Book reviews

Alice McDermott's THE NINTH HOUR and her magic mirror

I recently read Alice McDermott’s brilliant book, THE NINTH HOUR, about which NPR said: “The Ninth Hour begins with a suicide. The aftermath is handled with indisputable authority by a nun who works with the sick and poor, Sister St. Saviour, who arranges both a funeral for the dead man and a future for his pregnant…

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Fantastic Book! "I AM NO ONE" by Patrick Flanery

I’ve been absent for a while because, as many of you now know, I’ve been on the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize jury and reading A LOT OF BOOKS. However, that’s mostly done now and I’ve been able to start reading other things. First one up is a book called I AM NOT ONE, by…

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My Own Ten Best Reads of 2015

Although I’ve not finished my reading for 2015, ’tis the time of lists. A number of ‘best of’ lists this year have me scratching my head, since I read some of the books and didn’t care care for them very much, and the fact Kim Kardashian’s SELFISH made the Globe & Mail’s list… well… the…

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Monsters From The Inside Out

I just read a terrific book — thanks to Sandra Katsuri, my publisher at Chizine Press, who recommended it to me — and I wanted to pass the word along. The book is NORTH AMERICAN LAKE MONSTERS by Nathan Ballingrud. This is a superb collection of short stories.  Nathan Ballingrud won the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award…

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Year End Book List — the first 25

Well, ’tis that time of the year.  Winter Solstice — the time when you will find me burrowed under blankets by the fire, book in one hand, tea in the other.  Also the time when the “Best of” book lists are coming out.  (I’m most grateful to find THE EMPTY ROOM on a couple of…

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The Solace Of Ousia (And Of Reading)

Every morning I spend a little time reading before I begin the real work of the day, which is writing. I choose the books I read in this time slot for inspirational value, either spiritual or psychological or artistic. This morning I finished The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, by Madeleine L’Engle, which is the second…

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Great Way to Start the Morning

Because I am a little neurotic and insecure and oscillate between wanting to be left alone to write and wanting people to remember I exist — in short, you know, a WRITER — I have a Google alert set up.  Sometimes it brings me wonderful things, as it did this morning when I was alerted…

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And Just What, May I Ask, Are Your Intentions?

There’s an interesting piece about literary criticism in the Aug. 15, 2012 New York Times, written by literary critic Dwight Garner, called “A Critic’s Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical.”  It’s a fun article to read, peppered as it is with just the sorts of anecdotes that make us want to read critical snark…

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Why Penguin may be the smartest publisher around

Oh, Penguin, you’ve found my soft spot.  Books, books, beautiful books, as alluring on the outside as you are on the inside. Take a gander at these beauties: Penguin has come out with special edition classics, with stunning covers created by acclaimed designer Coralie Bickford-Smith.  Their web page says, “Penguin Classics presents beautiful hardcover editions…

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Globe & Mail Review of OUR DAILY BREAD

I am humbled and grateful for the wonderful review Alan Cuymn gave OUR DAILY BREAD in the Globe & Mail.  I have enormous respect for Cuymn’s work; to get such a positive review from him leaves me breathless. He says: Where is hell, exactly? Up the mountain, where it has always been. The road there…

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