The Neapolitan Novels – Elena Ferrante

When the temperature and timing are right, some reading experiences can feel like fever dreams; narrative immersions that keep you up late into the night and transport you across oceans and decades. Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels – My Brilliant Friend (2012), The Story of  a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay…

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Content Warning: This episode contains discussions of self-harm, violence, abuse, and suicide. As a reader who occasionally enjoys judging books by their covers, I remember the curiosity I felt looking at Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (2015) for the first time. Our 35th reader was also transfixed by the cover subject’s expression of both pleasure…

Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery

“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?” For over a century, the red-haired heroine of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (1908), Anne (“with an e”) Shirley, has stolen the hearts of readers across Canada…

Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak – Edited by Mark Falkoff

What kind of spring is this, / Where there are no flowers and / The air is filled with a miserable smell? – Shaikh Abdurraheem Muslim Dost The above poem was etched into a styrofoam cup and passed between detainees in the infamous Guantánamo Bay detention camp. It is included alongside twenty-one other poems in…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we often judge books by their cover. In the case of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014), soothing blues and turquoises promise levity and peacefulness, both desirable states of being in a frantically disordered world. The KonMari method…

The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson

If you ask a PhD candidate studying English literature to name a book that had a profound impact on her life, chances are you’ll receive an impressive list as a response. Our thirty-first reader’s selections included Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison, everything written by Carson McCullers, and Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) by Claudia Rankine….

I Am a Strange Loop – Douglas Hofstadter

Who am I? Why I am here? Why did it take me so long to get this thirtieth episode up and running? What is the self? What is human consciousness? Are we a perpetually perplexed species? In this episode we dive headfirst into questions of human existence and consciousness with a return guest and the…

Asking for It – Louise O’Neill

Content Warning: Please be advised that this episode features discussions of sexual assault, rape culture, victim blaming, and uses language that some may find triggering. Now is the time for difficult conversations. We need to listen to voices that have long been silenced and challenge those who promote fear among vulnerable populations. This is particularly…

This One Summer – Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

When summer finally arrives in Canada, people walk around cities and towns in a daze. It’s as if we’ve all woken up on another planet and are trying to remember long-forgotten survival skills. Once the shock wears off, people flood onto patios and into parks to pay homage to the sun and to melt the…