Refreshment in Toronto

I lived a year in Toronto more than four decades ago, and if memory serves me, it was an uncertain and sometimes lonely year, but as for the city, I was beguiled by it. Now I’m here again, for a couple of months—H. and I spending the summer with our Toronto children, having packed up our things and shipped them off to B.C. where we’re locating next—and once again this city offers its charms.

A woman I met the other evening told me that beauty in B.C., where she’s also lived, is “in your face” but appears more subtly in Toronto; it has to be discovered. Continue reading

The Danuta Gleed Award

It was a privilege to serve as a juror, along with Shauna Singh Baldwin and Barry Dempster, for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best first collection of short fiction in the English language, awarded via The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC). Barry noted that we may be the only three people in Canada who read all twenty-five of the first collections submitted for the award. A unique and fortunate book club, indeed, for there is a great deal of fine short fiction being written in this country.

Here follows the press release from TWUC announcing the short list and more details about the prize, as well as the shortlisted books: Continue reading

Awash in books

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Since my last post, our house has sold and H. has retired and we’ve officially dissolved his drywall company, incorporated thirty-nine years ago, and we’re culling and making decisions about our possessions. The plan is to spend the summer with our children in Toronto, then settle in B.C.

The last week or so, I’ve been awash in books. I commend to you the article “On the Heartbreaking Difficulty of Getting Rid of Books” by Summer Brennan, not because my process has been that heartbreaking–surprising to me, actually, when I finally got down to it–but because of the lovely words she uses for what books are: “incantations, summoning spells” and “a spark, a balm, a letter from home” and “the rabbit hole, the wardrobe, the doorway between worlds.”

The sorting involved lots of memories and gratitude and wishes for future reading and re-reading. I chose about 170 books to take along. What to do with the rest? Besides donating, I had this bright idea to invite my book club and other friends to come by for a sale-and-tea event I called “Dora’s Used Books Emporium, 2 days only” which has been fun. And interesting. If they get to see what I’ve accumulated, I get to see what they will accumulate. Attractions and reasons are always interesting. Continue reading