My Summer Books

I like any excuse to curl up and spend the day immersed in a good story. Last weekend, for example, it rained rained rained and I read read read. But what I like best is summertime reading. Whether it's beach reading, dock reading, reading outside on a lounger, or hiding inside from a wild summer storm, being with a good book on a hot day and having nothing more important to do is one of the best feelings. … [Read more...]

On Becoming a Reader of Books

I know many adults who enjoy YA literature, but today I'm looking at the opposite effect -- that moment when a young person discovers real grown-up lit! Do you remember when you left your kid books behind and started reading novels for adults? I'm pretty sure the summer I turned 14 is when it happened for me. I can't recall much of my early independent reading, but I do remember this dorky French series at my school library about a little elf-type guy called Oui-Oui. Even then, I knew it wasn't any good, but we had mandatory library time and it was what was on offer. Outside of school, I discovered my first Nancy Drew book, The Mystery of the 99 Steps. It had it all -- a feisty female main … [Read more...]

Tiny Pleasures, Beautiful Routines

When was the last time a book changed your life, or at least your perception of it? Last month I found myself deep into two books that took me to places I hadn't visited in a long time. I struggled to put my finger on what it was that I had been missing and that was revealed to me in these books. The best I can do is this: I was reminded of what it was like to live in a not-connected world. I wasn't sure what to expect when my turn came up on the library waitlist for Patti Smith's M Train. To be frank, I didn't think it would be … [Read more...]

Must Read Memoirs for Foodies

Memoirs are like autobiographies for obsessives. Authors focus in on one tiny part of their lives and, in the process, transmit something of their journey, and hopefully their passions, to the reader. Memoirs really blew up a few years ago and much to my delight because they're my favourite things to read. And when you love food as much as I do, the fact that there's even such a thing as a food memoir is a gift from heaven. Tell me about your life? Yes please. Tell me about your life AND what you ate … [Read more...]

Reading On Writing

Writing a review of a book about writing is one way to face your insecurities. It doesn't help that I've often heard that this particular book, Stephen King's On Writing, is the BEST ever produced on the topic. So I'll try not to be overly long and I promise to ruthlessly eradicate any superfluous adverbs I have the misfortune … [Read more...]

When Ugly People Make Beauty

Lucian Freud is amazing. Lucian Freud makes me sick. I wanted to wait until I finished reading the biography Breakfast with Lucian before writing this post, but I think I’ve had to give up on that dream. I started reading it in January and have since set it aside several times in frustration. He was an absolutely fascinating character whose passion for his work drove him wholly, and yet the way he conducted his friendships and love affairs was revolting. His treatment of women … [Read more...]

Radical Homemakers, Feminist Housewives — Book Club, 7th ed.

Let's face an ugly truth -- we've all become hungry consumer hippos who throw stuff in the trash and buy new at the first sign of shabbiness. I just threw out socks with holes even though I am well equipped in sewing gear! Also, let's ask ourselves wether, as women, we've become too attached to a notion of autonomy that is tied to paid work outside of the home at the expense of creative productivity and well-being. Shannon Hayes's Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture made me not only question most of my life choices … [Read more...]

Classic Books by Classy Dames

On Sunday morning as I was lolling in bed feeling half asleep and not at my best (the cliché "I can't party like I used to" had revealed its poignant truth), an interview on CBC Radio with Rebecca Solnit clicked my brain to the "ON" position. In the interview, she said that empathy isn't an emotion, it's an act of the imagination. She explained that stories are what help us to become empathetic … [Read more...]