And one had to live

We’re done War and Peace! We finished ages ago, actually — two whole months. It took me about that long to get over my disappointment with the ending. It wasn’t where all the characters ended up; my reading group predicted everyone’s final couplings and fates very accurately (almost like we are a bunch of narrative-obsessedContinue reading “And one had to live”

Goals are meaningless

I set a reading goal every year. Mostly I do this because Goodreads prompts me to do it. For the past few years, I’ve set that goal at a just-out-of-reach-enough-to-feel-uncomfortable number, around 90 or 100. I’ve never made it to 100. I seem to naturally end up at around 85. Does it matter if IContinue reading “Goals are meaningless”

On Being Halfway: War and Peace and Reading in a Pandemic

In the fall of 2021, my friend told me about a new book called Tolstoy Together. It was a record of a group read of War and Peace, Tolstoy’s 1869 masterpiece. In the very early days of the pandemic, writer Yiyun Lee invited anyone who wished to join her in a slow read of WarContinue reading “On Being Halfway: War and Peace and Reading in a Pandemic”

Reading the future: The Handmaid’s Tale and All Our Wrong Todays

Like everyone else in the world, I’m rereading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, inspired by the release of the new Hulu series to rediscover something I first read, oh, about fifteen years ago, I think. I was not assigned to read this book in high school, unlike many people, but when you grow up Canadian,Continue reading “Reading the future: The Handmaid’s Tale and All Our Wrong Todays”

My year in books: 2016

This was an interesting exercise last year, so I thought I’d do it again.  Obviously, 2016 is widely considered to have been a pretty terrible year for the world, and it was also a challenging year for me, personally, and for many people I know and love.  There will no doubt be a lot ofContinue reading “My year in books: 2016”

In which I enthusiastically recommend an advice book from the 1930s

In troubled times, sometimes the best thing you can do is open a book and pretend you live somewhere else. In these particular troubled times, I have a feeling almost anywhere else would do—even Mordor. Now feels like a really good time to climb into a long fantasy series and never climb out. But forContinue reading “In which I enthusiastically recommend an advice book from the 1930s”

By and about women: books and International Women’s Day

I was at my book club meeting on the weekend, and we were talking about David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. This post has nothing to do with DFW, by the way, and let me say that I genuinely liked about half of that book, so no literary bros need to getContinue reading “By and about women: books and International Women’s Day”

Books, lately: 2016 so far

At the beginning of every new year, I think about what I want to read in the next twelve months. I usually decide that I want to read “better” books. (Yes, I set reading goals, I’m a dork.) And then I spend weeks devouring some YA fantasy series. This year is no different so far!Continue reading “Books, lately: 2016 so far”

My year in books

Here are some random thoughts about a few things I read this year. Best book I read: I’m going to give this one to A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, which is a modern(ish) retelling of King Lear set on a farm in Iowa. It works way better than that sentence suggests. Smiley masterfully creates layer uponContinue reading “My year in books”