The Next Chapter

Brian Francis reviews 3 books to read in isolation

The Next Chapter columnist and author reviews Cooking Solo by Klancy Miller, Adventures with Adoptable Dogs by Rachel Rodgers, It's All a Game by Tristan Donovan.
Brian Francis is a writer and columnist on The Next Chapter. (Brian Francis)

Life in a pandemic means that Canadians potentially have a lot of time on their hands as many are often at home, alone and looking for new things to do and experience.

The Next Chapter columnist Brian Francis, the Canadian author of novels like Fruit, Natural Order and Break in Case of Emergency, can relate. He has read three books that can help Canadians find things to do in quarantine: Cooking Solo by Klancy Miller, Adventures with Adoptable Dogs by Rachel Rodgers, It's All a Game by Tristan Donovan,

Cooking Solo by Klancy Miller 

Klancy Miller is a writer, pastry chef, host of waffle parties and passionate Francophile. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Tara Donne)

"A lot of us are in the process of being on our own right now — especially people who are living alone. Klancy is a writer and pastry chef influenced by all things French. As she rightly points out, whether you're attached or unattached, you still have to eat. 

Whether you're attached or unattached, you still have to eat.

"This book is all about that self-love and she has a lot of great recipes here. The vast majority of them are created for one meal. Being the trusty investigative journalist that I am, I did try a couple of recipes."

Adventures with Adoptable Dogs by Rachel Rodgers

Rachael Rodgers is a Canadian artist, dog lover, author and nature seeker. (Rocky Mountain Books, rachaelrodgersphotoworks.wordpress.com)

"So what Rachel does is really interesting. She volunteers at a variety of animal rescue organizations. She takes the dogs out for walks, and while she's out with them, she takes great photography of the dogs in their natural habitats — including having them run through the snow.

It's not so much that you feel sorry for the dogs, it's that you want to get to know these dogs and invite them into your home.

"She'll then post those or the photos, along with stories about the dogs to her social media accounts as a way to try to heighten the visibility of these animals, to try to encourage people who might be looking to adopt an animal. 

"What her photos do is show these dogs and their incredible personalities. It's not so much that you feel sorry for the dogs, it's that you want to get to know these dogs and invite them into your home." 

It's All a Game by Tristan Donovan

Tristan Donovan is a British non-fiction author, journalist and editor. (Katie Vandyck, Thomas Dunne Books)

"There are a few Canadian contributions to the board game world; Trivial Pursuit is one of them — that phenomenon that roared through the 1980s — and the other was A Question of Scruples by an English literature lecturer at the University of Manitoba.

This book is interesting for anyone who remembers board games.

"The book points out the success of a board game can often come down to sort of what society's doing at that moment. This book is interesting for anyone who remembers board games."

Brian Francis's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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