September 2014

5 things you learn about climate change from This Changes Everything

What you need to know about This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. ...

They Called Me Number One

In her new book, They Called Me Number One, Bev Sellars, Chief of the Soda Creek Nation in northern British Columbia, describes the great...... Read More »

The Inconvenient Indian

What do Indians want?

Great question. The problem is, it's the wrong question to ask. While there are certainly Indians in North America, the Indians of this particular question don't exist. The Indians of this question are "the Indian" that Canada and the United States have created for themselves. And as long as the question is asked in that way, there will never be the possibility of an answer. Better to ask what the Lubicon Cree of Alberta want or the Brantford Mohawk of Ontario or the Zuni of New Mexico or the Hupa of northern California or the Tlingit of Alaska.

From: The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King Copyright © 2013. Published by Doubleday Canada.... Read More »

Love Enough

Love Enough centres around three characters: June, a middle-aged woman who has had a string of lovers and whose current relationship is very rocky; Bedri,......


Seventh grader Tilly is part Lakota and part Cree. She's never fit in and when her beloved grandmother dies unexpectedly, Tilly begins a rapid...... Read More »

David Cronenberg on his novel Consumed

David Cronenberg was on Q to talk about the difference between writing a novel and making a film. Watch the interview!...

All Saints

"Simon closes the door of his office behind him. Locks it. Checks that it is locked. Turns and wades through the dark until he nudges the edge of his desk. Works his way around to his chair and sits.

He pulls open the bottom left drawer, bunches the hanging files together and reaches into the cavity at the back. Touches a softness that always surprises him, like the fur of a sleeping animal.

While his eyes adjust to the dark, he lifts the sweater out, holds it up and shakes it gently. Telling himself again that he should be keeping it in a plastic bag. Telling himself again that he shouldn't be keeping it at all."

From All Saints by K.D. Miller Copyright ©2014. Published by Biblioasis. ...

The Confabulist

Houdini went to the stove and put his fingers in the burned remnants of the paper. He rubbed the ash from the paper between his thumb and fingers, and then briskly up and down his forearm. He extended his arm toward her. Her face went from grief to rage and then, unexpectedly, to fear. Bess slowly backed away from him, hands outstretched, until she reached the door and ran from the room. On his forearm the name Gebhardt rose from his skin.

Houdini lowered his head and closed his eyes. Bess was prone to these sorts of outbursts, but he hadn't intended for this to happen. So often this was the case; he thought he was being reasonable and full of sense but now he'd only made things worse.

Excerpted from The Confabulist by Steven Galloway. Copyright © 2014 Steven Galloway. Published by Knopf Canada. ...


Christopher Pennant had passed through a crisis of faith. His time at seminary had not been enough to free him entirely from doubt, but it had given him the strength to go on, and when he'd taken holy orders he had been both proud and relieved.

While waiting for a parish of his own, he assisted Father Scarduto at St. Matthew's, in Ottawa. This suited Christopher perfectly. He was himself from Ottawa, so some of the strangeness (and pleasure) of being called 'Father Pennant' was offset by the familiarity of his surroundings. Whenever he allowed himself to think about where he might like to go - that is, where he might like his first parish to be - he imagined he'd be happiest in a small city of some sort: Cambridge, say, or Peterborough. So, he was dismayed when he was told he'd be going to a place in Lambton County called Barrow.

From Pastoral by Andre Alexis ©2014. Published by Coach House Books....

Life lessons from Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham has written a book, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned. Here's what we learned by reading it....

Why Rudy Wiebe will never write a funny novel

His first novel in over a decade, Rudy Wiebe's Come Back is a heartwrenching and emotionally honest portrayal of grief, loss and the surprising solace...... Read More »

Winners of 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature

Monique Gray Smith, Thomas King and Bev Sellars have been named the top three prize-winners of the 2014 CODE's Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature....

Come Back

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In bright spring snow a slim woman in a black hoodie walked along Whyte Avenue leading three children barely higher than her knees. The children clutched mittened hands, strung out like little linked sausages as she hauled them along with her left arm, her right urging them Come on! Come on! towards the green "Walk."

From Come Back by Rudy Wiebe ©2014. Published by Knopf Canada....

James Frey lays down $500K puzzle challenge to readers

The first person who can solve a puzzle set out in his new book Endgame: The Calling will find a key that is able to unlock a case filled with gold coins....

Into the Silence

On the morning of June 6, 1924, at a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge high above the East Rongbuk Glacier and just below the lip of Everest's North Col, expedition leader Lt.-Col. Edward Norton said farewell to two men about to make a final desperate attempt for the summit. At 37, George Leigh Mallory was Britain's most illustrious climber. Sandy Irvine was a young scholar of 22 from Oxford with little previous mountaineering experience. Time was of the essence. Though the day was clear, in the southern skies great rolling banks of clouds revealed that the monsoon had reached Bengal and would soon sweep over the Himalaya and, as one of the climbers put it, "obliterate everything." Mallory remained characteristically optimistic. In a letter home, he wrote, "We are going to sail to the top this time and God with us, or stamp to the top with the wind in our teeth.

From Into the Silence: Everest, Mallory and the Great War by Wade Davis ©2011. Published by Knopf Canada.... Read More »

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain

"In mountain towns, children play a game called Devil's Hopscotch. Perhaps it's a game that's played everywhere, under different names. It goes like this: One player chooses a marker--a fork-shaped stick, a piece of reddish shale, a furred leaf that resembles the torn ear of a dead cat. The marker is set upon a square in an ordinary chalked grid of hopscotch. And the game beings as usual: A throw. A series of hops. A bend, graceful or teetering to a near fall. The tip of a sneaker crossing a line. Boundaries called and kept. Again. Again. All leading to the final chalked box and a return one hopes is every bit as uneventful as the cleanest advance. But here's the rub: if your marker lands in the box with the Devil's Marker, you partner with Old Scratch and have the option to do his handiwork when the opportunity arises. The option, mind you, the option. The problem is, that blasted marker won't stay still. It flips and skips of its own accord, changing shapes as it moves, so that you can't be sure until the last minute, when head spinning, you bend to see, that you've knocked against the devil's marker. Confusion, disbelief--all part of the game, and so, should it be a surprise when a simple game of hopscotch devolves into stone-throwing and bloodied fingers, the weakest children ironically becoming the best devil?"

From A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun. Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Adrianne Harun, 2014...

Up Ghost River

The day the furs were ready, Papa and I got up before the rest were awake. He helped me button my coat and pants, cooked bannock and tea, and we walked over to the Hudson's Bay store. We climbed the steps and opened the wooden door. A tall man about the same age as Papa was standing at the counter holding what looked like a bulky gun, which he was using to put sticky labels on some bread loaves. Papa had already told me that the manager was also called The Boss and that we all had to be nice to him. Ignoring Papa, the man straightened a price tag on a bag of flour. Above him were shelves stacked with supplies - sugar, Klik canned meat, tomato soup, lard, tea - and on the wall to his right, the more costly goods - ammunition and a number of rifles including a new one just arrived called The Savage 45. Furs were draped from the ceiling and counters, with the most valuable - otter, black fox and wolverine - sheathed in cotton to keep out the dust.

From Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin ©2014. Published by Knopf Canada.... Read More »

Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

"I see the mycelium as the Earth's natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate. Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks. Because these externalized neurological nets sense any impression upon them, from footsteps to falling tree branches, they could relay enormous amounts of data regarding the movements of all organisms through the landscape."

From Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets ©2005. Published by Ten Speed Press....

Planet Lolita

"The ocean," she said, "and isn't it perfect, waking to the sound of waves?" Mom, lying on my right, brushed hair from my eyes. Though surprised, I did the same to her, forgiving her morning breath. Up close she smelled of herbal essence and kiwi, her skin oily from sleep and peeling along the shoulder from being gweilo. On my other side lay Dad, reeking of hair gunk and tumours and the vinegar snap of overnight sweat."

Excerpt from Planet Lolita by Charles Foran ©2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada. All rights reserved....

Writers & Company: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Eleanor Wachtel speaks to Jesmyn Ward. Her National Book Award winner, Salvage the Bones, is an intimate and compelling look at Hurricane Katrina and the American south.​...

Salvage the Bones

"Junior, stop being orner." It's what Mama used to say to us when we were little, and I say it to Junior out of habit. Daddy used to say it sometimes, too, until he said it to Randall one day and Randall started giggling, and then Daddy figured out Randall was laughing because it sounded like 'horny'. About a year ago I figured out what it was supposed to be after coming across its parent on the vocabulary list for my English class with Miss Dedeaux: 'ornery'. It made me wonder if there were other words Mama mashed like that. They used to pop up in my head sometime when I was doing the stupidest things: 'tetrified' when I was sweeping the kitchen and Daddy came in dripping beer and kicking chairs. 'Belove' when Manny was curling pleasure from me with his fingers in mid-swim in the pit. 'Freegid' when I was laying in bed in November, curled to the wall like I was going to burrow into another cover or I was making room for a body to lay behind me to make me warm."

From Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. Copyright © 2011. Published by Bloomsbury US....

Cross-Country Checkup asks: What is the future of the library?

Cross-Country Checkup hosted an episode dedicated to the library on Sept. 28 hosted by Peter Mansbridge. Listen to the episode now....

If you like Twelve Years a Slave, you'll love...

Journalist Victor Dwyer believes if you enjoyed Twelve Years a Slave, you'll love Sugar Falls by David Alexander Robertson. Find out why....

5 things you learn about happiness & urban design from Happy City

Happy City by Charles Montgomery, a fascinating book that examines the intersection between urban design and happiness, is a finalist for the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Here are some interesting facts from the book!...

See designs for Calgary's incredibly beautiful new library

Calgarians can expect to have one of the world's most ambitious, modern and beautifully designed downtown libraries in the near future....

5 life lessons from Andrea Martin

Andrea Martin stopped by CBC Radio's Q to discuss her memoir and the important life lessons she's learned along the way....

The editors of Women in Clothes on why we wear what we wear

What is your process getting dressed in the morning? When do you feel most attractive? More than 600 women answered these questions to compile the one-of-a-kind book. The editors sit down with Jian Ghomeshi....

Mireille Silcoff: How I wrote Chez l'arabe

Chez l'arabe could be called the book that illness built. In the mid-2000s, Mireille Silcoff, an in-demand journalist and regular contributor to the National Post...... Read More »

Gabriel Garcia Marquez English e-books set for release

Vintage Books and Vintage Espanol, imprints of Penguin Random House, announced this week that nine of Márquez books will be digitally released on Oct. 15....

Aislinn Hunter on her novel The World Before Us

Aislinn Hunter stopped by The Next Chapter to discuss her latest novel with Shelagh Rogers. ...

Happy birthday, F. Scott Fitzgerald

CBC Books highlights the career and achievements of F. Scott Fitzgerald as we celebrate his birthday....

Why you should read Festival Man by Geoff Berner

Tanya Tagaq won the 2014 Polaris Prize. She's an amazing singer - and "may or may not be" the inspiration for the novel Festival Man....

Banned Books: Inspiring quotes about literary freedom

We're highlighting some inspirational quotes about the importance of reading, literacy, and the freedom of expression....

Stacey May Fowles on her novel Infidelity

The title of Stacey May Fowles' latest novel says it all. Fowles discusses cheating, cultural expectations and her new novel with Shelagh Rogers....

Ian McEwan returns with The Children Act

The past Man Booker Prize-winning author delves into thorny issues regarding religious freedom and the law through a rich narrative, starring two complex and compelling characters....

The Literary History of Saskatchewan: Volume 2

"There must have been hundreds of climactic moments - epiphanies, to use a word writers are fond of - for the thousands of budding artists who passed through the haunted halls and hills of the old tuberculosis sanatorium that came to be known as Fort San - and, by its writers, as Fort Sanity."

From The Literary History of Saskatchewan: Volume 2 edited by David Carpenter ©2014. Published by Coteau Books....

Norman, Speak!

"Norman wagged when we opened the cage. He wagged when we left the shelter. First his stump twitched, then his whole rump swung from side to side. His wag was a hula dance of happiness."

From Norman, Speak! by Caroline Adderson, illustrated by Qin Leng ©2014. Published by House of Anansi Press.... Read More »

Sugar Falls

Sugar Falls is a powerful graphic novel that recounts the horror Indigenous children experienced in residential schools. Based on the true story of Betty...... Read More »

Twelve Years A Slave

"My friends, several times during the afternoon, entered drinking saloons, and called for liquor. They were by no means in the habit, however, so far as I knew them, of indulging to excess. On these occasions, after serving themselves, they would pour out a glass and hand it to me. I did not become intoxicated, as may be inferred from what subsequently occurred. Towards evening, and soon after partaking of one of these potations, I began to experience most unpleasant sensations. I felt extremely ill. My head commenced aching--a dull, heavy pain, inexpressibly disagreeable. At the supper table, I was without appetite; the sight and flavor of food was nauseous. About dark the same servant conducted me to the room I had occupied the previous night. Brown and Hamilton advised me to retire, commiserating me kindly, and expressing hopes that I would be better in the morning. Divesting myself of coat and boots merely, I threw myself upon the bed. It was impossible to sleep. The pain in my head continued to increase, until it became almost unbearable. In a short time I became thirsty. My lips were parched. I could think of nothing but water--of lakes and flowing rivers, of brooks where I had stooped to drink, and of the dripping bucket, rising with its cool and overflowing nectar, from the bottom of the well. Towards midnight, as near as I could judge, I arose, unable longer to bear such intensity of thirst. I was a stranger in the house, and knew nothing of its apartments. There was no one up, as I could observe. Groping about at random, I knew not where, I found the way at last to a kitchen in the basement. Two or three colored servants were moving through it, one of whom, a woman, gave me two glasses of water. It afforded momentary relief, but by the time I had reached my room again, the same burning desire of drink, the same tormenting thirst, had again returned. It was even more torturing than before, as was also the wild pain in my head, if such a thing could be. I was in sore distress--in most excruciating agony! I seemed to stand on the brink of madness! The memory of that night of horrible suffering will follow me to the grave."

From Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup ©2009. Published by Penguin Random House Canada. ...

The World Before Us

"Because Lily was dawdling, Jane tried to think of a game. If she thought up a game, Lily would forget the key and it would be easier to get it back from her. So Jane looked at the elm and sycamore, then over to the slope of meadow grass and ivy that rolled down to the ravine bottom, and then back to the trail. Every fifty feet or so on the edge of the path there were short brown posts with numbers painted in green on top. They lined the edge of the woods on the pasture and lakesides, marking the various bushes and shrubs George Farrington had brought back from his plant-hunting expeditions in Burma, China and Tibet. At the start of the trail, when William had told Jane and Lily about the botanist, he'd shown them Paeonia suffruticosa and Viburnum farrington. The Viburnum shrub was sweet-smelling with sprays of white flowers. Jane had picked a few of the buds when William wasn't looking, dropping them into her pocket so she could touch the petals with her fingertips while she walked."

From The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter ©2014. Published by Doubleday Canada....

The Executioner's Song

"Historical, religious, and existential treatises suggest that for some persons at some times, it is rational not to avoid physical death at all costs. Indeed the spark of humanity can maximize its essence by choosing an alternative that preserves the greatest dignity and some tranquility of mind."

From The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer ©1979. Published by Little, Brown & Company....

Celebrating World Hobbit Day

Happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! We'd like to raise a pint of Barliman's Best ale to these two endearing and enduring characters....

At Night We Walk in Circles

They drove past the National Library, past the diminished edge of downtown, through the scarred and ominous industrial flats, past trails of workers in hard-hats trudging the avenue's gravel-lined shoulder; then along the eastern boundary of Regent Park, where the vendors packed away their wares, bagging up old magazines and books, sweeping away the remains of cut flowers and discarded banana leaves, stacking boxes of stolen electronics into the beds of rusty pick-up trucks. Nelson sat by the window and watched his city, as if bidding farewell. It wasn't an unpleasant drive: at this speed, along these roads, beside these fallen monuments, the capital presented its most attractive face: that of a hard-working, dignified metropolis, settled by outcasts and opportunists; redeemed each day by their cheerless toil and barely sublimated willingness to throw everything away for a moment's pleasure.

From At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón ©2013. Published by Riverhead Books....

Writers & Company: At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón

Eleanor Wachtel speaks to Peruvian-American novelist and short story writer, Daniel Alarcón. He's been on virtually every "best" list - from Granta Magazine's Best Young American Novelists to one of the New Yorker's "20 Under 40" promising American writers....

The 2014 Massey Lectures reading list

To get ready for the 2014 CBC Massey lectures, Adrienne Clarkson suggests you check out these five books!...

The 10 rules of politics

Former Nova Scotia finance minister has written a new book that looks at how politics really work. ...

Elizabeth Renzetti on her novel Based on a True Story

Elizabeth Renzetti talks to Shelagh Rogers about her new novel, her experience with Marianne Faithful, celebrity culture and the future of news....

Game of Thrones: Happy birthday, George R.R. Martin!

To mark the occasion, we're highlighting some of our Game of Thrones features and stories over the past year. ...

Jon Stewart on adapting Maziar Bahari's memoir

The Daily Show host talks about adapting the journalist's memoir about being tortured in an Iranian prison, Then They Came for Me, into the film Rosewater....

Hilary Weston Prize 2014: The shortlist revealed!

Social activist Naomi Klein and acclaimed author Kathleen Winter are among the five finalists in the running for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction....

Scotiabank Giller Prize 2014 longlist revealed

Twelve Canadian writers are contending for what has undoubtedly become the richest fiction prize in Canada - the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize....

Terry Fallis takes the Proust questionnaire

Discover the No Relation's author's heroes, dreams and ultimate journeys. ...

Naomi Klein on her new book This Changes Everything

Naomi Klein says it's time to stop counting on the politicians to save the planet. She explains why in her new book. ...

Katherena Vermette's "weird profession," and how patience is going to hurt you

When it comes to writing, we all want it done yesterday. Poet Katherena Vermette shares some insight on the perils of impatience....... Read More »

Frances Itani discusses Tell

Frances Itani discusses the anticipated sequel to Deafening with CBC's All in a Weekend. ...

Alison Pick on saying yes to writing and no to everything else

Alison Pick answers eight questions from fellow authors.... Read More »


"Ronnie knew the moment she saw Charlie that she would follow him somewhere. It didn't really matter where, she just knew it would happen sooner or later--that one day she would desert everything important and chase him down. And that somehow it would be worth it. That there would be some sort of sacrifice made somewhere down the line."

From Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles ©2012. Published by ECW Press....

David Adams Richards' Crimes Against My Brother to be adapted for TV

The novel, published this year, tells the story of a group of inseparable childhood friends in Miramichi, N.B., who are exposed to a horrific incident....

No Relation

What's in a name? For many, nothing. For some, not nothing but not much. For a very few, blessed or cursed, it's everything. I'm one of those few. And if you're wondering, I usually count myself among the cursed.

From No Relation by Terry Fallis ©2014. Published by McClellan & Stewart....

Based on a True Story

Augusta Price, an ageing former British soap opera star with a penchant for overindulging in drugs and booze, desperately wishes to get back into......

Scotiabank Giller Prize 2014: Longlist art


The secret behind the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapters

Two new chapters of the beloved children's book have emerged. But how? And why? As It Happens investigates. ...

Rachel Rose on filling up the emptiness that comes after writing

2014 CBC Poetry Prize juror Rachel Rose offers some inspired advice on filling the well of creativity and the importance of living an inspired life....... Read More »

A God in Every Stone

"At Vipers, when the German gunners shot Afroze who chose to cry out his grief knowing the consequences rather than bear the death of a beloved in silence, a whisper burbled across the field: Ina lillahi wa inna illayhi rajiun. The men of the 40th, not all of them Muslim, whispered the words for the two dead men, and the prayer would have reached the gunners as wind on water or the sighs of ghosts."

From A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie ©2014. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing....

Writers & Company: A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie

Eleanor Wachtel speaks to Kamila Shamsie, a British Pakistani novelist who was named Granta Magazine's Best Young Novelists in 2013....

CBC Books Bingo

Do you read books you hear about on The Next Chapter and Writers & Company? Are you likely to pick up the Canada Reads winner each year? Then we have the game for you....

Kim Thúy discusses Mãn

The former Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist has a new novel out. She discusses it with CBC Radio's All in a Weekend. ...

2014 CBC Poetry Prize: "Coyote Medicine/Medicine Coyote" by Alessandra Naccarato

In this shortlisted poem for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize, the surreal apparition of a coyote pack brings up questions of bloodlines and the traces that...... Read More »

The 5 steps to a more organized mind

If we can organize our minds, we can better organize our lives and be happier, more productive people. That's the premise of neuroscientist Daniel Levitin's new book, The Organized Mind....

Read This Next: How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? by Doretta Lau

Jen Sookfong Lee believes short stories are making a comeback. Celebrate by reading this stellar debut collection....

The Massey Murder

Charles Albert Massey sauntered away from the new Dupont streetcar station, heading west into the chilly dusk. Most of a recent snowfall had been shovelled off the sidewalk by Toronto's Public Works department, which meant that heaped banks of dirty snow protected pedestrians from cars, horse-drawn carriages, and delivery trucks. Dupont was a teeming downtown thoroughfare, lined with grocery stores and bakeries. Massey, a slender man of medium height, carefully picked his way around dog excrement and slushy puddles, thankful that, despite a hangover, he had remembered to pull galoshes over his leather shoes that morning.

From The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray ©2013. Published by HarperCollins Canada. ...

Emily St. John Mandel has no idea where she's going... and she's okay with that

The author of The Lola Quartet and one of fall 2014's most buzzed-about books, Station Eleven, takes a moment out of her subway ride...... Read More »

What does a $15 million book look like?

The book, created in Europe during the 16th century for prayer, is made with animal skin and lined with gold leafing....

The 100 most influential books, according to Facebook

Harry Potter tops the list of 100 books "with the most staying power," based on data from a popular social media meme. ...

Writers & Company: May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes

Eleanor Wachtel speaks to the Women's Prize for Fiction 2013 winner about her new novel in the latest episode of Writers & Company. ...

Guinness World Records turns 60

How well do you know your Guinness World Records? Take our quiz and discover six weird and wacky literary records as the record book turns 60. ...

2014 CBC Poetry Prize: "Burnt Pot, Riverbank, Indifferent Sky" by Cynthia Woodman Kerkham

In this shortlisted poem for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize, an elderly aunt stands firm in her home and her life, despite an ailing mind....... Read More »

Will You Read It: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell getting a lot of buzz. But does that mean you're going to read it? Let us know....

Man Booker 2014 shortlist announced

Two American authors make the shortlist for the first time in the prize's history, while previous two-time finalist Ali Smith hopes the third time's the charm....

2014 CBC Poetry Prize: "Coda" by Basma Kavanagh

In this shortlisted poem for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize, the world brings itself back from the brink after the disappearance of its most destructive species....... Read More »

Behind the scenes of the Quebec referendum

In 1995, millions of Quebecers cast their ballots in a referendum, ultimately rejecting separation. Now, in their new book, political analysts Chantal Hebert and Jean Lapierre have startling details about what was happening behind the scenes....

Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You: Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World

"It wasn't that it hurt all that much. In fact, most of the time I didn't feel anything at all. But once in a while I'd get a sharp pinch, almost like someone was pressing the edge of a spoon into the top of my head. I didn't feel sick, and I knew this thing wasn't going to do any permanent damage, but it was driving me nuts: a small, white, pasty maggot with rings of black bristles around its body was lodged firmly into the top of my head. For all my squeezing, I hadn't been able to pop it out. It was only a few millimeters long now, but it was eating my flesh, and I knew it would get much, much bigger in the next few weeks. For the life of me, I had no idea how I was going to get it out."

From Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You by Dan Riskin ©2014. Published by Simon & Schuster Canada....

Stone Mattress

"What is a stromatolite?" he asks rhetorically, his eyes gleaming. "The word comes from the Greek stroma, a mattress, coupled with the root word for 'stone.' Stone mattress: a fossilized cushion, formed by layer upon layer of blue-green algae building up into a mound or dome. It was this very same blue-green algae that created the oxygen they are now breathing. Isn't that astonishing?"

From Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood ©2014. Published by McClelland & Stewart.... Read More »

Thomas King discusses The Back of the Turtle

The renowned author has published his first novel in 15 years. He was on CBC Radio's Q to talk about it. ...

2014 CBC Poetry Prize: "Settler Education" by Laurie D. Graham

In this poem suite shortlisted for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize, relics and remnants of the Canadian West take a complex place in the...... Read More »

May We Be Forgiven

"There is a world out there, so new, so random and disassociated that it puts us all in danger. We talk online, we 'friend' each other when we don't know who we are really talking to - we fuck strangers. We mistake almost anything for a relationship, a community of sorts, and yet, when we are with our families, in our communities, we are clueless, we short-circuit and immediately dive back into the digitized version - it is easier, because we can be both our truer selves and our fantasy selves all at once, with each carrying equal weight."

From May We Be Forgiven by A.H. Homes ©2013. Published by Penguin Random House Canada....

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction 2014 shortlist

Meet the five shortlisted books for the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. ...

Louise Penny, A.S.A. Harrison shortlisted for U.K. thriller awards

The annual Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards will be presented on Friday, Oct. 24 in London, England....

Poet Matthew Tierney on the insidious pressure to be successful

Matthew Tierney was a reader for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize. His advice to writers? Listen to yourself, love what you do, and keep your head down during awards...... Read More »

Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them

"Political marketing...plays to people's emotions, not their thoughts. It operates on the belief that repeating a catchy phrase, even if it's untrue, will seal an idea in the mind of the unknowing or uncaring public. It assumes that citizens will always choose on the basis of their individual wants and not society's needs. It divides the country into "niche" markets and abandons the hard political work of knitting together broad consensus or national vision."

From Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them by Susan Delacourt ©2013. Published by Douglas & McIntyre.... Read More »

Future Library: Margaret Atwood story to be published in 2114

The bestselling author has been revealed as the first contributor to the Future Library project....

Bill Murray's addiction to poetry

They're celebrating Bill Murray Day at TIFF! In honour of the legendary comedic actor, we're highlighting his talents in another area: reading poetry....

Remembering Joan Rivers

The iconic comedian, who penned 12 books, died on Sept. 4 at the age of 81. CBC Books remembers her wit and wisdom. ...

Our back-to-school Literature 101 quiz

Are you ready for a pop quiz about literature and literary history? ...

Why does Canada love Tim Hortons?

Does the Burger King merger mean the end of Tims as we know it? Author Douglas Hunter thinks we shouldn't worry so much. ...

Tanis Rideout on building the language of her work (literally)

Former CBC Poetry Prize winner Tanis Rideout was a reader for the 2014 prize. In this writing tip she offers a glimpse of how she sculpts her work...... Read More »

Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship

It is society that makes it possible for us to develop ourselves as human beings. Personal relationships enrich us, work makes us feel useful, and goals give us purpose. We are part of a group, as we are all born biologically from a union. And it is as part of a group that we yearn to belong. If we concern ourselves with the idea that we exist because others exist, that we are in a web of human relationships, then we understand our individualism in a different way from that of the solipsist. Individuals are not independent of each other. We have individual rights, but we also have duties to others. But if we assume that relationships are on a costbenefit ratio, they would therefore be impermanent and fluid by definition.

From Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship by Adrienne Clarkson ©2014. Published by House of Anansi Press....

The 2014 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award finalists

Discover the best Canadian children's books of the past year. ...

Jason Guriel on hoarding and keeping your best lines off Twitter

Jason Guriel was a reader for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize. Here he offers some writing advice on creating an additional character—a smart but demanding reader...... Read More »

Anatomy of Criticism

The subject-matter of literary criticism is an art, and criticism is evidently something of an art too. This sounds as though criticism were a parasitic form of literary expression, an art based on pre-existing art, a second-hand imitation of creative power. On this theory critics are intellectuals who have a taste for art but lack both the power to produce it and the money to patronize it, and thus form a class of cultural middlemen, distributing culture to society at a profit to themselves while exploiting the artist and increasing the strain on his public. The conception of the critic as a parasite or artist manque is still very popular, especially among artists. It is sometimes reinforced by a dubious analogy between the creative and the procreative functions, so that we hear about the "impotence" and "dryness" of the critic, of his hatred for genuinely creative people, and so on. The golden age of anti-critical criticism was the latter part of the nineteenth century, but some of its prejudices are still around.

From Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays by Northrop Frye ©1957. Published by Princeton University Press....

The Sun Also Rises

"The fiesta was really started. It kept up day and night for seven days. The dancing kept up, the drinking kept up, the noise went on. The things that happened could only have happened during a fiesta. Everything became quite unreal finally and it seemed as though nothing could have any consequences. It seemed out of place to think of consequences during the fiesta. All during the fiesta you had the feeling even when it was quiet, that you had to shout any remark to make it heard. It was the same feeling about any action. It was a fiesta and it went on for seven days."

From The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway ©1926. Published by Simon & Schuster Canada....

The Origins of Totalitarianism

"Two new devices for political organization and rule over foreign peoples were discovered during the first decades of imperialism. One was race as a principle of the body politic, and the other bureaucracy as a principle of foreign domination. Without race as a substitute for the nation, the scramble for Africa and the investment fever might well have remained the purposeless "dance of death and trade" (Joseph Conrad) of all gold rushes. Without bureaucracy as a substitute for government, the British possession of India might well have been left to the recklessness of the "breakers of law in India" (Burke) without changing the political climate of an entire era."

From The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt ©1951. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt....

The History of the Peloponnesian War

"For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war."

From The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. Published by Penguin Classics....

The Immortal Marriage

"AxiocHus of Miletus was dead and in the dark hour before dawn the doors of his house were thrown open, the flute boy gave signal, the professional dirge-singers raised their voices in lamentation and issued into the street beating their breasts. The male relatives and friends followed, immediately preceding the body on its couch borne by slaves. Behind the bier walked Aspasia, the only child of the dead man, with a white lekythos in the bend of her arm and a few paces ahead of her aunts and cousins: a symbolic devarication that made her supple back a target for resentful eyes. The procession was closed by a number of slaves carrying a table loaded with garlands, lekythoi, and other votive offerings. Torch-bearers lit the way."

From The Immortal Marriage by Gertrude Atherton ©1927. Published by Kessinger Publishing....

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

The boy inhaled as the door opened. It was as if he knew. The girl stepped into the room, and within the space of a heart­beat, he was lost.

The girl made her way towards the semicircle of chairs, not smiling exactly, but not hesitating either. She was older for sure. Probably. So it was hopeless, of course. She sat down directly across from him, at her end of the semicircle. Without looking up, she crossed her genius, perfect legs and flipped a long black braid behind her. By the time he exhaled, the boy was in love. It was like he had drowned in a wave of want.

From The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten ©2013. Published by Doubleday Canada....

Once Upon a Northern Night

From Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault ©2013. Published by Groundwood Books....

The Man with the Violin

From The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dušan Petričić ©2013. Published by Annick Press....

In The Tree House

From In the Tree House by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Dušan Petričić ©2013. Published by Kids Can Press....

Branded by the Pink Triangle

"The number of gay men murdered in concentration camps is not known, the number of men in the army who were executed for homosexuality is not known, and the number of Jewish men who were homosexuals and sent to the gas chambers in unknown as well. In addition to those who died at the hands of the Nazis, it is impossible to know how many men took their own lives rather than be arrested as homosexuals. The exact numbers are not really the point. What is crucial is remembering that thousands of men died because of their homosexuality.

Many of their stories have been lost.

For some, all that remains are their pictures, taken at the time of their arrest. For many others, even their names have been lost. We must not forget them."

From Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington ©2013. Published by Second Story Press....

The 10 Joni Mitchell songs everyone should know

A new book, highlighting intimate and revealing conversations Joni Mitchell had with journalist Malka Marom, is out. CBC Books celebrates by looking at Joni's most important songs....

This Changes Everything

In some cases, governments may successfully defend their emission-reducing activities in trade court. But in too many others, they can be relied upon to cave in early, not wanting to appear anti-free trade. Trade challenges aren't killing renewable energy, but the growth is not happening fast enough. And the legal uncertainty that now surrounds some of the most significant green energy programs in the world is bogging us down at the very moment when science is telling us we need to leap ahead.

To allow arcane trade law, which has been negotiated with scant public scrutiny, to have this kind of power over an issue so critical to humanity's future is a special kind of madness. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz puts it, "Should you let a group of foolish lawyers, who put together something before they understood these issues, interfere with saving the planet?"

The greatest tragedy of all is that so much of this was eminently avoidable.

From This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein Copyright © 2014. Published by Knopf Canada....

Michael Crummey on his latest novel, Sweetland

The acclaimed Newfoundland novelist and poet discusses his latest with The Sunday Edition....

Lorri Neilsen Glenn on bringing a wealth of reading to the page

Lorri Neilsen Glenn was a reader for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize. In this writing tip she discusses the most important thing a writer must bring...... Read More »

Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words

"The girl on the stage also seemed to be in no hurry to do anything but tune and retune her guitar, tune and retune. My cappuccino cup stood empty and still she kept turning the knob of one string, then another, this way and that way, a bit higher and just a bit lower -- but with such intensity that, like a magnet, it drew you out of yourself. She turned to face the empty seats and, leaning closer to the mike, she strummed a progression of chords with a surprisingly assertive hand. They were unlike any chords I'd heard before. I found myself hanging on every note. And then she started to sing. From verse to verse, her song was like a kaleidoscope that splintered my perception, turned it round and round, then refocused to illuminate a reality I had not dared to see."

Excerpt from Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words by Malka Marom ©2014 by ECW Press. Used with permission from the publisher. ...

The Simpsons: See Thomas Pynchon's handwritten script notes

The notoriously reclusive author has been a guest on the long-running comedy a couple of times and sent the sitcom's writers some script suggestions, including a few jokes....

Eleanor Catton to establish grants to give writers 'time to read'

The Luminaries author, who became the youngest winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize last year at age 28, is establishing a grant to help other writers free up "time to read," and not just write....

Canada Reads contender Kim Thúy on the zeros she got in creative writing class

The multiple prize-winning author and 2015 Canada Reads contender for her first novel, Ru, answers questions on sex, education and the afterlife....... Read More »

Canada Reads 2014 finalist Cockroach inspires TIFF short film

Canadian actress and filmmaker Michelle Latimer has turned Rawi Hage's acclaimed novel into a 13-minute film. ...

Canada Reads 2014: Highlight reel

Watch the best moments from Canada Reads 2014: One Novel to Change Our Nation....

Alan Turing: The Enigma

"A son of the British Empire, Alan Turing's social origins lay just on the borderline between the landed gentry and the commercial classes. As merchants, soldiers and clergymen, his ancestors had been gentlemen, but not of the settled kind. Many of them had made their way through the expansion of British interests throughout the world."

From Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges ©2012. Published by Princeton University Press....

Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen

"I sensed that there was yet another partner lurking in our already overcrowded marriage. The fourth partner first appeared in the form of a trusted and quiescent friend, signalling the way to success and fulfilment for those who followed her. In fact she proved to be a relentless rival, as exacting as any mistress, an inexorable Siren, luring her devotees into deep pools of obsession. She was none other than Physics, cited by Einstein's first wife as the correspondent in divorce proceedings."

From Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking ©2008. Published by Alma Books....

Hector and the Search for Happiness

"And since he was seeing more and more people who were unhappy for no apparent reason, he was becoming more and more tired, and even a little unhappy himself. He began to wonder whether he was in the right profession, whether he was happy with his life, whether he wasn't missing out on something. And then he felt very afraid because he wondered whether these unhappy people were contagious."

From Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord ©2002. Published by Penguin Canada....

The Humbling

"Play the moment, play whatever plays for you in that moment, and then go to the next moment. It doesn't matter where you're going. Don't worry about that. Just take it moment, moment, moment, moment."

From The Humbling by Philip Roth ©2009. Published by Penguin Canada. ...

Men, Women & Children

""One night, Tim stumbled across a documentary called Manufacturing Consent. After viewing it, he found some writing online by its subject, Noam Chomsky, and as a result began to feel that there wasn't really a point to anything, that free will was an illusion, and that the things most people invested time and energy in were systems of control designed by those who sought to manipulate the general populace."

From Men, Women & Children by Chad Kultgen ©2011. Published by HarperPerennial....

Writers & Company reading list

November2014: October 2014: September 2014:......

Then They Came for Me

"I could smell him before I saw him. His scent was a mixture of sweat and rosewater, and it reminded me of my youth.

When I was six years old, I would often accompany my aunts to a shrine in the holy city of Qom. It was customary to remove your shoes before entering the shrine, and the servants of the shrine would sprinkle rosewater everywhere, to mask the odor of perspiration and leather.

The morning in June 2009, when they came for me, I was in the delicate space between sleep and wakefulness, taking in his scent. I didn't realize that I was a man of 42 in my bedroom in Tehran; I thought, instead, that I was six years old again, and back in that shrine with my aunts."

From Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy ©2011. Published by Random House....

Still Alice

"She liked being reminded of butterflies. She remembered being six or seven and crying over the fates of the butterflies in her yard after learning that they lived for only a few days. Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn't mean they were tragic. Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see, they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that."

From Still Alice by Lisa Genova ©2007. Published by Gallery Books....

This is Where I Leave You

"I sit down on the bed, cradling her little head against my shoulder, inhaling her sweet baby scent. Someday she'll get older, and the world will start having its way with her. She'll throw temper tantrums, she'll need speech therapy, she'll grow breasts and have pimples, she'll fight with her parents, she'll worry about her weight, she'll put out, she'll have her heart broken, she'll be happy, she'll be lonely, she'll be complicated, she'll be confused, she'll be depressed, she'll fall in love and get married, and she'll have a baby of her own. But right now she is pure and undiminished and beautiful."

From This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper ©2010. Published by Plume....

Dead Stars

"A current one to watch was Michael Douglas, who at this moment was being chauffeured around in a Music Express Mercedes. Jerzy was one of a handful of people on planet Earth who knew Douglas was having dinner with Heather Morris at a private estate above the reservoir in Silverlake Hills. He told his twits&shouts to sit on that because if it was a romantic thing (more would be revealed), a furtive exit pic/shadowkiss could gross a fucking mill & if they didn't keep their mouths shut, they wouldn't get a penny, which was the only way to guarantee any kind of silence . . . the situation tho was de facto way volatile, he couldn't keep a lid on it too long, it was a LeakyLeak world like Tom-Tom said, the tomtom drums could be heard in every global village, the Douglas/Hemo tête-à-teats (he sent out a tweet: does Hemo still have her implants?) would need to come to a head soon, i.e., before his rival pack-o'-ratsies found out.

This, as Hyman Roth said, was the life he chose."

From Dead Stars by Bruce Wagner ©2013. Published by Plume....


If I had to draw a map of those four-plus years to illustrate the time between the day of my mother's death and the day I began my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, the map would be a confusion of lines in all directions, like a crackling Fourth of July sparkler with Minnesota at its inevitable center. To Texas and back. To New York City and back. To New Mexico and Arizona and Nevada and California and Oregon and back. To Wyoming and back. To Portland, Oregon, and back. To Portland and back again. And again. But those lines wouldn't tell the story. The map would illuminate all the places I ran to, but not all the ways I tried to stay. It wouldn't show you how in the months after my mother died, I attempted - and failed - to fill in for her in an effort to keep my family together. Or how I'd struggled to save my marriage, even while I was dooming it with my lies. It would only seem like that rough star, its every bright line shooting out.

From Wild by Cheryl Strayed ©2012. Published by Vintage....

TD Canadian Children's Literature Award: Past winners

Discover the best children's books of the past decade. ...

Mable Riley

After the tea but before the supper . . .

Perhaps it takes only a little determination to change the course of one's life, for here on this very page I declared my yearning for novelty and already have I tripped across it! It came about in this manner: I went to the kitchen earlier, to borrow a needle from Mrs. Goodhand, as mine had jumped into a crack in the floor and hidden there. I heard Elizabeth's cross voice as I entered, and thought at once to leave, but was seen already and could not depart naturally."

From Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance by Mélanie Tellier ©2004. Published by Tundra Books....

The Crazy Man

Half the town's driving past our farm

today, churning up dust on the road

just to stare at a man

driving a tractor.

I've gone upstairs to my room.

Going to try to figure out

this whole big mess.

The Saskatchewan sun's pouring down

in a bright rectangle

on my floor, and dust

is dancing in the sunlight.

From The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter ©2005. Published by Groundwood Books....

Between Gods

It was dark that year. I cried when Degan left for work in the mornings, terrified of the solitude I have relished my whole life. In my memory, I see myself standing on our back porch in a perpetual dusk, filling my lungs with smoke as though the base of some terrible chimney. In fact I know I kept rules for myself, smoking only one cigarette a day, or maybe one a week. Maybe I never smoked at all. But looking back, I remember one long smoking binge and an accompanying desire to be obliterated.

From Between Gods: A Memoir by Alison Pick ©2014. Published by Doubleday Canada....

Odd Man Out

Toward dawn there was a show about Mongolian yurts. Kip knew he had heard the word yurt, but if he had thought about it at all, which he couldn't remember doing, he would have said it had something to do with dairy products, like yogurt. In normal waking hours with a normal brain, he would have flipped right past an instructional documentary. But with jet-lag brain there was something soothing about watching three people building wooden supports to make the bones of a tent. There were many slow close-ups of hands slipping rafters onto a central ring. The builders were three silent men.

From Odd Man Out by Sarah Ellis ©2006. Published by Groundwood Books.... Read More »

Elijah of Buxton

It was Sunday after church and all my chores were done. I was sitting on the stoop of our home trying to think what to do. It was that time of day when the birds were getting ready to be quiet and the toady-frogs were starting to get louder with that chirpity sound they make most the night. I wondered if it would be worth it to go fishing for a hour afore it got dark. I got that question answered when Cooter came walking up the road waving at me.

From Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis ©2007. Published by Scholastic Canada.... Read More »

Shin-chi's Canoe

From Shin-chi's Canoe by Nicola Campbell. Illustrated by Kim LaFave. ©2008. Published by Groundwood Books....

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers

"Down the three creaking steps he came, passing under the sign history - nature - poetry - military - ballet to a sunken den known as the snug. The bookshop had been a pub before, and the snug was where rain- drenched drinkers once hung their socks by the hearth, now bricked up but still flanked with tongs and bellows, festooned with little green- and- red Welsh flags and Toby jugs on hooks. An oak table contained photographic volumes on the region, while the walls were lined with shelves of poetry and a disintegrating hardcover series of Shakespeare whose red spines had so faded that to distinguish King Lear from Macbeth required much scrutiny. Either of these venerable characters, dormant on the overburdened shelves, could at any moment have crashed down into the rocking chair where Tooly sat upon a tartan blanket, which came in handy during winters, when the radiators trembled at the task ahead and switched off."

From The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman ©2014. Published by Random House Canada. ...

The Hunchback Assignments

The large carriage rattled with grotesqueries--bones of cats and pigs strung up as wind chimes, bleached bear skulls dangling from wires, and three shrunken monkey heads mounted on posts. Their glass eyes stared out at the approaching winter. Bells that hung from reins tinkled, warning away wandering spirits. Four horses pulled the carriage, hip bones protruding from their bedraggled flesh, hides scarred by thousands of whippings. Huddled behind them in a thick, worn coat and muffler was a grizzled old man.

From The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade ©2009. Published by HarperCollins Publishers. ...

Plain Kate

Her father sat her down and spoke to her with great seriousness. "You are not a witch, Katerina. There is magic in the world, and some of it is wholesome, and some of it is not, but it is a thing that is in the blood, and it is not in yours.

"The foolish will always treat you badly, because they think you are not beautiful," he said, and she knew this was true. Plain Kate. She was a plain as a stick and thin as a stick and flat as a stick. Her nose was too long and her brows too strong. Her father kissed her twice, once above each brow. "We cannot help what fools think. But understand, it is your skill with a blade that draws this talk. If you want to give up your carving, you have my blessing."

"I will never give it up," she answered.

From Plain Kate by Erin Bow ©2009. Published by Scholastic Canada....

Chez L'arabe

"The evening of Shalom Israel!, I sat on the guest room bed in my housecoat while my mother sat at the vanity, getting ready. I flipped through her novel by the Israeli writer about the child lost to war and saw that my mother was on the same page she'd been on a week before. I imagined my mother lying where I was, trying to read, the same paragraph looping like a scratched record, and getting up exasperated and ready to wreak a bit more havoc on my decor. I looked at the bare floor and felt my heart bleed a little, thinking how no comfortable state could lead a woman to pull up the carpet in a house that isn't even her own."

From Chez L'Arabe by Mireille Silcoff ©2014. Published by House of Anansi Press....

Stones for My Father

I thought of Sipho, of Lindiwe and her little girls. Where were they now? Had they been vaccinated, given ration cards, and assigned to a bell-tent like ours?

I swallowed, struck by a more pressing question: was Sipho even alive? If the khakis found him guilty of murder, how long would they wait to execute him? I imagined my friend standing before a judge, struggling to understand the soldiers' halting Dutch, and I wondered if anybody would try to defend him. I resolved to pray for him every day, harder than I'd prayed for anyone since Pa was sick. It was all I could do now.

From Stones for My Father by Trilby Kent ©2011. Published by Tundra Books.... Read More »


The colours burned cold and intense - that turquoise Arctic water, the snow, ice, and purple mountains - and I felt the complete presence of a terrain that knows an absence of the markers that signify "business as usual" in the south. Light did not contain itself within southern boundaries, but sank into the water and land and made them glow. Light pulsed in and out of rock, ice, and water, illuminating strange crevices. This illumination entered my mind and cast light on thoughts hiding in shadows, and entered my body too, the same energy imbuing the land. My whole being became ignited in a hybrid world between thought and material process.

From Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage by Kathleen Winter ©2014. Published by House of Anansi Press.... Read More »

One Year in Coal Harbour

You can't replace one dog with another any more than you can replace one person with another, but that's not to say you shouldn't get more dogs and people in your life.

From One Year in Cole Harbour by Polly Horvath ©2012. Published by Groundwood Books. ...

Ellen in Pieces

"That was as much as Ellen could get out of Yolanda as she hovered above her in the bathroom, holding back her golden hair while she retched.

'Maybe you should stay home,' Ellen said.

Yolanda lifted her face out of the toilet. Pink with misery, she let Ellen apply a cool, damp cloth. 'I can't skip Inorganic Chemistry, Mom. It's unbelievably hard.'

'Fine, then. Just don't spread it all over campus.'

Later, Ellen wondered how she could have been so dense."

From Ellen in Pieces by Caroline Adderson ©2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada.... Read More »

Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies and Predators Online

"She wasn't new to YouTube; like thousands of kids, she and her brother, Chase, had previously launched their own free YouTube 'channel' where they'd proudly posted a homemade cat video. When 'Friday' initially attracted some one thousand 'views' (which is different than one thousand viewers, since people often watch videos more than once), Black says she was 'content,' and her grandmother had 'really liked' the video gift she'd received (although later she worried Black was sick with 'a virus' when the newspaper reported the video had gone viral). And then, suddenly, everything changed."

From Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies and Predators Online by Paula Todd ©2013. Published by Random House of Canada. ...


He'd gone across to the mainland after a load of wood on Saturday morning and was stranded overnight by the fog. Slept in the wheelhouse under an old blanket with a pair of coveralls rolled up as a pillow. The mauze lifted a little at first light and he thought he might be able to pick his way home. Had the island in sight when the mist muffled in, so thick he couldn't see ten feet past the bow. Cut the engine to drift awhile, listening blind for other boats. Just the lap of waves against the hull for the longest time. The wail of the foghorn on the Burnt Head. And in the lull between, a murmur that seemed vaguely human. Then a single wordless syllable shouted, like a dog's bark.

From Sweetland by Michael Crummey ©2014. Published by Doubleday Canada....

A Geography of Blood

Let's just say that it all began when Keith and I took a trip. Keith is Keith Bell, my companion of going on twenty years, and it's largely thanks to his love of travel that I've seen a bit of the world: the wild-and-woolly moors of Yorkshire, the plains of Tanzania, the barren reaches of Peninsula Valdés in Argentina. Yet the journey I want to tell you about was not a grand excursion to some exotic, faraway destination but a trip that brought us closer home. A nothing little ramble to nowheresville.

From A Geography of Blood by Candace Savage ©2012. Published by Greystone Books.... Read More »


"My first mother, the one who conceived me and gave birth to me, had a hole in her head. She was a young adult or maybe still a little girl, for no Vietnamese woman would have dared carry a child unless she had a ring on her finger.

My second mother, the one who plucked me out of a vegetable garden among the okra, had a hole in her faith. She no longer believed in people, especially when they talked. And so she retired to a straw hut, far from the powerful arms of the Mekong, to recite prayers in Sanskirt.

My third mother, the one who watched me attempt my first steps, became Maman, my Maman.

From Mãn by Kim Thuy ©2013 English translation copyright Sheila Fischman ©2014. Published by Random House Canada. ...


A kid from the streets of Montreal, Richler could never be, and never wished to be, anything other than a strong, slightly intimidating presence. The highest praise he could accord an individual was to declare him or her an "original." The highest attribute an "original" could possess was "appetite." Appetite meant lust, longing, drive, and ambition. Appetite also meant unashamed fullness of character. It also tended to disavow tidiness as being for the meek, the small. A devotee of shaded characters in his novels - the lively scoundrel over the boring nice guy - he transferred this preference into life, seeking, for the most part, the company of the strong, the interesting, the intriguing. No surprise, much of this reflected his sense of himself.
From Mordecai: The Life & Times by Charles Foran © 2010. Published by Knopf Canada. ... Read More »

The Back of the Turtle

"He turned towards the eastern mountains, angled the drum to catch the rising sun, and began a memorial song. But the elk skin was too soft now, too damp. The beats slid off, and his voice was drowned in the rushing water. In the distance, he could see the dog laid out on higher ground.

And in that moment, in that moment, he thought about retreating once again.

But the path back was only a memory now, all safety choked off as the sea ringed the Apostles in ink and foam.

He began the song anew, picking up the beat and raising the pitch, so that his voice carried above the slicing surf. The sun was full in his face now, the sky blue and polished. It was going to be a good day."

From The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King ©2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada.... Read More »


Seconds 22.jpg
From Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley ©2014. Published by Random House Canada....

The CBC Books 2014 fall reading list

Discover 10 great reads that are perfect for the fall season. ...

Girl Runner

All my life I've been going somewhere, aimed toward a fixed point on the horizon that seems never to draw nearer. In the beginning, I chased it with abandon, with confidence, and somewhere later with frustration, and then with grief, and later yet with the clarity of an escape artist. It is far too late to stop, even if I run in my mind only, out of habit.

You do what you do until you're done. You are who you are until you are not.

My name is Aganetha Smart, and I am 104 years old.

From Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder ©2014. Published by House of Anansi Press....

The TIFF 2014 reading list

The 10 books every film buff and book lover should read to prepare for the Toronto International Film Festival. ...

This One Summer

Every summer, Rose and her family go to the beach. This year is no exception. But instead of making happy family memories once again, everything...... Read More »

The Next Chapter reading list

Discover all the books discussed on the 2014/15 season of The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers....

The Dogs Are Eating Them Now

But we had all misunderstood: it was just another suicide bomber, one of dozens in the city that summer. The bomb detonated near a military vehicle and set it on fire. The rapid pops and banging sounds had been caused by the ignition of overheated ammunition inside the burning vehicle, a phenomenon known as a "cook-off." A soldier was killed in the attack, and the troops who rushed to the scene accidentally shot dead a young boy. The Taliban were not invading after all, but tension in the city had reached a fever pitch.

From The Dogs Are Eating Them Now by Graeme Smith ©2013. Published by Knopf Canada.... Read More »

Medicine Walk

He walked the old mare out of the pen and led her to the gate that opened out into the field. There was a frost from the night before, and they left tracks behind them. He looped the rope around the middle rail of the fence and turned to walk back to the barn for the blanket and saddle. The tracks looked like inkblots in the seeping melt, and he stood for a moment and tried to imagine the scenes they held. He wasn't much of a dreamer though he liked to play at it now and then. But he could only see the limp grass and mud of the field and he shook his head at the folly and crossed the pen and strode through the open black maw of the barn door.

Reprinted from Medicine Walk (c) 2014 by Richard Wagamese. Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Random House, LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. ... Read More »

Word on the Street Toronto celebrates the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award

Come to Word on the Street Toronto to meet the finalists of the 2014 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. ...

Happy City

As much as we complain about other people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert. The more connected we are to family and community, the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier.

From Happy City: Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery ©2013. Published by Doubleday Canada....

Not Exactly As Planned: The Making of a Family

"We adopted Michael when he was seven days old. After picking him up from the hospital, we bring him straight to the noon-hour ferry leaving from the city's downtown waterfront. As the horn signals our arrival on Toronto Island, I walk down the boat's gangplank with Michael in my arms. Robin is steps behind, proudly pushing the big, elegant navy blue and steel English pram borrowed for the occasion.

Unbeknownst to us, a crowd is waiting. Dozens of neighbours clapping, yelling and cheering, welcoming our new family home.

In the centre of the crowd stands a bunch of goofy-looking musicians, members of the island's homegrown marching band, wearing handmade costumes of rags and lace, feathers and beads, looking like cast offs from Mardi Gras '54. They come complete with tuba, drums, trumpets, and tambourines. "The Arhythmics," they call themselves. Entry into their ranks requires nothing more than good intentions and a well-tuned heart."

From Not Exactly As Planned: The Making of a Family by Linda Rosenbaum ©2014. Published by Demeter Press....

Into the Blizzard

In June a few years ago I set out to visit some of the World War One battlefields of Europe - the slope and valley and river and plain that the Newfoundland Regiment trained on, and fought over and through and under.

From Into the Blizzard by Michael Winter ©2014. Published by Random House Canada. ... Read More »

Subduction Zone

Sleeping Out

Night. The moose stepped up. I woke where I lay

on the moss and our gazes met, caesural.

What I was then: lifted: wind breathed through

the dewy webs of thought and broke them.

And then: afraid. Petrified by night,

its strangeness; inscrutable, inhumane

mountains; the freshet creek and its language

no human ear can know. I closed my eyes, tight:

prophylaxis. Rain rode in, sharp hooves

dashing over the tarpaulin. Again, thought,

fearful, hammered in my mind's pipes--

an airlock stuck behind the walls.

It was too much to be alone with,

all this wild. Why are we not taught

how to rest here? The houses I have built

I could dismantle with equal care.

From "Stikine Country" by Emily McGiffin ©2014. Published by Pedlar Press....

Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes

Jane Eaton Hamilton won the CBC Short Story Prize twice: once in 2003 for "The Lost Boy" and again in 2014 for "Smiley". The......

Acting for Freedom: Fifty Years of Civil Liberties in Canada

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014. To mark this occasion, Marian Botsford Fraser has written this history of civil......

The Things I Heard About You

Alex Leslie's debut poetry collection is a love song to the coast of British Columbia and its people. The unpublished manuscript was shortlisted for......

House Made of Rain

A woman's infant daughter falls ill just as a blizzard begins to blow in on her remote farm in "Borealis," a wonderfully beautiful poem......

Coming Attractions 13

"Over the course of my life I'd learned basic CPR a couple of times, but when it came right down to it I thanked God I didn't have to kiss Alice. Even so, the life-saving process in a trailer full of latter-day septuagenarians was not easy, especially with everyone quickly reminded of just how sinister TV tables can be. It was a dangerous enough bloody circus getting Alice even half-uncrumpled, but then Clancy got himself tangled in the legs of three TV tables. After Millie and I loosened Alice's shirt and got him prone, I took the opportunity to slap him pretty hard a few times."

From Coming Attractions 13 Edited by Mark Anthony Jarman ©2014. Published by Oberson Press....


The day before the flood, the girl slices lemons into a wide-mouthed Mason jar. She has been reading about storage devices in the sunroom. Jars will replace Tupperware, she reads, for leftovers. They will store tulips, sourdough starter, kombucha. Ms. Feliz must have read the article, too, because these vessels fill her larder. Crystal-cut pots of marmalade line the bottom shelf, and above that, quarts of beans and crumpled tongue chipotles. They appear to the girl as display cases. She expects to find a flask of dead bees on the shelf, or water beetles. A Mesozoic crab. The girl's larder contains no such jars. Her mother buys items in cardboard boxes. Often, the boxes remain in the cupboard long after they have been emptied. Neither she nor her mother likes to untuck the seals and flatten the cases into bright cards of recycling. Their hands navigate around them instead. They rattle each box of Kraft Dinner or Hamburger Helper before they lift it from the shelf.

From Wallflowers by Eliza Robertson ©2014. Published by Penguin Canada....

Ken Babstock

Ken Babstock's latest book of poetry, Methodist Hatchet, won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2012....