Wednesday, 19 June 2013


So now, a little break from nature, and back into the world of words... Here's what is on my bedside table of late -- those books that the French call "livres de chevet" -- and I recommend all three, depending on your inclinations.... whatever are your druthers when it comes to reading (an Americanism from the late 1800s, meaning "would rather")...

Let me first suggest the fifth in the Marc Edwards mystery series, this one titled BLOODY RELATIONS (published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster). You'll probably enjoy it more if you've read the earlier four, but in any case I draw it to your attention for various reasons, not least of these being that it is fiction set in 1838, a period of great struggle in Canadian history. The blending of mystery with history is unusually effective in this series, written by Don Gutteridge, author of forty books of poetry and fiction. I admit my bias here -- Don is one of my favorite people, our friendship stemming back to my days in Grade 13 when he was my English teacher and one of those who encouraged me to write (the other was my history teacher, Bob Huschka... without these two I  probably would not have dared to begin thinking of myself as a writer even at that early stage).

You can get more information about Don's series by going to

Here's another suggestion, of a very different nature. Set in contemporary eastern Ontario, KEEPING THE PEACE Is a collection of short stories by Colette Maitland that might be categorized as realistic fiction... holding the mirror up to life itself...In the words of Diane Schoemperlen, "these are stories about the people you do know, and about strangers too, those people you pass on the street without giving them a second thought".... These are, indeed, stories that wake you to the complexities of human existence, your own as well as the fictional characters who struggle to keep the peace in their difficult lives.  Again, I admit my bias: I met Colette several years ago in the Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop in Toronto, and she shone out in the group of writers for whom I was the instructor. We've never met since but I've kept my eye on her, and she's maintained some contact with me, so that I could see that my faith in her talent has been justified and verified. Her debut book is bound to be only the first of many -- this one published by Biblioasis, a new publishing house that is bringing forward a wonderful range of new Canadian authors.

 You can get more information about Colette and her collection at

And now, for something completely different....

Check out BRICK #91, the current issue on the newsstands/bookshop magazine shelves NOW...
Yes, I must make full admission here as well, for drawing your attention to BRICK in this case is not only a literary service but also perhaps rather self-serving. My essay "Reprise" is fortunate enough to have found space in this particular BRICK -- the little sister to an earlier essay titled "There Is No Word For Home",  published in 2000. I'm also part of a fascinating series of brief pieces by 25 authors about our favorite endings to novels -- or, in the case of Jan Zwicky, her thoughts on the final bars of Hadyn's last string quartet.  NOT TO BE MISSED!

For more info, have a look at