21 September

Fall Equinox 2016

Enjoy the trees blowing in the wind while reading a book on the couch, my favorite thing. Those were the parting words of the owner who last lived in my condo. I too enjoy the sound of the leaves in the wind. I notice them more in the fall, maybe because the leaves are crisper […]

8 March

If I were a writer in Cuba

Posted in Books, Reflections, Travel

I often pondered this question when I was in Cuba. While there, I was able to attend the 24th International Festival of the Book in Havana, one of the largest book festivals in Latin America, founded in 1982. For ten days, the city diverts buses from their regular commuter routes to transport thousands of Haberneros to the […]

21 December

The Winter Garden 2014

Recently I read the first volume in a series of books by the Norwegian author, Karl Ove Knausgaard, called My Struggle. It’s about the struggle of an ordinary man, and though we don’t often speak this way to one another, the book reads like the struggle of everyman/everywoman to come to terms with human suffering. About […]

28 July

Letter from Sage Hill

Posted in Books, Food, Reflections

Well, from the Sage Hill Writing Experience actually. As Philip Adams, the Executive Director, likes to joke, the name sounds like something cooked up by a bunch of hippies sitting around a circle smoking their favourite leaf. And may have been, but it is an experience. First there’s the people: the writers who come here […]

1 June

When the Rain Stops Falling

Posted in Books, Reflections

Last weekend I went to see When the Rain Stops Falling, a play by an Australian, Andrew Bovell. It was mounted by the U of A Studio Theatre, whose productions I have always found daring and top-notch. One of the opening scenes sent a shiver through me.  The year is 2039. It’s the middle of a storm, […]

7 May

Middlemarch

Posted in Books, Reflections

I spent my lunch hour today listening to a podcast panel discussion on George Elliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch, first published in 1871. The panel of Elliot scholars, all women, were interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel on CBC Radio months back. I can identify with the young women in Middlemarch who hold a fierce idealism about marriage and family and […]

16 February

New York Valentine

Posted in Books, Reflections

A year ago at this time, I was in New York for seven days. By mid-week I was hunting in earnest for an I HEART NY sticker, suddenly understanding the meaning of all those I HEART stickers from around the world, derived, I realized, from this Mother of all HEART stickers. New York is a […]

2 January

The Layers

Posted in Books, Reflections

New Year’s Eve I was at a small party with friends in the neighbourhood. There was food and drink and fire: candles in the snow, candles in the windows, and a bonfire out the back porch. The bonfire was best of all. On small scraps of paper, we wrote down the things we wanted to […]

20 December

A Thousand and One Doors

A Thousand and One Doors

  Lately, I’ve been reading The Arabian Nights, or what has been traditionally called The Thousand and One Nights, translated by Husain Haddawy from a 14th century Syrian manuscript, the oldest there is. Haddawy grew up hearing the Nights around his grandmother’s hearth on long winter nights in Baghdad. The book could easily be called The Thousand and One Doors. Doors open: […]

10 November

Writing Food

Posted in Books

I’ve recently discovered Ruth Reichl,  who some will call a food writer; I think she’s first and foremost a storyteller. She’s the author and editor of  several books, former restaurant critic for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine and other lauds.  I’ve just finished Comfort Me with Apples and For You, Mom, Finally.  Her books are about food (there […]