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…

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…

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…

Matilda – Roald Dahl

I have always been an avid reader. As a child I devoured pretty much any book I could get my sticky little hands on, showing very little discretion regarding genre or subject. That lack of preference faded the day I encountered the work of Roald Dahl. To say I was obsessed with Dahl would be an…

Update: Roald Dahl Episode in the Works!

Dreamers, wishers, tricksters, and magic-makers rejoice! I am currently working on a new episode featuring the work of beloved children’s author Roald Dahl. Our twenty-seventh reader will share her thoughts on her favourite Dahl novel, her doctoral studies into the role of food within his work, and much more! This glorious episode will be posted…

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

Grab your best walking stick, find a supply of lembas bread, brush up on your Elvish dialects, and join me on a journey through Middle-earth with our twenty-sixth reader. After decades of composition and revision, The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) between July…

Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

Our twenty-second reader and I sat down next to a tall shelf bursting with children’s books to discuss her connection to E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (1952). In the sixty four years since its publication, this masterful tale of unlikely friendship has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of children around the world. White’s simple…

The Holy Terrors – Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau was a true Jacques-of-all-trades. Throughout his life and career he garnered both critical and popular acclaim as a filmmaker, playwright, designer, author, and poet. His inner circle of friends and collaborators included Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Coco Chanel, Eric Satie, and Marlene Dietrich. Cocteau penned Les Enfants Terribles (1929) during a week of…

Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers

On a rainy afternoon our twelfth reader and I took a stroll around a neighbourhood readying itself for Halloween and spoke about Mary Poppins (1934), the first installment in P.L. Travers’ immensely popular series. Our reader fell in love with the story as a child and had plenty to say about its impact on her…

Oddly Enough – Bruce Coville

I met our ninth reader on a gloomy October evening for a delicious bowl of ramen and a conversation about the short story collection Oddly Enough (1994). Bruce Coville’s fantastical and often spooky narratives enthralled our reader at a young age and strengthened her interest in fiction. We talked about the humour found in the…

The Harry Potter Series

It’s easy to become nostalgic about the years before the Harry Potter series was adapted to film, before the theme parks were created, or before the associated merchandise generated more excitement than pages of text. In my memory the books were always enough. Each novel provided access to a magical world within our own where…

A Bird in the House – Margaret Laurence

Ah, the profound satisfaction of picking up the right book at the right time. The subject of this first post is the novel A Bird in the House (1970) by beloved Canadian author Margaret Laurence. This series of short stories chronicles a writer’s recollection of her childhood in the small fictional town of Manawaka, Manitoba….