Post-Giller Thoughts on 419

By now you all know that Will Ferguson won the Giller Prize last night for his novel 419. Hearty congratulations to Mr. Ferguson! And to the other nominees, Russell Wangersky, Kim Thúy, Alix Ohlin, and Nancy Richler, whose books also deserve to be celebrated. As Will toasted: “To the written word!” Ferguson also gave a warm [...]

LitBits 24

Wow. I haven’t done one of these in ages. No matter, it’s here now, right? Here we go… 1. Matthew Trafford, Torontonian author of the critically acclaimed short story collection The Divinity Gene, is offering a writing course called The Grounded Fantastic. It’s an online course for anyone in any time zone, and it goes on [...]

Halloween Reprise

Happy Halloween, readers! Besides Thanksgiving, Halloween is my favourite time of the year. Its spooky atmosphere makes me shivery with delight! I like to revisit Ray Bradbury’s October Country or The Halloween Tree, or Something Wicked This Way Comes (I covet this, by the way), or Agatha Christie’s Halloween Party (lamentably not one of which I was able to fit in this [...]

LitBits 21

The weekday after a long weekend is always extra hard for me, and I imagine it is for others, too. So let’s start off with some amazing news! 1. The Governor General Literary Award nominees were just announced today, and the fiction nominees are: Patrick DeWitt, for The Sisters Brothers, Esi Edugyan, for Half-Blood Blues, [...]

The Odious Child, by Carolyn Black: A Review

Carolyn Black’s mind works in mysterious ways. Her stories in The Odious Child are strange and unusual, but they nevertheless touch on the deeper condition of humanity and are also beautiful and vibrant. Like John Lavery’s Sandra Beck…TOC is insightful, creative, original, and a very fine example of how language, when in the hands of [...]

So You Think You Can Talk Books?

All right, this is just too good not to post. I have to admit that given all the stuff I said about Canada Reads, and how people picked up on what I said and refuted it on their own blogs, CBC’s newest project sounds like a personal challenge. I’m sure it’s not, but my heart [...]

This is Not About Canada Reads

Remember my post on being a black sheep blogger? I think I’ve found what I was talking about, where I was trying to go with it, thanks to Canada Reads. Last year I blogged about Canada Reads, excited to be avidly following it for the first time. While the book I had wanted to win [...]

The Stigma of CanLit and How We Can Change Our Outlook

This morning my friends Jen Knoch, associate editor at ECW Press and proprietress of the blog Keepin’ It Real Book Club that’s doing Civilians Read, and Mark Leslie Lefebvre, president of the Canadian Booksellers Association, bookseller at McMaster University bookstore, published writer of horror, and my first manager ever at Chapters in Ancaster, from whom [...]

Support the CBC!

Although there are many things that define Canada (YES, okay? YES, we have an identity, for Christ’s sake!), I think of the CBC as the backbone of this country. And there are rumours floating about that there’s some sort of threat to the CBC. I don’t know if it’s true or not or, as my [...]

LitBits 6

I’m sitting in the darkened living room, lit only by the soft, warm sparkling of the string of lights along the top of my bookshelves behind me and the multi-coloured Christmas tree I put up and decorated last weekend. Is there anything more nostalgia-inducing than a pretty Christmas tree with coloured lights and adorned by [...]

Weighing In On Canada Reads 2011 Contenders and Defenders

As if you didn’t already know: Canada Reads 2011 announced their five contenders and defenders today! Follow the link I just gave you for more on each book and panelist. Up for debate are Terry Fallis’s The Best-Laid Plans (Ali Velshi), Ami McKay’s The Birth House (Debbie Travis), Angie Abdou’s The Bone Cage (Georges Laraque), [...]

CBC Canada Reads Starts Today!

I’ve posted about this upcoming contest already, but for those not yet in the know or who may not be paying attention to the date, Canada Reads begins today! Five panelists will discuss five Canadian novels and ultimately decide which book Canada should be reading now. Although there are several views on these debates and [...]