Bella's Bookshelves

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


Ablutions, by Patrick deWitt: A Review

Posted by in book reviews, CanLit

*** So the one thing I want to clear up first thing, because it comes up almost every time I recommend it, is that Ablutions is not Patrick deWitt’s new novel. We’re still waiting for that! It’s his first novel, published by Anansi (2009), labelled “brilliant,” “intense,” and “remarkable.” I’d never heard of it either until after The Sisters Brothers, but I bought it because of the description (“a dark, boozy, grimly funny tale of the sodden depth of the Los Angeles underworld”) and because Anansi published it. They’ve never…read more


What is CanLit: The Illustrated Version

Posted by in CanLit, other book stuff

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? In 2006, this guy said that CanLit was this: Unfortunately, people still believe him. I think that myopic view was outdated in 2006 and is indubitably irrelevant today. I say that CanLit is not only…read more


What is CanLit?

Posted by in CanLit

Recently, I was proofing a book of symposium essays on film and literature. One of the essays referenced a 2006 post in the New Yorker by Douglas Coupland, called “What is CanLit?” Curious—this is after all an important question—I looked up the article. It begins: “CanLit” is a contraction for Canadian Literature, and I’m often asked by writers from other lands, “Doug, what, exactly, is CanLit?” Basically, but not always, CanLit is when the Canadian government pays you money to write about life in small towns and/or the immigration experience. If the…read more