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Melissa Steele -- Night Table Recommendations

Friday, Jan 14, 2011 at 12:41pm

Middle Stories by Sheila Heti (House of Anansi)

I'm reading Sheila Heti's Middle Stories which came out in 2000. Heti writes with that Carver/Hemingway sparseness but few of the constraints of realism. Instead of pure minimalism or rich magic realism, hers is a kind of bare-bones, darkly comic, free-for-all but both full of surprises and laugh out loud funny. She is irreverent and unsentimental but smart and hip. I want to read her new novel, How Should a Person Be because how could you not want to read a book that asks that question in its title and tantalizes you with the hope that the question could be answered in some satisfying way?

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Night Table Recommendations


Margaret Buffie -- Night Table Recommendations

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011 at 2:33pm

I don't specialize in my preferences for reading. I always have research books of some kind on the go, for my own writing, of course - and often, I have a biography or non-fiction bookmarked at the same time as a fiction novel and the research material.

My bookshelves are made up of mysteries, biographies, non-fiction, young adult novels, and - as I don't limit myself to strictly "literary fiction" - I also have an ample supply of other forms of fiction crammed in cheek by jowl with the others. I also keep, very close to me on my bedside table, and the one beside my bath, a few of my favourite books to reread - both to comfort me, and to recharge me. Some of my long time much-loved authors are Barbara Pym, Jane Austen, Joanna Trollope, Anne Tyler, John Steinbeck, John Mortimer, and Alan Bennett. I have also been known to have favourite cookbooks on those tables as well.

As a voracious reader of mysteries, I go from M.C. Beaton to Magdalene Nabb to Georges Simenon, and many others in between.

I also have many YA writers I enjoy. Too many to list here, but we have some of the best YA fiction writers in Canada right here in Manitoba!

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Night Table Recommendations


Andrew Unger -- Night Table Recommendations

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2011 at 5:50pm

I have to apologize to my poor mother. Growing up, I would often engage in heated arguments about religion and politics with my father and brother. Every week we'd get into it as we drove to the football game, while Mom would beg us to be quiet and threaten to get out of the car at the next traffic light if we didn't stop. But you know, we still loved each other even if we disagreed and even if I had my brother pinned down in the back seat threatening to spit in his face if he didn't admit The Liberals would lose the next election. I think these discussions sharpened our wits. Even today, I often write as if I'm arguing with my brother in Dad's 93 Taurus. I've never believed religion and politics were taboo subjects; after all, what else is worth discussing?

So here are a few books that have made me think and I believe are worthy of heated discussion.

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Winnipeg, Night Table Recommendations


Michael Van Rooy -- Night Table Recommendations

Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010 at 4:32pm

I'm always reading different things and I love to juggle books - subjects and concepts - in order to see what comes up! That means my night table books tend travel from room to room in the house and with me to the offices and wherever I end up during the day.

That's my apology for the chaos of this list!

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, buzz, Authors, Mystery & Crime


Julie Kirkpatrick -- Night Table Recommendations

Monday, Aug 16, 2010 at 5:09pm

I love books, and I live with a book designer who also loves books so our rambling old house is full to the brim. It was fun to look on the bedside table and see the mish-mash piled there - to look at it simply for what it is, rather than thinking of how messy it looks. Almost as interesting an exercise would be to look through the bookshelf in the kitchen which is supposed to hold only the cookbooks. My favorite cookbook is Wild Plums in Brandy by Sylvia Boorman (McGraw Hill, 1962) which contains many odd recipes, including one for porcupine baked in clay, and was beautifully illustrated by Boorman's husband. Beside Wild Plums in Brandy, in the kitchen, is The Spectacle of the Scaffold by Michel Foucault (Penguin, 1977).

But I wasn't asked about the cookbook shelf, and so here is a sampling from what is on the bedside table:

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Winnipeg


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