Jennifer D Jennifer's Comments (member since Mar 23, 2011)

Jennifer's comments from the CBC Books group.

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May 14, 2016 01:26PM

40089 i think and say i am not a fan of retellings... but i am silly-excited over the hogarth shakespeare series. i loved The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold, but Shylock Is My Name was a bust for me. pretty keen for Vinegar Girl.

with Eligible, i wanted to give sittenfeld another go. i didn't like Sisterland too much, my first experience with her work. but i find sittenfeld so interesting and so many readers do love her stuff. i am hopeful for 'eligible'. :)
May 14, 2016 01:05PM

40089 oh - thanks for the Longbourn reminder, susan! i read that as well, and it was also a dud for me - so i am happy to keep you company in the grump minority club. haha!! (with apologies to those who loved it, of course!!)
May 14, 2016 11:53AM

40089 i have so meant to read edna o'brien already! i have 'the country girls' trilogy so should really prioritize it.

have you read her before? how about her new book?
May 14, 2016 11:52AM


Even though Edna O'Brien left Ireland well over half a century ago, the texture and atmosphere of the country continue to permeate her work in haunting and unsettling stories about blood ties and connections to the land. As one critic said, "Where James Joyce was the first Irish Catholic to make his experience and surroundings recognizable, the world of Nora Barnacle — Joyce's wife — had to wait for the fiction of Edna O'Brien." Starting with The Country Girls in 1960, her writing opened up a new chapter in modern Irish literature.

Edna O'Brien has come out with a bold new novel, The Little Red Chairs. This time the title refers to the 20th anniversary of the start of the Siege of Sarajevo. In 2012, 11,541 red chairs were laid out in rows, one empty chair for every Sarajevan killed by Bosnian Serb forces during the almost four-year siege. Out of those, 643 small chairs represented the children who died.

Eleanor Wachtel spoke to Edna O'Brien at her home in London, England.


Ireland matters to me very much, as a locale and as a setting and as a landscape, partly because it's connected with my emotional self as well as my logical and seeing self. I know it backwards, inside out. It's very important to me, as a writer, to actually set a book — to ground it — where you're at home with everything. You're not groping. Then you can branch out. You can fly. You can do anything.


I have a theory that people's dreams are more interesting than their everyday conversation. They are very important, of course, because dreams come from the unconscious and writing comes from the unconscious. I try to remember them, but sometimes they elude me because of that. They are better if they remember themselves to me rather than the other way around. They are part of my work, but my book isn't a dream book. That said, I find it natural in a work of fiction to have an element of dream, because characters — whether fictional or real — dream at night.


There are a lot of bad things about fear, but the good thing about fear, for a writer, is everything lodges in the memory. You don't forget anything. It's all alive and you steal it, and that's a good thing. But it's not exactly a desirable thing.


It was very traumatic. I couldn't come back, I just couldn't come back. It changed me. It deepened my work, definitely. It deepened my obsession with language and the potential power and music and marvelousness of language. It was very frightening. I wouldn't take it again. I have enough troubles. It took me about a year to come back. It had some benefits, and some considerable terrors.

Edna O'Brien's comments have been edited and condensed.

This post originally appeared on the Writers & Company website:
May 14, 2016 11:47AM

40089 have you read any jane austen retellings? would you recommend them if you have?

i have 'eligible' sitting on my shelf and hope to get to it soon! i also have izzo's book - which i am now more excited for. :)
May 14, 2016 11:45AM


Jane Austen is an iconic author who has inspired many retellings, adaptations, spin-offs and more — the latest of which is Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. Eligible, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest books of the summer, takes the classic tale of Pride and Prejudice and places it in modern-day Cincinnati. If you liked Eligible (or modern-day Austen adaptations in general!) The Next Chapter columnist Aparita Bhandari says you'll love the Canadian equivalent, The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo.


What works in Eligible is how Curtis Sittenfeld has brought all the things that make Pride and Prejudice work together in a modern setting. There's a romance reality show, Liz is a magazine writer based in New York, she has an independent streak, but also has political leanings. Darcy is a snooty doctor. You have the Wickham character in the shape of Jasper, a married man Liz is having an affair with. There's IV treatments. LGBTQ issues come up. It's really interesting to see the way Sittenfeld has brought Pride and Prejudice into a contemporary setting. The way it comes together works really well.


I thought it was an interesting comparison because the two characters, Eligible's Liz and The Jane Austen Marriage Manual's Kate, are actually very similar. They are both magazine writers, they are both based out of New York, they are both approaching 40. In the case of Kate, the idea of marriage is on top of mind because of certain circumstances that have come about. So she goes back to Jane Austen and asks, 'What would Jane Austen do?' It's not a literal adaptation, but it brings in the Austen-esque characters, the Austen-esque plot and re-interprets them to suit a modern re-telling.

Aparita Bhandari's comments have been edited and condensed.

This pose originally appeared on The Next Chapter's website, where you can listen to the segment:
May 14, 2016 09:28AM


Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter was named as the winner of the 10th International Dylan Thomas Prize, in partnership with Swansea University.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers, is a debut book – part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief – by Max Porter, a senior editor at Granta and Portobello Books.

Chair of judges Professor Dai Smith (Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University) said: “Max Porter, the judges felt, takes the common place of grief, the pall of death, the loss of loved ones, the things that we will all experience and transforms the ordinary through an extraordinary feat of imaginative prose, but prose that slips in to poetry and out again.

"The way it plays with the archetypal figure of Ted Hughes’ Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow is both astonishing and beguiling. It is funny, it is deeply moving and it is a book that the judges are proud to see as the winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize, in partnership with Swansea University.”

Information for this post from the Prize's website:
May 14, 2016 04:38AM


The Writers' Union of Canada has presented its five-title shortlist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. The prize is given to the best debut short story collection written in English and comes with $10,000 for first place and $500 each for second and third place.

Heather O'Neill is among the finalists for her collection Daydreams of Angels, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The full list of finalists also includes:

In a Time of Drought and Hunger by Gerard Beirne
What You Need by Andrew Forbes
Last Words: Stories by Hugh Graham
Debris by Kevin Hardcastle

The winner will be announced at the Canadian Writers' Summit, which takes place from June 15 to 19. This year's jury includes Shauna Singh Baldwin (What the Body Remembers), Barry Dempster (The Burning Alphabet) and Dora Dueck (What You Get at Home)."

This post originally appeared on the CBC Books website:
May 13, 2016 01:36PM

40089 i have the ARC for nightfall and it is only 172 pages. i don't know, really, if order matters all that much. i suspect it can stand alone. some of the passages in nightfall are complete excerpts from october. but just because of my own brain, i feel like i would be getting more into the new book with the previous book fresher in mind.

edited to add:

ah! i see the HC edition here on GR (same ISBN as my ARC) shows 192 pages. i saw the HC edition, and it's lovely. but, yeah - the copy i have is 20 pages shorter. :)
May 13, 2016 01:20PM

40089 (also -- i can't be the only person wondering what the woman in penny's lovely featured image today is reading, right?? haha!!)
May 13, 2016 01:19PM

40089 happy friday and happy weekend, everyone! i hope you will all find some lovely reading time this weekend and lots of positive, happy moments! :)

i am still plugging away with my baileys women's prize reading, and have The Glorious Heresies nearly read. it's.... chaotic and gritty, and these characters are just so broken. i feel like i know where its headed, so we'll see how it all winds up.

i also, unusually, have a second novel on the go, Nightfall, by richard b. wright. it's reading very quickly, and is only 172 pages; i will likely finish it up over the next hour or so. this new novel ties in with his 2007 book, October. i took a chance and didn't re-read 'october'. mostly it's completely fine... but because i am fussy with my reading, i am kind of now wishing i had taken a few days to revisit 'october'. oops!! ;)
May 13, 2016 10:06AM


larger view available at the poetry foundation website:



Malcolm Glass is an American award-winning poet, writer, and artist. He is emeritus professor of English at Austin Peay State University, located in Clarksville, Tennessee. Glass co-founded the Zone 3 literary journal in 1985.

Interview with Glass, for the Tennessee Literary Project at Middle Tennessee State University:



poem from:
biography from: and
General Chat (285 new)
May 13, 2016 04:31AM

40089 @ allison -- way to go!!! :)

@ talie -- congratulations on completing the challenge. woot!! :)

i am a stats person too, and capture my reading on a spreadsheet, with all sorts of different categories noted. i appreciated reading the breakdowns of your bingo line, allison, and your challenge, talie. thanks!
May 12, 2016 06:09AM

40089 so funny because though i have thought, jokingly, about hot baths being comparable to 'stewing' (in a cooking sense), heh!, i always look at them as a wonderful way to relax. i've never thought about getting angry in a bath, and working up the emotions.
May 12, 2016 05:14AM

40089 Kamal Al-Solaylee on the "indelicate" question he wants to be asked

In Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means, Kamal Al-Solaylee - whose memoir, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, was a finalist for CBC's Canada Reads 2015 - explores the social and political realities of being a brown-skinned person across four continents. In the process, Al-Solaylee uncovers troubling stories about the systemic status differences between light and dark-skinned brown people.

Below, Al-Solaylee fields questions from his fellow Canadian writers, revealing the "indelicate" question he wishes someone would ask him.

1. Dianne Warren asks, "Newspaper writers keep talking about the current golden age of TV storytelling. Would you like to write for an HBO-type TV show? Why or why not?"

No, not really. I like to have final say on my words. Writing for TV means surrendering all or part of that to the show runners, directors and actors, etc. It's the same reason I will not write for the stage. I'm just not all that collaborative. I also don't have a cable box so I've never seen any of the shows on the premium networks. Yep, I've missed out on Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Wire, etc. I'm still stuck in the land of Sex and the City on DVDs.

2. Nazneen Sheikh asks, "Do you forget all the angst when the book actually arrives from the printer?"

I think that's when the angst begins for me. During the writing process, I can still delude myself into thinking I'll change, edit, rewrite material and make the book the best it can be. Once it's back from the printer, it's a done deal. It's now in the hands of readers and reviewers who can be kind or cruel - or, worse, indifferent. So you can say that I'm now entering my angst period. Oh, joy.

3. Billie Livingston asks, "Rilke said, 'A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity.' Do you think that's true? Do you feel that writing is an absolute necessity in your life?"

I'd say that I write about ideas (race and migration issues, politics and war in the Arab world, gay rights) that, to me, are an absolute necessity. I happen to write about them because that's the only thing I know how to do. Had I been a painter or a photographer, I would have chosen different platforms to explore the very same.

4. Johanna Skibsrud asks, "What non-literary inspirations inform your work?"

I draw a lot from history because I believe that much of what's happening in the world today is a replay or unintended consequences of past events. The cast of characters changes and the patterns of exploitation and dehumanization get more extreme with time, that's all. I don't think we're capable of learning the lessons of the past.

5. Tomson Highway asks, "If you were a musician, which instrument would you play? That is to say, which instrument would you choose to tell your story with?"

It'll have to be the piano and the mood more jazz and standards than classical. In my fantasy life, I'm a crooner who sings the Great American Songbook for his supper. "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" in a quiet jazz bar is my idea of heaven. This may influence which part of the stories I tell will translate to stage. But jazz and cabaret have roots in political and race-based activism so there's a fit there somewhere.

6. Richard Van Camp asks, "What's the story you'll never write about that haunts you? It could be delicious. Yes, that's the one we want to know. What is your delicious that you'll never write about? What. is. it?"

I'll never write about how lucky I have been at so many stages of my writing life because I want you to think that I've fought the system with my blood and sweat. But the truth of the matter is that I've found myself at the right place at the right time or simply stumbled my way into things on too many occasions to remember. While I've never slacked off after an opportunity, I owe luck, fate or serendipity so much for getting me through the door. I was born in 1964, which makes me either the last of the Baby Boomers or the first of Generation X. We came of age under very different economic and cultural circumstances. I literally walked into the Globe and Mail in 2000 for a job interview and walked out with a "Can you start tomorrow?" offer. Delicious enough for you?

7. Robert Currie asks, "What writers do you read, not only because you admire their writing, but because you think you can learn from them?"

I write nonfiction so I'm drawn to the deep reporting and research in books by the likes of Doug Saunders, Taras Grescoe, Charlotte Gray, Marcello Di Cintio, Hal Niedzviecki, among others. But I also love the passionate, urgent personal notes in Ta-Nehisi Coates and Mona Eltahawy. Both travel between the personal and the political with such ease and wisdom.

8. Sharon Butala asks, "What is the main question that you wish somebody would ask you, although nobody ever has?"

I've just written a book about the meanings of brown skin. I wish someone would ask me if I wish I were white. I assume no Canadian journalist or author will ever be so, well, indelicate. My answer will not be a straightforward yes or no. I love the skin I'm in but I'm also aware, and sometimes envious, of white privilege and the safety of being in the mainstream.

This post originally appeared on the CBC Books website:
May 12, 2016 04:35AM

40089 Kookee

I’ve been wanting to take a bath

and stew

really lie there and let the thoughts run over me
in the murky water
as my hands crease and my nipples get cold
I’ve been wanting;
not to cleanse but to consider
to get worked up in the hot water
to emerge renewed – and angry

I really beat up on some cookie dough today
battered it with a wooden spoon
historically I find them hard to hold
the rough unfinished handle
feels like some crusty piece of felt that was left to rot
but today
I wrapped my boney fingers around it
rammed its roundness into
some recipe from a bag
that’s so easy

“even my husband can do it”

-- Julie Morrissey



Julie Morrissy is a poet from Dublin currently living in her home city after spending a number of years living in Canada and the USA. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize in the UK, and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. Her work has been published widely in Ireland, the UK and Canada. Morrissy has performed readings at the Cork International Poetry Festival, Strokestown International Poetry Festival, the International Literature Festival Dublin, and on RTE Radio 1. Her debut poetry pamphlet I Am Where was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards 2016, and is published by Eyewear Press in the UK and is available to purchase through her website.

• PhD Candidate Creative Writing, University of Ulster (2018) - Awarded the Vice-Chancellor Research Scholarship
• MA Literatures of Modernity, Ryerson University (2014) - Awarded a Ryerson Graduate Scholarship
• MA Creative Writing, University College Dublin (2013)
• Bachelor of Civil Law, University College Dublin/University of Minnesota Law School (2006)

Poet's website:
Twitter: @juliemoiaussi



poem & biography:
May 11, 2016 03:09PM

40089 though it's a sad poem, i found it lovely.
May 11, 2016 01:31PM

40089 Check out the bestselling Canadian books for May 1-7, 2016.

Bestseller lists are compiled by BookManager using weekly sales stats from over 230 Canadian independent stores.

1. The Illegall by Lawrence Hill

2. Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

3. Birdie by Tracey Lindberg

4. The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami

5. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

6. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

7. Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz

8. The Pharos Gate: Griffin & Sabine's Lost Correspondence by Nick Bantock

9. His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay

10. The Three Sisters Bar and Hotel by Katherine Govier

1. Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan

2. The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

3. The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation by David Johnston

4. Startle and Illuminate: Carol Shields on Writing edited by Anne Giardini and Nicholas Giardini

5. I Bificus by Bif Naked

6. In-Between Days: A Memoir About Living with Cancer by Teva Harrison

7. Mexican Hooker #1: And My Other Roles Since the Revolution by Carmen Aguirre

8. The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

9. Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive by Mark L. Winston

10. Precious Cargo: My Year of Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077 by Craig Davidson

Save the list as PDF

This post originally appeared on the CBC Books website:
May 11, 2016 05:35AM

40089 Traces

You are gone
from me, from our home.
Eager to claim my space, my time,
I gather up the bits you left behind. Shoes
eased off, one foot against the heel of the other
when you sat reading, too long, too late; your book
opened and turned face down; the mail
you had no time to open; on the balcony, your ashtray
piled high, dog-ends disintegrating in the rain (a rot
I stop my mind from contemplating).
Picking up, finding a place for things
tumbling from my overfull hands.
This is how my mother went round each room
after our visit, looking for books, toys,
jewellery we’d tossed aside then forgotten.

This is how mothers and fathers find
and hold onto the small, once insignificant,
treasures of a lost child; how bereaved
sons and daughters sift through
the layers of letters, cards, flowered and glittered
for every occasion, photos
that never made the albums, yellowed
recipes clipped years ago from the Woman’s Page.
Death brings its demand for mementoes.

You are coming back,
sometimes I say, too soon. Let me keep
your books on the shelves,
your clothes in the drawers.
Good to be alone.
At night, I sit on the edge of our bed,
slip my arms into the sleeves
of your shirt, each small button’s fastening
a painstaking measure of time.

-- Pam Galloway



Born in northern England, Pam Galloway now lives in Vancouver. She has been writing and publishing poems for about 25 years. Her poems have been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies. Her most recent book of poetry, Passing Stranger (2014), covers the years of her long marriage, the desire for children, issues of fertility and infertility, pregnancy and loss, motherhood ultimately achieved and eventually a divorce.

Galloway worked collaboratively with Quintet, a group of poets in Vancouver to produce their poetry collection, Quintet: Themes and Variations, (1998). Her first book of poetry Parallel Lines was published in 2006. Recently, her poetry was included in the photographic/poetry collection A Verse Map of Vancouver. Galloway has an MFA in creative writing from UBC, and also works as a speech language pathologist.



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May 10, 2016 09:01AM

40089 so happy you liked this one, linda! :)

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