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

Just Give Out Free Bagels OR Why People Are Meaner After Christmas

December 26, 2013

So, we were eating breakfast in New York over the holidays and in walks a homeless woman – face red from the cold. She approaches the rustic take-out counter at this fairly trendy restaurant. I watch, waiting for the woman working there to throw the lady out. She doesn’t.  It’s December 29th. The waitress patiently… Read More

Neglected Stories OR Where To Start Exploring Aboriginal Writing

October 30, 2013

In August of this year (2013), our advisory group (comprised of thirteen students) arrived at the Native Women’s shelter in Montreal, tanned from summer vacation, feeling good about ourselves for helping out some ‘people in need.’ We expected to paint the fence and return to school to discuss it. And then to eat lunch. We… Read More

Why Al Pacino’s Accent Makes No Sense OR What Makes a Book Endure?

October 28, 2013

Our grade 9 English class just finished watching the film adaptation of The Merchant of Venice. It’s the one in which Al Pacino plays Shylock and speaks with a strange accent that’s neither Jewish nor Italian. But, he’s Al Pacino, so I guess he can make up whichever accent he wants. I guess. Anyway, we’re… Read More

Betrayed by C.S. Lewis OR Why We Read

September 7, 2013

When I first started Book Dumpling in May, I received a lovely email from a former babysitter named Ilana: She wrote to me about how – when I was four – I used to categorize books by my bedside in little piles indicative of how much I liked them. In response to this anecdote: ‘That… Read More

Why You Shouldn’t Follow Me On Goodreads OR How the Questionnaire Works

August 1, 2013

I have a wonderful, smart, delightful friend (let’s call her ‘G’) whose recommendations of restaurants – in my opinion – are superbly horrendous. For example: [PHONE RINGS AND BOOK DUMPLING PICKS UP] ME: “Hello?” FRIEND: “Hi!” “Hi!” “You need to try this new restaurant in [insert area]. It’s to die for.” “Ya?” I’m already opening… Read More

ON MFA ‘TYPES’ OR BRIAN SOUSA’S ‘ALMOST GONE.’

July 24, 2013

My two years at Emerson in Boston were most certainly fruitful. And interesting. And frightening. And enlightening: Let me touch upon a few ‘types’ of people who get their Masters degrees in creative writing, literature & publishing: 1) The Ivy Leaguer: this person didn’t go into finance or law and might feel like they need… Read More

Meeting Readers Where They’re At OR Why Corporate Yogis Don’t ‘OM.’

July 1, 2013

Sitting on the dock of the bay with my lovely, old friend, Melanie Richards (founder of Montreal’s HappyTree Yoga), we got into an interesting discussion of the correlation between readers and yogis: “You have to meet people where they’re at,” Mel says with her ethereal-yet-no-nonsense approach to life. “What do you mean?” “If somebody wants… Read More

Why I Hate Push-Ups OR How to Create a ‘Non’ Reader

June 16, 2013

“Gimme some push-ups. BOOM!” my charming friend, Vanessa, instructed me when she offered me a free ‘program’ at the gym one day. I stared up at her like a puppy in the rain: “That’s ok.” “What do you mean: that’s ok?” She looked down at me and – for a brief moment – I imagined… Read More

Having the Flu OR the Comfort of a Good Story

June 7, 2013

Having the flu this past week kind of sucked. Silver linings include: • More time to read – an obvious one. • More time to catch up on some TV (hello, Nashville!) • More time to watch movies After staring at the ceiling for an unhealthy amount of time – I decided to muster the… Read More

Negative Reviews: What I Learned From an Angry Hockey Mob

May 18, 2013

A few years ago – when I was living in Toronto – I met a lovely girl who overheard a conversation between myself and my fellow teachers: “Sorry – I know this might be weird – but I just moved here from the States and I was just wondering if maybe you could give some… Read More

Admit It: You’ve at Least Thought of Writing a Book…

May 14, 2013

Admit it: you’ve at least thought of writing a book. Maybe not a book – maybe a review, an Op-Ed piece, a short story, a play, an essay on things that you’ve learned, an essay on things that you haven’t learned, the perfect letter expressing what you really think of someone. The list goes on…. Read More

I’M A POD-HEAD

May 11, 2013

The other night at dinner, I asked some people which podcasts they listen to. The conversation went something like this: “What are podcasts?” “You know, POD-casts.” “You mean, those things on the left of iTunes that no one ever clicks on?” I’m what ‘they’ call, a ‘pod-head.’ I can’t get a cup of coffee without… Read More

The Beauty of Book Clubs

April 11, 2013

I once went to a book club where they couldn’t wait for me to stop talking: they just wanted to get to the food (it was an Indian-themed soiree). Despite my increasingly waning efforts to stimulate discussion, the group collectively took an immense interest in the ceiling’s grooves and paintjob. The host, polite and apologetic,… Read More

Sweet Offerings (Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny, Beautiful Things)

March 30, 2013

Do you wonder what compels you to refresh your ex’s Facebook page? Have you ever been married to – or lived with – someone who simply won’t get a job? Have you lost someone too early on in life? Does your jealousy consume you? Do you feel slighted by events? Are there moments when even… Read More

To Write or Not to Write

March 25, 2013

I just finished Peter Hobbs’ In the Orchard, the Swallows (which lived up to the poetic hype): the story reads like a monologue from a tortured man (who remains nameless throughout), to his life-long love whom he last saw before being sent to prison for a crime that was, in a way, thrust upon him…. Read More

Supplementing Your Literary Diet

March 4, 2013

Lately, everyone I know (myself included) has tried some sort of starch-free diet (rules may vary) to substitute complex carbs with more protein-oriented fare like quinoa. I started thinking that there had to be a literary equivalent to this scenario: I have recently been asked for recommendations for books from people who loved Fifty Shades of Grey:… Read More

Everyone is a Reader

December 4, 2012

Those of us who do read know why we do it: reading brings us to another place, introduces us to characters we otherwise wouldn’t have had the privilege of meeting, it brings us into the mind of another human being in a way unlike any other. Through Harry Potter, we see the devastation of the loss of a… Read More