Trigger Happy: On Literature and Fear

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

Saleema Nawaz Updates Us on Fire Damage—And Her Books

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

Help Canadian Author Saleema Nawaz Rebuild Her Book Collection After Fire

UPDATE: This post is no longer in effect.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 [...]

Year’s End and Then Some

2012 was a great year for Bella’s Bookshelves. I found good friends, albeit mostly online, who helped me understand and forge my place in this world and who allowed and encouraged me to give back to it in several ways. Yes, this world, not just the literary one. These new friends are mainly bookish—authors, publishing [...]

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

I’m sitting in the living room by the tree, Bing’s voice like molasses dripping in my ears. I snuggle deeper under my soft red HarperCollins blanket, sip chocolate chai tea in my Random House mug, and rest my eyes on all the fairy lights and shelves of books. Just looking at books elicits so much [...]

“Give Canadian” and “Defying Convention: Reading Short Stories”

On the #CanLit chat today on Twitter with @CBC books, a couple of us were talking about the impressions people have of Canadian literature. Usually, these are unfortunate and misguided impressions, caused inadvertently by school teachers or others who define CanLit as only from a few major authors like Atwood, Ondaatje, Shields, etc. Not that [...]

For D&M Publishers

This morning I read the devastating news about D&M Publishers (Douglas & McIntrye and Greystone imprints) filing a notice of intention under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. You can read the article here. For forty years, this company has been making Canada proud by publishing quality CanLit, and I am truly saddened. Lately, too, we’ve [...]

What is CanLit: The Illustrated Version

If you’d like to read yesterday’s post on CanLit, you can find it here. In case you saw it and thought, “Hell no, that’s WAY too long!” here is the gist of it, in photos. Some people don’t want to have to do all that reading and instead prefer illustrations. No problem. What is CanLit? [...]

Much Ado about Literary Awards

Over the last few years, and the past two especially, there’s been a hullabaloo about the value and credibility of literary awards, particularly concerning the big three: the Giller, the Governor General’s, and the Writer’s Trust. The discontent is multi-faceted, but focused mainly, I think, on the tragedy of awards featuring mostly already much-hyped books and major [...]

Updating Bella’s Bookshelves

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to change the look of Bella’s Bookshelves. I’ve done it countless times, we all know, but I’ve never thought it right enough to leave alone. It now has quite a different look, and one I’m more comfortable with. The other style, dictated by my sister’s excellent illustration, made [...]