History has a bad rap for being a seemingly perfunctory field of study. As a history major, I certainly have gotten my fair share of skepticism when I profess my interest in our past. But history, more than almost any other subject, carries a certain humanity with it. It is […]
It’s not always clear why horror is such a popular genre. After all, it intends to horrify—to inspire fear in shadows that seem to disappear the second we turn around. Andrew Pyper’s The Guardians reminded me of the reasons Stephen King novels and the endless slew of gory sequels do […]
A collective of writers and artists known as “FreeDarko” rose to cult Internet fame with their essays promoting the concept of “liberated fandom” that is the idea that the modern basketball fan didn’t need to restrict him or herself to a single franchise but could, instead, enjoy the wide array […]
There’s a clear reason why Ian Falconer, who illustrated David Sedaris’s latest book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, only uses shades of red and black in his illustrations. It’s because the stories, which tersely detail single events in the lives of animals, are often bloody and bleak. But it’s […]
The Lost Art of Gratitude is the literary equivalent of a warm cup of tea: it’s calming, unhurried, and a welcome escape. The plot meanders like a lazy river, driven by characters rather than action. The book is the sixth in the Sunday Philosophy Club series by Scottish author Alexander […]
Jane Urquhart was born a writer, but she never envisioned that she would one day be considered among the ranks of the most widely read and respected Canadian authors. With the recent publication of her seventh novel, Sanctuary Line, Urquhart has been nominated for the prestigious Giller Prize: an award […]
When Alan Bradley set out to write his first detective novel he had no idea it would lead to the character of Flavia de Luce, or to a series about the young sleuth, in which The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag is the second novel. “I was writing another detective novel that I thought I had plotted very carefully for story and characters, then Flavia just materialized in it,” Bradley says.
Part anthology of summaries and essays, part intro to Can-Lit survey, and part ode to reading, T.F. Rigelhof’s Hooked on Canadian Books is a tribute to English-language Canadian fiction writing since 1984. At first, the introduction and much of the tone of the book seems self-indulgent and self-important.
Gary Kinsman and Patrizia Gentile’s The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation discusses the under-the-radar – and sometimes officially sanctioned – targeting of gays and lesbians as security threats from the 1950s to the 1990s. Written from – and told through – a series of first-hand accounts combined with documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, Kinsman and Gentile discuss the history of queer Canadians in a way that is passionate and personal.
Joy Fielding’s The Wild Zone begins when a personal trainer, a dishonourably discharged Afghanistan war veteran, and a Princeton philosophy Ph.D. walk into a bar and make a bet over who can sleep with the pretty, quiet girl alone with her martini. Suzy Bigelow, naturally, has secrets and an agenda of her own, and she leads them all on a wild and deadly ride which, though two-dimensional, is remarkably compelling.