My Messy Bookshelf: 7 Tips to Reduce the Stress of Moving

By |2022-05-23T16:37:15+00:00May 23rd, 2022|Uncategorized|

Moving is stressful. A recent survey found that forty-five percent of us find it more stressful than divorce, more stressful than having children, and more stressful than sending those children off to college. The packing, the sorting, finding a mover, figuring out how you're going to pay that mover - it's all just right up [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: Redhead by the Side of the Road

By |2022-05-09T17:04:42+00:00May 9th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Anne Tyler has been my favourite novelist for years now, ever since I saw The Accidental Tourist in 1988 and decided to read the book. It's one of the few times a movie actually led me to a book, although it did happen again with Remains of the Day in 1993 and Trainspotting in 1996. [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: The Invention of Murder

By |2022-04-27T15:30:46+00:00April 27th, 2022|Uncategorized|

At the risk of sounding like I have ice-water running through my veins, I have to say there are few things more delicious than a really good murder. Reading about it, that is. Or watching a program about it. A re-enactment, say, or a really good investigative documentary. After a hard day slogging through my [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: The Victorian House

By |2022-04-19T15:39:24+00:00April 19th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Thirteen years ago when I began writing Harrow Road, the novelized version of my great-grandmother's life, I realized this was one book I wasn't going to be able to pull out of my head. I needed help. My g-grandmother, Annie Elizabeth Morgan, was born in a poor neighbourhood of London, England, in 1851. She married [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: Mapp and Lucia

By |2022-04-07T17:45:22+00:00April 7th, 2022|Uncategorized|

It occurs to me that the superior minds who compile lists of the great books of the world lack a certain sense of humour. Otherwise, why would P. G. Wodehouse rate only a single entry in my edition of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die? Why would Stephen Leacock not be included? James [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: Run Towards the Danger

By |2022-03-31T23:47:53+00:00March 31st, 2022|Uncategorized|

In an attempt to update my bookshelf I've started adding some new ones. There are two reasons why I hesitated, at first, to add Sarah Polley's collection of essays to that shelf. The first reason is that I generally avoid memoirs written by celebrities. They tend, for the most part, to be poorly written, or [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life

By |2022-03-24T23:23:01+00:00March 23rd, 2022|Uncategorized|

When I was young and naïve - well, younger than I am now - and working on my first novel, I used to imagine myself walking down the street and being stopped at regular intervals by people who'd read it. I imagined them doing a double-take as they recognized me, whispering to their companions, "Is [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: The Summer of a Dormouse

By |2022-03-18T16:32:18+00:00March 16th, 2022|Uncategorized|

"The time will come in your life, it will almost certainly come, when the voice of God will thunder at you from a cloud, 'From this day forth thou shalt not be able to put on thine own socks.'" So begins one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors. You may know [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: The Abortion Caravan

By |2022-03-09T20:35:37+00:00March 9th, 2022|Uncategorized|

    My bookshelf contains a number of books written by friends and/or colleagues, and one of the best is this one, by Karin Wells, a former CBC radio producer and three-time recipient of the Canadian Association of Journalists documentary award. The subtitle is When Women Shut Down Government in the Battle for the Right [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

By |2022-03-02T17:19:56+00:00March 2nd, 2022|Uncategorized|

"Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous  blond Ukrainian divorcée. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up [...]

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