from…read more

0

Saleema Nawaz Updates Us on Fire Damage—And Her Books

Posted by in other book stuff

To all who’ve read and so generously responded to my previous blog post Help Canadian Author Saleema Nawaz Rebuild Her Book Collection After Fire: THANK YOU. Your responses showed kindness, understanding, empathy, and also a kindred love of literature. I feel certain that your comments have buoyed Saleema’s spirits even while she’s faced with the destruction of her home. As Sam Gamgee said to Faramir a long, long time ago, you have shown your quality, the very highest. However: Saleema has posted an update on her blog. Please read her post….read more

3

UPDATE on the Campaign to Help Saleema Nawaz Rebuild Her Book Collection After Fire

Posted by in authors, other book stuff

Hi all, I just heard from Saleema and I have her permission to repost her email to me here. Hi Steph, Thank you again for your incredibly touching and generous idea you shared on Bella’s Bookshelves.  As much as I love the idea of receiving a hand-picked book from literary folks all over Canada, I could never accept them. Not least because many of our belongings (including books!) have been saved, but also because we are now guests in somebody else’s house — we will be staying with my in-laws…read more

0

Help Canadian Author Saleema Nawaz Rebuild Her Book Collection After Fire

Posted by in authors, other book stuff

UPDATE: This post is no longer in effect. Please read this one! In case you haven’t heard yet, Saleema Nawaz, author of the collection of short stories Mother Superior and the recently released and very well received Bone and Bread, lost her apartment in a fire last night. I can only imagine how devastating this must be, and I’m deeply saddened by her loss. She wrote briefly and bravely about the experience. She lost 16 packed bookcases of books. I’m very thankful that she and her partner are safe. What I’d…read more

43

Short Stories for Breakfast Weekly Recap

Posted by in Short Stories for Breakfast

Another week of good stories. Some better than others, but I remain convinced that I don’t have a shitty book in this whole house. April 15: #shortstoriesforbreakfast: “Of God and Cod,” by Anthony De Sa, from BARNACLE LOVE. So much richness in one little story. A man leaves his family behind for a voyage from Portugal and Newfoundland. The beginning of what promises to be a very good collection of intimately connected stories. Doubleday, 2008. April 16: #shortstoriesforbreakfast is abominably late today. But better late than never. I read “Elk…read more

3