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Stop! Look! Listen! Laura Wershler's Reading Recommendation

At the end of January, a much younger friend told me how much she enjoyed Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. My friend loves to paint and found inspiration to keep painting even if her life feels overwhelmed with grad school and a full-time job. It doesn’t matter how good she is, or what may come of it. All that matters is that she paints. 

Stop! Look! Listen! Michael Caleb Tasker’s Reading Recommendation

There isn't enough Jim Harrison in this world. One of the few truly original writers of the last 20 years, he belongs to no school, and sits in a category and style uniquely his own. While he is sometimes compared, favourably and unfavourably, to Ernest Hemingway because they both write about Michigan and, sometimes, fishing, the comparison makes as much sense as linking Hemingway with Cervantes because they both write about Spain. 

Stop! Look! Listen! Andrea Hubley's Reading Recommendation

A book I find myself returning to is Maggie Burton’s poetry collection, Chores. Captivating from the opening lines, with uncomplicated language and vivid, visceral images, Burton revisits the day-to-day events of domestic life and women’s labour that are often overlooked. Bringing tenderness to the struggles of survival, these poems stir up nostalgia for home and beloved grandmothers.  


Stop! Look! Listen! Joanna Streetly's Reading Recommendation

If you have the opportunity, seek out Quiet, the latest collection of poems by Victoria Adukwei Bulley. Bulley lives in England but she spoke at the Vancouver Writers’ Festival last fall and I was lucky enough to hear her spellbinding voice read these strong poems—poems that stirred me with their quiet strength and their reclamation of Black history from the colonial narrative. In the poem revision, she considers new and varied answers to multiple choice tests about the colonial history of the Gold Coast.

Stop! Look! Listen! Blair Trewartha's Reading Recommendation

With the abundance of high caliber poetry books published each year in Canada, it’s extremely difficult to narrow down which specific poetry collections to recommend. The only criteria I can think of on which to base that recommendation is that feeling you get when you finish reading it. More than appreciation or admiration, it’s a deep sense of relief that you get and a genuine thankfulness that this book exists, and you were lucky enough to find it.  

Stop! Look! Listen! Misha Solomon’s Reading Recommendation

Ian Stephens’s lone book-length publication, Diary of a Trademark, feels like something of a lost classic, a rough (in all senses of the word) snapshot of early-nineties Montreal through the eyes of a gay man who died soon after the book was published. In Diary, Stephens knows he is succumbing to HIV/AIDS and, in the essay that opens the collection, “Weary State of Grace,” discusses a recent hospital stay in visceral detail.

Stop! Look! Listen! Audrey Gradzewicz's Reading Recommendation

I am a bit of a trash bird and love collecting odd things—a little taxidermied turtle I’ve named Tertullian, century-old birthday books filled with the soft cursive of strangers, quack medicine almanacs, a yellowed trade card where a burning Joan of Arc sells bouillon. One of my favorite things is a Morrell Pride calendar from 1938.


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