Category Archives: Book Talk

YOU ARE IN GOOD COMPANY

A number of years ago, while taking piano lessons and worrying that I wasn’t good enough or getting any better, my teacher told me that it wasn’t helpful to compare myself to others who have been playing for years. Instead she reminded me to focus on the fact that, like Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Chopin, and […]

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THE ROYAL NANNY

The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper is what is called a book of faction – this means it combines truth with fiction. The dialogue is made up, but many of the events and people actually existed. In this case, the Royal Nanny, Charlotte Bill, was the Nanny to the offspring of the Duke and Duchess […]

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THE TENTH GIFT

There’s an old saying, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” Catherine Ann Tregenna, the heroine of Jane Johnson’s The Tenth Gift longs to escape the life that has been set out for her – that of marriage and babies, in favor of making a name for herself with her exquisite […]

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IN REMEMBRANCE

March 10, 2017 was a sad day in the literary world. Two great writer’s died: Richard Wagamese and Robert James Waller. Both authors have had an impact on my life, and I’d like to honour these two men by telling you a little about them. ROBERT JAMES WALLER: Bridges of Madison County. Who hasn’t heard […]

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PATH TO THE SILENT COUNTRY – The Final Years of Charlotte Brontë

  I was shocked when I heard that people were up in arms by the novel Jane Eyre when it first came out in print in 1847. People were offended that Jane Eyre could love a man (Mr. Rochester) who had had an illicit affair with a woman and bore him an child, of which […]

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BOOK REPORT – Aliens should read Calvin and Hobbes

Every Saturday there’s a book report on an author of interest in the arts section of the Globe and Mail.  It’s my favourite part of the paper that even my husband, who likes to do the crosswords, allows me to read first.  I have often wondered what responses I would give if I was the […]

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GIRL RUNNER

When I first heard about Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder, I was intrigued by the notion of a young woman running in the 1928 Olympics. I enjoy reading about women who are outside the norm of what is expected of a woman. I suppose it feeds the feminist in me. So when I picked up […]

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Novel Number Two

Novel Number Two.  Such a poor choice of name for a new novel.  Especially when my first novel River of the Stick Wavers has such a “kick ass” title.  Once I figure out the central story behind my new book I will, or course, come up with a better title.  Be that as it may, […]

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E-Books vs. Hardcover

I first read about the kindle e-book on amazon and marvelled at how amazing it would be to have an entire library at my fingertips.  Then, when they came out in Canada, my husband surprised me with one for Christmas.  I was completely overwhelmed.  Such a perfect gift for a writer.  I couldn’t help crying.  […]

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Bow Grip – A Novel Reflection

When I’m wandering down the book aisle at the library, it’s difficult to zero in on a book with only the spine showing.  Unless that is, there is a red maple leaf alerting me to the fact that the book is written by a Canadian author.  As a Canadian who has just completed writing a […]

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I’ll Be Seeing You – An Epistolary Novel

Once upon a time people used to write letters. I mean hand-written letters from one heart to another.  Then sent it through the mail, to be delivered right to your door, and read in your private place as though that person were right there in the room with you.  How can I explain it?  There’s […]

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Resilience – The Path Through Crisis

It’s not uncommon for a crisis to arise as the result of a traumatic event in a person’s life. For me, it was 1998, the year my parent’s split up. I’m not sure why this particular episode brought up some unfinished business from my past, but it did. As a manic depressive, or bipolar, as […]

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Women’s Intuition

I always thought that intuition was something that turns up when you least expect it.  It’s certainly not a thing that anyone seems to pay much heed to, least of all me – certainly not on a regular basis. Although, having said that, I do recall times in my life when a voice inside has […]

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Anger: The Path to Enlightenment

Anger as a path to enlightenment.  How is this even possible, you may be wondering?  Anger is a bad thing, you say.  Something that must be suppressed at all costs.  If I let go of my anger, I will be out of control.  But what if anger is the psyche’s way of reminding you that […]

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The Danger of Secrets

We’ve all held on to a secret at one time or another.  The secret party, the secret lover, the secret travel destination, or the shared secret with a friend.  To be one of the chosen few who shares such a secret makes us feel special, part of the inner circle of those “in the know.”  […]

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The Wayfinders – Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

Just because people don’t have the written word, or machines of destruction, doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything to offer the world.  This is the lesson I learned while reading a fascinating book call The Wayfinders by Wade Davis. Anthropologist Wade Davis has traveled the world and lived with many of its indigenous peoples.  […]

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Annabel

What does it mean to be human?  I think that is the question that Kathleen Winter is posing in her novel Annabel.  Set in Labrador in 1968, Annabel is the story of a child who is born both male and female.  The father, Treadway, decides to raise the child as a boy and so the […]

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Birding With Yeats

My daughter Mallory and I took a trip to Queen’s Park Circle in Toronto this year to check out Word on the Street, the annual festival of books.  While there were many different publishers represented, none were familiar to me.  My daughter however, recognized Anansi Publishing as having a good reputation, so we decided to […]

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Tom Thomson: A Canadian Artist Who Helped to Define a Nation

I picked up this book at the Trading Post at the French River.   It seemed like the perfect place to learn about Tom Thomson’s life as an artist.  He painted at Georgian Bay (where the French River is located) and canoed the French River on his way to Algonquin Park. I love this picture of […]

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Emily Carr – A biography by Maria Tippett

A few years ago I had the pleasure of viewing a painting by Emily Carr at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  It was a tree bathed in light from above, surrounded by the dark images of other trees hidden in the dense wood.   I studied this painting for a long time trying to understand what […]

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Medicine Walk

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese, is the story of sixteen year old Franklin Starlight who only knew his father Eldon, as a shadowy figure who came sporadically into his life to see the son he gave up to the guardianship of a man we know only as, “Old Man”. As the story begins Eldon is […]

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ME: Stories of My Life

I just got done reading, ME: Stories of My Life, by Katharine Hepburn.  The title seems appropriate for the story of the life of a woman who freely admits that she lived a selfish life.  At least until she met Spencer Tracy; but more on that later. I think it’s good for a writer to […]

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The Joy Of Reading

In my last post, A Room of My Own, I talked about my writing space.  In this post, I’d like to talk about the places I like to read, and my love of reading. It’s a miraculous when you think about the whole process of reading.  I remember in kindergarten when the teacher kept showing […]

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The Holy Road

Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake has long been a favorite of mine because it tells the story of the journey of a man to find himself.  I fell in love with John Dunbar and members of the Comanche Nation:  Kicking Bird, The Holy Man; Ten Bears, The Chief; Wind in his Hair, Warrior, and […]

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A Star for Mrs. Blake

Twenty-five years in the writing, A Star for Mrs. Blake, by April Smith is based on the real-life diaries of Colonel Thomas Hammond.  Colonel Hammond was the liaison officer to the Gold Star Mothers who visited the graves of their sons at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery in France after WWI. The story primarily revolves around five […]

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The Orenda

I was a little apprehensive about reading The Orenda by Joseph Boyden.  Not because of his writing, but because in this particular book I heard there are scenes of torture. Despite this, I decided to reserve it from the library to find out why everyone is reading it.  When it came my turn to sign […]

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Still Writing

The tab title “Novel Reflections” was a deliberate choice in that “novel” expresses more than just a piece of fiction.  It can also mean “new”, “original”, and “worth looking into”, according to my thesaurus.  In choosing this title, I feel free to talk about any genre that would be of interest to my readers.  In […]

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A Christmas Guest

I don’t usually read mysteries, but Anne Perry’s, A Christmas Guest caught my eye on display at the library this Christmas.  I enjoy period novels so I read the inside flap to see what it was about. What struck me right away is the main character, Mariah Ellison, who is described as a “vinegar-tongued Grandmamma”.  […]

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Hotel Du Lac

Much like Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban, Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner, is a quite novel about an ordinary woman who has been sent away to Hotel du Lac to overcome a recent folly of the romantic kind. Edith Hope is a woman who has been deemed unacceptable in a society that abhors passion […]

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Turtle Diary

I first read about Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban in the Globe and Mail as a rediscovered classic and was intrigued by how releasing turtles into their natural habitat after a life of captivity, could help the two major characters overcome their self-imposed isolation. William is divorced and working in a book store while Neara […]

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