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Dysfunctional Families: A Book Dumpling List

September 1, 2016

FUN HOME: A FAMILY TRAGICOMIC – BY ALISON BECHDEL Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of graphic novel memoirs Readers who enjoy the true story of a father’s death soon after he comes out of the closet. Anyone wondering what it would be like to grow up in a funeral home. FUNNY BOY – BY SHYAM SELVADURAI Book… Read More

5 Books for June

June 6, 2016

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney   Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of page-turning fiction set in upper-crust NYC society. Readers looking for a story of four siblings fighting over an inheritance. Fans of multi-perspective fiction. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of Indian immigrant fiction. Readers interested in the… Read More

5 Books for Teens Who Love to Read

May 11, 2016

Teens don’t necessarily need YA books to satiate their reading needs, which is why I’ve compiled the list below. These books were successes with my students who love to read, and I hope they give you some ideas for the reading teen in your life. Happy Reading! A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout… Read More

5 Books for March: Book Dumpling Recommends

March 7, 2016

The Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of anthropology. Anyone interested in the elitism of Manhattan’s Upper East Side Those curious about the value of a Birkin bag. Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers of intelligent, page-turning fiction that involves a central mystery. • Anyone who enjoys a story meditating on… Read More

For the Love of Sarcasm OR Garth Stein takes the BD Spotlight

December 15, 2015

Describe a teacher who had an impact on you. My high school drama teacher, Chuck Fick, had a major impact on me.  First, I think all writers should take acting classes.  Acting teaches you about intention and motivation, which can always be a problem when writing fiction—the dreaded deus ex machina!  Secondly, as a person,… Read More

5 Books for June: A Book Dumpling Reading List

June 13, 2015

In a new feature, here are five reads (genres will vary in the future) you might want to check out over the next, few, juicy months of summer. If you could try and get one person to sign up for The Book Dumpling newsletter to spread the word, that would be very much appreciated. Enjoy… Read More

David Usher on Creativity OR Letting the Elephants Run

May 4, 2015

The myth of the artist involves different variations of the same story: we sit, deep in concentration, waiting for divine inspiration to arrive and, over the next few hours, the piece is complete: the book, the script, the song and, taken into a different context – the start-up, the career change, etc. We get up… Read More

‘The Curiosity Bookshop’ Reader Personality: A Book Dumpling List

April 28, 2015

Profile: ‘The Curiosity Bookshop’ Personality Books you love are not fantasy, in its pure, genre manifestation – more like they incorporate just the right amount of magical realism. You love stories having to do with real issues that incorporate light doses of magic and / or incredulous situations. You are curious about a world in… Read More


April 15, 2015

I get funny looks when people discover that, before heading to work in the morning, I drive forty-five minutes out of my way for my favourite coffee. Some find this idea stressful; I find driving one of the most relaxing mechanisms for alleviating anxiety. Going over Mount Royal while listening to an intelligent, thought-provoking podcast… Read More


April 5, 2015

One of the more frequent questions I get on the blog is: ‘how can I make my teenage boys read?’ Part of me wonders if our assumption that teenage boys don’t like reading, is part of the reason why some of them don’t? Many of the teenage girls I teach aren’t reading, either, yet people… Read More

Blue Met’s Gregory McCormick takes the BD Spotlight: on Grafton, East Asian literature & Idaho

March 31, 2015

Every year, Montreal’s very own, remarkable Blue Metropolis literary festival breathes fresh air into the cultural scene: from writer’s workshops to author interviews to panels to podcasts, the festival does an unbelievable job of introducing readers to a range of authors, from the little-known to the well established. Spearheading its programming is the charismatic Gregory… Read More

Book Dumpling’s ‘Most Recommended: Mainstream’ Reads.

March 15, 2015

You asked and it was a pleasure to answer. I’ve answered over 3,000 surveys for book-seekers with titles that range from little-known nuggets to genre-specific romps to the more popular, oft-publicized reads. Enjoy the list below to see PART 1 of Book Dumpling’s ‘Most Recommended’ (the Mainstream titles). Add any appealing titles to your reading list. Or give these as presents…. Read More


February 17, 2015

Over vacation, my brother read me a great passage from Joshua Ferris’ latest novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. In it (pasted below – it’s worth looking at), a neurotic dentist in NYC ponders the psychology of perspective. I’ve tried to remember the passage as we sit, sun-starved, wondering when this winter will… Read More

On Pomeranians and A Love of Poetry OR Author Yona McDonough Takes the BD Spotlight

December 16, 2014

Yona McDonough is the fiction editor of Lilith magazine and the author of several novels and essays. In her latest book, You Were Meant for Me, McDonough explores a different angle of motherhood: when single and successful 35-year-old Miranda Berenzweig discovers an abandoned baby girl in a subway station in NYC, her life changes dramatically…. Read More

On Gay Literature and A Boy’s First Love OR Montreal Author, Christopher DiRaddo, Takes the BD Spotlight

December 6, 2014

Novelist, Christopher DiRaddo’s, latest book, The Geography of Plato, has garnered excellent reviews so far: taking place in Montreal’s gay village, the story follows Will Ambrose as he navigates both his break-up and his mother’s illness. Read on for some tidbits on DiRaddo’s book recommendations, his cocktail-napkin method, and his undisputed love for his parents. Describe a teacher who had an impact… Read More

On blessed laptops OR ‘Astonish Me’ author, Maggie Shipstead, takes the BD Spotlight

September 28, 2014

Forget the critical praise Maggie Shipstead’s books – Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me – have garnered – the latter is one of my top recommendations to survey-takers looking for a fascinating, multi-perspective, time-jumping look into the disciplined, passionate and demanding work of the ballet world. Read on to learn about magical laptops, the right kind… Read More

An Arab & a Jew Walk Into a Cafe OR How Reading Creates Space For Dialogue

August 11, 2014

How is one, as a teacher (like myself) or as a parent, supposed to teach teenagers and children how to converse, if the adults around them don’t model it themselves?  My cousin asked me the other day: “What’s the point of reading books – as opposed to watching movies or reading newspaper / magazine articles?”… Read More

Author Elizabeth Graver Takes the BD Spotlight OR Why You Should Take Your High School English Teacher on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

June 25, 2014

Elizabeth Graver’s latest book is good.  Really good.  So good that it was long-listed for the 2013 National Book Award in Fiction.  The End of the Point, proves the author’s lyrical prowess, coupled with her ability to trace one family’s experiences over the course of half a century.  The book is perfect for readers who enjoy narratives that examine families… Read More

Author Lindsey J. Palmer takes the BD Spotlight OR Why You Shouldn’t Read and Walk

May 22, 2014

If you’ve ever wondered, really wondered what it would be like to work in a cutthroat women’s lifestyle magazine’s headquarters, Lindsey J. Palmer could probably teach you a thing or two. A former magazine employee herself, Palmer’s debut novel, Pretty in Ink, takes an honest-yet-funny look (through multiple characters’ perspectives) on the demands of working in the not-so-glamorous industry that everyone’s… Read More

Novelist Kate Racculia on Her Latest Book, Bellweather Rhapsody, OR Why You Need Thoreau on a Desert Island

May 19, 2014

Kate Racculia is funny. Very funny. I was lucky enough to have taken a novella-writing class with her during our MFA years at Emerson. Even then, Kate’s effortless humour and quirky characters infused the workshop setting with some much-needed levity and depth – no easy feat.  Her newest novel, Bellweather Rhapsody, just earned an ‘A’ from Entertainment Weekly. It’s… Read More

Going Over the Mountain with Charles Manson OR Why We Love Reading About Evil

April 29, 2014

So, the other morning I was driving over Mont-Royal – going to get my morning coffee – noticing the budding, traumatized leaves trying to push their way through after this difficult winter – and it was beautiful. And I was listening to: Charles Manson. Well, actually, I was listening to Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh… Read More

BD Spotlight: YA Author Monique Polak

April 21, 2014

To know Monnique Polak is to love her. Ask any of her students. Or readers. Or friends. Here, the lively and talented teacher and YA author of the popular book, What World is Left, amongst others, answers the first-ever Book Dumpling Spotlight questionnaire: What is the last, great book that you read and to which type… Read More

On Montreal’s Weather OR A Serious Case of Cultural FOMO

April 20, 2014

The other day, I wandered home in the rain. When I walked into the apartment, I was so tired that I plopped down on the couch for a snooze. Half asleep, I could feel the sun come out and graze my face. Despite my high comfort level and an obvious need for sleep, I got… Read More

Why I love Britney OR Judging a Book by its Cover

December 30, 2013

2004: it’s a snowy Sunday night and thousands of people wait in Montreal’s Bell Centre for the emergence of the toned, dancer extraordinaire, Ms. Britney Spears. My friends and I watch the fleet of girls dawning barely-there pants and take notice of the few guys in the third row holding their binoculars, looking around to… Read More